This article is sponsored by the DogsTrust charity
Does your dog know how to come back when called?
Most dogs love running around off the lead, but before you give your dog their ‘freedom’ it’s vital for their safety that you know they will come back to you when they’re called, regardless of where they are and what’s going on around them.
The trick is to be consistent – the more your dog learns that they get lots of praise and a great reward whenever they come back, the more they will make the connection that you are more fun to be with than anything else they might be doing. Start your recall training in an enclosed space and begin by making sure your dog knows their name. Keep your dog close, say their name and reward them with a treat every time they look at you.
Choose a special word or sound as your recall cue that you use only when you want your dog to return. It should be short and sharp, for example a verbal cue like ‘come’, or a whistle. Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog and the level of distractions you call them away from.
Use a harness with a long line to walk your dog on during training. Let them move away from you before using your recall cue, if they ignore you, very gently guide them back to you with the long line and reward them once they are with you. This will prevent your dog getting rewarded by the environment for ignoring you! Make a big fuss of them and reward with extra special treats when they return without this extra guidance so they build up a really positive association with coming when called. You want your dog to learn that coming back to you straight away is much more rewarding than ignoring you and continuing their fun running around.
For more ways to make life for you and your dog a walk in the park, visit Dogs Trust Dog School Nottinghamshire.
This national network of experienced trainers provides fun, educational courses for all dog owners. Based on up-to-date scientific research, our trainers use only reward-based training methods to help you enhance the bond between you and your dog. Small classes of six dogs and two trainers mean you get the one-on-one time you need to learn effectively and most importantly, have fun!
Courses are five weeks long, with a free introductory session. To find your nearest training classes visit https://www.dogstrustdogschool.org.uk/dog-school/nottinghamshire and take your first step to making the most of your relationship with your four-legged friend now.
You can find out more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org