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Addressing Recall Problems


Dogs with no recall can be a problem for everyone

Recall, or the lack of it, is one of the more common of behavioural problems.  It’s not uncommon for people to describe their dog’s recall as “pretty good apart from when there is a distraction”.

We’ve all experienced times when our dog has suddenly spotted something in the distance such as another dog, other animal or person and then watched him run off at a rate of knots leaving us shouting at the dog to come back.

Either way, it can be an unsettling, often embarrassing and frustrating experience

Reversely, most of us have been on the receiving end of a dog charging up to us and our dog, with the owner in the distance half heartedly calling their dog back without success.  This can be a very worrying experience for both you and your dog especially if your dog is reactive towards other dogs or recovering from an operation or some other similar reason. 

Reasons Why Dogs Don’t Come Back

There are a number of reasons why dogs simply do not answer the recall command:

Lack of training – One of the problems associated with puppy/dog training classes is that dogs find it hard to ‘generalise’ what they have learnt in a village hall and then to transfer it to the home/garden/out on a walk environment.  This coupled with not actually practising the recall at home and out on walks just means the dog basically does what it wants simply because he doesn’t really know what is expected of him.   

Genetics – All dogs have been bred to do a job of work for man at some point.  Sight hounds and herding breeds for instance were bred for activities that centred on running and chasing so when an opportunity presents itself, the temptation is often too much to ignore.  Other dogs can be overly friendly and playful, worried or just plain nosey.  Exercise is also a contributing factor as some dogs need lots more exercise than others and find an outlet by chasing after other dogs, animals, joggers, cyclists or traffic.

Past experiences – All dogs learn by association and repetition, so if a dog has been repeatedly allowed to do it’s own thing out on a walk they will do just that.  Also, if every time the dog returns to it’s owner it is put back on the lead then the dog quickly learns that coming back to you results in the ending of all his fun. 

Regardless of the reason, the one thing we definitely need from our dogs is that they come back to us when called, whether it be for their own safety, the rules imposed on us by society or just our own sanity.

At Living With Wolves, we assess the underlying behavioural cause of the lack of recall and work with you to correct this problem using focus techniques and fun exercises.  We do this at our training ground in Haslemere in a controlled environment where distractions are kept to a minimum, a must in the early stages of your dog’s behaviour modification.