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Recall has got to be one of the most vital aspects of good dog ownership. Being able to let your dog off the lead and enjoy a good run is not only envigorating for them it actually makes us feel good watching them. However, perfecting it can be so difficult. Here's our top five tips:-

1. Start at Home

If you have a puppy then the weeks before the puppy is allowed out is a great time to

build the perfect recall round the house and garden. If you don't want to use a whistle then start by only using one command and only use this when calling them to you. The aim is to associate the word with coming to you for the reward. Each and every time you call your puppy reward him. If using a whistle then start by using the whistle at mealtimes. Puppy then associates whistle means food. Around the house use the whistle to call your puppy to you and reward. Obviously pick the right time, we wouldn't want to wake a sleeping a puppy. So, if he's barking or exploring something he shouldn't whistle or call him to you and reward. Repeat often and from out of sight.

2. Use a long line

The day finally comes and you can get out. Guarantee your pup will forget everything he's been taught and wallow in all those new and interesting smells. Don't be disheartened its all new. Give him time to explore before you start your recall session. Depending on your pups personality a long line can help with building a shy pup's confidence or reining in the enthusiasm. It can also help you

especially if you are nervous about letting them go for the first time. It gives you confidence and this can transfer to your puppy. It allows your pup freedom to make choices and gives you the opportunity to correct any unwanted behaviour. It also lets everyone see that you are training and that you care how your puppy behaves.

3. Brush up on basic commands and practice daily

You probably already have a great bond with your puppy/dog but life gets in the way and we all become complacent. However, 5 minutes training every day strengthens your relationship and encourages him to listen to you. Those tasty smells outdoors might not be quite as attractive if your dog finds you interesting.

4. Use high value Treats or Toys

Find your dogs ultimate reward. It might be chicken, cheese or a squeaky toy ! My dogs love sausage and ham. Use this as a reward for good behaviour when your out and only when your out. Knowing that favourite snack is in your pocket will keep him focused.

5. Timing is everything

If recall is still in progress make sure you practice where you know you'll succeed. Going to the park on the weekend at midday might not be the right place. Children with footballs, families picnicking lots of other dogs around, your in danger of setting your dog to fail.

Choose a quiet time and a location thats free from distractions to practice.

Ignoring your command to return is not an option. So if he is in the middle of a great

game with another dog allow him some time. If you watch their game you'll know exactly when the right moment is. If it is time to leave and he doesn't return its best to go and retrieve your dog, try not to continually shout his recall command, this only shows him he can ignore you and could put you on the path of selective hearing. Clip him on the lead and walk away. Remember to stay relaxed. He won't want to be around you if you're stressed.

So thats my top five!

Don't be disheartened if it all goes wrong. Start again, practice at home, pick your off lead location and time of day carefully. Set him up to succeed. The more times you successfully return him to you the more confident you will feel and the more places you can enjoy together.


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