Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Recall on Command
This post recycled from this day in 2004.
A solid recall on a dog is a simple command that is easily taught if you take time, keep your dog hungry, and regularly visit a fenced dog park.
Time is the key issue -- every day over three weeks.
The first step is getting the dog really hungry. Simply withhold food for 24 hours or even 36 hours -- the dog will be fine!
Now go to a fenced dog park or tennis court and, just before you let the dog loose, let the dog know you have some dry kibble in your pocket. Give it a few piece and release it to play with the other dogs.
Every once in a while, whistle and when the dog comes (or when the dog comes without a whistle), slip it a few pieces of kibble. If the dog sits in front of you, ignore it (don't look at it) until it goes away. Let it play for a bit before recalling with the same whistle every time.
Never leash the dog -- let it continue to play between whistles and always feed it a bit (not much!) when recalled. This is a "pure reward" game for the dog.
If you do this every day for a week, and every other day for two more weeks after that, your dog will have an excellent recall.
After the core behavior is shaped (i.e. after the first week), do not feed every time -- sometimes a good tousle of the head and effusive verbal praise is better . . . . plus it will keep the dog hungry longer which means you will get more recalls for a cup of food.
Keep the reward assured, but the type of reward uneven.
Labels: dog training