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Emergency Recall and Why It’s Important

Emergency recall is different from simple recall training.

There are times when we need our dog to come to us ASAP. Sometimes, simple recall won’t cut it. Using common everyday words won’t work for this type of training, that’s why you have to choose your “emergency” word carefully.

Below, we have a brief description of the training as well as certain steps you need to take to train your dog.

Knowing how to get your dog to come when called is one of the most important things to figure out as a pet owner.

Emergency Recall is simply a word or very short phrase you can use to get your dog to come to you immediately, without hesitation. It differs from a normal recall word because it is only used in emergency situations. Emergency recall should be an incredibly reliable fail safe.

How to Teach Your Dog Emergency Recall

  1. What’s the Word?
    …The command should be short, not something you say often, and in no way similar to any of the words you usually use for recall (or any other command, really). We use “Penny NOW!” (I know, not very creative) – other potential commands are “Quick Digs!” “Hurry Kid!” “Kick Splits!” Whatever the German word for “Get Your Butt Over Here” is… You can be as creative or uncreative as you want, just make sure it’s something you wouldn’t mind yelling at the top of your lungs in (potentially) mixed company.
  2. Cardboard Biscuits Won’t Cut It
    The next step is to get some seriously amazing treats. Remember, this is seriously amazing for a dog, so it’s not gonna take much to blow their minds. We used chicken (rotisserie chicken is Penny’s fav), but you can also use hot dogs, lunch meat, leftover steak… whatever you’ve got that’s NOT TOXIC to dogs (be careful with this guys).
  3. Let Training Commence!
    Now that you’re stocked up with your training essentials, try using the command right in front of your dog. Once they come to you, grab their collar (this is important)* then give them their special treat for 20-30 seconds, then let them go about whatever they were doing before (this is also important).** Practice this daily, slowly moving farther and farther away from your dog until you’re completely out of view from the dog.
  4. Mix it Up
    As they get the hang of this new command, try it in all kinds of different situations and circumstances: try it with different people saying the command, try it in different locations, try it when other dogs are around (probably not at a dog park though, unless you want dogs crawling all over you for your hotdogs). You want your dog to respond reliably regardless of where they are.

*I say grab your dog’s collar before giving them the treat because my dog likes to play keep away when I’m trying to wrangle her. Your dog will learn that they must not only come to you, but also allow you to grab their collar – if you do use the command in an emergency situation, you’ll actually be able to grab ahold of them and take them to safety.

**ALWAYS let your dog go back to what they were doing (playing, running, chewing on their butt, whatever) when you use the emergency recall command in a training environment. You want your dog to ONLY associate emergency recall word with these super amazing mind blowing treats, but never associate it with something negative (like a bath, a trip to the vet, or you leaving for work). If they start to associate it with something negative, the command may not work when you really need it to.

You can check the full article here.
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