This went on for several minutes and if I tried to walk away, the dog would follow us so eventually I just had to stop and watch the scene unfold. What I saw were some of the most common mistakes in training recall (getting your dog to come to you) in the world.
I will be the first to tell you that there is nothing more frustrating than a dog who won't come. The dog may be putting itself in danger or just outright annoying, but here are a few tips to help you put a recall on your dog super fast:
- As the owner and trainer, your best and really only tool to create a good recall or any solid command is your ability to change the consequences of your dog's actions. Will the results of coming to you make your dog want to come to you again the next time you call for him? In this scenario, when the dog did finally say "alright, I'll come over" what did he get for his sound decision? Yelled at and spanked – both unlikely outcomes to make him repeat the behavior of coming back.
- When your dog comes to you, as long as it's safe, the best thing you can do is celebrate with him and let him go free again. Treats are good, but ultimately, your dog should believe that you are not an end to their fun, but rather a pleasant interruption to it (pets and treats). Your dog should want to come to you! The best place to start this is at the dog park or in one of our classes.
- Stay cool, calm and fun. When dogs are free and you have no tool to make them do something, they will go to whatever they want to go to. If you're fuming angry, you're going to lose just about every time.
- Learn to work with distractions. Put everything your dog loves to do (sniffing, pulling, meeting other dogs, etc) on command so you can use them as rewards. If you just stop your dog from doing all those things, the second they are free they are going to go do all those things. If you fulfill all of your dog’s needs, they won’t feel the need to run away and do it themselves.
- Have an emergency recall. If you don’t have one and it is indeed an emergency, try getting your dog’s attention and then running away from it. If you need to, fall on the ground. Most dogs can not resist coming to you if they see you on the ground.
while distracted by the outside world!