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Why won't my dog come when called?

Why do some dogs believe that Recall is in essence a punishment and refuse or are slow to come when called ????

Most times we tend to call the dog when we want their "fun" to end. No more sniffing, playing, exploring, and having to come to you. They have to give up all of that and what do they get in exchange?

Tips to make your recall better!

Reward with what they really want. A single treat? Really? Do you think that is magically going to make your dog want to come each and every time? Think again! You need to reward them with what they really want in life! It's not all food either! Playtime with another dog, real fun play with you, a chance to jump in a puddle, chase a squirrel or bunny there are so many things your dog may be WAY more interested in than that plain dry boring biscuit you give him. We need to SPICE it up! Better treats, ball, frisbee, tail teaser wand, and above all: INTERACTION WITH YOU. The sky should be the limit when it comes to rewarding the fantastic response of coming when called!

Did you train for it? Start in an environment with little to no distractions. Teach your dog what your recall cue is and what they will be rewarded for Looking at YOU!!!. Then build up. Remember you start at level 1 at home, in the kitchen with a dog that would do anything for the reward. Then level 2 maybe the living room. Now can you do it without a treat or toy on you? Can you reach for the reward AFTER your dog looks at you? That is a reward instead of a lure, BRAVO! Can you call from one room to another?

There are several parts to the recall:

  1. Your cue. What is your cue? A Whistle, word, their name? Make it a new fun and exciting sound if your dog HARDLY EVER responds to their current name or recall word. "Spaghetti" or "Chocolate" are good and fun words to start fresh with.

  2. Pair the new cue with the reward, 10 times first, with a lot of fun and praise before trying it at a small distance.

  3. Get a positive response, When your dog orients towards you, say YES or GOOD at that moment!

  4. Bring out your reward and let your dog volunteer to come to you to claim it.

  5. Let the dog come within touching distance (proximity) in order to eat the treat or play with you, or better yet, make a combo reward of food, play and praise from time to time!

  6. Next step: to be able to secure the dog by reaching for the harness, or collar, or ask for a voluntary "leash up" reward big time, AGAIN!!

  7. Release to go back to play or sniff with a cue like "Free", "All Done" or "Go Sniff" then repeat the recall again. This way your dog learns that the fun is not over each time you call.

Practice on a long line to prevent failure in the training stages, Make it way more fun to come to you than it is to stay away!

Special note: recalling the dog is not always the best solution. For example, if the dog ran across the road calling it back across may not be safe! In that case, think about using an emergency down. You may want a verbal and hand signal to increase the chances of success.

If you have made changes and are still struggling with your recall, remember, your dog is only doing what we have taught them to know and will always do what suits them best! If NOT coming to you when called makes the fun last a bit longer, then your dog may well decide that it is worth it! Scolding or punishing once you have your dog close to you after a failed recall, will NOT help you to make it better, if anything, it will be less likely your dog will want to come to you at all next time!

Best Paw Forward / DAWG expert staff is here to help you. We offer classes and mini-seminars for Recall Rescue training to help even the most independent dog WANT to come to you! 250-729-3900

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