100% Rock Solid Reliable Recalls - teaching your dog to want to come to you when you call, every time you call. Not an impossible dream but a training reality!
How many times does a family member call for you and you answer that you will be there ‘in a minute’?
How often do we actually practice recalls with our dogs (properly)?
How often do we give our dog the opportunity to not recall (translation: how much have we trained our dog not to come when called!?)?
See...we sure do have high expectations of our dogs!
100% Rock Solid Reliable Recall Top Tips:
- Always make recalling rewarding and never take recalls for granted
- Practice lots and lots and lots of recalls
- Always reward check-ins
- Never give your dog the opportunity to not come when called
- Always have your dog’s focus before allowing them off leash or free-time
- If you don’t have a reward to hand recall your dog, praise lavishly and either make a big, high-energy deal of going to get a reward or praise and allow your dog to return to whatever you recalled them from (if safe to do so)
- Recall your dog, praise him and take his collar before rewarding him
- Don’t recall your dog unless you are sure he will respond
- Call your dog once and if he doesn’t respond go get him
- Increase distractions gradually but continue to reward recalls in low distractions situations
- In week 1 we are going to introduce prep work for recall training; this includes background work, equipment preparation, trick training, communication, fixing recall problems, management to prevent further mistakes, increasing the value to rewards, Know Your Name Game and Collar Grab training.
Week 1 is going to be hard work and you and your pet will be kept busy but stick with it and it will be worth it!
The plan is for recall exercises to be introduced over about 6 weeks but it takes about 3 months of practice to get real results so take your time and work through the exercises at your (and your dog’s) own pace.
Practice will generally be needed for a couple of 5-10 minutes sessions a day and lots of working the training exercises into everyday life. Remember, that we are always training our dogs even if we don’t think we are they do!! Best of luck!
A Recall course by Anne is available to members of the club via clubs facebook page. Or by going onto Annes website at http://pawsitivedawgs.wordpress.com/
Help from Anne:
Q. Bobs recall has always been a bit hit and miss but was improving to such an extent that I could let him have off lead time in the local park. I would use a squeaky toy to get his attention if calling his name didn't work, and once he heard that, he would come running back, and he would get his reward. Lately though he just completely ignores me, the squeaky toy the lot, and so I have decided to put him back on a long lead till I can trust him a bit more - I just don't want to run the risk of him running off and maybe onto the road. So my question is, do you think I should carry on using the squeaky toy or should I try to get him to respond to voice only?
Q. Anne, Daisy's recall is dreadful at the moment, she always come back but only when she is ready. She seems desperate to run off and explore every path, side road etc. and it is quite worrying. Shall I just go back to long leash on walks for now with lots of recall practice? I really miss seeing her run around and I feel like I have cheated her out of lots of fun but I am obviously worried that she will run into a road or something. :( The other issue is she has never been driven by treats so even though I had some lovely freeze dried liver today she actually dropped it when I gave it to her as all she wanted to do was carry on running around!
Anne : Refusing HIGH value food such as that tells us that her arousal level is high (that is if she isn't full or ill!) - Stress/arousal hormones in the body are appetite suppressors. We need to remember that even getting a reward for coming back may not always be rewarding enough to counter having lost access to whatever off leash fun he was having before recall. I usually encourage owners to change their recall cue when we start a new training program - for example to a whistle. Whistle training - gets every piece of food (within reason) from your hand delivered after a whistle while in and around the house for at least the first week of whistle training. Then we move onto big bad world - low distraction area. Recall whistling, getting HIGH value treat, and going back to your business: recall, reward, return. This must be consistently practiced - when you are prepared to put £50 on his recall then you are ready to up the distraction level. Manage to prevent mistakes with the long line in the mean time.
I also practice about 100 recalls a day with a dog in training. With a dog with an established 100% rock solid reliable recall when out and about I recall on average every two minutes (recall, reward, return). If I have to recall trained doggie off something great, I make sure to practice at least 10 recall-reward-return sequences with a fabulous reward from me and to return to. Hard work but well worth it! We want to practice so much because we really need that reinforcement history on one of the most vital of doggie behaviours.
ADPT Training Consultant & Behaviourist
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