Rules of Recall

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When training recall or using it in real life situations, there are five rules that we must abide by if we want to avoid ruining the recall and having a dog who ignores us. Let's look at this in a little more detail:

1. Never call your dog for anything unpleasantSuch as nail clipping, bathing, or having their leash clipped on to go home from the park. In short, anything that might give them pause the next time you call them.

2. Never call your dog if you are not sure they will comeAll recalls should be successful recalls. Work at your dog’s level: If they have a kindergarten-level recall, don’t give them a graduate assignment like being called away from a squirrel or from play.

A small brown haired dog running happily in a grassy field.

3. If you call your dog and they don’t come, you must make it happenRun over to them and put a treat in front of their nose, backing up as you get their attention so they follow you. Reward when you get back to a spot where they are focused on you, then release them back to their activities if it is safe.

4. Never repeat the cueResist the urge to call over and over and over. It only teaches your dog to tune out the cue. Call once and, if necessary, use rule 3. Make the recall happen.

5. Fabulous rewards get fabulous recallsIf you want your dog to stop whatever interesting doggie thing they are doing and come running to you, make it worthwhile. Use extra yummy treats—no dry biscuits here!—or a well-thrown ball, if that is your dog’s fancy. 

A little extra trick here: YOU have to be exciting. 

Gone are the days of standing and hollering "come", and having your dog run to you at top speed and sit at your feet. That's not realistic for most pet dogs. We have to make it fun to make it worth it.

Call your dog and get moving! Run in the opposite direction, get down low, clap your hands or slap your thighs, whistle, make crazy alien sounds, squeak a toy! If they even so much as look at you, start your verbal praise then! Encourage them happily all the way to you and when they get there, see #5 and be generous! 

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