I’ve talked a lot in the past about recall. It is one of the most important things you need to teach your new puppy. Why? Because recall can help in so many different situations.
But what is the best way to train? For successful dog recall training, you have to make things fun. It is not about training and learning new things. It is about bonding with your puppy and making sure you are the best thing in his life.
With that in mind, today we will talk about some of the best games that can be used in a training session. And they will all help your puppy learn to come when you call.
Are you ready? Let’s go and improve your pup’s recall skills.
Make a big deal of something
This is one of my favorite games. Do you know dogs are naturally attracted to novel things? Anything new and exciting is like a jackpot for them.
So, the trick here is to use your dog’s natural instinct for something new to your advantage? How do you do that? As your dog is wandering around, pretend you have found something. Make a big deal about it. Use your exciting and happy voice. Do not call your dog. Just pretend you have found something on the ground.
Say, you have found food and you can act like you are eating it. You want your dog to come and investigate and sniff around it. As your dog gets involved, it teaches him to come to you. It is one way to achieve a reliable recall with your puppy.
The Crazy Owner
What is a normal owner? One who walks in a set motion. Or, follow the routine. Well, the crazy owner is one you cannot predict what will do.
The best place to play this dog recall training game is an open field or a forest. The trick is you constantly make turns from the trail. You want your puppy to be focused on you and constantly try to follow you. If you go only forward, your puppy anticipates and wanders freely.
When you go crazy, like left, right, backward, forward, your dog has to get into the follower state of mind and focus on you. Practice this game to get a perfect recall.
Changing the direction
This game is quite similar to the crazy owner game. You can say it is a lite version of it. So, for this great recall trick, you want to walk with your puppy. Then, suddenly, start to run and change the direction.
Your dog will have to follow you. And when your dog catches up, provide lots of treats, verbal praise, positive reinforcement, and love.
Distract from distractions
Once your recall game is high, you can practice it outside. That means lots of distractions. Now, we have to mention that dogs are not instantly 100% reliable around distractions. Do not try it with a new dog. Only when your puppy has solid recall skills, move outside with a young dog.
This is why you gradually increase distractions in training, including dog recall training. This game is called distract from distractions.
What is the goal? Basically, the second your puppy reacts to a distraction, try to distract it from it. You can use a toy, a high value treat, or anything else.
The moment your puppy starts looking at you again, call him, and continue with a calm and relaxed sit. Then, practice impulse control to make sure your dog stays focused on you, not the distraction.
Chase is one of my favorite games. Why? Because playing chase improves your dog’s ability to ignore the environment and follow you instead. A win-win situation, right?
Now, I have to stress that this game will not work without a good relationship and bond with your dog. If you do not have a good connection with your puppy, it will ignore you and do something else when you run.
Before you play this game, work on building up your relationship.
Why is recall so important?
I said at the beginning a solid recall is one of the most important commands your puppy has to learn. Why? Because it helps in so many different scenarios.
Without good recall command, your puppy cannot have free time off-leash. Every pet deserves some off-lead time, and as a good dog owner, it is your job to provide it.
Without a good recall, you cannot feel safe with your puppy in an urban area. There are cars, bicycles, kids, and what more.
But most importantly, the perfect recall can help prevent a disaster like your puppy running across the street or meeting an unfriendly dog. Remember, even if your dog is friendly, it doesn’t mean the other one is, right? Dogs safety is of utmost importance. So try to get a great recall.
How to improve bond?
In order for these dog recall training games to work, you have to build up your dog’s confidence and the relationship you have. Here are some dog training tips on how to improve your bond.
- Hand feed your dog to be closer
- Accept play when your puppy initiates it
- Initiate play sessions
- Provide lots of cuddles
- Focus on your dog when you are on a walk
- Leave the phone when you are out with your puppy
And most importantly, positive reinforcement. Every time your puppy comes back to you, reward and praise. No matter if you use a recall word, verbal cue, or hand command, anything that gets your dogs attention will do.