Sheepdog Training 09 – Getting a Good Recall on Your Dog

How to train your dog to have a good recall

a good recall is essential for a sheep or cattle dog

So what should you do if you're out with your dog somewhere and he won't come back to you?

Well, first, you shouldn't really be releasing a dog that you can't trust but let's imagine you thought he'd be OK (after all, he comes to you straight away when you're at home in the garden).

Well, first, only take the dog to fairly small, enclosed spaces that he can't escape from (not onto a road or amongst someone else's sheep for example). Then you should let him go - and if he won't come back when you call him - walk away (and keep walking). He'll soon realise you've gone and come looking for you.

OK - OK every dog's an individual and there's always the exception to every rule, so let's say the disappearing act above didn't work. The chances are, you gave-in too early, but just supposing you didn't - you spent what seemed like hours trying to catch him and missed your favourite TV programme.

What can we do now? Well, we need to go back to the garden and make absolutely certain the dog's coming back 100% of the time.

Not when he feels like it - I mean straight away, 100%.

Now we put him on a long leash or cord and take him to the enclosed space we talked about.

Still coming back 100%? . . . Lengthen the leash.

Still 100%? . . . Release your end of the long leash.

He'll feel it pulling on his collar as it drags along the ground and he'll think you still hold the other end (and therefore, "absolute power").

Still coming back 100%? . . . Go back to a shorter leash but release your end so the pull on his collar is reduced. If he defaults, go back to the previous stage or even the one before that - and so on - I'm sure you get the idea.

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