Saturday, 12 January 2013

How to untrain the recall

A great recall is something that just makes me smile - when your dogs drops everything and races to be beside you with a great big happy grin.
Unfortunately it is way too easy to untrain that recall - just about every day I see people untraining their recal.
4 favourite ways to untrain a dogs recall
1. Call them back to you when they are in a situation you haven't fully trained for so you know full well they will not come back
2. Call them then then chase after them to try and catch them
3. Punish them when you finally catch up with them
4. Only call them back when you want to stick them on the lead and go home

So what could we do different in each situation?
1. If you know they wont come back don't call them, accept they are running off at that point and then work on training their recall more. Remember dogs learn to associate words with what they are doing at the time - if they are running away then they may even learn that 'Bracken CO-OME' means run away as fast as possible

2. Dogs LOVE LOVE LOVE chase games - what great fun they can start a chase game by running away when you are calling. Running away is a better option (if its safe) and you can train a really solid chase recall (I will go over it in a later post) or if you feel you need to go after them better to walk slowly and walk round them rather than directly at them

3. So common because people thing the dogs were running away to be bad. This is simply not the case, if a dog doesn't do something it is because you haven't trained it properly. You want your dog to REALLY want to be around you, if you punish them when you reach them what you are actually doing is making your dog LESS likely to want to be around you - better to make a fuss of them when you catch up with them - make yourself fun to be around

4. Taking away a dogs freedom is actually punishing, if a walk consists of you letting them off the lead and pretty much ignoring them till its time to get them on the lead again then your recall isn't going to be all that interesting. Much better that on a walk you call them back several times, sometimes to give them a nice treat, to play a game, to show them something interesting you have found. You can even call them too you, clip the lead on, give them a few treats then unclip them again.

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