Yesterday I made a big mistake. And it could have cost me my dog’s life.
We had the carpet replaced in our house and workers were coming in and out all day long. My dog is normally closely watched by my wife and I, especially when there are strangers in the house. But with the craziness of the kids coming home from school and the employees coming in and out, we lost sight of our pup for a short while.
Then we realized the front door had been left open by one of the carpet installers. Our dog was missing and we feared the worst.
After searching the front yard, I saw her at the end of our long driveway, right off the street. I called her name and got her attention. I shouted “Come!”
No answer. She was too distracted by neighbors, cars and other dogs being walked in the neighborhood.
I shouted ‘Come’ again, this time more forcefully. Still no response. Not good.
Fortunately, I had prepared myself for this moment. I had an ace up my sleeve that I always hoped would work in this situation. I called her name again and firmly shouted the word ‘Boomerang.” That immediately caught her attention.
She charged at me at a full sprint and back into the house. Crises averted! The emergency call word worked.
The “Boomerang” Technique: How This Emergency Call Word Can Save Your Dog’s Life
The Boomerang Technique is a training method that, if performed correctly, can result in your dog reliably returning to you on command. The specific word you use is not important. It could be ‘boomerang’, or any other word you choose. (ideally one that you don’t use often in everyday conversations.)
This technique involves creating a extremely positive association with the word ‘boomerang’, which will serve as a signal for the emergency recall. By consistently reinforcing this command, you can use it in urgent situations, such as when your dog is about to run into a busy street or approach a dangerous animal.
How to Teach Your Dog an Emergency Call Word in 10 Minutes
Every dog should know an emergency recall word. Yes, in an ideal world your dog would always respond to the word “come.” However, dogs can become distracted and emergency situations may require a word that has extremely positive associations.
Here’s how to train emergency recall quickly and easily:
Step 1: Choose the right environment
Choose a quiet, distraction-free environment for the first training sessions. This allows your dog to focus solely on your commands, making it easier for him to learn the desired behavior. As your dog becomes more skilled, you can gradually introduce distractions and more challenging environments to simulate real-world scenarios.
Step 2: Establish the cue
To begin learning the Boomerang technique, choose a unique word or phrase that you will use exclusively for the emergency call command. For the purposes of this article, we will use the word “boomerang.” Make sure the word isn’t used in any other context so your dog doesn’t confuse the command with other signals or commands.
Step 3: Build Extreme Positive associations
Now that you’ve chosen your cue, you need to build an extremely positive association with it. Start by saying “boomerang” in a cheerful and excited tone, and immediately reward your dog with not one, but several high-quality treats.
Do not use kibble or use your dog’s daily treats. Use something special! Pieces of chicken fillet or steak. Whatever treat your dog likes!
And don’t just give the treat once, but give the treat several times in small pieces, one followed by the other. Dogs experience this differently than multiple treats that are all given at the same time.
Repeat this process several times, reinforcing the positive association between the signal and the reward.
Step 4: Practice the recall
Once your dog has made the connection between the cue and the reward, begin practicing the actual recall. Start by keeping your dog on a leash or on a long leash. Have them move a few feet away from you and then say “boomerang” in the same excited tone as before. As soon as they turn to look at you, praise and reward them. Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog, always rewarding the return to you.
Step 5: Introduce distractions
As your dog becomes more comfortable with the Boomerang technique, you can begin introducing distractions into the training environment. This could be other people, dogs or sounds. Remember to maintain a high level of enthusiasm when giving the ‘boomerang’ command, and continue to reward your dog for his successful return.
Step 6: Prove the assignment
Finally, practice the Boomerang technique in different environments and situations. This will help to ‘prove’ the command and ensure that your dog will respond to it reliably, regardless of the circumstances. Keep in mind that consistency is key; Always reward your dog for his successful return, and be patient as he continues to learn and refine his recall skills.
The Boomerang technique is an effective method for teaching your dog the emergency recall command. By establishing a strong, positive association with the cue and practicing the command consistently in different environments and situations, you’ll be well on your way to having a dog that can quickly and reliably return to you when needed . Remember, the key to success in any dog training is patience, consistency and genuine love for your furry friend.