Are you making these 3 common mistakes and actually ruining your dog’s recall?
1. Repeating Cues!
“Come!” “COME!” “Cooooommmmmeee!” “Right now” “Come HERE!”
“I said COME!” “Cookies, I’ve got cookies!” “Get over here!”
Does this sound like you? Repeating cues, or worse not having a consistent recall cue at all is a huge mistake. We have to remember that dogs don’t process language the same way we do as humans. They are relying on pairing sounds with behaviours in addition to reading our body language.
Choose a recall cue and be consistent with it. Say it the same way every time to help your dog recognize their recall cue.
Another option is to use a whistle! It’s a consistent sound, carries well over distances and easy for your dog to recognize right away. We have to carry a leash, treats, and poo bags anytime we take our dog out of the house so adding a whistle to the mix shouldn’t be that hard at all.
2. Calling your dog & leaving!
Dogs are masters at forming associations. If you call your dog away from playing with their friends and then proceed to immediately clip them on leash and head home, that’ll work once, maybe twice. It won’t take long before your dog makes the association that their recall cue means the fun is over. Soon you’ll be that person at the dog park trying to recruit help rounding up your dog when its time to go. We’ve all seen that person or worse yet been that person and it’s just no fun.
There’s an easy way to avoid this though! Practice recalling your dog, rewarding them heavily with yummy treats when they come, and then let them go right back to playing again! Or right back to exploring off-leash. That’s a win-win for your dog and they’ll love coming when called. They get to come to say hi to you, get some yummy treats and head back to play with their pals or continue on their hike off-leash.
Call your dog often, reward generously and let them go again!
3. Not rewarding!
Again, dogs are masters at forming associations. If you’ve just called your dog away from playing with their dog friends or looking for that squirrel they just saw and all they got was a pat on the head, rest assured they are not likely to make that mistake twice. We have to make the recall a valuable behaviour for our dogs. The notion that they should do it because we said so, or for the need to be obedient is outdated and just not how it works. Dogs don’t have morals or think in terms of right vs wrong. We have to make the behaviour valuable for our dogs.
Recalls are one behaviour you should never skimp out on. Jackpot (ie reward heavily!) every.single.time. It’s not a behaviour you want to risk not being solid and if you want your dog’s recall to be reliable, you have to make it worth it.
Reward your dog!
If you are interested in working on your dog’s recall, join my upcoming workshop starting June 17!