Recalling your dog is one of the most important basic obedience skills.
Dogs soon learn the benefit to coming back when called if the training and reward is correctly offered. Find the best method and reward for your dog, it could be a food treat, a tuggy toy game, being petted with lots of fuss or even ball! Find out what makes your dog 'tick' for the best outcome.
Keep training sessions short and fun. As puppies cannot transfer skills like an adult dog, so train and practice with them in different environments... such as inside your home, in the garden and out on your daily walks.
Proof your dog's newly learnt skills by training with distractions such as a busier area, around other dogs, near a children's play area or school... even bikes, cars and joggers are all distractions.
Your dog will need to enjoy the reward you use for success. Food is the most obvious, but can be replaced if your dog is not food-driven. Also, change the value of the reward for increased success... one treat or a handful, will keep them guessing and get a quicker response.
For this game, use high-value tasty titbits, such as sausage/cheese/chicken cut into pieces big enough for the dog to see it landing on the ground.
If you and your dog understand working with a clicker, that will help mark the correct behaviour... if you can click at the correct moment!
1. Get your dog's attention by giving him a few tasty pieces, so he knows it is worth his while. Then throw one piece about 1-2 ft to the left or right, making sure your dog sees it landing.
2. Let him go for the treat, while you take a step or two away from him.
3. Call your dog on a cue word 'Come' (not his name). When you call out, the cue word ‘come’, he should be either looking at the treat or eating it and call out before he heads back towards you.
4. As he turns towards you, throw another piece in the opposite direction, making sure he sees you doing it and roughly where it lands on the ground.
5. Keep repeating back and forth at least 5 or 6 times before you start to increase the distance from yourself.
You would ‘click’ on the very moment his head starts to turn towards you. If you have clicker-trained your dog, he will know looking towards you is the correct behaviour.
Keep training sessions short, about 5 minutes once or twice a day is sufficient. Increase the distance gradually and if he fails at a particular distance, reduce it again before increasing.
Make it fun! Once he has the hang of this ‘game’, you’ll have to start running to get enough distance from him…. Now that’ll keep you fit!!