As you know, the main motivating factor with signing up for obedience class was to teach Milly a recall. Well, here are a few steps we are working on now, in obtaining a solid recall. At this point, anytime I use the word, “come” she needs to be on a leash, that way, if she does not come when I call, I can pull her in with the leash and praise her when she gets to me. If she is loose in the yard and I call her, I now use “Here Milly!” so that if she decides to blow me off, she is not associating her optional recall with the word “come”.
You’ll first want your dog to have a decent concept of healing (on your left side), sitting, and a sit stay. With your dog on a six foot leash to start, you can move up to a long lead, or use your Flexi lead (only use the Flexi brand) in time, ask your dog to heal, walk to a specific spot, and ask your dog to sit. Don’t worry, if you can’t get a sit, place the leash in your right hand, and immediately press with your left hand on your dog’s hind end. Once seated, ask your dog to stay and step in front of your dog. If your dog has a solid stay, you can walk all the way to the end of the leash, if not, stand as close as you need to for your dog to stay seated. Just make sure that if you decide to go to the end of the leash, you walk straight out, and then turn and do not back up to get to the end of the leash, as this can confuse your dog with contradictory body language.
With both hands on the leash, say your dogs “name + come!” for example, “Milly come!” immediately start running backwards, as you run real the leash in to you so you are eventually holding the leash in the same position you would to walk your dog, and your dog is no longer at the end of the leash. As you are running backwards and reeling in your dog, continue to encourage your dog by saying, “Dog’s name come” in a very excited voice. Once your dog has reached you, ask it to sit, and give tons of praise… “Great come! Good girl, Milly!” I like to say good or great + the command that was accomplished to reiterate what that word means while I praise. You can also give treats when the exercise is complete!
To start, you only need to run backwards for 5-10 feet. As your dog gets the hang of this, you can progress to a longer lead. Should your dog not immediately come, start reeling it in, but continue to encourage this behavior of moving towards you when called.