Teaching your dog recall (coming when called) is an essential skill for their safety and your peace of mind. Here are 10 tips to help you successfully teach your dog recall:
- Start Indoors: Begin training in a quiet indoor environment with minimal distractions. This helps your dog understand the basics before progressing to more challenging settings.
- Use High-Value Rewards: Use treats or rewards your dog absolutely loves. This will make them more motivated to come to you when called.
- Use a Distinct Cue: Choose a specific recall cue like “come,” “here,” or your dog’s name. Be consistent in using this cue every time you call them.
- Short Distances First: Initially, call your dog from short distances within the same room. Gradually increase the distance as they become more reliable.
- Positive Associations: Make coming to you a positive experience. Praise and reward your dog enthusiastically when they come, so they associate coming when called with good things.
- Never Punish for Coming: Never scold your dog when they come to you, even if they took some time. You want them to feel safe and excited about coming to you.
- Avoid Overuse: Don’t use the recall cue in situations where you can’t ensure compliance. If your dog learns that ignoring the cue sometimes leads to fun, they might start ignoring it altogether.
- Gradually Increase Distractions: Once your dog reliably responds indoors, move to more distracting environments (e.g., the backyard, a park). Increase distractions gradually so your dog can build up their focus.
- Practice Short Sessions: Keep training sessions short and positive. Dogs have limited attention spans, so it’s better to have multiple short sessions rather than one long, exhausting one.
- Play Games: Incorporate recall into games like hide-and-seek or fetch. This makes the training process more enjoyable for your dog.
Remember, every dog learns at their own pace, so be patient and consistent. If you’re struggling, consider enrolling in a positive reinforcement-based obedience class with a professional dog trainer. They can provide personalized guidance and support for teaching recall and other essential commands.