How to Train Your Bracco: Recall
The Recall – alongside the stop is one of the most important commands you can teach, and a good recall will also help you If you want to progress your training to retrieving as it will help deliver a good retrieve to hand.
This is another exercise we teach from day one sitting on the floor in the kitchen and you can start the recall whistle very early on, when the puppy, or dog is playing we do a few toots on the whistle and tap our chest, the whistle gets the dogs attention and by tapping your chest the puppy will be looking up at you (eye contact), the dog should then come running at you and will jump on you and into your arms, where you reward with a cuddle.
(We would recommend using a whistle especially as distance builds up but of course you could swap the whistle out for a command ‘Come’ or Here’. An Acme 210.5 or 211.5 whistle is about £6-7, it doesn’t matter what number you purchase so long as you stick with the same one if you lose it in the future.)
The important thing to learn with all training is choose a command, or, several commands for each action and stick with it, repeating it over and over if necessary. So, for a recall, maybe you choose 3 pips of the whistle, or 5, or, ‘come,’ or ‘here’, it doesn’t matter, you could choose ‘banana’ if you wanted too. If you are training a dog that lives with more people, then make sure everyone else knows all the words, or commands for training too and uses them as well. All too often you hear someone asking their dog to perform a task, each time it fails the command changes, with numerous commands being used, training is all about consistency and fairness.
As the dog grows you can go from sitting on the floor to kneeling, but the process is still the same, tapping your chest and allowing the puppy/dog to jump into your arms. When they are confidently coming to you, you can start introducing some structure, this is where we introduce the tennis ball.
We use the tennis ball as a target and a reward, it is highly visible especially at a distance, but it’s your ball, not the dogs.
To start the recall, have the dog on a long lead (I always use a 5ft lead) with your dog sat a lead length in front of you (you are in control of the dog),
Face the dog with the ball in the palm of your hand facing towards the dog and held out. Call the dog to you (using your chosen command, or the pip of your whistle) at the same time bring the ball towards your body and tight into your groin area.
When the dog touches the ball reward him with it, I usually toss it in the air and say yes good dog. (remember to keep hold of the lead in the early stages).
With the lead still in your hand back away from the dog and again bring him towards you using the tennis ball as a target, if he touches the ball when it’s in your groin area reward him with it, if he doesn’t then back of a bit and repeat the recall, he will quickly get the idea of touching the ball.
As the dog progresses you can sit the dog further away (off lead) and recall him to you, gradually build in the distance, but don’t make the distance any further than you feel you can control the dog.
As the dog get older you can start to replace the ball and praise just with praise. They dog should do things because it wants to please not for what it can get.
The recall is a lengthy process and will need constant proofing, just because you have success in one area, does not mean your will somewhere new. Do not be frustrated if the recall fails you need to go back to basics and rebuild again and start from scratch each time you change location. If you are good in the garden, start from the beginning in the street, good in the street, start from the beginning in the park, or field. Good in the field or park, start from the beginning using a distraction, maybe a friend’s dog, or something you can initially control.
Good luck and happy training.