There are many reasons that dogs won’t recall but some are more problematic than others and need to be addressed first. This Blog is about the main barrier to an excellent recall – once you have understood this subject, not only will all become clear but you will also be able to start overcoming the issue.
From our studies into the handling differences between pet dog owners and skilled trainers it has become apparent that generally, members of the public have a lack of ability to raise the volume and tone of their voice to a level which the average dog can hear when at a distance, excited socially or distracted by other environmental factors such as other dogs or animals. It makes sense that if your dog cannot hear you then it cannot respond.
Through the supply of trained family dogs and knowledge that most owners cannot use their voice effectively we have discovered that the ideal dog as a pet is one who which is audibly sensitive enough to hear a recall command at the typical volume that the average pet owner can muster whilst not being so sensitive to sounds that it is scared of fireworks etc. The dog should be audibly sensitive to the owners command up to a distance of 30m (the maximum distance most owners will let their dog roam). We have temperament tested thousands of dogs over the years and found that across all breeds, only 10% of all dogs tested have this naturally occurring audible sensitivity.
Why such a low percentage?
When we looked deeper into the cause of this overwhelming lack of audible sensitivity it soon became obvious as to the reason. Dogs were originally integrated into human life to assist humans in their day to day tasks. Many of the most popular breeds which we are now lucky to have in existence are the product of hunting backgrounds and as a result todays Retrievers, Hounds, Spaniels, Pointers, Setters and terriers are the product of hundreds of years of selective breeding based on the dogs ability, amongst other traits to work unaffected by continuous exposure to gunshot in close proximity to the dogs location. As such, all of these breeds and many others have a naturally occurring and then selectively bred trait of inaudible sensitivity.
Any dog which showed sensitivity to gun shot would not be bred from and as such, over the years sensitivity to loud noises have all but disappeared from the dogs who have their foundations deeply set in hunting roles and as yet. If your dog is dismissive of gunshot is it really any wonder that it can’t hear you when you call?
What can you do to overcome this trait in your dog?
Now that you know the single biggest barrier to a successful recall there are three specific things we can do to overcome it. Some are more plausible than others.
- Improve your vocal ability – Whilst any improvement here is beneficial it is very unlikely to solve the problem. It takes skilled trainers many years of practice to have the kind of voice control that allows them to recall even the most noise insensitive dogs.
- Use a mechanical advantage – We can take a mechanical advantage through the use of a whistle. This is a good option. A whistle is capable of cutting through wind noise, can be heard over most background noises and is always going to be louder than the owners voice alone, the problem with whistles is that your dog needs to have an excellent voice recall under heavy distraction before the whistle will carry through into all environments.
- Teach you dog to listen for your commands – it is possible, in fact it is imperative that we train our dogs to be listening out for commands, yet I know of very few professional trainers who are even aware of this concept. There are four separate training elements which allow you to train your dog to be adequately sensitive to your voice that you achieve unbelievable recalls in all situations. We reveal these elements in our completely free video training guide.
How can WKD help you?
Over the years we have developed a very deep understanding of recall training and more importantly a deeper understanding of owner behaviour and habits which cause recall issues – luckily for you, our recall training articles and free video lessons have been produced to counteract any difficulties that you may be presented with. By signing up to our recall training articles not only will you be the owner of a dog with an amazing recall, you can have WKD by your side each step of the way.