5 Top Tips For Dog Recall

Getting your dog to come back to you every time is vital for a safe and happy walk. In practice however, it’s never that simple.

Here are some of my tops tips as a dog walker…

1. Be calm and happy. Recall should be an exciting activity for your dog – after all, coming back to you needs to offer them more than running towards another dog, chasing a rabbit or sniffing. Dog’s don’t rationalise like us humans and are NOT being ‘naughty’ when they don’t come back, he just hasn’t yet grasped that your recall means every time. So, it’s vital you use a whistle and call only once. Never get angry or punish your dog when they don’t come back to you.  It’s your job to do everything in your power (run the other way, jump around or squeak a ball) to get them back to you and then when they do, give them an extra special reward for coming until recall is instilled.

2. Use high value food treat rewards. Most dogs work best for food treats, but if they prefer toys then use their favourite one, keeping that only for training so it’s fun and new each time. You’re trying to create strong desire for your dog to want to come back to you quickly. Sausage or cheese are good, but whatever their favourite foods are use those. Coming back to you is when he gets the reward and that’s the connection you’re trying to make and that it’s fun!

3. Be seen. Dogs don’t always see us straight away unless we move, so you may want to add in a hand signal wave or move to make sure they can see you.

4. Run in the opposite direction. Dogs naturally want to be with you and many will stay by your side or keep you in sight, getting in a panic if you hide and they can’t see you. This is good but when something else they find that takes their fancy you need a strategy. Whilst it’s hard to do as it goes against our instincts if you walk or run in the opposite direction to the dog they’ll be far more likely to come back to you.

5. Don’t rush the training. It’s a common mistake to rush straight out there and practice, but as with all training, you should start in the house where there are few distractions, building up your dog’s confidence and recall step by step. Once you’re confident then put them on a long line outside and keep practicing until you feel able to take them off the line and that they’ll come each time you whistle. I use a 30ft lead (not a retractable) with my clients to make sure I can keep control of the dog at all times. Despite all your best efforts, sometimes the distractions will inevitable be more exciting than you are during training, but don’t despair and keep going… it will pay off.

A final note: If you feel yourself getting frustrated or angry, just head off back home or leave the training as this will only make things worse for you and your dog. Don’t expect too much too and as with everything, recall gets better with practice every day. It doesn’t cut it with a dog that just because you called he should do what you have to be more exciting and he has to want to come. With a lot of fun, practice and patience he will though and you’ll have the most relaxed, fun walks because of it.

For help with dog walking or any of my home pet sitting services contact me today. I cover Thirsk, Northallerton and surrounding areas.