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Categories: Recall and Come

Q. My terrier mix is really hard to train and he won't come when called! He likes toys, what kind of tug will hold his interest?
I have a 15 pound terrier mix (probably Cairn/Lassa) who is really hard to train, especially to come when called. I've tried treats, toys (he likes tugs), long lines, etc. Even the Chihuahua is more consistent at coming when called. What kind of toy would hold his interest longer than a rope tug? It lasts about 3 minutes.

A. The key to training dogs like this is to build motivation and engagement as a separate exercise first, then incorporate the motivators (food, toys, etc) into teaching behaviors. Terriers can be hard to motivate, I know this first hand. You have to be interesting and unpredictable, dogs love that!

I would recommend first taking our 2 week engagement class online, you can read more about it at this link.

I would watch The Power of Training with Food and Advanced Concept of Motivation. Learning to use food & toys dynamically and making rewards an event are the key to getting your dog to come when called consistently. Don't call him unless you can guarantee he'll come to you (i.e. You have him on leash).

Building interest in a toy takes time. 3 minutes isn't really that bad! It's a process that you work on over many small short training sessions. I'd also suggest Training the Recall.

We have a number of really good small tugs that my terrier loves, the fleecy and fuzzy ones are her favorite. Something like that may be fun for him. Here is a link to our tug page.

I hope this helps.
Cindy Rhodes


Thanks, Cindy!
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