Recall Training: How to Ensure Your Hound Comes When Called

Jun 6, 2024 | Training

Recall is one of the most important things you can teach your hound. As well as being an essential skill for the everyday, it could one day prove to be a lifesaver in a dangerous situation. 

Why is teaching your hound recall important? 

The most important reason to teach your hound recall is to avoid dangerous situations. Whether your hound has accidentally slipped out your front door, or gets in a pickle at the dog park, if you can teach your hound to immediately return when called, you are helping them stay safe in emergency situations. But it can also help you navigate their prey drive, keep wildlife and other animals safe, and keep them safe around roads. The most important thing to remember when you are training recall is time and consistency – your greyhound won’t have perfect recall overnight. 

How do you get started with your training? 
1. Choose your recall word

Before you start training, work out what your recall word will be. We highly recommend choosing something other than ‘come’, ‘here’ or your pooches name. If there are other pet owners around, you can bet that most will be using these terms. By choosing something unique and exciting, there is more chance it will stand out to your hound in a noisy environment. 

2. Start in a low distraction environment

The next step is to get your hound accustomed to your recall word. Have some high value treats on hand, and as you walk quickly backwards, say your recall word and encourage your hound to catch up. If your hound follows and stays focussed on you, give them a treat. Praise them, and make it exciting! Do this over and over. Next up, let your hound walk a short distance away from you before calling them with your recall word. If they return, it’s time for a treat! In these early days, if you don’t think your hound will respond, don’t use your recall word (and try not to repeat it over and over if they are ignoring you). It is best to wait until you have their attention so they learn to associate it with fun things.

3. Practise on lead in different environments 

You can continue to get your hound accustomed to their recall word by practising the above, on lead, in different environments – your local park for example. Let them start to sniff and get distracted, then use your recall word. If they come to you, give them a treat and lots of praise! Keep working on this in different environments, making it more and more challenging with background noise and distractions over time. When you do get to very challenging environments and have a successful recall, make it worth their while! Give them extra treats to make sure they know it will be rewarding for them next time. 

Even if you believe your hound has bullet-proof recall, we always recommend exercising caution. It will come as no surprise that they can run and disappear from our sight very quickly, especially if they see something that outweighs the reinforcement they receive from coming when called. Ensure you are following all leash and muzzle laws, and read up on our article about dog parks before deciding whether to let you hound off lead.

We highly recommend engaging a qualified, positive reinforcement behaviourist if you’re finding recall training a challenge. You can reach out to your adoption coordinator for some trainers we recommend in your local area, or get in touch with us here. 

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