By Cherie Maitland, Trainer and Behavior Specialist at Our Furry Friends Training Center

    The recall command, “Lassie, come” is such an important command that it's important to set up training scenarios to train this
    command, rather than just using it when you really need it without prior practice. Let’s first start by building a good foundation for
    your dog coming to you willingly and even happily. Be sure to call your dog to you for something she enjoys like a walk, dinner, belly
    rubs, treats, frisbee. If it is for something unpleasant go get her, give her a treat, play with her for a couple of minutes. Then, oh by
    the way as long as you’re here it’s time for a bath. Remove the distasteful event from her approach to you or yours to her. Also in
    the beginning, do not call her away from something she loves, such as playing with other dogs, digging, running free in the back
    yard etc., (this comes later.)
    Practice calling your dog to you in the house at close distances with no distractions, at mealtime or for other positive reasons. You
    want your voice to mean to her, “Hey Lassie, I’ve got your most favorite toy/treat/friend over here - come see!” Praise her as she is
    approaching, (she’s already decided to come,) rather than waiting until she gets to you. Be careful about asking too much of her
    when she arrives - like sit, down, stay - just reward her. In the beginning, you’ll need to be an enthusiastic actor and act like she is
    doing an amazing thing every time she approaches you.
    Try the recall hide n’ seek game with 1 or 2 other friends/family members in the house or in the yard if it's fenced. Give each person
    some yummy treats such as cheese, roast beef, hot dog pieces. Better to give 5 small morsels than 1 big piece each time your
    dog gets to you. After she gets the hang of it, hide in a different place after she is on her way to the next person. Make it fun!

    Slowly increase the distance from your dog, when you call her. At other times, slowly add more distractions. And in other sessions,
    practice in different locations. If you are unsure of your dog’s ability or compliance at first, let her drag a long line, so if you have to,
    you can step on it if she decides to ignore you. You don’t want your dog to learn that ignoring you and going off the other way works.
    In dog training, we never want commands to be optional. Practice in short sessions and slowly add more challenging
    scenarios. And Lassie will learn how to come home every time!!

    Please contact me for further information on this or on any other training and obedience issues. You can call me at
    209-304-5139 or 530-622-PUPS.
    E-mail to:  AsktheTrainer@DOG-B-GOOD.com or by mail at PO Box 97, Pine Grove, CA 95665

    NEXT STEP is setting up TRAINING SCENARIOS taking into account:


    This is one of the most common questions I hear. It’s best to first practice in
    situations where your dog pulls the least, perhaps walking around the yard or
    even in a large room in the house, rather than going towards a beloved place.
    “Lure and reward” training is one approach to use. Use great-smelling treats
    (like dried liver, chicken, hot dog pieces, not just a dry biscuit,) in your closed
    hand to lure your dog into position by your side. Say “yes” and give a treat. At
    almost every moment your dog is walking without pulling, use this technique. A
    trick is to do this when he is very hungry and motivated to earn the food rewards
    that you have. Praise him often so he will realize what is correct and it will
    help keep his attention on you.  Often we tend to forget to notice and reward
    the good behavior and we pay attention to the bad. Your attention in and of itself
    is very reinforcing to dogs. And what we reinforce will increase.
    The other thing you can do is walk backwards away from the direction your dog
    is pulling at the moment the leash goes tight. The timing is important - as the
    leash tightens and as you start to backup, say ”too bad.” This tells your dog
    that he loses out on where and what he is trying to go towards as soon
    as he pulls.  As soon as the leash is slack again and your dog has turned his
    attention back to you, praise your dog and continue to walk forward in your
    original direction. Your quick timing is important, so that your dog can begin to
    understand which behavior gets him what he wants.

    Show your dog that the only way you and he go forward is with slack on the
    leash. The first several times you practice, don’t plan on getting anywhere fast,
    you’ll be going backwards most of the time at first. Keep sessions short and
    sweet and end on a good note. You’ll see your clarity, good timing and
    determination payoff as it dawns on your dog how he can get what he wants.
    Headcollars like the Gentle Leader and Halti are extremely helpful too.

    Please contact me for further information on this or on any other training
    and obedience issues. You can call me at 209-304-5139 or 530-622-PUPS.

    E-mail to:  AsktheTrainer@DOG-B-GOOD.com or by mail at PO Box 97,
    Pine Grove, CA 95665

My dog pulls on the leash so hard
that my shoulder starts hurting.
How do I teach my dog to stop?