Updated: Feb 26
I'm a dog lover, a dog sports enthusiast and a dog trainer based in Surrey, UK. Also, I started this blog as I love sharing relevant, practical puppy and dog training tips. I am the founder of Dogitivity Positive Puppy and Dog Training, Surrey, UK.
Teach a Reliable Recall
The rocket recall is one of the most critical safety dog training behaviours. Solid recalls are built like any other behaviour; they are established gradually, reinforcing one repetition at a time. Creating a reliable recall depends not only on the amount of dog training but also on management and the general relationship between you and your dog. If your dog has a solid reinforcement history of interacting with you through play, general dog training, and positive interaction, you are already very close to a reliable recall. Here are my tips to help you build a bulletproof recall.
Choose a Specific cue.
I recommend choosing a cue for the recall that is not your dog's name. You can select a whistle or another cue that initially has a neutral significance for your dog. If your dog doesn't respond to your current recall cue, choosing a new cue is easier than rehabilitating the old.
When you are in the process of teaching your dog a recall, never use the cue if you can see that your dog is too distracted, and the chance of your dog responding is low. Remember baby steps. We want to make it easy for our dogs to make the right decision.
Use a long training lead.
As crucial as the recall dog training is management. Primarily to keep your dog safe until you have established a solid recall.
Secondly, because you don't want your dog practising not coming back when called, I suggest that you get a 10 m long training lead.
Recall training with long lead can be a handy tool in teaching your dog to stay within a certain distance from you simply by asking your dog to wait when he is by the end of the training lead. Remember to reward generously when your dog stops and looks back at you.
Follow a Stepwise recall training Plan.
Most recall training fails because we forget the baby step approach in the recall training. Don't expect too much when you are in the process of teaching your dog a recall. Never use the recall cue if you can see that your dog is too distracted, and the chance of your dog responding is low.
Remember that dogs are very contextual. You will have to practice the recall in many different environments starting at home and slowly increasing the difficulty.
If you practice the recall too often at a walk, it very likely feels punishing for your dog. The consequence is a diminished coming back behaviour even if you deliver food.
There are multiple wonderful sources out there. I can recommend "Rocket Recall" by Simone Mueller or send me an email for a stepwise recall training plan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teach your dog to turn and look at you
If you do the recall training too often, it very likely feels punishing for your dog. The consequence is that you will see a slowing down in your dog coming back even if you deliver food. Forget about practising the recall most of the time. Focus instead on teaching your dog to turn and look at you (check-in).
A rocket recall starts with your dog reorienting to you (checking-In).
Work with two categories in the recall training.
If you don't already have your dogs attention, most likely, there will be no coming back when you call.
Top tip reward generously every time your dog turns and looks at you.
Gamify your recall dog training
Do you remember that boring teacher who couldn't hook your attention? Don't be like him or her. Have loads of fun with the recall training and the recall cue. If your dog associates the recall with fun and games, then you have added a lot of value to return to you.