Ping-Pong Pup: Training Reliable Recall

Ping-Pong Pup

Training the basic reliable recall with your dog – getting him to come to you every time, whether he’s a very young puppy or a rescued older dog, all starts with your dog learning his name and that it really pays to come when called.  And if teaching your dog his name becomes a game, everyone has fun learning.

This game requires 2 or more players, plus one dog!  It’s a really fun game to play during commercial breaks when the family is sitting around watching TV and the game takes about the same amount of time as watching an hour long show.  For treats you can even share your popcorn with your dog.  This game builds your dog’s recall and will also come in handy if you’re ever looking for a family member around the house.  Yes, your dog can learn his humans’ names. 

The players will be called Person A (PA) and Person (PB).  Sitting close to each other and the dog, PA calls the dog to you.  When the dog looks your way, treat by tossing the treat to her.  This should get the dog to get up, if she’s lying down.

As soon as she finishes the treat, PB calls the dog.  Again, when the dog looks at you,toss her a treat.

On PA’s next turn, when you call the dog and she looks your way, toss the treats so that the dog comes close to you, but she doesn’t have to touch you if she’s not ready.

When your dog is readily coming to your hand for the treat, go ahead and deliver the treat right to her mouth.

Take turns like this for 4 treats to the dog (2 treats per person in the two player game, or 1 treat per person if a 4-person game), then stop until the next commercial break.

At the next commercial break, PA calls the dog to you.  After you treat, when PB calls the dog, PA says, “Go to ____ (insert PB’s name here)” then PA stares at PB.

PA, remember to just say “Go to ___” once, especially if the dog looks confused.

PB, you may call the dog a second time in this case.  If the dog so much as flicks her ear in your direction, toss her a treat.

Ping Pong this back and forth for 4 treats.  Repeat this step for 2-3 more commercial breaks.

In the next round see if the players can spread out more.  Maybe one person in the kitchen or bathroom while the other person stays with the TV.

Advanced versions of this game can become hide-and-seek, which is a game everyone – including the dog – loves!

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