One to One Recall Training
Do you have a young dog or puppy that is beginning to ignore you?
Do you have an older dog that takes his own sweet time to come back to you at the end of your walk?
Does your dog find other dogs far more interesting than you?
Is your young dog beginning to find livestock or other fast moving targets like cyclists and horse-riders quite exciting?
Have you got a puppy that seems to have a perfect recall and you are just reading this because you were curious?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions – even the last one – keep reading…
Let’s start with those of you who answered ‘Yes’ to the last question as you are the people most likely to click ‘close’ very quickly…. Here’s the reason why you should read on instead:
Most puppies will come running back to their owner with very little encouragement. To the pup the owner represents the safety of the new ‘family’ pack they are becoming a part of. Too many people make the mistake of thinking that this means their dog has an excellent recall……and that training isn’t necessary. Many people have no idea that this is actually simply an instinctive behaviour and that at adolescence the dog’s instinct for independence will over-ride the desire for safety. This is when that ‘excellent recall’ becomes non-existent.
Before you know it you will be answering ‘Yes’ to any or even all of the other questions and wondering why you didn’t do something about it when you first read this page while feeling pretty glum that a whole lot of work starts now.
OK so are there any other ways out for owners who love their dogs and want to take them out for walks every day? Some people who find themselves in this predicament love their dogs so much they will accommodate all kinds of behaviours that early training would have avoided. So, for example, they will wait in their car half an hour for their dog to finish following a scent in a wood because the dog ‘won’t come back to them’ or they will ensure their dog never meets exciting other dogs by going out for walks at odd hours or they will drag their dogs on taut leads away from horses, cyclists, livestock or they will attempt to explain to the horse rider their dog has just chased that ‘my dog has never done that before’ (knowing full well they have, many times). And so on. Believe it or not I have witnessed all of these and more. Things become much more difficult to ignore when there are legal issues to consider about livestock and other bridleway or footpath users. We have a legal responsibility to keep our dogs under control.
So why not simply keep the dog on an extender lead? No recall training required then! Having asked people, when I am out and about with my dogs, why their dog is always on an extender lead the answer is almost always ‘she/he won’t come back to me when I take it off’. I don’t think there is any vet, animal welfare or dog training adviser that would disagree with me when I say that I firmly believe that dogs need to be able to run and flex their muscles, to interact with other dogs and people and situations safely and under control. A fit, properly exercised and trained dog is a happy dog. He or she is also going to be a much healthier dog than one that has become obese through over feeding or lack of free-running exercise. There is nothing more wonderful about dog ownership than being able to watch a healthy, fit dog run about and simply be a dog.. A dog is never going to be happy and healthy trotting along on an extender lead its whole life.
How can you make your dog’s life, and yours too, much happier and healthier?
Learn how to teach your dog a solid recall through consistent, kind and positively reinforced training.
How do you do this? Firstly you need to understand that a good recall depends on good training. The method I will teach you to use I use with my own dogs and have done for a number of years. I have also taught it successfully to other owners. Like all other aspects of dog training good recalls are built through repetition of positive recall experiences so that coming back becomes a happy HABIT.
· Learn how to teach focus skills to your dog – in the dog’s familiar environment and beyond
· Learn the best ways to reward your dog
· Find out how to ensure your dog learns the ‘coming back straightaway when called every time’ habit in the wider environment
· Find out how to build and reinforce good recall habits in your home and garden
· Learn how to train your dog to come away from other dogs even when the play is very exciting
· Find out how you can teach your dog that the lead does not mean the end of a walk
Obviously the sooner you begin training this good habit with a pup or young dog the better but even dogs that have been allowed to build up some bad recall habits can be turned around with just a little bit of time and extra effort on your part.
My one-to-one recall training recommendations are as follows
An initial session which will last 1.5 hours
Following your telephone consultation with me in which we will have discussed my recommendations, you will be introduced to the techniques and methods that will help you begin to teach focus and also recall.
Depending on your dog’s age we will either remain in the home/garden environment (young pup) or move out into an outdoor environment near to your home (older pup/dog)
Each of these situations will allow me to assess the level of training you have achieved, assess your dog’s responsiveness to you and help you begin to put into practise the techniques and methods. You may find it helpful to take notes!
cost for 1.5 hours £30 – includes a free treat pot full of tasty treats
(a mixture of salmon stars and dried crunchy liver – please advise if your dog has allergies)
Follow-up session of 1 hour duration
Depending on experience and the specific problem, I recommend a series of one hour sessions timed to support your own practice in the home, garden and out in the wider environment. You may find you would like to have one of these sessions quite soon after the initial session, or you may feel sufficiently confident to leave it a couple of weeks. Depending on how much you practise and your level of confidence you will want to discuss how to time sessions further along in the process. The number of these follow-up sessions you have is entirely up to you. Different people need different levels of support.
In each session you book I will evaluate your progress and discuss strategies.
With effective practice you will reach the stage where I will recommend sessions in unfamiliar places (to you and your dog – these will be agreed) to strengthen and ‘proof’ (test) your recall work until you can allow your dog free exercise with confidence in several places with different distractions. You will also be advised to find new places on your own walks once a week to further this aspect of your training in between our sessions. This will help the dog to ‘generalise’ the learning – in other words to transfer the learning the dog has gained in previous locations on to new ones to develop a stronger habit of ‘coming back straightaway when called every time’.
I must emphasise that while I have set out a plan of action for you and your dog outlined above it is subject to you and your dog’s individual needs and so how we organise your sessions will be dependent on those needs.
***In the unlikely event additional time is needed over and above the hour this will be charged as part hour eg £10 per half hour so 1.5 hours = £30
Please call me on 07971631687 to discuss your training needs.
Happy (recall) training!
I think a solid recall is the most important skill you can teach your dog – one day it may save his or her life