Labrador Retrievers are known for being fairly easy to train, which makes the work enjoyable on both ends of the leash. However, a solid recall can be hard for any dog to master – especially a lively Lab that’s interested in the world. And it doesn’t help that we often poison our own training when it comes to the recall. Not intentionally, of course, but our mistakes can cause us frustration and confuse our Labs. If you are struggling, try these 3 tips to getting your Lab to come when called.
#1 – Don’t Call Your Labrador Retriever For Something He Hates
Dogs learn by association. For example, if they counter surf one time and get a piece of steak, they’ll associate counter surfing with food and continue to do it. So if you call your Lab to you every time you need to do something he hates, such as a bath or nail trim, he will associate coming when called with negative things and not want to come to you. To not ruin your “come” cue, it’s better to go get your dog in these instances. And definitely never call your Lab to you and then punish him.
#2 – Get Low & Act Excited
The more fun you look, the more likely your Labrador is going to want to come to where the party is! So if he doesn’t immediately come running after you have said your cue, try crouching down with arms open and a relaxed, happy face. Most dogs will be much more likely to come to a person in this position than one who is standing up straight in a “serious” posture.
#3 – Disappear
No matter how independent your Lab seems, she really does want you around. If she didn’t respond to that “come” cue, find a place to hide. Behind a bush, a tree, or inside the house—anywhere your dog can’t see you works. Chances are, as soon as she realizes she can’t see you, she will look for you. When your Lab finds you, remember to praise her and be happy!
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