One of the best things you can teach your dog is a solid recall. Not only for safety, but also to let your dog have off lead freedom in the park, field or beach. Here are some handy tips to help you and your dog work towards a reliable recall.......
Start from day 1 - training should begin at home and/or garden where there are less distractions. Dogs learn through rewards, so carry high value treats around in your pocket like tiny pieces of juicy chicken or any other tasty treats and regularly call your dog to you. Use the 'come' or 'here' command in an excited upbeat voice. Offer a tiny piece of treat & always give lots of verbal praise!
When training outdoors use a long lead while they are learning - 10 or 15ft are good lengths. The lead can be clipped to your dog's collar or harness when you arrive at the park. This will enable them to freely move around while you still have good access to the end of the lead. Long leads or long lines are very different from retractable leads which put tension in the lead & place restrictions on your dog's body movement. Long leads provide better freedom to your dog but still offer their owner security and safety when outdoors.
Engage lots with your dog and frequently practice recall on every walk. Regularly call your dog back to you, but try not to overdo it. Allow your dog to 'be a dog' in the park. Let them sniff around and and greet other dogs. Calling your dog to you at the point when they are clearly far more interested in something else is setting your dog up for a fail, pick the right moment to use recall for a higher success rate.
To get your dog's attention you must appear to be more appealing, interesting and exciting than the other things they are doing. From a dog's view, the following score system may be useful to help you understand their perception when outdoors:
Dogs rely on body language and voice tone so use a fun, excited voice to catch your dog's attention which will make them want to return. If all else fails, run away from your dog and use the recall command, as dogs love a chase game! Waving yours arms around and jumping about will make you irresistible!
Treats as rewards use high value smelly treats for training, which can be gradually phased out over time. Occasionally throw a surprise treat party for your dog by giving several treats at once and make a big deal of it by also offering lots of positive praise! This will endear your dog to recall to you more often.
Practice, practice, practice the recall often (ideally every day) either in your garden or try to find an enclosed area like a tennis court, this is a great place for training as you can let your dog off lead and safely practice your recall without a lead or long lead.
Recall is a work in progress and there will be good days and bad days, don't be disheartened on the bad ones.....just start over again the next day. Be consistent with your training and you will very soon see the results. Good Luck!
Contact Faith on 07941 640348 for obedience training or behaviour modification.