HELP! My Dog Won't Come Back to Me!

Is your dog a liability off the lead? Are they off and away without a second glance as soon as that collar is unclipped? Take a look at the following video guides: Episode 7 | RECALL | Lockdown Training Series to take you from the very basics to a reliable recall every time.

Episode 6 | DISTRACTIONS ON A WALK | Lockdown Training Series to learn how to overcome tempting distractions out and about.


Part of the joy of dog ownership is enjoying walks and adventures together, which is only enhanced by giving them the freedom to roam off lead. The ability to do this, however, is only possible with good off lead control and a strong recall. You need to be confident your dog will listen to you and be aware of where you are when off lead in case of danger, other people or dogs who don’t might not want to interact. Without these skills your dog is at risk of running into trouble, getting hurt or even lost.


So, how do we get our dogs to do this? Up against a world of distractions and adventures that your dog wants to explore, is it even possible? The solution is in fact very simple. You need to become more exciting than that other dog across the field, more interesting than the squirrel in the tree and more rewarding than following that really smelly scent that’s leading them astray.


The way to do this is to make yourself into a reward roulette machine. If every time your dog comes back to you they get the same treat from the same hand in the same way, this becomes predictable and gradually less and less motivating to return for. Soon they begin to weigh up their options - do I go and get the same old treat, or do I just get that later and GO AND CHASE THIS PIGEON RIGHT NOW WOOHOOOOO!!!!!!! Cya later.


If, however, every time your dog comes back to you they get something different, this greatly increases your value to your dog as coming back to you suddenly means that they get a mystery prize, and it’s always a good one. Sometimes it will be food, sometimes extra delicious food, sometimes the ball, sometimes a game of tug, sometimes a run around and play, sometimes a cuddle, sometimes permission to go and do the thing that they wanted to run over to in the first place. This communication between you makes for safer and infinitely more rewarding walks for the both of you.


It’s important to take recall training at your dog’s own pace - suddenly letting them off and expecting them to understand that coming back to you means reward is dangerous. Start from the basics and the very beginning in order to establish a solid behaviour that works every time. Remember, learning a new skill doesn’t happen overnight, and your consistency is absolutely key.

For a full breakdown and step by step guidance to these crucial skills watch:

Episode 7 | RECALL | Lockdown Training Series to take you from the very basics to a reliable recall every time.

Episode 6 | DISTRACTIONS ON A WALK | Lockdown Training Series to learn how to overcome tempting distractions out and about.






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