Does your dog come when called? Are you afraid to let him/her off leash for fear that they’ll run away, never to be found again? Teaching your dog reliable recall is such an important tool to responsible pet parenting, but most of our customers would say this is a difficult behavior to master.
Need help? Here is some great advice to get you started from an article in The Whole Dog Journal.
”The good news is it’s not as hard as you might think. It just takes a commitment to regular practice, keeping it FUN and happy.
Start by “charging” your “Come” cue. This will be a word that will always mean to your dog: “Absolutely wonderful stuff is about to happen and you better get over here fast or you’re going to miss out!” Say “Come!” in a loud, cheerful voice and feed your dog a very high-value treat – chicken, steak, whatever he thinks is totally wonderful. Repeat many times, until your dog’s eyes light up when he hears the cue. Remember, he doesn’t have to “come” for this part – he’s just hanging out with you, eating treats.
Note: If you’ve already taught your dog that “Come!” sometimes means “bad stuff” then you’ve “poisoned” your cue, and you need to pick a different word. See “The Poisoned Cue” on the next page.
Now, with your dog walking by your side on leash, say “Come!” loudly, in a cheerful tone of voice, and run away fast. You and your dog are running together, in the same direction. Run 10-15 feet. Reward him with a treat when you stop, or even better, a toy – play a quick game of “Tug” or toss a ball for him to catch. If you keep your rewards high-value and unpredictable, your dog will find your recalls irresistible. “I wonder what exciting thing she’s going to do next!”