Nothing is more frustrating than calling for your dog and he just ignores you or gives you a look of ‘whatever’. Actually, kinked hoses might rank up there too, but hoses don’t have minds, dogs do. I’m thinking it might be do to my military experience, but I expect them to come to me front and center when I call them, no exceptions, no excuses. I haven’t figured out how to teach them to salute or stand at attention, hmmm, now that would be impressive wouldn’t it? A bit impractical but it sure would impress the neighbors!
If you haven’t read my first post on training a farm dog or puppy, go here. It’s really important you train them in a certain order. This post is Part II of the series and I will be talking about how to get a dog to come when called.
I mentioned before the importance of leash training and learning how to walk with the dog by your side. Now, we will continue with leash training only we will be using the leash and choker chain to train them to come to you when you call them. I repeat:
Use the leash and choker chain to train them to come when you call them.
Before we teach them this, we must teach them to stay put. So, start your dog out by getting him to sit. Then, with a firm voice, tell him to stay and then take a step or two away from him. Because you have him on the leash, he cannot go anywhere. If he starts to follow you, firmly say ‘no’ and take him back to the original spot he was sitting, and start all over.
Consistency is key. If there is no consistency, the dog will not respect you or listen to you.
If the dog stays while you walk away, wait a few seconds and then come back to him and praise him, either with hugs or treats. Sometimes we do both. It just depends on what your dog responds to the best. At this point, don’t call for him yet. He just might get confused with what you want, to stay or to come. Each time he gets it right, back up a little bit more the next time you tell him to stay until you come to the end of your leash.
Once your dog can stay when you tell him to even with the distance of the leash, then you can move on to teaching him to come when called. Again, the leash and choker chain come in handy here too.
Tell your dog to stay, then leave him sitting there as you move out to the end of the leash(usually around 5-6 feet away). Turn to face him and pause for a few seconds, then firmly tell him to come. Whenever we give commands, we say the dog’s name first, then the command. This gets his attention and he knows you mean business.
If he does not come, give a quick pop of the leash and pull him gently but firmly to you. Once he is right in front of you, have him sit. When you are teaching this command, it really is a good idea to give them treats. Some dogs are kind of lazy and if they know there’s more than just a little pat once they get to you, they will be quite eager to follow your command to come.
This command might take awhile, it just depends on your dog’s mentality. Again, be consistent. If he does not come when you call, pop the leash and pull him toward you, then make him sit right in front of you and immediately give him a treat. Be consistent, be consistent, be consistent!
There are lots of instances on the farm that make a recall command very important to enforce. Lots of practice on this one and eventually you will be able to do it off leash. And then, one day you will be able to call your dog from across the field and he will come to you. This video below isn’t necessarily “across the field” but you get the idea.
Now, if your dog is in trouble or you call him with an angry tone, he probably will not come to you off leash. It’s important, even if he is in trouble, to call him in the same firm tone that you use when you are training him. It’s also good to remember that some dogs are just slower than others. There’s no ‘hurry’ in them, like one of our Great Pyrs, Lilly. But hey, as long as they come to you, right?
Recall in a nutshell. There you have it. Rock on and did I tell you to be consistent?