File having a real recall with your dog : Learning to come when called is one of the most important skills your dog can learn. But teaching a recall can be difficult, because dogs always find more interesting things to do. Let’s understand that it’s hard for him because every time we ask him to come back, we are asking him to give up everything. Basically this is not a fun thing for your dog to do. It means turning away from other interesting smells, dogs and food, to come to us! Us, the person he already sees on a daily basis. Therefore, to build a reliable recall, we must teach our dogs that being near us is the most fun thing they can do. But then how do we get that recall?
All breeds can have recall
When I teach recall to my handler/dog duos, I will often talk about reliable recall. But what does that mean? Reliable recall means that when you call your dog, you want to be 99.99% sure that he will respond. Dogs are not robots, so there is no guarantee that they will listen to your signal. But with a well worked recall, you can get close to a 99% success rate.
It is especially important to have a reliable recall if you want to allow your dog to run off-leash. Even if your dog doesn’t run off-leash, a reliable recall is an important skill for any dog in case of an emergency: the dog running out the gate without permission, a leash breaking, etc.
There is no shame in keeping your dog on a leash if you are unsure of his recall. Some dogs will never have a secure or reliable recall in all situations, but they can still have fun. Instead, let them play in fenced areas or consider using a lanyard. These can give your dog more opportunities to explore while keeping them safely on a leash. I’m thinking in particular of dogs with special histories, examples of which are:
a dog that will have spent several years developing the habit of running awaya dog that is overly anxious outdoors and no longer able to think about our requests
This does not mean that there will be no improvement. But the goal is to remain cautious, so we will pay attention to each dog.
Regardless of the strength of your dog’s recall, it is important to follow all local laws. You can find more information about the legislation on this subject at: https://www.service-public.fr/
But here is some of what it says:
You must keep your dog on a leash if it presents a danger to people.
The departmental health regulations generally state that dogs can only be on the public highway in urban areas if they are kept on a leash.
The mayor may also prohibit dogs from entering certain places, even if they are on a leash. These measures are posted at the entrance to public gardens, for example.
In the woods and forests, it is forbidden to walk unleashed dogs outside the forest paths during the period from April 15 to June 30.
It is forbidden to let your dog roam in cultivated or uncultivated land, meadows, vineyards, orchards, woods and in marshes and on the banks of rivers, ponds and lakes. This is to prevent the destruction of birds and all species of game and to promote their repopulation.
A dog is considered to be at large if it is no longer under the effective supervision of its master and is out of range of voice or any sound instrument allowing its recall. This does not apply when hunting or in the case of a dog guarding a herd.
A dog is also considered to be in a state of divagation if it is at a distance of more than 100 meters from its owner or the person in charge of it.
Any dog that is left to its own devices is considered to be running at large. This does not apply to a dog that is involved in a hunt if it is shown that the owner has made every effort to find and retrieve the dog, even after the hunt is over.
An important part of recall is to make it a game for your dog. You want your dog to think that coming and being near you is the best thing imaginable.
Start your training in a distraction-free environment, like inside your home. First, show your dog a toy or treat, rewarding him when he comes to you. After a few repetitions, each time your dog looks at you and starts to move towards you, add the verbal cue you have chosen (come, here, etc.). Be sure to add the signal only when you are sure your dog is coming towards you. Indeed, the mistake that is often made is to add the request immediately. But the dog can’t take into account 2 signals at the same time. This means that if you call him and you don’t have anything in hand, he might not come. Because at the beginning of his learning process, he will only have registered what you have in hand.
recall of the dog
You can gradually increase the level by asking your dog to come before you show him the treat or toy. But, be sure to reward him as soon as he returns to you. Also, try to add some distance between you in the house.
You need to practice this exercise for a long time. Once it works well at home or in the garden, reduce your criteria such as distance and try again in a new environment. Be careful to limit the distraction each time you ask for more. We’ll talk about what not to do before adding more exercises to help you!
This is the first step to ruining your dog’s recall. It is often difficult to get owners who have been scared to understand that they should ABSOLUTELY NOT PUNISH their dog when it doesn’t come back right away. It doesn’t matter if you waited 1 minute, 1 day or if your dog took his time. You should not punish him.
Indeed, if you punish your dog when he comes back you send him the wrong message: “you came back you are punished”. Your dog will make an immediate association. He will not conceptualize what happened as “my master is punishing me because I didn’t come back right away”. The risk is great because the more you punish him, the less he will want to come back.
