Reliable Recall Class Homework Week 5

Get 100 out of site recalls with the recall word or 10 each day

Get 25 with the dogs name.


.  The key in setting up your dog to succeed is to START SMALL again. Start by increasing to out of sight recalls.  Do not ask your dog to recall from 50 feet while your daughter plays with a ball.  Ask your dog first just LOOK at you right next to you and treat before adding more distance again.  You should work up to recalling your pooch from other dogs, from other members of the household, and away from toys and food.  Remember to add distance and distraction SEPARATELY, always set the dog up to succeed and don’t increase your criteria until you are 99% certain your dog will recall immediately to you.  Also, once the dog has recalled to you, RELEASE the dog to go and explore the distraction.  Recalls should not mean ‘the fun stops here’


Play the games you have been playing. Add new people, go to new places. Try adding another dog.


where you might be failing…


Reinforcement: the key to both everyday and emergency recall.

1. VALUE: Use highest value reinforcements = what your dog finds reinforcing, not what you think should be most reinforcing, or what’s convenient.


2. FOOD reinforcements: Use real, healthy, soft food. Don’t use readymade dog treats. Real Meat is best, for example roast beef, chicken, liver, salmon. Hot dogs are not Real Meat they are bad for your dog as they contain ingredients your dog should not have. Most dogs don’t maintain enthusiasm for commercial, name brand dog treats.


3. NON-FOOD reinforcements: can include special toys, toys that drive them wild. Examples would be toys made out of some previously live animal, like rabbit skin. Another strong reinforcer for many dogs is YOU.  The better the trainer you are, the higher % of reinforcers you appear to control.  Play with your dog yourself. If your dog tolerates roughhousing and likes it, do that. If your dog likes to chase you, do that.


4. BE GENEROUS: My experience is that people are unbelievably stingy with their dogs when it comes to reinforcements. I’m not sure why, but humans are often that way with each other too. Be generous, be sincere, be wild with enthusiasm when your dog comes to you and use REALLY GOOD TREATS AND TOYS.


Your word isn’t enthusiastic. Your not saying the dogs name with excitement.


2. You can choose both the dogs name and a mechanical sound like a whistle to condition

for your emergency recall. Why a whistle? When dogs are truly distracted, such as when they are “locked on” or in drive, such as prey or sex drive, they literally and truly become deaf. Experiments on cats with electrodes in their brains show that the brain receives a signal when the cat hears a bell under ordinary conditions, but when the cat is shown a mouse, the sound is no longer translated from the ear to the brain. The cat is deaf. If you know your dog is going to a situation where it’s likely they will get into a drive state, take a whistle. A shepherd’s whistle or a pea-less whistle is best because they produce pure tones. A sharp, pure tone can pierce this cognitive deafness, like a clicker does. The sound is not processed in the cognitive part of the brain so the dog can still hear it when he/she is in a drive.


Repeating the dogs name. or using it in a sentence.

• Use your dogs name ONLY. Don’t say it in a long sentence. If your ordinary recall cue is COME don’t say “Fido, come-on here boy, that’s a boy, get over here good dog” Dog hears “blah blah blah” which is how humans sound to a dog a thousand times a day when you are talking on the phone, watching TV, talking to friends, blah blah blah.




5. Call your dog at home first and ONLY when your dog is going to come to you and you

are 100% certain your dog is going to come. For example, use the cue when your dog is already coming to you.



7. Reward each step of the way:

• The most important step is the first turn of your dog’s head toward you. Use your yes marker. “YES” the very first moment your dog decides to come to you. Most people “YES” way too late. “Yes” and praise all the way to you.


8. OK, so your dog doesn’t come to you. DON’T REPEAT THE CUE. If you repeat your cue, you are teaching your dog to ignore you. Just go get your dog. Show your dog the treat and tease the dog with it “See what you could have had?” Have the helper hold your dog. You run away, then as your dog is straining/screaming to get to you, then call your dog again. The handler lets go and the dog gets “yes” and praise all the way to you.


Going to fast.

10. Gradually—GRADUALLY– increase the level of distractions you are training under. Start at home in your living room, move to your back yard, your front yard, your walk route, class….. then in front of rabbits, dead birds, other dogs, kids on skate boards…


There are 3 reasons why the training fails, in most dogs.

1. You repeat the cue regularly when your dog ignores you.

2. You don’t practice.

3. You have lousy reinforcements. You are boring, your food is boring, your toys are boring. Or your treats/toys are great but you are stingy with them.


You skipped the low-distraction period and tried this with distractions that are too highly ranked compared to your reinforcements. Start at home with low distractions.


What to do if your dog doesn’t respond:

You did not set the dog up to succeed if your dog does not respond to the recall word!  You have progressed too far, too fast and now you’ve got a problem.  DO NOT REPEAT YOUR recall word.  If the dog doesn’t respond the first time you MUST go get the dog.   However, you must NOT be angry with your dog,  Do NOT set up an association with the recall word and bad things happening!  Walk down your dog until you can put a leash on them don’t talk yet,  DON’T use the recall cue for this!  When you have the dog,  walk them back to where you called them originally and ask for an on-leash, simple recall, reward, praise and move on.


your dog is not ready for that level of distraction or distance!  Now ask for a recall that you KNOW your dog will succeed at and start again from there.  The important part is that your dog does not learn that the recall cue is optional or that you don’t really mean it the FIRST time.