I am lucky enough to have a field near me about four miles square to let April run to her heart's content so a reliable recall is very important to me. This is how I have been working with April and it has been working great.
First I had to figure out what her absolute favorite thing is to eat. Leftover beef is hers. I don't use beef for any of her training except when I am practicing the recall. Next, I picked a word, I just use "come" (so I would remember it) but it can be any word.
I started practicing it when I KNEW she would come. She always comes when I rattle my car keys, or when I come home. It's very important that your dog come 100% of the time so make sure you know when your dog will come to you. I practice at random times. When she comes, I act like she just did the best thing in the world. The bits of food are given to her one right after the other and at the same time, I am telling her what a great girl she is, etc. At first I did this 5-10 times a day. I do it now about 3 times a day, everyday. I do it at times when we will be doing something she loves to do right after, like a ride in the car, or a walk, or even dinner.
The idea is to get them to respond to your call without even thinking. So far it is working great. I used it the other day when she was barking endlessly at a squirrel in the back yard. She actually chose to come to me knowing that I had something better than the squirrel had, and I did. She got some leftover steak and a walk for coming when I called her. She also got lots and lots of praise.
You never know when a reliable recall can be save your dog's life so practice it everyday. Practice it to the point so that your dog is conditioned to come without hesitation. April not only comes but she comes full speed back to me.now. I don't think she even has time to think about it, she just responds.
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