“If you don’t have a dog who will come when called…

… then you don’t have a dog”.. this is one of my favorite quotes from Jack Volhard

A dog with a solid recall is a dog that is safer, and a dog that you can trust to come running when you need them to. (Granted, you can tell that we hadn’t practiced in a while when you watch the video. Plus, I had that weird camera stuck to my face, making it a little more difficult.) Oh, and you should know that you won’t hear me say “COME!”. All of our Commands are in Klingon. (makes for fun dinner/dog show conversation)

Here are my top ten ways to ruin your recall.

  1. Don’t practice. Like anything else learned, if you don’t use it you’ll lose it!
  2. End on a negative note. If after several “good” recalls, make sure that the last one you do is unsucessful.
  3. Use your recall command when you need to do something nasty, like ears, toenails, give meds or at bathtime.
  4. Wait until you are really angry and call your dog. (Would you want to come to you if you had that tone?)
  5. Never use a cheerful upbeat confident tone. Use a hesitant, questioning voice.
  6. Make sure that when you call your dog to you, it’s the end of play time, everytime.
  7. Don’t believe that your dog will come to you. Instead, reinforce your belief that they “never come” when you call by thinking negative thoughts
  8. Never reward your dog, either verbally or with treats or pets, for coming to you
  9. Don’t stand up straight. Lean way over, bending at the waist, shoulders forward.
  10. Nag your dog by using your recall command over and over so they never know which time you really mean it

Ultimately, the key to a good solid recall, is to always be more interesting and exciting than the rest of the world. That may mean that you need to always have a pocket full of cookies. Or that you always have to be cheerful, no matter how annoyed you are. Or that, if you can imagine, you spend time developing a bond with your dog that means he or she will always rather just be with you.