If you are being ignored by the dog either stand on the long line and then pick it up or take up the slack as you are already holding it. If after calling your dog in the way described above you are still being ignored, you can then issue a pull on the line. We are not looking to lift the dog off its feet; just enough to gain attention, and then go back into your recall efforts. We do though need to make the effort in keeping with the dog’s weight. Give a light tug for small dog, and a heftier tug for a solid dog like a Labrador type.
Some dogs will be so resistant that you will then need to either walk backwards away from the dog (you are still holding the line) to get some momentum to follow you, or constantly reel the line in.
Once your dog is coming in towards you, you can remain still and go into your recall efforts. Try to take up the slack as your dog approaches to ensure it does not get distracted. Once the dog is coming toward you say your recall word – ‘come’, ‘here’, ‘close’ etc. Only say the word when they are coming towards you and not just thinking about it. Again, you want them to associate the word with the action.
Bring your dog in nice and close with the line at a short length and give a treat immediately, continue to keep your dog’s line close for about ten seconds whilst you are giving lots of physical and verbal praise.
During this time look about you to keep an eye on what might be going on before you release your dog ready for the next attempt. If it becomes too busy with people and other dogs end the session and revisit another day. You are looking to set your dog up for success – too many distractions will not allow them to succeed.
Let your dog out again ready to repeat the process. We suggest you try around 10-15 of these per walk which is why a secure field (privately hired out to yourself) is the best for teaching recall as the dog has little distraction from other dogs or people.
Determination will win the day as you are looking to set up a whole new routine for your dog and create a positive new habit!
Once your dog is showing clear signs of improvement, you can then begin to lengthen the line over a 4-6 week period.
Remember, do not let you dog off-lead until they are returning to you 100% of the time.