Come back dog! How to build your recall – my top tips
I’m revisiting this post having seen a lovely 7 month-old Border Collie puppy on a lead this morning. When I asked why she was on lead I was told she would run off, or chase cars. I could have punched the owner – YOU ARE SO LAZY!! It really is not rocket science to get your dog to come back. Just do some work on it, please?
Of course some breeds are harder than others and not all walks are safe, but if I can walk 5 Border Collies off lead you sure as hell can manage one. <angry face>. Here are my top tips:
DO: Keep using treats
Some people think they only need to use treats when their puppy is little. Why? I still like chocolate and I’m 55 years old! If you asked me to do something and offered me chocolate I would DEFINITELY do it! Sunny will always come back to me, no matter whom I call, just in case I feel like giving her a sweetie. Well of course I do! She’s 12 years old but if she comes when I call, she deserves a sweetie. Of course it’s not very big, but so what?
DON’T: Use rubbish treats
The one in my photo here might not look very exciting but my girls like them. If they weren’t brilliant at coming back and/or didn’t think much of these treats, I would use something else.
Top treats can include:
- cheese – mild cheddar is not too crumbly, nice and cheap. Cut into small cubes
- sausage – ordinary cooked sausage, cut small
- frankfurters – I slice up quite finely and then cook in the oven for a while. This dries them out so them are easier to handle and last longer
- liver cake – if you must. I never do, but people swear by it: liver cake recipe
Whatever you use, it should actually be a reward for your dog.
DO: Be exciting!
Why exactly would I come back to you if you are boring? What I am doing over here is much more interesting. Smells! Dogs! Rabbits! What are you offering? Hmm, no thanks.
You must be AMAZING! Look what I’ve got! Look at my toy! Do you want it? Come and get it! Here it is.. here… or here… Have a look at the video clip from a post of Ounce on Exciting recall
DON’T: Shout at your dog
It’s really not a good idea. They may never get over it. Dogs are sensitive creatures; they do not like it when you are unhappy. If you have several dogs and children, try shouting at one of them (or your other half, even better). What happens? Everyone disappears!
Yes I know it’s incredibly annoying when they don’t come, but were you exciting? Did you have yummy sweeties? Did you offer to play? Or have a toy? No? Well that’s your own fault then.
I’m not even going to mention any kind of physical reprimand. All that does is make your dog hate you. Not a top plan.
DON’T: Chase your dog
What a brilliant game that is for your dog! Yay! Chase me, chase me! You can’t catch me though, obviously. Can you hear your dog laughing? I can. Hilarious.
DO: Run away from your dog
Turn and leg it. Seriously. This is the time to get on a turn of speed. And if you can add some excited shouting, such as “Come and see what I’ve got!” “Sweeties!” Then you might get their interest. This is much more likely to work than standing still. Or chasing them.
DON’T: Wait until the end of the walk to call them back
It’s been a lovely walk but now it’s the end. Oh you’re not tired and you don’t want to go home yet? Well too bad, I’m in charge. Or am I? When I’m walking the puppy on her own, I might call her back to me twenty times during a 20 minute walk. These days, walking her with the pack, I only call her back to me 10 times per walk. “Ounce come”. Be excited to see her. Give her some praise. Feed her a sweetie or two. Every day, every walk. She automatically comes to me at the end of the walk. It’s no big deal.
DO: Use a clear, simple command
“Ounce come”. Don’t stand still repeating the dog’s name over and over again. You sound like a wally. (Unlike when you are running away, shrieking in excitement, when you look AND sound like a wally.) The more often you say the dog’s name, the less likely they are to wonder what you want. Be clear, be positive, be firm (but not boring).
Ask for help?
You are very welcome to CONTACT ME to ask for my advice. I can help you with a variety of issues and problems around getting a dog and suggestions for tackling training issues. Go to the What Dog? page for more information on my service.
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