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20 - Teach the recall

20 - Teach the recall

The recall is a serious exercise. A good recall means that you can let your dog off the leash safely. To be really effective it needs to be rewarding and fun for your dog, so it is a good idea to keep back part of his daily food ration and repeat the recall many times every day.

Recall is very important

  1. 1. Start at home where there are few distractions. Every time you remember that you have a dog, call his name and say ‘come’. Have your hand in front of you holding a tasty treat and draw him towards you. Make sure you are standing or sitting upright as this will encourage him to come closer; if you lean forward he will probably hang back (see way 15).
  2. As he arrives let him scent the food you have in your hand. Raise your hand slowly so that as he lifts his nose to follow it, he will sit. Give the reward. Use calm, verbal praise and avoid high pitched tones.
  3. Talk to and touch your dog and on some recalls give a small piece of food every few seconds. It is essential he learns that it is worth while staying with you, rather than simply grabbing a treat and running off.

Call your dog by his name and add the word ‘come’

As your dog approaches, let him scent the food and raise your hand

Introducing changes

Once your dog understands the game, vary the type and timing of the rewards. Establish a good recall at home before expecting him to return from exciting smells or other dogs when out and about. Clip the leash on and off so that he learns to accept this quietly in controlled conditions at home. It is very irritating if your dog bounces away every time you try to clip his leash on in the park. When you start to let your dog off-leash in the park, choose a quiet time with few distractions. Recall lots of times, reward (remember to vary the reward), and sometimes clip the leash on and walk a few yards or use a little ear work and the Clouded Leopard TTouches so that he stays with you once the leash is on, and then release him again. Avoid taking the same route around the exercise area and putting the leash on to go home at exactly the same point. Most recalls should mean a game, fuss, treats or freedom again, not leash on and home.

Clip on the leash and walk a few yards, then release your dog again

Call his name and say ‘this way’ so that your dog gets into the habit of watching and following you, rather than expecting you to follow him

WHEN RECALL GOES OUT THE WINDOW

Some breeds have been selectively bred for their scenting ability and others for their sight for the chase. When these natural and very strong instincts are aroused (at the park, say) some dogs seem genuinely not to hear the human voice. The good news is that they do respond very well to a whistle, see way 22.

From 100 Ways to Train the Perfect Dog, Copyright by Sarah Fisher, licensed through ContentOro, Inc and used by arrangement with D & C

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