What is Recall Part 2? The Non-Negotiable Rules
The following are the Non-Negotiable Rules that will be the core techniques used in any attempt to teach recall.
• Never use frustration, anger or punishment when calling your dog. If you are upset or angry, you will just have to fake it. Likewise, you are never allowed to call your dog to you and then punish them. (If you know anything about my techniques, I would not recommend it anyway). Falling prey to either of these mistakes will only hurt the bond with your dog, as well as create confusion for the dog, which is left wondering whether or not they should expect Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hide when they are called.
• Lower your body position when using recall. Once again, look at it from the dog’s point of view. Humans, in most cases, are at least three times taller than dogs. How would you feel having an 18 or 19 foot tall giant calling you? Suffice it to say, dropping to your knee and avoiding direct eye contact (another threatening posture) will go a long way in getting a nervous dog to come to you.
• Use an uplifting and excited tone of voice when doing recall. Almost everyone I know has seen the Wizard of Oz and we all remember Glenda the Good Witch. You need to channel her voice when calling your dog. This is going to sound silly, but I’m serious, the goofier, happier, and squeakier your voice and tone are, the better the results. Hint Hint…if you’re not having fun, do you really think your dog is?
• Be very aware of your body position when using recall. If, for example, you move towards a dog while calling them, you will inadvertently trigger the oldest game in a dog’s arsenal…chase. Simply put, they will run from you in the hopes that you will chase them! This, after all, is a really fun game! However, if you take several steps back (away from the dog) while using recall, they will be enticed to chase after you…and that is what you are trying to get anyway!!!!
• There must be a reward 100% of the time when you are calling your dog. The dog must understand that whatever distraction that is keeping them from coming to you, is less important than the reward they receive from Mom or Dad each time. The reward does not necessarily have to be food. It can be their favorite toy, a loving touch or even soft words of encouragement for a job well done. Nonetheless, a reward must follow every successful recall.
* If you are going to use a hand signal with recall…Keep it Simple! I simply take my arm and hold it straight out, and drop it straight down slapping the side of my leg. I mainly use the hand signal outdoors, along with the whistle, for long distance recall.
This will give you a good start to a successful recall cue. Keep these Non-Negotiable Rules in mind at all times when practicing recall with your dog. In upcoming posts we will cover much more information on successful recall including:
1. Games to Play…Recall 101
2. Recall Anywhere…Recall 102
3. Emergency Whistle…Recall 103
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