The Puppy Tails – Top Tips for teaching your puppy recall

When Mark kindly offered the chance for me to draft a guest post for his blog, I tried to think of what I as a puppy owner would find most useful. I’m Laura, and over at www.thepuppytails.com I’m a puppy blogger sharing tips, tricks and ideas that I’ve learnt from both my own experiences and those others have been kind enough to share with me. However I’m also the owner of two young dogs - a one year old Spaniel Bassett cross and a two year old Sausage Poodle cross. Therefore just like everyone else, I’m a dog owner feeling my way through the puppy years and trying my best to practice what I preach!

Monty and Delilah
Monty & Delilah

So, after thinking long and hard about the best topic to guest post on, I decided to take it back to basics and talk about puppy recall.

Puppy recall is effectively the art of getting your dog to return to you on call, every time. While this might seem pretty basic in principle, in practice it can be more than a little tricky! Just think of all the distractions you may find on a trip to the shops…from people watching, to window shopping, to thinking about lunch, to making a purchase. Now think of a visit to the park as your puppy’s shopping trip.

While this might seem pretty basic in principle, in practice it can be more than a little tricky!

There are hundreds of things to distract your pooch in the outside world, not only visually but also through their extremely heightened strengths of scent and hearing.

While some lucky owners have pups who simply want to follow them around everywhere, most of us are the owners of excitable young things who want to take on the world! Therefore this post is designed to share some top tips for teaching your puppy recall.

 1. Keep happy

First and foremost, recall should be an enjoyable and exciting activity for your puppy…if not, why would they ever want to come back to you? While we all hope our dogs will do what we say out of respect for our authority, this can take time, and for puppies they also need a lot of positive encouragement.

It’s important to remember that returning on call isn’t a natural action for a puppy, so in the early stages of training you must make them want to come back to you! A cheerful, chirpy voice and positive body language will encourage them to return when you call them.

 2. Stock up on tasty treats

As well as remaining upbeat and positive, there’s nothing quite like a tasty treat to encourage puppy recall. Remember you’re trying to create a real desire on behalf of your dog, and most puppies are food lead at least in the early days.

If your dog isn’t as bothered about food but particularly loves a certain toy or ball, try this instead to encourage good recall. This helps to ensure that your puppy makes the connection that coming back to you is fun, and that someone good will happen as a result!

3. Keep moving

Though it might sound a little strange, you should keep moving to entice your puppy to come back to you. Puppies don’t always lock onto a person unless they are moving, and so it helps to perform actions such as side to side steps and waving your arms.

It’s important to start recall training with your puppy in a location with as few distractions as possible

This also adds to the excitement for your puppy and encourages them to run to you.

For some pups, the sight of their owner walking away can also encourage them to return. While this might be true, and a possible option for when all else fails, it’s not a great recall strategy and should be avoided. This is because in these situations your pooch is returning out of fear of losing you rather than a want to return to you.

 4. Take it slowly

Another important aspect to remember is that every little distraction will appeal to your puppy’s inquisitive mind, and while it may seem disheartening you simply won’t always be the most exciting one. It’s important to start recall training with your puppy in a location with as few distractions as possible, and then gradually build up along the way. This could mean starting in your local park when it’s quiet, then once your puppy has improved their skills, returning when a distraction like a football game or other busy event is taking place.

 5. Don’t get angry

When it comes to puppy recall, an angry attitude simply won’t work. If you feel yourself getting frustrated, take a deep breath and shake it out! The key to good puppy recall is a pooch who returns willingly, not out of fear, and so it’s very important not to loose your cool.

Remember, puppies don’t speak the same language as us, and your stance and body movement actually talk to them more than your voice. Tense bodies and aggressive tones are very noticeable for dogs, so if you get too frustrated and can’t calm down, call it a day and return when you’re in a better mood – the results will improve tenfold I promise.

6. If you’re not sure, take precautions!

Quite simply, if you’re not sure that your puppy will come back, use a long line lead. This is not only a great way to start the on lead to off lead transition, but it also provides a safety net to stop your puppy getting themselves into trouble or indeed danger. Good quality long line leads are available cheaply from outlets such as Amazon, and a 20ft lead should definitely do the trick.

So that’s it, a few top tips to help you with puppy recall training. I hope you’ve found the post helpful, and would love to hear your thoughts and tips too.

Finally if you’re a puppy owner who would appreciate more tips and guidance, please do visit my blog www.thepuppytails.com. There’s everything there from puppy FAQs to puppy food posts to puppy training tips.

Thanks, I hope to see you again soon!

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