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Recall: Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called
One of the most important training objectives every dog owner should master is teaching your dog effective recall… In other words, to come when called. If you want your dog to have a safe off-leash experience he must have a reliable recall. For all of the obvious reasons, such as avoiding accidents and danger but, also for the purpose of enjoying your dog’s company in any environment.
First of all, before you start to train your dog you need to understand that your patience and persistence are the keys to accomplishing the desired result. Your dog often wants to please you but, because of inconsistent and impatient training he misunderstands what it is you really want him to do. He simply gets confused by unclear, impatient requests.
After you have established the proper attitude, you must set up the proper environment to practice recall. The best place to begin is at home where your dog feels safe and comfortable. Never begin to train in an area that could possibly stress or distract your dog. However, eventually, after proper training, the environment should have no ill effect.
Timing is Everything.
The next item of importance is timing. Teaching must only begin when the reward is something enjoyable such as a treat or a belly rub or even just before he eats. Never try to teach recall as punishment, for example, when you are reprimanding your dog for bad behavior. You always want your dog to associate the command “come” with a positive reward.
Preparation and consistency will almost always guarantee better results. You will need a long leash, especially if your dog is older or particularly stubborn. Most hounds, for example, are naturally quite difficult to train to come. So attempting to train him without a long leash is often rather fruitless. Also, be sure you are only teaching one dog at a time. Many dog owners group hounds or other hunting dogs together which causes confusion and competition and that is just not conducive to proper recall training.
Along with the treats or rewards you will need to use a tone of voice that the dog associates with a positive situation, such as baby talk. Your tone of voice plays a key role in your success.
The Recall Training Technique.
Once all the preparation steps have been followed, you are ready to teach your dog proper recall. First, start with a short distance and call her to you. Make sure you are using a word that you have chosen such as, come said in a gentle tone. Never use the dog’s name as her recall code word as this will cause overuse and she will eventually not respond quick enough to avoid calamity.
As soon as she turns towards you, begin the sweet tone of appreciation to show her you are pleased with her. As soon as she reaches you, offer her the treat or the reward. If throughout the training process, your dog comes to you without being called make sure to praise her so she always associates coming with praise.