Posted by: Linda Trunell | June 30, 2013

Why I Don’t Come When You Call Me

#10. I am watching that squirrel.

#9. I hear the UPS truck coming.

#8. I don’t want to go in the house yet.

#7. I’m busy barking at whatever.

#6. I’m having too much fun digging this hole.

#5. I hear a dog two houses down.

#4. I’m sunbathing.

#3. I’m smelling something.

#2. I’m cleaning my privates.

And the #1 reason I don’t come when you call me –

come when called

#1. It just isn’t worth it. 

If you want your dog to come when called, you have to teach him that coming to you is always better than anything else he is doing.  It should always be a rewarding experience (as in good treats and fun play).  He should never get scolded for taking too long to respond.  He should get a jackpot treat when he is called away from something really interesting to him.

A reliable recall can save your dog’s life.  It takes continuous practice and reinforcement.  Practice in the house then move to the backyard as the recall becomes more solid.  Continue to practice with more and more distractions and always make the reward valuable to your dog (warm hot dog bits, string cheese, real chicken, etc.)  Have a party when he gets to you and let him know what a wonderful dog he is.  You must be more fun than that squirrel or anything else out there.

Here’s to being our dog’s best friend,

Linda


Responses

  1. Gorgeous dog, and very helpful advice. Thank you!

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    • Max says thank you! Thank you also for visiting my blog – I hope you find it helpful. 🙂

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  2. Great list…so true.

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  3. Great advice – love the “delivery” (counting down from 10 to highlight the main reason so clearly).
    One thing I tell my clients and use with my own dogs, however, is that the real moment of recall happens when your dog dis-engages from distraction and turns her head to you ….. THAT’s when my party starts and continues until after she zooms back!
    Homemade jerky always ready in pockets! 🙂

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    • Great advice, Elaine! Let’s get this party started. 🙂

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  4. Love love love your list! ^O^ May I print and send to clients and post in class? I will definitely print your name and blog website as credit. Thank you.

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  5. Shared your post everywhere. LOve it!

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  6. Great post! Shared everywhere.

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  7. Saw this on FB and Bill thought you and Larry might enjoy. I don’t have Larry’s email. Could you forward? Thanks Lill hope it goes through

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  8. Great post and beautiful dog. Your Max looks a lot like my Mini. ; )
    Do you know what breed/s he is?

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    • Thank you! Max is a St. Bernard/Lab cross. What is your Mini?

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      • I think Mini is a border collie mix or flat-coated retriever mix. She’s only 33 lbs.

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      • That is a nice mix – she is probably very smart and a very loving family dog. Max kind of looked like an overgrown flat coat retriever when he was about a year old. Some people mistake him for a Newfie now. 🙂

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  9. I don’t know if I can compete with the wood rats around here.

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    • If you can’t find anything more valuable than wood rats (special food treat, favorite toy, playing tug or hide-n-seek, etc.) use a long line and you can reward the dog for checking in with you when you call by allowing them to return to chasing the wood rats. It is best to start with no distractions and steadily work up to more and more as the recall becomes more solid. The value of the reward must increase as the distractions increase. Consistent, patient, repetition is the key to forming the habits you want. It will take lots of practice but it is definitely worth it! 🙂

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  10. I have a non food or toy motivated coonhound and recall is a HUGE issue. She is totally prey driven and obsessed with the outdoors and critters. She acknowledges my voice by a tail wag, but does not make eye contact. I am seeing some improvement as she ages and I give her high praise ( her favorite reward) . I had been told as stubborn and driven as she is I needed to be stern with her, but that wasn’t working and I started talking to her as if she was a little maltipoo or something and guess what? She likes it!! 🙂 More honey as they say. My biggest anxiety is that she would get loose from me and not come when called….. Oh, she will come back to me eventually, but in her good time. I worry for her safety.

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    • Oh yes – more honey! 😉 Dogs with a high prey drive get so focused on the prey it is hard to get them to refocus.

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