TEACH YOUR YOUNG DOG RECALL
Updated: Jul 4, 2020
After waiting several months your puppy has finally arrived, and you are now welcoming him into his new home. Whatever activities you plan on engaging with your dog, whether it is show, field, agility, etc., one of the commands that needs to be taught early is to come to you.
I vividly remember my very first experience with a professional field trainer. We would take one of the dogs off the chain gang, and release the dog into the field to search for a bird. Once the dog located the bird, we would fly the bird and the dog would chase. Some dogs would not return to a whistle or voice command. The trainer would say to the owner “Don’t worry he’ll come back. And if he doesn’t, then just go get a new dog”. Of course he was kidding, but sometimes the owner would be gone for several minutes chasing after his dog. This training was at a dog facility that was several hundred acres and totally fenced. Therefore there was barely a chance of not recovering the dog.
Several years ago I came across an article on how to teach recall to young dogs. I now use this method on my puppies, and I encourage new puppy owners to also try if they are having issues with recall.
One way to get a dog to come to you is to ask him to go with you. Something that usually happens with young dogs as they develop and they become independent, is they may stop coming to you. This is normal for young dogs, but they should still have a desire to go with you.
While out in a field running your dog, try to avoid calling him if you know he is not going to respond. Instead, while he is running away from you, start to walk in a new direction. Most dogs do not want to be left behind. More than likely he will see you leaving him and will run towards you. When he gets close, turn towards him, take a knee or bend down and call him. If he comes to you give him lots of praise. Pet the heck out of him up and let him know how happy you are. You are now building cooperation with your dog and becoming a team.