Out of all the puppy training games, Family Recall is one where you can really get the entire family involved. The training is meant to teach your dog to come, or to reinforce the recall using whichever term you’ve decided to use. This can be your dogs name or simply the word “come”. Whatever word you choose, it’s a great game to play. You end up reinforcing the recall with every member of the family, and that is really beneficial.
Not only will your dog learn to respond to you, but this is a fun opportunity to teach children how to command a dog to respond to them as well. It comes in handy when ever member of the family is able to command the family dog. It can be beneficial in the most unexpected situations, and is fun for the whole family, including the dog.
How to Play Family Recall
1. Have everyone sit in a circle with a handful of treats (you can use their dry food, but may have to upgrade treats if your pup isn’t interested in it as much as they would be a treat they don’t get often).
2. Each family member will take a turn calling the puppy to them using the designated command, like “come”.
3. When your dog comes to each person, then they should give a treat and lots of praise as a reward.
Not only is this exercise great for reinforcing the recall, so your dog actually comes to you when you use the command. It can be great exercise for your dog as they race between you for their next treat or reward. You can even do this with more than one family dog at a time. If you do that however you’ll want to ensure your dogs are calm before rewarding them when they arrive at each family member. You can even ask them to sit before giving them their reward. This way they do not get too excited racing each other and become caught up that they bowl someone over, or become to aggressive with each other.
Remember to also not confuse your pup by having more than one person make the recall command at a time. You should also increase the difficulty over time by creating more distance between you and adding other training commands to the mix. Like asking your dog to come, then sit, before receiving the treat.
If Your Dog is Not Food Driven
If your dog is not food driven, this game might be harder to play and keep their attention. Often dogs like a Labrador Retriever, really get into this game. That’s because they can be very food driven and so they are happy to run back and forth knowing there is a treat waiting for them. Other dogs might lose interest in a treat and so lose interest in the game.
You can still attempt to play using an item they really love, like a toy, by throwing that back and forth between each person. However it isn’t recommend to use as a recall game, as dogs can get very focused on a toy and run into a person unknowingly. If you are throwing an item back and forth, the game is less about the recall training. Then it becomes a game of fetch with more than one person.
A toy can be thrown between family members but they should allow the dog to retrieve it first. Then the member who is closest can ask the dog to drop it and leave it (the training part). They can then grab it and throw it back to the other person who does the same.