As a dog owner, nothing is more important to the safety of your pet than a reliable recall. Recall doesn’t have anything to do with your dog’s memory, though! Recall, to put it simply, is your dog’s ability to come to you when called. This doesn’t seem like a big deal at first. You’ve probably just called your dog over for a petting session as you opened this article.
When outside, however, your dog has an almost infinite amount of things to sniff, chase, eat, or roll around in. Practicing recall may one day save your best friend’s life. But it will save you a headache. Below are just a few fun ways to practice a reliable recall.
Chasing is one of your dog’s strongest instincts it has. Start with a long leash, usually 30 to 40 feet, and grab whatever motivate’s your dog the most. If you’re unsure, a tug toy for energetic dogs or a nice treat will work.
While your dog is tethered, grab his attention and take off. Shout whatever word you want your dog to associate with his recall. “Come!” or “Here!” will usually suffice, but the choice is up to you.
Once he catches up to you, reward him with his favorite and start from the top! Make sure to better reward him the faster he comes to you. Two people will make this game even better as one can restrain your dog while you run.
Hide and Seek
This is a fun game to play indoors and parks. Start indoors before you work your way to the park. Leave your dog in another room. You can do this by having a partner restrain him, or by using the “sit” or “wait” command if your dog already knows it.
Now you simply have to hide. Choose simple hiding places when starting. Behind a wall or furniture will do at first. Shout your recall command and have your partner release the dog if you have one.
As soon as he finds you, praise and reward your dog with his favorite thing just like in the last exercise. Hide and Seek gets more fun as your dog gets the hang of the game. Soon enough you’ll be outside using trees, playgrounds, and other structures.
The exercise is simple. In addition, you and your dog may already be doing it and not even know it! While off lead in a safe area, let your dog wander away from you. Of course, make doubly sure your area of choice is fenced in. When your dog is away, wait for him to come back to you on his own. As soon as he does, shout “Check in!”. Don’t forget to lavish with praise and reward as always.
Eventually, he’ll have associated the word with his coming back to you, just like a normal recall. If he doesn’t hear you or has better things to check out, that’s fine. Remember that it is of the utmost importance that you do not use check-in as your recall command.
Your dog checking in is a simple reinforcement for him that the fun isn’t over once he comes back to you. If used correctly, this will serve as a casual recall. You can use the word you’ve picked for recall for emergencies.
Other helpful tips on recall
When enjoying any activities with your dog, there are some additional steps you might want to keep in mind as you play.
If you want your dog to sit when you recall, make sure he does before you reward and praise.
Make sure you grab your dog’s collar on arrival. Chase is a top contender for a dog’s favorite game. It does no good for you or your dog’s safety if he comes and takes off right after.
If your dog is desensitized to the “Come” command, don’t be afraid to use a different word. Using a word from a different language will make sure you don’t use it on accident.
When practicing recall, make sure to never use your recall word if you don’t plan on rewarding your dog.
Just so that you’re made aware, you must practice your dog’s recall often. No dog off-leash has a 100 percent reliable recall. While a good recall is fun to have during play and training sessions, it’s true purpose is a last-ditch effort to retrieve your dog in an emergency.
The Triangle is growing nonstop and full of distractions for your dog. Unfortunately, that means accidents are no more than a squirrel or traffic light away. The Active K9 can help ensure both you and your dog can enjoy life on or off-leash.