Featuring Jen Larson, KPA-CTP & Whitney Spence, CPDT-KA
Concept by Courtney Emken

We are picking back up on our series of recall games with Ditch the Dog & Recall into Finish Position. Did you know that working on your dog’s recall could save their life? That’s right, playing games with your dog now could save their life someday. So, learn these games then go play with your dog.

– [Whitney] Hello, my name is Whitney. I’m one of the certified trainers here and I’m here with Jen our training manager. So, today we are back with some more recall games. Ditch the Dog and Recall into Finish Position. We will also be using the help of Leo the pug today.

– [Jen] All right so before we get started with our two recall games today, just a couple reminders to keep in mind. So recall is coming when called consistently so it’s important to practice recall in low distraction environments and really strengthen the skill before you bring it out to higher distraction environments like outside or at a park. So a couple factors that influence the success of your recall. Your body position. So what are you doing with your body when you’re calling your dog to you? If you’re leaning forward or reaching towards them, moving towards them, some of those postures can be considered intimidating for dogs and it makes it less likely for the dog to want to come to you. So instead you can do sort of some less intimidating postures. So turn to the side, crouch down, move away, patch your legs, stuff like that and that’s gonna make your dog more likely to want to come to you. Another really important thing to keep in mind with recall is that recall is an essential skill. It can really save your dog’s life some day. In case they ran out of the front door, or in front of a car, something like that. Having a strong recall can bring them back to you and keep them safe.

– [Whitney] So for ditch the dog, what you’re going to do is use your everyday recall cue and for Leo’s is going to be come and so I will say come and then take several steps away from him. Once he gets to me I’m going to reward with a couple treats.

– [Jen] So that gets your dog used to following you, coming with you when your moving, stuff like that.

– [Whitney] So I’m gonna go ahead and start with ditch the dog using his everyday recall cue come. Leo, come, yes good boy. Good job. Come, yes, good boy Leo. Is a kibble. Come, yes, good job. And so just like that, could be a really fun game for you and your dog. So ditch the dog is a fun game that you can play in the backyard or in your house or any environment.

– [Jen] But make sure it’s a low distraction environment first and then work your way up to more distracting environments. So the second game that we’re gonna play is called recall into finish position and so that’s all about training a nice finish position at the end of Leo’s recall. So we don’t want Leo to run over to us and then jump up on us or something like that, we want a nice behavior like a sit so that’s what we’re gonna be asking from Leo today. So I’m gonna use that same game that Whitney just used ditch the dog but I’m gonna add another element to it and so this is gonna be recall into finish position. So instead of Leo just running over to me, when he gets to me I’m gonna ask for a nice finish behavior so that’s gonna be a sit in his case. So we use this with dogs who sometimes get really overexcited so they’re excited to come to you, they come over to you, and they jump up on you. So instead of reinforcing a jumping behavior or something like that we want to build a nice default sit. Okay, so Leo’s recall into finish position is gonna be a sit so I’m gonna make sure he’s got a sit. Sit, good. So he’s got a nice little sit, so that’s what I’m gonna use. So I’m gonna run away from him, call him over to me using his everyday call cue which is come, he’s visiting Whitney over there. I’m gonna call him back to me and then when he gets to me I’m gonna ask for a sit and I’m gonna reinforce that. I’m gonna do that a couple times. Sit, good, and then I’m going to not ask for the sit and I’m gonna see if he’ll do it just as a default. Ready, come, good boy, sit, yes, so good. Ready, come, sit, good, good boy. Ready, come, sit, good. So he’s doing a great job giving me sit so this time I’m just gonna freeze and then see if he’ll give me a default sit. Ready, come, good. So he did, good little boy. Ready, come, good, very good. So now he’s got a nice little recall into finish position here. Come, good, good, Leo. So that was a little game that we call recall into finish position. So you don’t have to use a sit with that you could use any behavior that’s comfortable for your dog that you want to reinforce at the end of their recall.