One of the most critical skills you must impart to your canine is to respond to your call. Also known as recall behavior, call behavior is a life-saving skill that ensures your dog’s autonomy. Dogs are easily diverted, given the exciting world around them. This attitude can make it challenging to implement the call behavior. That is why we have devised some tricks and tips to encourage reliable recall behavior in your dogs. Let’s get started.
Before you could start training your canine for the “come” command, you require certain materials to ease the process. Here is what you will need:
- High-Value Training Treats
- Long Lead Training Leash
- Training Starter Pack
Once you are ready with the requirements, you can follow the steps mentioned below for your canine to master the “come” command.
Step 1: Plan for shorter training sessions
Opting for a shorter training session is good considering your canine’s attention span and distractibility. Further, consistency and a great reward mechanism will fetch you outstanding results. Hence, plan for a session between five to fifteen minutes thrice a week. This way, you can ensure consistency and help your canine learn the command quickly and easily.
Step 2: Choose an appropriate environment
You must choose an appropriate training environment. It must be devoid of any noise or smell. This way, you can keep your dogs away from distractions. These environments could be your hallway or family room.
Step 3: Draw attention with a click
The click sound is the most crucial step for your dog to associate with the “come” command. Once you click and they respond, shower them with rewards. This way, they will learn to pay attention to your every call. Further, use your dog’s name with diligence following the call command and avoid it, especially when you’re angry. This will prevent your dog from attaching any unpleasant feelings/wrong events to the “come” command. Do not associate the “come” command with wrong commands/ events such as:
- Using the command over and over again while your dog doesn’t respond
- Calling simply to grab your canine’s attention
- Giving medicines
- Grooming sessions – nail trimming, bath time, etc.
- Chasing your dog
- Calling them while they stay for some period of time
If these happen, your dog is said to have received a “poisoned cue” and may ignore your order. In this case, you must replace the word “come.” Here is a list of words to consider:
- “To Me”
- Use a whistle or touch
Whichever word you choose, ensure to be consistent in its usage. Further, all your family members must stick to the same word. This way, you will help your dog remember the word.
Step 4: Start with treats
While you start, first toss a treat away from you. Then, please wait for your pet to consume it and look back at you. When this happens, say the verbal cue “come,” click again and offer them an extra treat. Repeat the process for a few more turns to reinforce the understanding that they will have to respond to your click.
Sometimes, your canine may not respond when you must try within shorter distances and ensure your dog comprehends what you want it to do. Additionally, you can use a valuable reward to entice your canine or slightly tug on the leash.
Step 5: Cover different areas of your house
Once your canine comfortably responds to your commands in a specific area, like inside your home. You must try the same command in different places or use distractions. Here are some fun gaming ways to instill the “come” command:
Fun games to instill the “come” command:
- One of the best ways is to seek help from your neighbors or friends. Both of you must stand 10 feet apart and toss a treat in your respective directions. The person in whose direction the canine consumes the treat must say the “come” command. Further, you must pat your canine’s back or make kissing noises as a sign of encouragement.
- Alternatively, you can ask your friend or neighbor to hold back your dog through their harness without inciting any interaction. This is when you must run away from your dog and stop to face them while showing signs of excitement. Your neighbor or friend must release your dog while you spell out the come command. If your dog reaches you, shower him with praise or try another round.
Step 6: Use a long leash
Once your dog is well versed with the command in shorter distances, you can move on to practicing outdoors in a secure area. This is the most challenging aspect of the training process. This is because an outdoor environment is filled with distractions that can tempt your dog. Therefore, always start with an area with distractions that your dog can easily bypass.
To accomplish this, you require a long leash for better safety and control. Start by simply walking along the fenced yard with your dog. Suddenly, you can start running, ensuring your canine follows you. You can stop and say come when they are about to reach you. When this happens, reward them with a treat. This will give you control over your pet while leaving them to act independently.
Step 7: Phase out treats or toys
Once your pet is well adjusted to a call command in longer distances, you can phase out the treats or toys. This prepares your pet for the command, even without the treat. Once they are successful, you can be sure of training them for a reliable recall command.
Step 8: Teach an emergency recall command
You can use an emergency recall command during a perilous situation. This will be the most helpful to save your dog, especially when he strays in front of a moving car. To help your dog differentiate the urgency of the situation, you can use a different cue for the dog. Alternatively, you can also use a variety of treats.
Pro Tip: For best results always choose early training or puppy training.
What Is Reliable Recall Behaviour?
A reliable recall is when you know your canine will consistently listen to your cues and respond when called. This way, you can effectively handle emergencies with your dog or when she is off-leash, outside a doggy park or fenced yard.
Is Your Dog Ready For Off-Leash?
It is always good to abide by the local leash laws and keep your dog on a leash while venturing out. Even if your dog is well trained and responds quickly, you must always be mindful of people who are scared of dogs and other dogs that get aggressive due to interactions with a friendly dog.
The “come” command is one of the most crucial skills for your dog to master. Although it may be challenging to implement this command with your canine, you can train him through play to achieve the best results.