IF you have a dog that appears to have selective hearing when you recall, or if he looks up and carries on with what he wants to do, then you have a recall problem that needs to be addressed.
The best time to start with recall is when you first bring your puppy home at seven to eight weeks old. Start straight away conditioning your puppy with a clicker or a special word you may chose such as 'come', 'here', 'to me' or whatever.
The following tips work for puppies and dogs of all ages. If you have an older dog that just won't come when called, then go back to the basics as if he were a puppy.
Choose a word you wish to use as recall. Never use your chosen word casually but only when you really want your dog to come to you. Not when you want your dog to keep up with you on a walk.
When your puppy is following you around the house treat him for staying with you. Treat him every time he comes when called.
A good way to reinforce the come command is to have three or four people sit in a large circle around a room with treats (clickers are good to use here). Each person takes turns to say come. When the dog comes to the caller he gets a click and a treat. Don't have any special order of who calls but keep it variable so the dog must listen and go to the right person to get a treat. This is a fun game and will help strengthen the 'come' command. Try this in different places such as inside, outside and with distractions around.
Remember a dog does generalise very well, so what you teach him at home may not work elsewhere. Often people complain that their dog heels perfectly at home but as soon as they take him anywhere it is as if he no longer knows what it means. The fact is he doesn't know what it means in that place and it may have to be re-learnt in different environments with different distractions.
When walking your dog, change direction from time to time, especially when he is distracted or starts to wander off.
Whenever your dog comes back to you when called, click and take hold of his collar just momentarily while you treat him then let him go and use a release word as you let him go again.
Playing hide and seek, letting your dog find you, is another way of strengthening the recall.
There are many more ways to help strengthen your dog's recall, these are just a few that may assist you with his training . - Nicole Mackie