This is one simple exercise you can try at home. And it is great for practicing recall with your puppy. We know recall is one of the most important commands in your dog’s life. Without a proper recall, you cannot let your puppy enjoy free time without a leash.
So, if you want to improve your dog’s quality of life, make sure to get a reliable recall. Today, we will talk about one simple exercise and game you can try at home.
Why is recall important?
There are two main reasons why you need reliable recall. It is one of the most important behaviors you can teach your dog. At the same time, it is one of the hardest to master for your puppy.
- Recall helps you let your dog play off-leash and avoid unpleasant situations at the same time
- Prevent dangerous situations, like crossing the street, or any other incident looming
How to make recall worthwhile for your dog?
We said that recall is a hard command to master. To get a fast and reliable recall, you should make sure your pup associates being called with only good things. Don’t use it only for calling your puppy and putting it on a leash. Here are some tips on how to make recall worthwhile for your pet.
- Work out what rewards motivate your puppy
- Work on recall from the moment you bring a new puppy home
- Practice at home where there are minimal distractions. Do not start teaching recall outside in an unfamiliar environment with tons of distractions that will set your dog to fail
- When you move the training outside, bring a long lead until your dog is reliably returning to you
- Use lots of praise and reward for your dog
- Make recall training a game
Go Round Home Exercise
So, now let’s talk about the game you can practice at home and make recall fun for your puppy. The game is designed that your dog comes back at you and gets rewarded with fun activities. Basically, you send your dog away and then he comes back to you.
For this game, you need to set up a line with an object at the end of it. In the beginning, you will walk with your puppy next to you. But then, the goal is for your puppy to make a full circle alone.
Step 1 – Walk with your puppy
In the beginning, walk with your dog next to you. Walk to the object, and then split it. Your dog is on one side, and you are on the other. You have both passed the object, and then you mark and reward.
During step 1 of this game, mark and reward only passing the object. The goal is to approach it, split, and reward your dog for passing. Switch sides, some dogs are better on one side than on the other.
Step 2 – Circling with your puppy
Once you have the first step mastered, you move to the next step. Now, as soon as you reach the object, stop your motion. At this point, your dog anticipates that you keep walking, but after passing the object, your puppy will turn towards you to get the treat.
Your dog is now starting to make a circle. Start marking and rewarding the moment your dog passes the object and turns to you. Repeat on both sides.
Step 3 – Backing away
As you can see, we practice this game gradually. At this point, you move towards the object but stop before you reach it, and then start moving back once your dog does a circle and comes to you. Your dog is starting to make a full circle on his own.
Step 4 – Sending your dog to the object
Do not worry, we are not leaving your dog on its own yet. What you do now is walk to the object, but stop two or three steps before it, and with your hand, pointing and giving a clear cue to your dog. You want to give him a cue for which direction to circle.
After you master this step, you can add the verbal command circle. Gradually, increase the distance from which you give the command circle to your puppy.
And when your dog knows he needs to make a circle, he makes it and comes back to you for rewards. As you can see, it is a natural recall, and your pet gets lots of praises and rewards for coming back to you.