These simple rules will help you and your dog maintain a reliable recall.
1. Don’t end play by calling your dog to you. Instead, go get your dog or wait until he is ready to come to you on his own.
2. Always follow a recall with one of your dog’s favorite things, be it food, a Frisbee, or playing with another dog.
3. Do a few “high-value” recalls right away during off-leash play; let your dog know that coming to you will be worth his while. Then release your dog to play again.
4. Work on your timing. It may be very difficult for dogs to “hear and obey” when they are in the middle of greeting another dog, the moment they find a great smell, or in the midst of a prey drive chase (after a squirrel, for example). At these times, you can increase your chances of success by calling him at the moment he can most easily disengage from his other activity. For example, if your dog is greeting another dog, wait for the moment when you can see they are about to turn away from each other, then call your dog.
5. Avoid repeatedly calling your dog when you know he won’t or can’t come. Go get him instead.
6. Always (and this is a golden rule) act or behave as if your dog is the most wonderful being in the world when he comes to you – no matter what he was doing before he came.
- By Mardi Richmond