Teaching recall is an important part of responsible dog ownership

Teaching your dog to come when called

Getting your dog to come back to you when you call him gives you both the freedom and peace of mind to enjoy your time together and is an important part of responsible dog ownership. Some dogs don’t have a clue what we want them to do until we actually show them so a little bit of training and patience is all that is needed!

So your dog can understand what you want him to do when you call him, follow these simple steps:

  • Begin in an area with minimal or no distractions such as your own garden or a small park/field where you’re not likely to meet up with other dogs.

  • Clip your Canny Recall Lead to his regular collar (never use the recall lead with a Canny Collar), which should be securely fastened so it won’t come off over his head. Always clip the Recall Lead to the collar first then take your regular lead off to ensure that you don’t lose your dog.

  • Let your dog go out to the end of the lead, then crouch down to reduce your height – he will come back to you more readily with your height low.

  • Call “Rover come” in a light, happy voice. As you say the word “come”, give a couple of tugs on the lead towards yourself.

  • As soon as your dog takes the first steps towards you, clap your hands and encourage him in a light, high-pitched, excited voice.
  • Wait until he comes right in to your legs – don’t reach your hands out to him yet.

  • When he comes right in, reward him by going overboard with physical and vocal loving and praise.

  • Repeat the process until you find that your dog is coming back to you as soon as he hears the “come” command without you having to tug him towards you.

  • Once you have reached this level (it happens very quickly), you should then take your dog into a busy park situation and expose him to lots of distraction whilst keeping him on the Recall Lead. 

In the training period (and afterwards too) it’s important to remember that, when your dog meets another dog, there is a certain pattern or protocol to which dogs like to adhere steadfastly – ie nose to nose then nose to genitals.  Wait until the dogs have completed their greeting ritual before you call your dog to you.  If you call your dog whilst he’s in the middle of the ritual he won’t respond and you will set yourself up for failure with the exercise. 

You will need to keep your dog on the Canny Recall Lead for at least six weeksThe greeting protocol takes only a very short time and once over, the dog needs direction, otherwise he will follow his instincts and start chasing or playing with the other dog.  He will totally ignore you when he’s in this mode.  You need to teach your dog to come to you each and every time you call.  So just be considerate of his needs and wait for the right time to call him to ensure the exercise succeeds regularly and you continually create a positive response to your call.  

You will need to keep your dog on the Canny Recall Lead for at least six weeks until the recall habit you’ve created in your dog becomes second nature.  Although six weeks sounds like a long time, try to focus on the fact that by restricting your dog initially and preventing failure during the training period, you’ll be giving your dog a lifetime of freedom. 

You also need to be aware that it will take only a couple of exercise sessions before your dog knows exactly what you want him to do.  This is the time that owners can fall into the trap of thinking their dog is obviously vastly more intelligent than most other dogs and let them off the lead.  If you fall into this trap, you will have to start all over again.  Be patient, mark it on your calendar, complete the entire six weeks.  Then when it’s time to let him off the lead, take him to an enclosed area (tennis courts are good) or an enclosed park and test him out. We are sure he will surprise you!

by Sean McElherron

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