Here are my Top Tips for Recall Part 2
Continuing on from last week, here is the next instalment of my Top 10 Tips for a Really Reliable Recall:
1. Get your family and friends involved!
One of the of most fun games to play for recall and general relationship building is restrained recalls. This is where someone restrains your dog, preferably by holding onto the back of a harness not a collar, you run and your helper then releases your dog and he chases you to catch. Once he reaches you have a party and reward like crazy! Another game is recall ping pong, where you recall your dog and when they’ve reached you, your family member or friend calls your dog, and then you repeat. Having a helper with your training really is a smart move.
2. Set clear criteria
Last week I asked you to picture in your head how you want your recall to look. Now I understand in practise things may not go perfectly each time. When you have done all the foundation work and you are ready to start taking your recall training out on the road, I strongly recommend using a long line attached to a harness. The long line is trailing, you aren’t holding on to it, so effectively your dog is loose, but having a long line will help keep the picture of your perfect recall clear. How you ask?! When you recall your dog, how many times should you say your recall word? ONCE!!! I’ll repeat, ONCE!!! If your dog ignores you the first time, my advice would be to go and get your dog. Approaching your dog could make them think you are about to commence a game of ‘catch me if you can’, this is where the long line comes in. Step on the line and then reel your dog in. This helps to keep the picture clear as you don’t have to repeat your recall word (you shouldn’t ever do this anyway!). If you are getting a fair amount of failure in a particular environment then this is feedback for you that you have moved your training on too fast.
3. Go over old ground
I get it, we are always wanting to progress and move on with our training but from time to time it’s really key to go over what you have already practised. Constantly making your training more challenging for your dog is hard going on them. Sometimes making it easy by going over what they already know will help to keep the joy in the training.
4. Vary your rewards
Last week I asked you to list what your dog finds rewarding and what level of value they are to your dog. Your list should be long! You should have plenty of reinforcement ideas to utilise. Depending on what environment you are in will determine what level of value to use. Mix it up. Don’t always use the same reward. Variety is key!
5. Attend a recall training class or workshop
We love our recall training classes at Devon Dogs, and students attending get a wealth of ideas. Rehearsing your skills with a trainer present will supercharge your training. You’ll most certainly learn new ideas and games to boost your recall training all the more.
About the Author: Lauren Langman is responsible for the design and development of all Devon Dogs classes, events and workshops. She competes in Agility at Grade 7, the highest rank of competition in the British agility arena. She regularly competes and wins at top agility events in the UK including Crufts and Olympia, and has represented the UK at World Agility Championship level on many occasions.