Ensuring your dog comes when called is such an important part of training. It will not only make your life easier when you want to leave the dog park, for example, but it can keep your pups out of trouble and harm’s way. So how do we get there? By turning it into a game.
How Do We Play?
- Start in a familiar, low-distraction environment.
- Show your dog an appealing object (their favorite toy or treat)
- As they walk towards you, use your verbal cue of choice (i.e. COME!)
- Once they are by your side, reward them with lots of excitement
- Up the ante when they get the hang of it. Use your verbal cue without tempting them with the treat, and make sure the reward is high when they come!
We must teach our dogs that being near us is the most fun and safe thing they can do, and will also bring them rewards.
- Don’t repeat yourself. If you have to repeat yourself, the environment may be too distracting or they don’t understand the command well enough. Be patient and let your pup figure it themselves.
- Reward eye contact. We want to enforce that paying attention to the master results in treats.
- Practice daily and slowly increase the level of distraction but don’t set them up for failure!
- If you require recall in an emergency, do not chase your dog (although this will be your instinct). The best method is to call their name and run in the opposite direction. This will inspire them to run after you, thinking it’s a game.
Keep In Mind
A common training mistake is to recall your dog, put their leash on and head home. Your dog will then start to associate your verbal cue with the fun coming to an end and will start rejecting your recall.