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Tuesday Training Byte: Problem recall

In dog class last week, a common question came up about dogs not coming when called. Typically, I do not give a command that I am not able to enforce. As a result, for most younger dogs, that means I have control of them on a leash when I give a command. The issue arises when the owner lets their dog out into the fenced backyard, usually at night and then the dog will not come in when called. The reason? Well the dog is just having a grand ol' time outside which is much preferred to getting put in the crate or to bed. Here is the fix. Most dogs have at least some prey drive or play drive. Have a short slip leash tucked in your waist band and go out and encourage a game of "come and get me" running away from your dog. Do not give your dog a command- just play. Even bring a toy for a quick tug. Once the dog is within your grasp, slip the lead on and continue to pet and play with your dog. After a few minutes, say- "Let's get your treat!" as you walk your pup back into the house. Spend a few minutes interacting with your dog. I do not call my dog to come at this point in training, because the chance is good he will not. You must make sure that the dog connects coming to you results in more reward than running around alone in the yard. In time, you will add in the come command. Be ready to give a treat or toy, some petting and then release your dog to play again. At all costs, avoid scolding the dog that is slow about coming and avoid taking him directly to his crate.

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