One of the most common complaints you’ll hear in the dog training world is “my dog doesn’t come when I call.”
Training your dog to come, or “recall,” is one of the funnier things to train because most of us have been doing completely wrong. What we all want is when we say “here Scooter,” then Scooter (or whatever your pup’s name is) will come sprinting towards us with all their might.
To make this happen, we must make “here Scooter” become the best command in the world. It must be music to their ears. And once achieved, we’re both happy because you get the desired result and your dog gets their reward.
+ RELATED: How to Become Your Dog’s Pack Leader
Now here’s some tips on how to make that actually happen:
- Never call to your dog if you are summoning them for a tongue-lashing. Doing so even once could undo months and months of hard work. From then on, hearing you call equals bad things in your dog’s mind.
- Avoid calling for your dog for the wrong reasons by asking yourself, “am I calling for [dog] to come check in with me, or am I calling them to get them to stop whatever it is they’re doing?”
- Use a long leash until you are sure of your dog’s response.
- If your dog hates returning to the car after a trip to the park or elsewhere, reward them with a small treat back at the car and they will soon do it happily.
A good formula to practice when working on recall training is to:
- Call out to your dog (remember: for the right reasons!)
- When they come, reward them immediately with affection
- Quickly (within 2 seconds) stop the affection
It is important for you to understand the power you possess by giving and withholding rewards to your dog. Being very careful with how you give out your affection is one the most powerful tools you have for training your dog!
Giving your dog unearned attention and affection only works against you. Do so and you’ll be left wondering why your four legged friend never comes when you call.
If you need more help on this, there’s a great video series that explains this and many other aspects of dog obedience. It’s called The Online Dog Trainer, go take a look and I’m sure you’ll be on your way to establishing yourself as your dog’s pack leader!
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