How do I improve my rescue dog's recall?
Q) My terrier-cross (Jack Russell X Border) has no recall at all. She was a stray. She responds to her name sometimes, but once out of the house we are in trouble. Any advice on working on this? We have a recall line and we treat her when she comes back, but unless she wants to, she just won’t, no matter how tasty the treat.
A) Dog Trainer Tony Cruse says: The long line should prevent her from disappearing too far; however, it may be that the attractions of the park are trumping your treats. Perhaps start off calling her to you in your back garden, where there are few distractions. Using a whistle to recall can be successful.
Pip your whistle once and find her mouth with a treat (don’t wait for her to come to you, initially). Repeat this pairing of whistle/food for two days. On the third day, pop the long line on, pip your whistle, and allow her to come to you. Praise and treat her when she does.
Once you have this working in the garden, move to the park when it is quiet and, keeping her on the long line, repeat. You can now use three pips of the whistle. Keep her on the long line while she is learning to return to the whistle.