5 Tips for a better recall with your dog

dog recall training

Are you finding that your dog just won’t listen to you when you are out walking? Is he more interested in the scents of rabbits, squirrels, birds and other dogs than he is in coming back to you? It may be that he had a great recall as a puppy and would always come bounding back to you but now he is that bit older – maybe 9 or 10 months….he wont listen to you at all? Sound all too familiar….well help is at hand. Once dogs reach the age of 9 – 12 months the adolescent phase kicks in (we all know what its like to live with teenagers!) Their hormones increase and the outdoors becomes far more exciting than being around mum or dad.

So here are 5 ways to keep your dog interested in you and improve their recall as a result:

  • Train a good eye contact – one of the first things that your dog needs to learn is how to check in with you on a regular basis when you are out and therefore training him to have eye contact with you is a great way of doing it. Have your dog sitting in front of you and hold a treat in your closed hand out to the side of your dogs face – he is likely to push your hand around trying to get the treat – be patient and wait until he looks at you to see what it is you want him to do – as soon as he does say “good” and reward by opening your hand so he can get the treat. Repeat a few times a day until he learns that he will only get a treat by looking at you.
  • High value treats – always use “high value” treats when you are doing any sort of training with your dog – you may need to trial with your dog what he really likes – the trick is to find something that he would do somersaults for (not literally!) maybe hot dogs, small pieces of chicken, cheese or ham etc and then keep those treats just for your training. That way its like us being given a pay rise for doing our best work…who doesn’t want that to happen?!
  • Start by training the recall using a long training line – about 10 metres in length – your dog can then still explore the world but you have overall control and can bring him back into you if you need to do so. Practice calling your dog back in to you when he is not too distracted and you think he will listen – setting him up for success is always the best strategy. Once he does come back to you then make a huge fuss of him and reward the recall with a treat. You need to consistently practice this over a number of weeks – 10 or 15 minutes per day.
  • Choose your recall word carefully – “Fido come” may be falling on deaf ears so pick a short word like peanuts, cheese or sausages ..it can be anything – that sounds upbeat and exciting for the dog to come back to – never overdo the recall word so if your dog is not coming back to you, go and get him rather than repeat the recall word over and over – as we are teaching our dog to ignore us by doing this.
  • Make it fun – once your dog has the basics of the recall then you can funk it up! So try calling him in and then running backwards until he catches you up, hide behind a tree and call your dog so he has to “find” you, throw a treat in between your legs so the dog has to go through and then repeat the other way. There are lots and lots of ways to convince your dog that being with you whilst out on your walk is way better fun than running off and ignoring you!
dog recall training class

Never recall your dog once and put him back on the lead when he is having fun with his friends! He will soon learn that when you call him the fun stops – instead practice recalling him – rewarding for coming back and then let him go back to his friends again.

Any type of training with your dog takes patience, consistency and a calm demeanour – remember Rome wasn’t built in a day…but do have fun along the way!

If you would like help in any sort of behavioural training then please do get in touch via email: hello@paws4transformation.co.uk

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Call Rhona for information on how she can help coach you to transform your dog on 0797 6620840