How’s YOUR puppy with the recall?
Hopefully you are having a wonderful week with your pup and you have planned something new, fun and interesting to do with him.
My oldest pup, Nessa, has been getting some off leash training lately. We’ve been letting her run in the meadow above the house, calling her in with great exuberance and lavish treats…and then sending her back out again.
She is coming back very well when called…will she always come when called? No, I don’t think so…dogs will be dogs. If they catch a ‘smell’ of something, or find a squirrel to chase, the last thing they want to do is come back to you… but they might…if they know that you will let them go back out and play, at least some of the time.
This week’s tip is about training your pup to come when called. This can be one of the most frustrating of all the commands because it sometimes demands that the pup leave something that is fun and interesting, to come to you, for what?
Get put on a leash?
Go in the house?
Get a scolding?
OK, we can’t always take a puppy away from her fun right after she comes to us when we call. That practice will create resistance in some puppies. Instead, we have to find ways to set our puppy up for success. That means we have to ‘set it up’ so that, at first, when we call our puppy to come to us, we are lavish with our praise, treats, whatever we use for positive reinforcement, AND we then ‘send them back out’ to find something else to explore.
Call your puppy in to you OFTEN and be exuberant and cheerful and FUN when you do it…make your little puppy WANT to be with you more than anything else! After you’ve called your pup in to come to you and sent her back out to have more fun a few times, then you can put her on leash, or go in the house or whatever you need to do.
We make a fun game out of it when the puppies are quite young. It helps them to learn their name and it jump starts the “come” command.
The game goes like this:
Every person in the house sits in a different location in the house, (don’t make it too hard for a very young puppy right away). Then everyone takes turns calling the puppy, (Spot, Come!) and rewarding her with treats as she comes to the person who called. This is a very fun game for the puppies since they get to run around crazily, get lots of good treats and it really helps them to learn to come to everyone in the household.
So, to review…while out and about on leash or while playing with your new puppy, call her to you often and reward her lavishly when she comes to you.
If you practice this while she’s on a leash, that’s great, because you can then make sure she complies when you call…just gently reel her in like a little fish. Let the puppy go back out to play a time or two and then go in the house, etc.
The keys here are to practice just a few times but practice often. Make sure your pup complies and actually comes to you when you call her. Back up, laugh, play, wave your hands…make her WANT to come to you. (You may need to have your puppy on a long leash for this while practicing) If you start while your puppy is quite young you will be surprised at how easy it will be to train for this as your puppy gets older.
Use the “Puppy, Come Game,” it works! And it’s fun for everyone!
You can play the game for as long as the puppy seems joyful and interested, before a meal is ideal and be sure to include as many family members as possible!
Well that’s it for today.
Have a great week and we’ll talk later!