Dog recall is one of the most important pillars of dog training. Not only for the relationship between you and your dog, but also for his safety and the safety of your environment, it is extremely important that your dog hears when you call him. It’s normal for your dog not to obey immediately, after all, a recall signal must be established first. The following 9 tips will help you establish an effective recall without going through professional training.
1. A clear signal
To keep your dog coming back to you when he walks outside, regardless of other distractions, you need a clear recall signal that you don’t change. The signal should be a word, a combination of words or a whistle that you use only for recall and nothing else.
2. Watch your tone
Your voice may have an annoying tone, especially if you have been trying to get your dog to come to you for a long time. This is detrimental to the effectiveness of your recall. Always stay focused and call in a friendly voice so that he doesn’t fear you are trying to punish him, but enjoys coming back.
3. Avoid repetition
A single, firm reminder is best. If you call once, your dog knows you mean business. Repetition weakens your authority. It gives the dog the impression that he can continue to do what he wants and that you will call again anyway.
4. Leash training
If you’re just starting out with training, a leash can be helpful. While the dog is still very distracted, you can pull on the leash while calling (but not with the recall signal!) to get his attention. If you were to use the recall signal at a time like this, it would have no effect.
5. Pay attention to body language
It’s not only your voice that speaks to the dog, but also your body. Your posture should be towards him, but not threatening, otherwise he won’t come, out of fear. You can stand or crouch. In all cases, your upper body should be straight or slightly tilted back.
6. A fair reward
When your dog comes back, you must reward his behavior. Don’t be stingy and give him something he really likes. You shouldn’t give him these kinds of rewards on other occasions as long as you are training him to recall.
7. Don’t put him on a leash immediately
If you put your dog on a leash as soon as he returns, he will feel it as a punishment for coming back. So, wait a while.
8. No punishment
Even worse than putting him on a leash immediately: reprimand. Even if it takes forever for your dog to respond to your call, under no circumstances should you punish him, but rather reward his behavior to encourage him.
9. Increase distractions
The best recall is of little use if it only works under ideal conditions. Initially, it makes sense to train the recall when there are few distractions. In the long run, however, you need to increase the distractions for the dog so that recall also works in an emergency.
As you’ve seen from these 9 tips, it’s not that hard to establish effective recall with your dog. However, don’t expect miracles at first. Gradually increase the level of difficulty and reward even small successes to encourage the desired behavior.