Recall training is notoriously difficult, but it’s very important that your dog can be trusted to return to you. We’ve put together this guide on how to improve your dog’s recall so that you can let them run off-lead with peace of mind.
Pick a Command
Choose a command and/or action to use when you want your dog to come back to you, such as ‘come’, or ‘here’. Having a specific command that’s different from their name and other commands makes it easier for them to understand you, and they will learn to associate the word with the action. Try using the command when they’re already running towards you to create association.
Your dog needs to know that coming back to you is worthwhile, so they should always be treated with a snack, their favourite toy, and lots of positive reinforcement and fuss. Give them a variety of treats and think of fun and inventive ways to give them (throwing them, dropping them, making games with them). This way your dog is never sure what to expect when they come to you and the anticipation will bring them back.
Train in a Low Distraction Environment
Keeping the distractions to a minimum makes training easier. Your dog will tend to get sidetracked when other dogs or people are present, so it’s best to train them in a place where they are free from interruptions, such as a field or garden. Training in a secure area will also help you to start your off-lead training. Our dog walking field is the perfect place for training.
Give & Expect 100% Attention
You want your dog to pay attention to you, but you must return it. Giving your dog lots of fuss, attention and play time makes their walks with you more interesting, and they’ll be more likely to come back to you because you’re fun. Playing with them at unexpected times during your walk will keep your dog interested, and they’ll want to return to you when called because you might have something fun planned.
Don’t Allow Your Dog to Approach All Others
Allowing your dog to run up to and play with every other dog it sees is the fastest way to teach them not to come when called. When you see another dog, always teach yours to sit and stay until you let them go. Just because your dog is friendly, doesn’t mean the other one is.
The best gift you can give your dog is the freedom to run around and just be a dog. Teaching them recall means they can enjoy running and exploring off lead, and you have peace of mind that they will return to you.