‘Come’ is probably the single most important behaviour your dog will ever learn. Associate coming to you with lots of rewards such as treats and games. Keep treats handy in a treat bag so you’ll never be caught empty handed! A light long line can be very useful for ensuring a reliable recall even with distractions. Your dog will have more freedom but you have ensured coming is not optional. You may choose to use a light line for many months before you feel confident enough to grant your dog complete freedom. Never ever punish your dog for coming to you or for allowing you to catch him or he’ll only learn to be harder to catch next time.
Call your dog at least 10 times a day to do something fun together: to play, to go out, to get a treat, something to chew on or a new exciting toy.
There are many games you can use to increase your dog’s enthusiasm to come to you. Some of the recall games that performance trainers use are:
(a) Restrain recalls
Have some restrain your dog whilst you lead out some meters away. Call your dog in an excited voice and start running before your dog is release. Reward by the side when he catches up.
Other variations of restrained recalls include:
· Post turn recalls - running in a straight line and turning, reward the dog when he follows your shoulder around
· Front cross recall
· Run by your restrained dog recalls
(b) Tug, Push & run
(c) Two food/toy
(d) Bounce game