Teaching your dog recall is quite possibly the most important step in puppy parent hood, as this will be the security and trust you instil within your dog. No pressure, right?
Recall can be a struggle for any pet parent, as most puppies prefer to explore their surroundings rather than listen to their mom or dad. The world is filled with exciting new smells that they can’t wait to check out! Many puppies suffer from “selective hearing” – or “short term recall loss,” as we like to call it.
If you find yourself struggling to teach your dog this basic skill, here are eight easy to use tips for recall training!
Most dogs love treats! That’s why training treats are the greatest gift you can ever buy yourself. Training treats are small, bite sized treats, often found in resealable packages intended to carry in your back pocket during training.
If you are having troubles training your puppy with simple rewards like play or affection, pick up a pack of training treats. Dogs can be extremely food motivated, and a little snack is all they need to get their brain working.
Try grain free or protein free vegetable treats for a low calorie training aid!
2. Clicker Training
Clicker training seems complicated, but it truly is easy to learn for both humans and dogs. There are many online tutorials on how to successfully clicker train your dog. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be grateful you made the change-over!
Essentially, the clicker replaces the training treat as a “reward marker” for good behavior.
You can learn more about clicker training on Clicker Training.com.
3. Reward Markers and Other Rewards
If clicker training isn’t you or your dog’s cup of tea, you can always try other reward markers! There are multiple kinds, and each dog will have their own motivator or learning technique.
When your dog completes a task or behaves properly in response to your command, simply say “Yes” as a reward marker. You can substitute this word with anything that is easy to understand and will remain consistent.
For dogs who are more play motivated, you can also combine the word “Yes” with a quick interaction of play. That way, your dog will understand the difference between reward play and regular play, while learning valuable recall skills.
4. Dog Whistles
Dog whistles, though seemingly outdated, are still a solid training tool. These whistles are mostly used for recall by emitting a frequency that only dogs and other animals can hear. This is a non-invasive way for you to train with your dog in public. However, strange dogs may hear the whistle and become confused.
Once your dog learns to recognize this sound, he will begin associating that with returning to you.
Many clicker trainers are also combined with dog whistles! Pick one of these up for the ultimate training experience.
E-Collars -inappropriately deemed “shock collars”- are useful training tools for a number of reasons. The majority of electric collars not only feature a stimulation function, but a vibrate one. This vibrate setting is great for hunting dogs, dogs who travel long distances away from their owners, and deaf dogs.
This function can be used to train a dog to recall when the collar vibrates by simply pressing one button while calling the dog’s name. The dog will learn that the vibration means “come here,” and they will eventually respond to the vibration alone.
Many collars can reach up to miles of distance, giving pet parents peace of mind that they will always be able to communicate with their dogs.
6. Drag Leads
If you are new to drag leads, they will quickly become your new best friend!
Drag leads are a beautiful thing because they simply exist. To successfully use a drag lead, you first attach one end to your dog and let the other end go. That’s it!
Now, your dog is connected to a long –usually 10ft – 30ft- lead rope, making it easy to stop him if he wanders off, or refuses to recall. We highly recommend using drag leads for the first few months of recall training – just in case!
7. Daily Practise
Practise makes perfect and dog training is no exception! Practising your dog’s skills as often as possible is the only way to ensure that he still remembers them. Yes, dogs do forget their skills if not reminded!
Recall practise should take place more often than most skills, as this one is the most important. Trusting that your dog will return to you while off-leash is the only peace of mind he’ll ever grant you.
Try to take your dog on walks in rural areas, like the forest, where you can practise his recall skills almost daily.
No matter how old your dog is, you will need to maintain his recall skills. As we mentioned before, practise these skills daily to ensure your dog fully understands the commands.
Without practise, your dog will forget the importance of recall, putting himself at great risk.
If you are experiencing difficulty in training your dog how to properly recall, consult the help of a professional dog trainer.
Do you know any more helpful training tips for recall? Share them in the comments below!