It is a very common and frustrating problem, that people often create inadvertently.
And that can be avoided by following a few helpful rules
He wants to be with you
A seven or eight week old puppy wants nothing more than to be next to you. At some point over the next few weeks there is great potential for this to go wrong.
Happily there is equal scope for strengthening that bond and creating the beginnings of a lifetime of co-operation between you.
It is within every puppy owner’s power to thoroughly condition an enthusiastic recall response from a very early age, if a few simple rules are followed.
- Call the puppy when he is already coming towards you
- Never chase the puppy
- Use BIG rewards
Call when he is already coming
You may feel that not calling a puppy until he is already on his way towards you, is hardly an obedient recall. And indeed it is not.
But we are not looking for an obedient recall in a small puppy. What we are doing is ‘conditioning him to believe that running towards you is the best thing ever. And to thoroughly associate this act with the sound of the recall command.
Eventually, in time, the sound of the recall will be so ingrained that his automatic response on hearing it, is to run towards you. You are laying the foundations for future training when he is ready
Never chase the puppy
Puppies love being chased. And children love chasing puppies. Never, ever let children or anyone else chase your puppy. He will quickly learn what he should never discover. That he can run faster than you.
He will also learn to move away from people that are moving towards him, and worse still may come to associate moving away, with the sound of his name.
Use BIG rewards
When you have used your recall and the puppy has reached your side, you need to make sure that reaching you is a brilliant experience for him.
Work out what your tiny puppy finds rewarding, this might be a massive rolling on the ground session, climbing in your lap and wriggling all over you, or it might be a delicious snack of something extra tasty.
Once you have figured out how to make him feel ecstatically happy, use that knowledge to reward the puppy for returning to you.
Reward him every time to begin with and then intermittently so that he is never sure whether or not he is going to get a reward.
For more information on the puppy recall, and other aspects of puppy care you can buy ‘The Right Start’ – a guide to raising a gundog puppy – from the Gundog Club bookshop
Have fun with your puppy recall!