Years ago I did K-9 security for a large hospital in Hartford, CT. The only place we could go with our dogs to let them off leash was on the roof of the parking garage. We could secure the doors and let the dogs run and chase tennis balls.
It was great until one knucklehead I worked with decided to throw the ball a little too hard. Like most parking garages, the walls were four feet high and then it was a straight drop to the pavement. Jocko was a beautiful German Shepherd and was going full speed towards the ball.
He could easily clear the small wall and would plunge 50 feet to the pavement. The guy who threw the ball was calling Jocko to come. Jocko was totally committed to getting the ball and was seconds away from serious injury or even death. As he screamed louder, Jocko kept running towards the wall.
I stepped forward and yelled “JOCKO, NEIN!!!”
Jocko was fully trained in German and NEIN means NO.
Jocko came to a complete stop and then I called him over to me.
Obedience training can literally save your dog's life. And if you were to ask me what the most important command is I would say, “Come when called.”
The recall (come when called) command is hands down your most important command to teach. I can show you how to teach this command in minutes. But here's your problem. Most dogs will come when called when there are zero distractions.
Add a distraction and your dog quickly ignores your command, which is why if you want to teach this command, if you really want your dog to be safe, if you really want your dog to come every time you call, you must teach your dog to do this with distractions.
And your dog has to understand the word “NO.” When Jocko was running away I needed him to STOP doing the behavior. Once he stopped running away, once his behavior was stopped, I could then get him to DO the behavior I wanted… Come.
This is the reason so many people have problems with the recall command. They are not properly communicating. Your dog can learn to perform under distraction.
If you’d like your dog to get better with the recall command, check out my online course:
The Ultimate Online Recall Course will show you step by step how to teach this command.
All the best,