Since I am teaching a Recallers class right now, good recalls have been on my mind a lot lately. I've been looking at mistakes I have made and seen made in order to help my students have the best recall possible. The two biggest reasons that a recall falls apart are that the behavior hasn't been proofed enough and the dog learns that he/she doesn't have to listen. In the world of recall training, repetition, repetition, repetition will be your best friend. However, when your dog learns that a cue can be ignored, sometimes it is best to start with a new one and start from scratch retraining the behavior.
The other issue is that the cue has somehow been poisoned. The dog takes their sweet time getting back to their owner and the dog gets in trouble. The dog may make the association that this particular cue means trouble, so running the other way is self-preservation! Or, the dog is only called for unpleasant experiences, like baths and leaving the park. Of course they ignore the cue then. Again, the best thing to do in this case is to choose a new recall cue, and make it fun and positive every time the dog listens and returns.
Here is an extensive list of potential recall cues that may be novel to your dog. This is a good thing, because the dog has no association with this word. You can turn paying attention and listening to this cue to be the most fun thing in the world, with the best ever treats, play sessions and cuddles. Plus, it may be less likely that everyone else and their dog is using the same cue as you, lessening confusion for your dog. Enjoy, and let me know if you chose one of these cues in the comment sections!
Hi, I'm Rachel. I'm crazy about dogs and want to see all of them living the best life possible. Most of my free time is taken up by dogs, but when I am not working with my own or others, I also enjoy cooking, volunteer work, reading and Netflix in my pajamas.