Training Tip Thursday: Building a Reliable Recall – Tip #3
Recall your dog once, and only once.
Why? If you issue the recall (or any command) multiple times, the dog is going to learn that he does not really need to listen to you the first time.
I like to give the following scenario to help explain this recall rule:
- Mom: “Johnny, dinner is ready. Come downstairs.”
- Child: “Ok, mom. Be down there in a sec.”
- Mom: “Johnny, dinner is getting cold. Come down here, NOW.”
- Child: “Alright, mom!”
- Mom: “JOHNNY BOBBY SMITH, YOU COME DOWN HERE THIS INSTANT!”
- Child: “Ah ok, mom!! I’m coming!!”
So what did the child learn? He can technically ignore his mom’s first two commands, as she did not really mean it until she called him the third time. This is the same exact situation we often place ourselves in with our dogs — instead of teaching them that they need to respond to the first “come”, we inadvertently condition them to respond to the second, third, or fourth “come”.
And along with issuing the command just once, try to use an even, steady tone of voice each and every time you recall your dog. Dogs are exceptionally brilliant when it comes to reading our emotions – “Bella, come.” is going to sound much different than, “Bella, COME.” or “BELLA, COME!!!!!”
And make sure to check out next week’s Training Tip Thursday to see what I do when one of my pups does not respond (!) to the recall command.
Posted on January 12, 2012, in Training Tip Thursday and tagged Building a Recall, Clicker Training, Dog Training, Kylie, Obedience Training, Positive Reinforcement, Recall. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.