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Tips to Remember When Teaching your Dog to Come When Called

by Robin MacFarlane

Avoid this mistake when teaching your dog to come when called.

A well developed recall gives you peace of mind and gives your dog the ability to enjoy off leash freedom. It is the one skill that should be started early in any training program, including your e-collar training.

The important thing about teaching a recall is to make it realistic. Too often people have flawed ideas of how to practice and end up with results that won't hold up well in real world, distracting situations.

One of the big mistakes is to repeatedly practice having a dog Sit/Stay, walk away from the dog, turn and then call them to you. Not only is this almost NEVER the way you'll have to call your dog in the real world, it sets the dog up for anticipating breaking the Sit/Stay command.

The other mistake that happens, especially with e-collar training, is too frequent of repetitions. If you call the dog to come back to you the moment he leaves your side and you do it repeatedly, it won't be long until the dog will be basically glued to your leg.

There are much better ways to teach this important skill and we practiced a few of them at our Dog Camp weekend. Take a look and when you are practicing remember to:

1. Let your dog get distracted. That really is the goal isn't it? You want your dog to be able to listen and come to you when he isn't paying attention so let him get distracted and then call him back to you.

2. Reward the dog for coming to you. It seems so obvious, but often times we call a dog to come, we hook on the leash and all the fun ends since it's time to go home or back in the house. Make sure you spend a few seconds rewarding the dog. A few seconds of playtime, a treat, or even a good scratch are all things that help improve performance and build a happy and reliable recall.

-- Robin

Robin MacFarlane is a professional dog trainer and owner of Thatís My Dog in Dubuque, Iowa. Her best-selling dog training DVDs, JUST RIGHT and JUST RIGHT 2 have helped thousands of dog owners teach their dogs basic obedience and fix problem behaviors through a system of training that you can easily work into your daily routine.
  • Robin writes for Gun Dog Supply on our E-collars Dog Training blog
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