Having a reliable recall is one of the most challenging commands to teach dogs. However, with a positive attitude, patience and consistent reward-based training, it’s very possible. Perhaps you’re among the many dog owners who get all upset and frustrated whenever their dogs run off and refuse to come back when they’re called.
But have you ever put yourself in your pet’s shoes before you get all upset? If you were the dog, would you rather continue chasing a rabbit or squirrel or come back to a yelling, angry and frustrated owner, who is most likely going to punish you? I guess it’s more fun and rewarding to run around freely and chase things. But all hope is not lost. With these simple tips, your canine friend will be able to stop in the middle of a run or any other distraction and come back to you whenever you want him to:
Associate The Come Here Command With Positive Things
Maybe one of the reasons why your dog is not obeying you when you tell him to come here is because of his bad experience with it. If you usually tell him to come here when you want to take him back home after playing at the park, or you want to bath or trim his nails, then definitely, he won’t be motivated to come because he associates it with negative things.
You need to start associating the recall command with good things. Consider making yourself a happy and enjoyable person worth coming back to. When you call him in the middle or a run, he should run back to you enthusiastically. You can do so by receiving him happily and rewarding him with a tasty treat or an exciting game. You should also praise him every time he comes back to you when you call him. Be sure to switch the rewards often to keep him interested.
Play With Him Often To Overcome Overexcitement
Does your pet run out excitedly the moment you open the door? It could be because you don’t play with him enough. So, start engaging in active and interactive play with him whenever you get the opportunity. Be sure to provide him with a good balance of physical and mental stimulation during play.
This will enable him to burn off the excess energy that causes the overexcitement to run outside and make him more attentive during recall training. In addition, playing also helps him stay trim and healthy and strengthens the bond between you and him.
Keep Training Sessions Short
Since our dogs have a very short attention span, you should keep your recall training short and sweet. Usually, 15 minutes or less is sufficient. If you go beyond that, they’ll start getting bored or distracted. So immediately you notice him losing interest, stop training immediately.
Go Slow During Training
Teaching your dog to have a reliable recall is going to take time, so you need to take things one step at a time and be patient with him. It’s advisable to begin training him on short distances till you’re sure he has a good recall. Thereafter, you can increase the distance and other distractions (dogs, people etc.) gradually.
Be Patient And Consistent
You also need to be consistent and very patient with him. He’s not going to learn a new behavior in one long session (say 4 hours continuous). Take things step by step and be consistent, clear and positive. Your efforts will pay off soon.
Hopefully, with these tips, you’ll be able to successfully teach your dog to have a reliable recall. It’s not going to be easy, but with positive training, patience and consistency, it’s possible. You’ll certainly feel good when you see him running enthusiastically back to you and wagging his tail when you tell him to come in the middle of a distraction.