1. Choose a word that you will only use for recalls
Recall is the command your dog absolutely needs to master! Having a good recall is essential for its safety. Your companion could avoid being hit by a car, sprayed by a skunk, injured by the thorns of a porcupine or run away.
2. Do not overuse this word
If you use it too often, in any situation, you risk rendering it ineffective. It is for this reason that we do not recommend using the dog’s name for this exercise. Do not use your special word when you think that your dog will not come back. For example, if it plays with other dogs, it can fail because it may not be ready for this level of difficulty in its training. Instead, go get it or use other words to call it.
3. Say the command only once
When you start training your dog, the chances that it will not come back in the beginning are quite high. It’s tempting to repeat your command a second time, thinking your dog didn’t hear you. Believe us, it heard very well! If you get into the habit of repeating, it will understand that it can afford to wait before doing what you want. Do some environmental management and use a long leash to keep it from practicing the wrong behaviour.
4. Motivate your dog when it comes back at you
It’s hard for a dog to stop doing something very interesting to come to you. Playing with other dogs, barking at your neighbors, rolling in mud, exploring, chasing squirrels or a cat… It’s much more fun than going to find you. Encourage it as it returns, so it doesn’t run back to the distraction. “Good boy / Good girl”, “Yes!”, “Good dog”, with interesting little noises, pat on the thighs and a big smile on your face. You think that looks “crazy” in front of all these people? It doesn’t matter because your dog is back. Even if its life was not in danger, all efforts will help if a dangerous situation arises.
5. Always reward your dog when it comes near you.
It’s party time! Hugs, words of congratulation and treats. You are happy that your dog made the decision to put you at the top of its priority list. This is the only command where we advise to always reward the dog, regardless of its age. You want a strong recall at all times. When you think about it, in a day, we recall our dog much more often than ask it to sit down or to do “pretty”. This is why it’s important to have very tasty treats and to vary them. You’re in luck, we have all this for you!
6. Don’t show it that you have treats.
Unless you want a dog, who examines you, to see if you have anything to give it. You don’t want to beg the dog during the recall. You want it to get used to making the decision to come back on its own. Leave your treats in your training pouch or in your pockets.
We know it’s hard to stay cheerful when your dog doesn’t come right back, but scolding it is counterproductive. Do not be discouraged! A dog acts to receive or avoid something. Become what your dog wants to receive the most in the world!