How to recall a dog
If you are an inexperienced dog owner looking to learn how to call your dog back effectively, this tutorial may be a good starting point for you.
Many new and inexperienced dog owners become anxious and worried when their dog runs off and won’t come back. Busy dog owners haven’t got time to be learning technical dog training terminology such as conditioned behavioural responses, ope-rant conditioning, positive and negative reinforces and so on.
There are many schools that teach various dog training skills somewhat similar and many differ but all generally work.
This tutorial is just another brief angle to try especially if you work full-time and you need to learn how to recall your dog quickly without all the additional learning that dog training requires.
The first point to remember is that under no circumstances should you ever lose your temper or punish your dog if they don’t come back or if they take too long to come back when you expect them to come sooner.
Never become angry
Becoming angry and frustrated could very well be linked to issues you have with the loss and separation in you or in other words when the dog runs off and won’t come back you may feel a mild uncontrolled anxiety or fear or even have control issues which so many people do. Loss generally triggers these feelings off.
If your dog takes too long to come back to you and you express any form of vexation towards the dog all you will do is inadvertently teach your dog reluctance to come back the next time.
Never run after your dog!
As a rule of thumb try not to run after your dog (unless an emergency) especially if you are in an anxious and worried state because in effect you will become a follower and the dog becomes the leader.
YOU need to become the leader at all times and the dog needs to become the follower. You’re aim is to be the pack leader and have your dog follow you.
Here is a basic approach you can take which is quick and effective.
Firstly take with you to the park some high quality treats such as pieces of chopped up steak, beef, pork, sausage or cheese and make sure these treats are only given to the dog during training and not at any other time.
Use high quality treats
Dogs LOVE sausage and cheese pieces the best and can become very responsive and attentive when they know you have them.
Assuming you have the sit and stay command in place allow your dog to sit in front of you and present him/her with the treat but don’t give them any at this stage.
Instruct them to stay where they are and start backing off slowly, walking backwards with the treat in your hand with your other palm facing out towards them repeating the word stay, stay, stay as you backup and providing they remain in the stay position, keep walking backwards away from them increasing the distance between you and then call them with the word ‘Come’ and has the dog runs towards you point down to the floor in front of you for them to sit and immediately give them the treat.
Also back this reward up verbally and or physically touch and praise them.
Next turn your back immediately and walk off in the opposite direction and at the same time say ‘Come’ and then point down beside you where you want them to go or arrive at, either seated or walking beside you and then give them the treat again and also vocally praise them, then immediately with the treat in hand walk off in another opposite direction repeating the word ‘Come’ and then point to the ground where you want them to sit, stand or and walk beside you and again offer another treat.
It sounds simple and it is but it can be tricky at first for the inexperienced dog owner.
To recap – have your dog sit or stand in front of you, present them visually with a delicious mouth watering treat (not a dry dull naff biscuit that you give them every day) but a delicious high quality treat that they never have, this way you will maximize their attention and focus on you and what you wish to achieve.
Once they see the treat in your hand, instruct them to stay, stay, stay and stay, backing up again, walking backwards away from them, keeping eye contact, backing up, increasing the distance between the two of you, repeating the stay instruction, stay, stay, stay and then suddenly, enthusiastically smack your thigh, or point to the ground in front of you and say the word ‘Come’ loud and firmly and the dog will run to you and have them sit on the ground where you pointed and then give them the treat and vocally praise them and or physically fuss them.
Do this for 10 minute bursts repeating several times along with moments of sudden and unexpected turns and walks away from them without looking at them and they will come running after you, then again point to the floor as you immediately want them to sit and look at that spot and then again give them the treat.
Repeat, repeat and repeat over and over in short intervals.
Then break the repetitive training for fun and play and allow them to do what they want to do and then suddenly and unexpectedly present them with the treat again and then repeat, repeat, repeat on and off allowing for distraction and failure, don’t let it be a big issue, just take it easy and slow and make it fun.
Within two weeks time you only have to say the word ‘Come’ without the treat and they will come to you.
This is the one thing you have to understand that through repetition, over and over it will become automatic and the automatic programming you are putting in place will take over and the dog will have no choice to come back to you.
What many inexperienced dog owners don’t know is that through repetition that behaviour it will become automatic and that’s the point you need to bring the dog to.
Dogs learn positive and negative behaviours through repetition and the benefits and rewards they gain as a result of it.
Another way of doing the above is have your friend or partner hold the dog on a leash, show the treat and you then walk off across the park away the from the dog and then suddenly turn and call the dog ‘Come’ at the same time your friend releases the dog and they will run to you and receive the treat reward.
It really is this simple, a few times is not enough, repetition of this will achieve the goal. Keep it simple, minimize the distractions such as with other dogs around until you’ve drummed this into the dog and then you can take your dog to mix and socialize with other dogs and you will be in a better position for the ‘Come’ word to be heard because that word will be associated to that treat or reward when he/she responds.
You are in effect setting up behaviours for the dog to do a certain thing for a reward in an automatic way.
Be patient and give it a couple of weeks of repetition and do this for bursts of 10 to 20 minutes every day.
Under no circumstances express any anger or frustration as do many ignorant and inexperienced dog owners do.
Any form of frustration and negativity will only damage both of your progress.
The reward for you personally is to experience the joy of the dog/human bond developing further every time they do what you are asking them to do and that energy should be coming off you in a positive way for the dog to feel.
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