Touch as Recall

We all want a dog who can reliably come when called. Calling “come here, come here, $*&#$ come here” is one way people try. It’s not very reliable. It’s hard for people to realize that dogs might think sniffing another dog’s butt is more desirable than coming to a screaming panicky owner.

I teach a cue called “touch” (see June 7, 2007 entry). Train your dog to touch your hand — palm, finger, fist or all three — and make it a very fun game. Once your dog understands that amazingly wonderful things happen when a cool nose is pressed to a human hand, then start making it more challenging. Layer in distance and distractions AT THE RATE YOUR DOG CAN HANDLE IT and always humble yourself because it’s a hard cue to RELIABLY train and should take months of regular practice. As the distance increases and your dog responds to the “touch” cue by COMING WHEN CALLED, you now have a recall.