Is your recall aversive?

Recall is one of the biggest problems that owners can encounter. As a sighthound owner, of 3 Whippets, I understand that trying to teach a recall to a dog can be a big challenge.
And so true of anyone with a dog bred to hunt or work with or for us.

So many people are on the right lines with their recall, but they are still having problems.
They are calling their dogs and rewarding them with super tasty treats.
They are calling their dogs and playing games with them.
They are calling their dogs but not nagging them.

Yet they are still having problems?

So often something has happened, very unintentionally. And that is recall has become PUNISHING.

I’m not saying the owners are shouting at the dogs, they aren’t hurting them either. But without realising it, their recall has taught their dogs its the end of fun.

How has this happened?

This usually happens when owners start to call their dogs away from something they LOVE and then walk them away from the situation.

If your dog loves other dogs, and your dog clocks one, you call them back and treat them, then put them on the lead.
The treats are tasty BUT; what if the other dog was MORE rewarding to your dog than food?
What if your dog finds chasing birds or bunnies MORE fun?
What if your dog enjoys running and tracking that scent MORE than your treats?

The reward is then not rewarding in comparison AND they got put on the lead.
Next time..well..your dog probably won’t recall around their distraction.

How do we get around this?

Teach your dog that recall AROUND their distraction is NOT the end of fun.
Take your dog out on a long line, and with their distraction at a distance recall them to you, then send them back to their fun (not holding them close)

The long line ensures they can’t rehearse running away.
But they start to learn you calling them back doesn’t mean they get taken from the situation.

Try practising recall at home around distractions, teaching your dog if they come back- they can go back to fun. Pop your dog on a long line/ lead, with a dish of dry food far away, with your dog on the line recall them to you TREAT them then say “ok” and walk them over to the dish of food!

We can teach our dogs recall is POSITIVE, not punishing.