Today I’m answering a question from my Facebook page from Shawn Hiter about calling your dog back to you in any environment, at any time. A good recall (the “come” command) can keep your dog safe and maybe even save your dog’s life.
I took my dog to the beach for the first time. I let her off leash and she did really well, chased a few birds but came right back to my quick whistle.
We did this for 10-15 minutes and then suddenly, for no reason, she dashed off and would not respond to the whistle.
Nothing scared her, she just didn’t want to come. I chased her down, thank God, no accident or anyting, but it took 50 years off my life.
Should I do repeat exercises using longer leash? Any other suggestions for ensuring she returns on command?
You definitely want to work her on a long line and IN that environment. Someone once asked me, “How do I know my dog has learned the come command?” Here’s my reply: “If you can take your dog to 5 different locations and do 5 recalls (come command) successfully on line, then your dog has a good understanding of the come command on line.”
The same thing would apply to an off-leash recall or come command. I use lighter lines (a parachute cord) to build up to off-leash discipline before actually taking my dog off the leash to prevent exactly what happened to you.
Remember, dogs don’t generalize too well. Practicing in your neighborhood and/or parks is NOT the same at the beach. Leadership plays an important role. Whether or not you’ve associated something negative with the come command may also play a role in your dog’s hesitation or failure to come. Example: Your dog may think: “If coming to you means the end of having fun, I’ll have to think about it!”
Good luck on your training.
(C) Jim Burwell 2010
What’s YOUR dog training question?
Use the comments below to ask me.