I would like to share a story that happened to me this summer which is just one of the many reasons to train your dog! My daughters and I took our Shelties to the river for a little swim. It was a hot day, and many people and their pets were enjoying the cool water. One man was on the river bank with his toddler and his small dog. He was walking with a crutch, and it was easy to tell he had his hands full. My dogs were playing in the water and his dog decided to come and see. I called my dogs back to me and they happily complied. This poor man, on the other hand, had his toddler wondering off in one direction and then his dog decided to go in the other. He was hobbling around trying to catch both of them. It would have been much easier if the dog would have had a reliable recall.
The most important thing you will EVER teach your dog is a reliable recall. It could literally save their life…
Dogs that have the best recalls are the dogs that have been given freedom to run. If your dog is always on leash, how will they ever learn to come when called? Of course, starting with a young puppy is ideal but there are also plenty of ways to train even an older dog. There are many different exercises that will help you achieve this, but here are a few of my favourite:
Lets start at the beginning… Does your dog know his name? I start by saying the dog’s name and putting a cookie in their mouth. For all examples, our dog's name today will be Fido.
So to start, you would say, "Fido!", then feed, and repeat it three times. Next, throw a cookie, tell Fido, "GET IT!", then call them by name. "FIDO!" Your dog will definitely be coming back to you, so say "YES!" and feed him again with another treat.
MAKE SURE THAT FIDO IS COMING TO YOU, NOT THE COOKIE IN YOUR HAND.
This exercise should be done in your house where there are not too many distractions. Also, do not forget to end this, or any exercise before your dog gets bored. You quit before they do!
Another exercise you can practice in your house is to hide on your dog. Warn Fido, "I'M LEAVING!" then run and duck into another room out of sight. As soon as your dog finds you, say, "YES!" and feed them another cookie... ALWAYS FEED THE RECALL!