The Golden Rule Of Recall Training
This is the most common mistake owners make in command training… are you at fault of this?
As a dog trainer, I see this one particular mistake made on a daily basis! If you are a dog owner, I GUARANTEE you have done this many times while commanding your pup to do something.
What is the most common error owners make when command training their pup?
⇨Repeating a command more than ONCE
What does this mean?
So, let’s say you want your puppy to come to you. What do you do? You command your pup to come to you by saying “Come.”
Your dog definitely hears you, but decides he would rather not come to you.
So, you command him “Come here!”, out of frustration. You probably don't even notice, but you end up telling him “come” 5 times before he eventually comes to you.
If you're like most dog owners, you probably aren't even aware of the number of times you tell your dog a command because it is only natural to keep telling your dog (or anyone, for that matter) what to do until they do it.
Whether you command your dog 10 times, or just 2 times, this is still a mistake. You should only EVER tell your pup a command ONE TIME. This is the Golden Rule of recall training!
Why does it matter how many times I tell my puppy a command, as long as he does it?
This is a VITAL point to understand.
One of the largest hurdles you must overcome in training your puppy is making him understand that YOU are the pack leader, NOT him, and he NEEDS to listen to you!
Therefore, you want your puppy to learn to listen to you after you say something only once. If you say “come” three times before your puppy finally comes, he will think that he doesn’t have to do what you ask until you tell him three times.
You are probably asking yourself: “Well, what am I supposed to do if my dog doesn’t come after the first time?”
Here Are 7 Straightforward Steps To Train Your Dog To Come When Called EVERY Time:
1️. Find a treat that your dog absolutely LOVES.
This is extremely important. When first beginning to get your dog to learn to 'come' to you, this technique works wonders.
While you're obviously not always going to have treats on you (nor do you want your dog to be dependent on food motivation when following your commands), it's nonetheless a dependable tool to use to get your dog to come to you in any situation.
Whether you're training your new puppy or your stubborn, seasoned dog, this is a proven tool that can help get your dog to CHOOSE to listen to you.
2. Keep it simple.
Begin working with your dog in a place with little to no distractions (at home is a great place to start).
When he starts to wander off, say your dog's name followed by the command "COME".
3. Follow my Golden Rule of recall training.
One of my foundational Golden Rules of dog training is to NEVER repeat a command. You want your dog to learn to come after commanding him only once.
Therefore, only say the command, "COME" once. You can repeat your dog's name, make a 'kissy noise', whistle, and/or show your pup the treats that you have, but never issue the command more than once.
4. Be patient.
This step piggybacks directly off the last point in reiterating that you must be willing to step outside your comfort zone and be patient with your dog's learning process.
Never use physical force to place your dog in a certain position to satisfy a command, or use negative reinforcement when they don't respond as quickly as you'd hoped.
You want your dog to want to listen to you, not to be heavily persuaded or forced into doing so. Patience is one of the first lessons in learning this art.
Your dog WILL eventually come to you. Even if he doesn't come at first, trust this process, and don't give in!
5. Show positive praise!
When your dog does come to you, throw a huge party with treats and/or praise!
Even if he doesn't come right away, it is extremely important to always reward your dog when he does come.
This is a huge step in getting your dog to learn that when he comes he will be rewarded with good things.
This is crucial because your pup will learn to associate the act of coming to you with treats, praise, and positivity. What more could a dog want than that?! Your dog will CHOOSE to go to you every time!
6. Increase the difficulty of the training.
Once your dog has mastered his recall at home, slowly introduce distractions and/or new environments.
This could mean teaching your dog to come in crowded places such as a rowdy dog park or a crowded dog beach.
These environments will help you develop a stronger training bond with your dog as you work through challenges such as recall around other dogs.
7. Consistently Practice!
As with every training command, consistency is key! The more consistent you are with working on your pup's recall, the faster he will master it! And not just any practice, deliberate focused, practice.
For a complete training guide that outlines everything you need to know about command training through step-by-step training videos and tutorials, check out step three in "The Puppy Training Handbook" Program.
For more information on what to avoid when training your new puppy, check out our blog post, "3 Things You Should NEVER Do When Training Your New Puppy", here.