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Dog Won’t Come When Called? Try This Easy Recall Training Method 

Dog fetching ball

It is essential to teach your dog to respond when you call them. A reliable call is a training skill that could save your dog’s life. However, dogs sometimes often fail to respond when called by their owners. This may be due to either active or passive disobedience. Passive disobedience is when the dog fails to come when called and reacts by standing, sitting, or lying down after your call. This behavior is mostly because the dog is anxious about approaching you or has completely missed the cues that help it identify the relevance of your call. With active obedience, the dog completely ignores your call even if they know the call very well. This may be because they are tired, lazy, or bored, which is a significant training issue. You do not need a shock collar to train the dog; instead, use encouraging reinforcement methods. To find more about the many reasons not to use inhumane practices, talk to a dog trainer near you.

How To Train Your Dog To Come When Called?

You should purchase the following items before you begin the training:

  1. A training treat pouch: It has divided pockets that you can fill with dog treats. 
  2. A clicker
  3. Your dog’s favorite treats/food
  4. A long leash
  5. A training whistle

i) Choose a particular word or sound 

Though you can choose any word of your choice, the most common ones are “come here,” “hurry,” and calling the dog’s name. You can use a whistle instead of calling the dog verbally, especially if you cannot yell loudly. 

Also, be aware of poisoned cues. A poisoned cue is a phrase that your dog has associated with something terrible. If your dog seems uncomfortable or in pain because of a certain recall word, it is better never to use it. For emergencies, train your dog to use a particular cue, and make sure you associate it with the highest value treat. Furthermore, always make sure everyone in your home uses only a particular word to call the dog; otherwise, it can create confusion.

ii) Teach your dog the meaning of a selected word

Dog using iPadPhoto by Cookie the Pom on Unsplash 

Lure the dog to come towards you by using signals or making sounds. Use the clicker and always remember to treat, play and praise the dog when it approaches you. You can choose games like chasing or pet ping-pongs to get a response from your dog while training. Always start your training in a slow manner and in an environment with fewer distractions. Call your dog by showing some toys or their favorite treat. Praise or pat them as they come to you, and then reward them with the treat. Use high-value treats like chicken and beef liver if they successfully recall difficult words. Keep repeating this method until your dog moves towards you without the treat, and continue adding verbal cues in your training. Gradually, move to outer spaces like house gardens or public parks and try the same strategy.

iii) Try some Recall games

Catch me

When you walk your dog on a leash, try to get their attention and then run a few steps. As your pet follows you, use the verbal cue to encourage them and reward them with a toy or treat.

Find me

Try calling your dog from another room in the house, and when your dog finds you, pat and praise it.

Hot potato

You can play this game with the help of other members in the house. Stand in a circle or at a distance apart and take turns to call your dog. Each person must reward the dog if it runs towards them after recalling with a verbal clue.

Do not make the mistake of suddenly putting the leash on to go home after calling your dog. Dogs will understand and learn it as a sign that fun is over. Hence, they will ignore or hesitate to come in the future.

iv) Always be exciting and enticing to train your dog

When you add fun and excitement, such as grabbing the dog’s attention by clapping or jogging rather than just standing still, your dog will return faster to you.

v) Use different rewards according to returning speed

At times, giving the same treats can be tedious. It will help if you will use their recall speed to score the response. For example, if your dog responds slowly, give it a low-value treat only. However, if your dog sprints towards you when you call it, provide a high-value reward like a raw beef heart. Seek assistance from pet shop owners to find different exciting treats and how to use those for practical training.


More on this topic:

How Do You Start Training a Dog?

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