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Your Schnauzer is a smart dog. Teaching her to come when called is something that will not be too difficult, as long as you are willing to put in some patience, practice and consistency.
This article will show you how to teach the basic skill trainers call “recall.” We also offer a method to turn your recall training into a fun game and show you how to “proof” your Schnauzer’s recall so you can count on it in a pinch.
Being able to call your dog away from danger can save her life! However, it can also be a mistake to be overconfident with her recall during the training stage. You should not let your dog off leash around potential hazards like traffic or fast-moving water, just in case.
Plan on practicing recall skills with your Schnauzer over the course of her life to keep it strong in every circumstance. Read on to find out more!
Besides the methods offered in this guide to make sure your Schnauzer learns recall basics, make sure that you follow these tips to make the most of your training and be sure you are keeping your recall command strong:
- You should never use your recall command to call your dog to you, then punish him. If you have to punish your dog, go to him rather than break your recall command.
- If you are chasing your dog during recall training, your dog is training you. Do not reward her with a fun game of “Can’t catch me!” unless she is the one chasing you!
- Add distractions to your recall training slowly. Every successful recall strengthens your command, every non-enforced failure weakens it. It is your job to make sure your dog is ready to be successful before adding any challenges.
- In an emergency situation, never chase your dog if he won’t come. Instead, try to get his attention and then run away so that he will come after you rather than towards danger.
Remember that training your Schnauzer to come when you call will take lots of patience and practice. Keep your training sessions focused on setting your dog up to succeed, and then rewarding him generously. Use a variety of rewards when training recall, including treats, praise, tugs, a toss of the ball, or access to a favorite toy. Your overall goal is to make coming to you when called always the best choice for your dog.When you are ready to move your training sessions outside, you will want to get a long line. This can be a rope or a leash, but you want it to be at least 25’ in length. This will allow you to put distance between you and your dog while working outside and still being able to retrieve them if necessary for safety and enforcement.
The Recall Basics Method
Start here if your Schnauzer is new this skill. It will give him the basics he needs to learn to eventually master this lifelong behavior. Make sure you start in a familiar place with some high value rewards on the ready.
You want to get your dog to run to you BEFORE using your recall command the first few times. To do this you will actually run away from him, which will cause him to instinctively chase you. Then say “Come!” in an excited tone. When he catches up with you, gently grab his collar or harness for a brief second before rewarding. Repeat 10-20 times.
In order to improve his skills, you can start adding some distance to your recall drills. In addition, you only need to use the run-away method from the last step if he does not immediately come to you when called. Keep your tone positive so the learning environment feels fun and safe for your dog.
After your dog seems to have the hang of recall, you can move the training to a more distracting environment such as outside. If you do not have a securely fenced yard, use your long line to work with him outside. Remember, don’t chase him if he does not come – but now you can reel him in if he fails to come when called!
At some point in the process of training your Schnauzer to 'come', you have to add a consequence. This will be something your dog does not like if he does not come when you use the recall command. A good idea, for example, is to reel him in with the long line and give him a 3-minute “time-out” in isolation such as in the crate or a bathroom.
Your dog should now have the basics of recall down pat with some practice. To get a very sturdy recall that you can rely on in more distracting environments, see the 'Proofing' method offered in this guide.
The Circle Recall Game Method
The whole point of this game is to have a great time while practicing recall with your dog. You will need a few friends to play along. If you have some kids, this is a perfect way to get them involved with dog training. Make sure everyone has a small pouch of treats cut into tiny pieces. Have everyone sit in a circle with your dog in the middle.
Have your helpers take turns enticing your dog to come to them using his recall command and, if necessary, some food bribes.
Be sure everyone touches the collar before rewarding with praise and a treat. If they hold your dog before releasing them to the next person that is calling, it will add even more excitement to this game.
Make the circle bigger to add some challenge. You can even try calling her from different rooms in the house to really make this a fun game full of lots of exercise for your furry friend.
Take the game outside for a super large circle. Not only is this game a great way to practice recall, it will make sure your Schnauzer gets plenty of exercise for a nice and relaxed evening.
The Proofing Method
This is an advanced training method, intended to be used after you have followed the 'Recall Basics' method to teach your Schnauzer to come. By gradually adding some distraction to your training regimen, you will strengthen whatever behavior you are trying to train.
Do recall drills in as many new places as you can, using your long line to both protect your dog and have the power to enforce the recall if she gets distracted.
Practice recall with some friends to teach her that no matter who calls her, going to them will pay off.
Make your training time more challenging by finding some distractions to add. Each time he comes to you past a food dish, a favorite toy or a cat, you are making that recall even stronger.
Don't wear it out!
Stop using your primary recall command unless you are fully prepared to back it up with enforcement. If you are trying to call your Schnauzer inside on a rainy day when they are clearly having a chat with the neighbor dog loose right outside the fence, don’t use your recall command unless you plan to put your raincoat on and go get him when he ignores you. For these occasions, it is better to use another means to get your dog’s attention such as squeaking a favorite toy or loudly dropping food into their dish.
By Sharon Elber
Published: 02/06/2018, edited: 01/08/2021