How’s your assistance dog’s off-lead recall?

October 3, 2011 · Posted in Assistance Dogs, Training 
Whistle off-leash

How’s your assistance dog’s off-lead recall? Whistle is an amazing assistance dog and he spends a lot of his time working with me. However, I try to give him several times throughout the day and evening when he can spend some free time in the backyard relaxing and just being a dog.

When he and I were first working together, I really had a hard time getting him to come back to me whenever he was off-lead. He was thoroughly enjoying the sunshine and outdoor smells and was in no hurry to come back inside.

I tried to entice him by making it worth his while to return. I began offering him a tasty treat whenever he would come when I called. That strategy has been pretty successful. However, lately, it seems that when he goes out for his free time in the backyard, he is less anxious to come back inside when I call him.

I was curious if anyone else has this issue with their assistance dog. If so, how have dealt you with it?


6 Responses to “How’s your assistance dog’s off-lead recall?”

  1. Melissa Mitchell on October 3rd, 2011 1:38 pm

    Recalls are easy behaviors to spoil and we do it without intending too. Here are some tips to keep your dog happy to come to you:
    1. Never call your dog to you so you can do something to the dog it will find unpleasant.
    2. Practice recalls often. Inside, outside, short distance, long distance, between people.
    3. Sometimes when you call your dog inside, praise them and let them go right back out. This way the dog will learn the fun doesn’t end when you call.
    4. When you call your dog to come inside, immediately engage them in a play or fun training session to show the dog there is fun inside as well as outside.

  2. SD Gal on March 23rd, 2012 4:37 pm

    Off-leash obedience (including recall) should be part of every SD’s training and testing (after on-leash training and testing and before PAT and task training and testing – with overlap on all the training, of course, as I mean finishing dates). An easy way to keep the recall command up is to use it whenever you feed your dog (don’t put the bowl down until your dog’s butt is on the floor at your feet, never before that). Also, have a different command for a casual come soon so that the recall is always immediate – this could save your dog’s life!

    It saddens me that some programs never teach any off-leash commands, not even a recall! That’s dangerous in emergencies!

  3. Andres from pro canine center on July 1st, 2012 4:42 pm

    Ok I believe that your dog must have a good obedience foundation and he must now that you are the must save point in he’s life he must have selph responsibility to the master and he should respond to he’s obedience command not because you have a piece of food bot because you can channel he’s instinct and in order to play he must obey discipline obedience and drive can be channel if you now Hao to develop your dog the re call is a simple command bot the dogs must have Avery good bond with you and I begin at 10 weeks old by haven some body hold the puppy and I Ron and hyde wy I Ron I call he’s name and not look back then I have the person release him and when he gets to me I make a big dill about it also pad in him also creating pray drive and i will make him retrieve a ball or I jest pad him and make him fill he is the must important one in my life ok this is only the beginning bot try it it should work my opinion is he’s basic training can’t be all good if you need to contact you can call me Monday thru Friday 9 to 5. Look at my weebside and you can find some good info about me and my experience in the dog word and my student academy hope this little idea can help you shao

  4. Terry McCormack on July 7th, 2012 8:17 pm

    SD Gal is right. I teach my dogs to be reliable both on and off leash.
    It can save the dogs life as well as yours. As stated in a privious post,
    Making it a good thing to come to you is a must! Your dog should never want
    to be without you and your dog should feel as though the best place in the world is
    by your side. A dog needs to be a dog but a well bonded dog knows that his handler is the
    best sourse of fun and personal satisfaction. My recommendation to you is to have a professional
    trainer not only help with the off leash recall but also with techniques to strengthen the bond with your dog. The enhanced bonding will overlap in other areas of your dogs training and help increase performance their as well.

  5. Willow on August 5th, 2012 10:39 pm

    I’m lucky. My girl has come every time I call. She is new in my life (original sd retired) but she is a velcro dog. Follows me from room to room. One thing I have always done is making it fun to come to me. I always got some food, treats, and or toys on me. I never reward her for going to someone else but always for coming to me.

    My morning routine is up and to the bathroom. First for me than cloths and out the door for her. We come in and breakfast is served. I eat first than prep her food and give it to her. She must sit and wait for my ok before she is allowed to take it. After that a bit of reading for me and rest for her (german shepherd. Want to reduce the bloat risk as much as I can. Surgery within the month for bloat prevention and spaying).

    An hour after breakfast we make a game out of going over what she already knows for tricks and tasks (including hide and seek to keep recall strong) than 10 minutes of something new now that I got her attention. She is on her own for a bit after that as I take care of my daily routine. Light lunch for both of us as I don’t want her stomach to full during the day. She will go with me to check on my aunt and a couple of other people in the building I live in. I run many errands for many people.

    About 2 she normally wants to potty again so we make a quick trip out so she can empty. At 6pm it’s more training. This is lighter less energy training. I work on touch desensitization. I have found this beyond useful and she loves it. And even this has recall work in it. About 8 I call her over for supper (after I eat) and make her go threw the down stay this time. 9 to 9:30 she wants out for her last go of the day. I’m random on when I go to bed but she is sleeping by 11 every night.

    This keeps an open schedule that is easy to adjust for surprises and helps to reinforce training in a natural and fun way. Recall is reinforced several times in areas that the dog get great rewards and encourages them to come fast. You can try this if you want.

  6. a.wonderdog on October 9th, 2012 7:31 am

    A SERVICE DOGS RECALL SHOULD BE PERFECT WHEN RECEIVED. As a trainer that is the most important thing you train into the dog. If you get a dog that you are having trouble with recall you do not let them off leash until you have this perfect with you as the handler. Get a 50ft lead so the dog has plenty of room, do your recall, give your correction if the dog does not respond immediately, & then bring your dog to you, have them sit, then reward. I do understand this is to difficult for someone with certain disabilities & this is why this should of already of been addressed when you received your dog & finished by your trainer. If you are still having this issues have someone help with the return of the dog. a 26ft flexi leash is much easier to handle with one hand, but its not the place of the person receiving the dog to have to go thru this. I say notify the trainer & have this fixed ASAP. what if the dog sees a squirrel & takes off & you have no recall? Thats why this is so important.

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