Recall is a really important behaviour to teach your dog because it helps to keep them safe and means they can enjoy and benefit from exercise off lead. To teach your dog to come back to you, you'll need to be more exciting than the rest of the world!
Here's how to teach your dog to come to you in six easy steps:
- Show your dog the toy or food - you need an incentive to encourage your dog to come back - a really tasty treat or a fun game with a toy.
- Run away a couple of paces then call your dog's name and say 'come' in a friendly, exciting tone - getting down low can also encourage them to come back.
- Gently hold your dog's collar as they come to you, and either feed them the treat or let them play with the toy.
- Gradually increase the distance that you are from your dog until eventually, you can call your dog in and out of the garden or from room to room.
- Ask a friend or partner to help take it in turns to gently hold your dog's collar whilst the other one walks a distance away and then calls the dog over. Don't forget to praise the dog each time this is a success.
- Practise in safe outside spaces - once your dog is consistently coming to you when called around the house and garden you can start to practise in safe outside spaces. Long training leads can be helpful for practising recall when outside, as they allow your dog some freedom without giving them complete free range at this stage.
- Only call when you're going to praise your dog - don't call your dog and then tell them off, as it means they will be less likely to come back next time you call.
- Don't only call your dog to put them back on the lead - they'll soon make the association and be reluctant to come back.
- Always take your dog's favourite treats and toys with you when practising this command on walks, so you can continue to reward him when he comes back.