There’s a lot of puppy love in our community at the moment, with many people welcoming a new pup into their family. Several years ago, I wrote about a game that will help preserve your recall cue with your puppy, and this seems like a great time to post it here on my blog.

Even though the title is “kids and puppies” it counts for everyone who spends time with your puppy, adult dog, rescue dog or “new to you” dog as well! Visit my blog on “How Do I Train My Dog To Come When Called?” for more on training a great recall.

Kids and Puppies … A GAME to Preserve Your Dog’s Recall Cue

I want to share what I feel is an important tip for exposing puppies to children. Not having kids of my own, I can only imagine the electric atmosphere when bringing a new puppy into a household filled with children. However, the reality is that living with children can be like living with a dog training saboteur!

Over exuberant children can tend to wreak havoc on your dog’s recall training. Kids (or anyone :-)) repeating a puppy’s name over and over can be the first step to your new puppy learning to ignore his recall. You don’t want the puppy to cause a strain on your relationship with your children or family members, nor do you want your children to counter your training efforts with your puppy.

This game can be the solution to your dilemma. First, teach your kids a generic recall word or phrase, something like “here pup-pup”. Explain to the entire household (spouse included) that this is their everyday recall phrase unless they are holding a special “recall-key”. Anyone (yourself included) wanting to use the puppy’s name must hold the special “recall-key”. This recall key can be a piece of cheese or just a piece of kibble.

You can keep a stash of treats in a handy location where everyone (except the puppy) can easily grab one. The “key” allows the user to call the puppy’s name only once. Once the puppy eats the “key” (i.e. treat), it is time to reload before they can use the puppy’s name again.

Without a keyyou cannot call the puppy by name, you must use “pup-pup” to recall the puppy. After a month or so you can change the word from the puppy’s name to the special recall word you choose.

Set a good example by following this guideline yourself and you will not only be including your entire family in your puppy’s training program, but you will ensure your dog grows up to have a great recall!

If you’ve been using a recall word and your dog has learned to ignore it, I would strongly encourage you to change that cue. Look at something like “near me” or another quick catchy phrase that your dog is going to learn to respond to.

Rescue dog Tater who has had guest appearances here on my blog, has been recalling to “crackers”! Your recall word has got to be special, you want a head whip turn back to you when you call your dog… a recall can be life saving!

Do you have a special recall word for your dog? Let me know in the comments what it is, or what you are thinking of using.

Today I am grateful for being home and spending time outside; even if that has involved some muddy dogs.