Having a functional and reliable recall is one of the most important things that you can teach your dog. The ability to give them more freedom, to keep them safe, to prevent them from creating problems, and to have more fun are all possible with a killer recall. Surviving the off-leash experience is absolutely possible. Here are some steps to the grounding of the recall:
- When in the teaching phase, you should always carry a leash. At the right times, tension is essential to teach the dog the right direction in which to travel for a recall. Equally important is to allow the dog to leave with slack when the dog starts going “on task” by moving in your direction. Let the leash drag behind your dog as your training continues so you can help if required.
- Check the position of the head of your dog. The head of your dog should be pointing towards you as the approach. It may not seem like a big deal if your dog’s head is a bit to the left or right but that is the first sign they are heading in this direction and not yours.
- Also, be sure to praise and reward at the right moment. We highly recommend that you do not praise the dog for initially turning and coming towards you as this often leads to the dog not correctly finishing the recall. Regardless of whether you use verbal praise or a treat in your praise, remember to do it in time.
- Including more distractions into your training. This could mean going to a new place to practice, going to the living room as a family member rings the doorbell, pleading when the kids are in the yard, etc. When you add distractions, be sure to take a step back and make sure your long line is attached to help your dog to be successful and safe.
- Treat every recall as an “emergency recall” by holding your dog responsible and always followed through.