There is only one reason why anyone’s dog won’t come back when called. It’s because you’re not interesting enough! If your dog would rather sniff a lamppost, rummage in a hedgerow, scamper off to meet other dogs or people, or chase someone else’s ball, it’s because they think all those things are more interesting than you are.
To get your dog to come back to you or “recall” every time, you have to be more interesting than anything else on earth. Very difficult perhaps? Yes, but certainly achievable.
Most dogs will benefit from learning a new set of rules about coming back when called. There isn’t a ‘secret’ to teaching the RECALL command, just plain ordinary training that all dogs can understand. Some dogs responds best to their names, other dogs prefer a dog whistle. To train this command, you will need to understand how dogs learn so that you can implement the training in a way that will work quickly, and work for you.
The first stage will be to teach your dog what ‘come’ really means. It means ‘if you come here you will be rewarded for it’ and like all dog training it is best started in a place with no distractions. Indoors is best to achieve fluency before generalising to the great outdoors.
It’s understandable that people get very frustrated and angry when their dog doesn’t come back when called. However, when their owner is angry, a dog can tell from their body language and tone of voice that all is not well and will be even less likely to want to go back to them. So, how do we go about convincing the dog that you are the best thing on offer? By never punishing a dog when they return, no matter how long you have been waiting, shouting and worrying, and always rewarding the dog when they come to you, however long it takes. Punishing includes smacking or hitting, shouting or yelling, frowning or scowling, or even just ignoring.
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Isabelle Adams-Papé IMDT
121 Dog Training – Hong Kong (no longer operational)
Ringwood Dogs, Ashley Heath on the Hampshire and Dorset border, UK
Dog Training, Dog Walking, Dog Day Care, Home Dog Boarding