Re-calling your dog.
- The object of this exercise is to get your dog to come back to you, from where he/she is and to leave what he/she engaged in at that moment.
- Bear in mind, you have to be more interesting, exciting and rewarding that what is currently maintaining his/her interest.
- Never, EVER punish your dog for coming back slower than you want or expect. You need to reward and praise each occasion with the same amount of enthusiasm and verve.
- Always give him/her a high value food treat and praise/contact reward, even if when out walking and he/she just wanders back to you without you telling him/her to, reward anyway and loads of it.
Food treats for this can be, dried liver, or chopped up hotdog or small bits of cheese. Vary what you use so that it is always a tasty reward for your dog. It should only be attempted when you are in a safe environment and one that you will absolutely have success and from a distance that you are certain your dog will respond. Be aware of your environment and any distractions that may influence your chances of success. For example, do not try this if your dog is racing around with other dogs. When training, you are aspiring to achieve success at all times. If you are not in a safe and contained area, practice with a flexible lead or long line.
Make sure you have a treat in your hand before you start, then get your dogs’ attention by calling its name, then immediately say, “Look at me”. Make sure your dog can hear and see you and when he/she looks at you say “good boy/girl” for looking at you. (This the check phrase that allows you to establish in your own mind, “do I have my dogs’ attention”? If not, then do not proceed with the rest of the exercise at this moment, instead, go towards him/her and try again from a closer distance).
If you have your dogs’ attention, immediately say, “Come”, clearly and firmly. As soon as your dog starts moving towards you, start going backwards quickly, arms wide open, putting in a few encouraging claps, this is a visual signal and welcoming gesture. Do not turn your back on your dog, keep looking at and praising your dog all the time he/she is coming to you, remember, coming back to you is the most fantastic thing that he/she will ever do, so give loads and loads of praise, “yes, good boy/girl”, be excited.
Keep verbally rewarding your dog until he/she is about 10 feet away, then squat down to his/her level, move your hands in front of you and use the food to lure your dog in close to you, so you don’t stretch or grab, reach under his/her chin, take hold of the collar. When you have control, give the food reward and at least 30 seconds of gentle voice and contact praise.
If he/she runs past you, reverse the direction you are going and start going backwards again, remind your dog, “come” and continue the exercise as above until your dog gets to you.
Do not introduce a sit at this time when your dog gets to you, you need to reward the re-call not the sit.
An additional exercise is;
Let your dog know that you have a really nice treat before you let him/her off, put it under his/her nose and then un-clip the lead then move backwards, facing your dog, praising him/her all the time, when he/she gets to you, use the food to lure your dog in close to you, so you don’t stretch or grab, reach under his/her chin, take hold of his/her collar. When you have control, give the food reward and at least 30 seconds of gentle voice and contact praise. Keep doing this at the start of the walk, moving in different directions, making it fun for your dog. Doing this will encourage your dog to pay attention to you from the moment you let him/her off the lead. If you are not in a safe and contained area, practice with a flexible lead or long line.