Instead, try to reinforce your dog based on his response time. If he comes immediately, give him his favorite treats, a play session, and reward him thoroughly. On the other hand, if your dog takes his time to come back, give him fewer treats and don’t overdo it. In any case, never punish your dog when he comes back to you, even if he’s dragging.
If you are in the habit of calling your dog back several times in one minute, this is the last thing that will help you get a good recall. Your dog will get used to hearing the word several times without coming back. He will then only come back when you repeat the request.
Moreover, once you have repeated the request, the word loses its value, because it no longer has any real meaning for the dog. Eventually he may become accustomed to hearing this word and pass it off as a voice-over, as he would with your everyday words.
Very often, humans are afraid of losing control of their dogs. He will then abuse the recall. Calling your dog back too often will irritate him. He will then come back less and less. That’s why we often advise to go for silent walks. It is important to keep the recall to the cases where it is really needed. If your dog is always stimulated by competing motivations and doesn’t want to come back, he wasn’t ready for recall in that environment.
As soon as you are free, you ask your dog to come back. Imagine yourself in his place. It’s no fun. A whole bunch of smells and stimulating things are waiting for him and he has to give it all up.
Before you untie your dog, make sure the environment is suitable and that you won’t have to call him back immediately.
calling your dog back
This is an all too common mistake. You call your dog and pray that it works. Of course, in some cases this will not be a problem. But, as environments become more rewarding, it will be harder and harder for your dog to accept giving up what he is interested in. Why would he be interested in you when he sees you every day and a rabbit’s ass just passed him by?
If you tie your dog up after each recall or end the walk after each recall, then you get a negative association for the dog.
Why would he come back to be tied up? It takes away his freedom!
Instead, you can call him and tie him up from time to time, while continuing the activities. The dog can even be released right after the tethering. The goal is to decondition the dog on the tether.
the recall of the dog
Many owners become economical with their dog’s rewards. It bothers them that their dog is opportunistic. They have much less of a problem with punishing their dog! Humans are very strange. Just because you’ve been working in the same company for 30 years doesn’t mean that we’re going to cut your salary or make you work for free. Your dog deserves to be rewarded for giving up his environment. I remind you that when we talk about reward, we do not necessarily talk about food.
In your recall training with your dog, learn to reward him as he deserves. The more you do this, the easier it will be to choose less powerful reinforcers (games, social rewards, etc.) later on.
Often, we test to untie the dog, even though we haven’t worked on all the steps of the recall. For example, you have trained in an unstimulated environment and suddenly you choose to take your dog into a forest with game and lots of dogs. You run the risk of destroying your recall. Indeed, when we work on a training, we have to work on the 3D: Duration, Distance and Distraction. Each dog goes at his own pace. Each step must be generalized, before hoping that the dog will respond favorably.
This is how you get preconceived ideas about certain breeds, which have a harder time giving up their environment.
You will ruin your dog’s recall if you sound angry or bossy every time you call him. As stated above, our attitudes matter in getting the desired behavior.
If your intonations are synonymous with punishment for the dog, he will feel that the recall is finally a scolding. Instead, we want our dog to know that coming back to us is always cool and safe.
You know how to ruin your dog’s recall. If you want to change the game and succeed with your recall, you can do our online training dedicated to this application.
It will teach you how to become your dog’s best partner on walks with our RECALL TRAINING!
Recall games can only help you improve this one. Be careful of the environment in which you practice them so as not to hurt your dog or yourself.
Catch me if you can: While walking your dog on a leash, get his attention, then turn around and run a few steps. You can even use a familiar verbal signal. After a few steps, stop and reward with a treat or toy. The goal is to create a chase toward his human rather than the other way around. Dogs like us best when we are acting in play. Creating a chase can be fun. Be careful not to do this if your dog has separation anxiety, as it may upset him even more.
Find Me: Once your dog understands the recall, a fun game to play to increase speed is to call him from another room. When your dog finds you, reward him. This hide and seek game is great fun for young dogs. Gradually, you will be able to hide in more challenging places.
Come Back It’s Not Over: Once your dog has learned to come back, he can be taught to stay longer. This means that once he comes, even if your dog has already had his reward, you have to motivate him to stay. You can then play with him, encourage him to dig if you are outside, give him treats again.
You will find at least 15 tips for recall in our specialized training : REMINDER TRAINING : HOW TO SUCCESS .