5 Golden Rules of Recall
Of all the embarrassing situations to find oneself in, having a massive piece of spinach stuck in your teeth while you’re happily chatting away on a first date wins. Every time.
But a close second (I hope my fellow dog owners will agree) is when you scan the horizon with military precision, puff out your chest with authority, and call out the name of your dog in a commanding voice that speaks to the deep and unbreakable bond that exists between the two of you… only to have her glance over her shoulder and then proceed to ignore you.
Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. Here are our 5 Golden Rules of Recall to follow so that you don’t get stood up by your pooch again.
1. No one likes a Debbie Downer - including your dog. If you’re calling your dog away from something (particularly something enjoyable), make sure that it is not to do an activity they see as negative like nail clipping or putting on a leash to leave the park.
2. Timing is everything. As you are building up your recall skills, observe your dog and make a habit of attempting recall when they are most likely to come i.e. when they’re not distracted or they’ve looked back to check in with you. If you’ve just started training recall, don’t expect them to come back to you if they could be watching something as interesting as a squirrel in your bushes instead. Work at their level, eventually you will have a dog that will come to you regardless of their surroundings.
3. Never repeat your recall cue - this one sounds like a no brainer but I personally find it the most tricky. Your dog has exceptional hearing, they’ve made the choice to stay put, so repeating yourself over and over again will only cause them to tune you out.
4. If you call and your dog does not respond - that’s it, she’s sleeping at the park tonight. We’re only kidding! Make sure you salvage the situation:
Approach your dog in a non intimidating manner. You can do so by walking towards them sideways to appear smaller or perhaps you’ll want to try walking around to your dog than directly at them.
Use a treat that they love and that is easy to smell - cheese is a great option.
As you get close and gain their attention, get them to follow you for the treat back to the place you originally recalled them and then reward.
5. For most dogs, recall is work. You wouldn’t go to work for free, and neither should your dog. Make sure you really reward your dog for coming when called with a treat that they are absolutely nuts for.