You want the dog to enjoy the freedom of running off lead and yet he is deaf to recall. Why is this?
Perhaps you’ve done everything right and never chastised when he eventually returns…even though this meant being late for work. Yet he remains stubbornly oblivious to your call, and worse, deliberately ignores you. How can this be?
The Psychology of Puppy Recall
If you have a rescue dog, then it might be they missed on the vital chance to teach recall as a puppy. This makes use of the puppy’s natural instinct not to stray far from their mother’s side when exploring the big wide world.
As a pet parent of a new puppy make use of this instinct, by slapping your leg to gain pup’s attention, then walking away whilst calling his name in an excited voice. Then when puppy gallops to your side, give him lots of fuss and praise.
Unfortunately, puppies grow out of this natural dependence and start getting distracted which is just one of the reasons why some dogs are poor at recall.
Finding the Boundary
Most dogs have a natural range within which they feel safe and don’t worry too much about where there owner is. For most dogs there is a ‘virtual’ boundary, beyond which they are reluctant to pass without checking in with their pet parent. That checking process can be as insignificant as looking to see where you are, before they move off.
It’s helpful to have an idea where your dog’s virtual boundary is, and call when he looks up to check on you. A neat trick is to then walk away at this point, which stretches his comfort zone and makes him more likely to come tanking over. Alternatively, call and if he ignores you then step behind a convenient tree (where you can monitor him but he can’t see you.) The idea is to make use of his natural apprehension at reaching his limit and ‘disappear’. This should bring him trotting back over to investigate where you are.
Know your Limits
However, the wise person knows their limits when teaching recall. There are some dogs that just don’t play by the regular rules, and in these cases it’s essential to seek professional help from a reputable trainer, such as those at Royvon. They can put strategies in place to keep your dog safe during retraining, and to improve your chances of getting the responsive dog you always dreamed of.
If your dog regularly runs rather than attend recall, contact Royvon today!