Recall is one of the few universal goals we all have for our dogs. It opens up so much freedom and choice for them, it helps you have the confidence to try new experiences and, most importantly, it keeps our best friends safe. It’s a simple concept. You call their name, say come and they come running back to you. Easy right? Well, then why does it seem so impossible at times? We are always competing for our dog's attention, whether it is for an obvious distraction or something we can’t see, a solid recall can often seem out of reach. There are common things that conspire to make this harder for us all. However, knowing what we are up against can help us with our path forward. Here are three reasons your dog won’t listen to their recall.
History Of Learning.
Recall is one of those things that we often take for granted. If you think about it, we often only call our dogs when they are trying to do the things that they want to do. Whether that is chasing wildlife, greeting new friends, or following their noses, whether we realize it or not, we are asking them to stop doing the things that just come naturally to them. Think of recall as a bank account. Every time we practice it when we don’t need it and reward them, we are putting money into our account. Every time we call them away from the things they want to do, we have taken money out of our bank account. Practicing recall in ways that are easy, positive and fun will keep that bank account full and functioning.
Too Much Freedom Too Early.
An extremely common mistake! Taking off that leash and hoping for the best can quickly create bad habits. Every time your dog hears you call them to come and ignores it for something they would rather do, their recall takes a hit. One of the main dreams of many dog owners is to walk with their dogs off-leash. This often leads to giving our dogs that type of freedom before it is safe to do so. A good middle ground is a long line. A fixed, ten to thirty-foot leash connected to a harness allows you to train and work on your dog’s recall safely at a distance while preventing your dog from getting into trouble or danger.
Dogs are purpose-bred for all types of tasks. Hunting, herding, protection, rodent control and more! This focused breeding does mean that certain dogs will have a harder time ignoring their environment. The simple fact is that Beagles will always want to sniff, Terriers will always want to critter, and Cattle Dogs will always want to control their environment. Don’t take this to mean that off-leash walks are out of the question for a Bloodhound or that your Border Collie can never ignore things that move quickly. It is important to keep in mind though, that our dogs are acting on their instinct more often than not. Certain categories of dogs will need more training and patience than others do to build a strong and reliable recall.
There are more reasons than the ones listed above that can sometimes prevent our dogs from responding to their recall but these are the ones that we see so often. Reach out for help if you feel defeated in accomplishing this task. We have all had our ups and downs while teaching and proofing our dog’s recall. Just know that we are here to help!