It seems like every day there is a post on Facebook about a missing dog. Sometimes dogs are stolen in terrible circumstances that cannot be avoided, on some occasions a dog is stolen by someone who manages to call it away from it’s owners using a big food incentive, and every so often a dog will just run off, not come back when called and then go missing for days and days, causing a huge amount of stress and upset for everyone involved.
This is why it is so so important to have good recall with your dog. What is meant by good recall, is that whatever your dog is doing, if you call them over, they will happily come back to you every time. If your recall is good 80% of the time then it would be well worth doing some work on improving it, because that 20% of the time when he or she doesn’t return could be a problem. In addition to what I’ve mentioned about dogs going missing, we also need to consider things like keeping your dog safe from other dogs who aren’t comfortable being approached and from the road, as well as you wanting to avoid the social embarrassments of your dog stealing food from someone’s picnic, jumping up at someone in a lovely while outfit, chasing children and joggers, and so on…
The good news is that having good recall with your dog is possible for anyone! It takes some work at home, improving your dog’s understanding of his/her place in the pack, and some work on the walk. All of this is easy for me to teach you how to do. There is another article on my website, explaining how to train your dog to come when called off the lead, and I can recommend a read of “The Dog Listener” by Jan Fennell. Jan tells a wonderful story about how she got 4 off lead dogs back to her car when they were being attacked by a swarm of wasps, without really trying, simply because they saw her as the Alpha, so their recall was 100%. They knew that it was in their best interests to trust her decision, so went with her, no questions asked. Wouldn’t that be wonderful…?
Thank you to Toby McCartney for the gorgeous photo of Branson.