Recall starts at home
Do you recall your dog to you every time for snuggles and cuddles in the house? Or Does he get cuddles and interaction when he asks and demands?
If you have a dog with a poor recall, then you will have to go back a step or six. You have to be consistent. If he comes to you for affection or play, simply, place your hand on his side so he knows you care, so when you want to make a fuss of him, ensure it’s after you have made him move to come to you. A moment is a powerful tool and easy. Your dog’s doing it to you all the time… turn the tables, be the adult.
In my experience, many people only call their dogs when they go for an off lead walk. Why will that dog come back if he has not learnt this lesson at home in a low stimulus environment? Some will, many don’t.
Key Learning: Teach recall in a low stimulus environment
On a walk, if your dog has no or little attention to you or focus or awareness of you when walking on a lead, his main focus is on everything but you, then why would he come when called when off lead, when everything else is so inviting?
Puppies come when called and follow you naturally.
Recall is generally great as a puppy. You then move out and about off and on lead with no real connection and everything is more interesting than you.
Puppies follow their mums, they naturally heel and return, they don’t want to be alone as they are vulnerable. All we have to do is keep this going. Make us the fun and trustworthy adults in his life. Take a dog or puppy to a class and you’ve set him up in a very stimulating environment, take a dog or puppy to a busy high stimulus place before you’ve done your homework, then you are setting your puppy and you up to fail.
Where you are and how you are is important when interacting and bonding with your dog
It’s not about training, in my opinion, it’s about a bond of mutual respect and understanding. How many dogs follow you about and heel beautifully when you don’t ask them at home, then go pull and run off at the earliest opportunity out on a walk? They can all walk with you in the right environment. So pick your environments wisely and move to more stimulating environments when you’ve cracked those.
All education needs to be with a calm teacher in the right place
Education starts at home with you and increases slowly moving to different environments where; age, personality, coping mechanisms and past experiences depict. Be mindful of how your dog is coping and put things into practice so he knows he can trust you not to place him in situations he can’t cope with, but in time when you do it right, he will be able to cope because he can trust and naturally look to you for support if needed.
How to get your dog to come when called every time
Learning starts at home and if it’s all gone wrong, go back and start again. Re-educate in a place that learning can take place.
- Always call for interaction at home and in the garden.
- Remember to go to places where it is quiet and learning can be fun. Minimal stress. Quiet lane, path, park.
- Pick your times wisely and move on to busier times as your connection and your dogs or puppies responses are solid in one area first.
- Always, when out and about have a long line on the dog until you are certain of a speedy response.
- Dart about getting your dog to chase you and want to be with you.
- Keep your dog on a line in new areas so you are able to re direct with ease when he is distracted.
- Play find it in your home and garden with an appropriate toy then; Go out to play find a toy in walk areas you eventually wish your dog to be off lead.
- Get your dog feeling and knowing you’re the most fun. Being with you is the safest place to be.
- Don’t go out looking for dogs for him to play with (they may not be the personalities that are a right mix for your dog). You are the focus of his fun.
- Give too much space with little connection and education, then you’re on the road to a dog running off and finding entertainment elsewhere and a dog who feels he has to challenge or connect with everyone and everything out and about.
- Walks and play are centered around YOU.
Written by Caroline Spencer. Natural canine behaviourist.
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