Does your dog struggle to come when called, especially amidst distractions? This is a common issue. Recall needs to be continually worked on in order to build a reliable “come.” An easy way to build recall strength is to integrate it into your training routine. Give one (or more!) of these games a try.
Restrained Recall & Chase
This game requires a helper, enticing toys or treats, a harness for your dog, and a space to practice. Begin by having a helper hold onto your dog. Walk as far away from your dog as you can while maintaining complete confidence that your dog will come. Build up your dog. Appear as exciting as you can- your dog should be itching to get to you! Once you get to this point, provide your recall cue (“Charlie, come!”) and run! Let your dog chase you for a short distance, then throw a little party for your dog with praise, toys, and/or treats.
Recall and Chase with Treat Toss
This variation of #1 can be completed without a helper. You will just need your dog and high-value treats. Begin by tossing a treat in the opposite direction. While your dog finishes eating it, provide your recall cue and run so your dog chases you. once your dog reaches you, toss a treat in the opposite direction as a reward and begin again! The fast-paced nature of this game ensures multiple repetitions in a short period of time.
This game is perfect if you have one or more helpers. Either have your helper stand about 10 feet away, or create a 10-foot circle of people. Each person then calls the dog and rewards her with treats when she comes. Someone else then repeats this. The dog should be running back and forth between people, responding to recalls, and earning treats!
Hide & Seek
This simple and fun game doubles as both an easy and enriching exercise, as well as a recall exercise. Begin by placing your dog in a stay. Choose a hiding spot appropriate for your dog’s familiarity with the game. Release your dog and give the recall cue. Once he gets to you, praise your dog! Treats and toys can be used as rewards.