Get a Reliable Recall (or at least a MORE reliable one)
I LOVE to take my dogs hiking off-leash in the woods and open fields. Therefore they must come when called. Even if you don’t like to give your dog off-leash time, having a reliable recall can literally save his life. If you drop the leash, or he runs out an open door, your dog may be on his way to the road or who knows what other trouble. Your dog must know to come when called! All my dogs have learned this and so have clients’ dogs who have stayed in my home and hiked with my family. Here’s one of my favorite simple methods for teaching dogs to be reliable off-leash:
Reserve very high value, healthy, rewards ONLY for practicing recalls in the outdoors (ex., boiled chicken).
- Practice with a hungry dog to enhance the reward value (e.g., skip breakfast and go out in the morning).
- Start out on a long line to ensure safety and to ensure that if the dog ignores you he does not have more fun ignoring you than listening to you.
- Reward all good responses to recalls with generous amounts of tasty treats, praising and rewarding for at least 15 seconds straight. Then, say OK! and…
- Immediately let the dog run back out into nature and freedom.
That last step is important. The release back into freedom becomes a reward in and of itself! Follow the steps above to treat yourself and your dog to freedom and peace of mind. It’s a priceless combo.