If I had to pick one of the most important things to teach your dog it would be a rock-solid recall. Think about it…a dog with a great recall can be off lead in all sorts of fun places…hiking in the woods, dog beaches, soccer fields…you get the idea!
There is nothing more aggravating than dogs who learn to play keep-away. You open the door, Fido sprints out to chase the kids playing down the street and you run out in your PJs screaming come and your dog just looks over his shoulder and keeps running. By now the neighbors are wondering what the domestic dispute is and your dog is having the time of his life.
In the best case an innocent bystander can grab Fido and hold him until you arrive with your robe flapping and out of breath…or you can spend the next hour screaming until your voice is gone and getting just close enough to grab your dog, only to have him dart out of reach…but, this story can have a totally different ending.
Starting the day your puppy or new dog comes into your house, begin teaching him that every single time you say his name and “come” something amazing will happen for him! Treats and praise rain from the sky and your pockets and soon, you will have a dog that never questions how cool it is to come when called.
While attending a conference once I heard a trainer describe this exercise as “Fine Dining.” Think about it, you are out running errands and your stomach announces it’s empty state, so you pull through a drive-thru, gobble down some sort of fast food and 20 minutes later you can’t even remember what you ate. Now imagine making dinner reservations with wonderful friends, a few glasses of fine wine and a fabulous meal. You will be able to relate what you ate and how you felt weeks after the experience. That’s the point, make coming to you when called an amazing experience for your dog and he will never question whether or not he should show up when called. If this is the only thing you teach your dog, you can ensure a happy life together.