Reliable Recall
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Thread: Reliable Recall

  1. #1
    Fallriver's Avatar
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    DefaultReliable Recall

    I think we have a positive start but I want to work on getting it more fine tuned. "Here" does not mean wander through the woods and make your way back to me... it should mean... come back to me fast, straight away, without stopping to smell the weeds.
    So how would you teach recall using the clicker?
    OK, my own dogs are patiently waiting for me to take them out, so I will cut and past as much from my class notes as I can...let me know if it doesn't make much sense :
    First, a disclaimer: the groundwork is based on Leslie Nielson's method of the Really Reliable Recall. I will summarize it for you here. I have also stolen some terrific stuff from Susan Garrett.

    There are three components to a reliable recall:


    Management - Plan ahead to set up for success

    Provide safe off leash time to enjoy doing dog things. Dogs that never get off leash are very hard to teach to come when called - there is not much you can offer as a reward that is better than finally being free.

    Take your dog to a safe fenced yard and reward him with yummy treats and sincere appreciation every time he checks in with you. Run away when he is not looking and reward him lavishly when he finds you. Have him drag a knotted long line from his buckle collar…if you need to stop him you can step on the line.

    Until your dog is trained, do NOT call him when you know he is not apt to come.
    Carry really great treats and run away from him if he hesitates. If you really need to get him, try laying on the ground.

    Relationship - Trust and cooperation

    You are in charge because you have the cookies. Cookies are anything your dog likes…dinner, treats, tug of war, going for a ride, swimming, playing with other dogs, etc. Use these rewards to build a strong relationship between you and your dog.

    Your job in the relationship is to reward your dog for correct behaviour. Your dog’s job is to pay attention when asked. We need our dog’s attention before we start with recalls.

    Play the Name Game every day. When he is really good at it, gradually add distractions and do it in a variety of locations. If your dog doesn’t respond within 5 seconds, run and hide and eat his cookies! Then try again with fewer distractions so he can win. Reward generously so he spins on a dime when he hears his name.
    * Only say it once!!!!

    Training - The Reliable Recall

    If your dog has ignored your recall word before, find a new one! Just make sure it is one that you can easily use in an emergency.

    Use your new cue to call your dog ONLY when you are 100% certain he will come - three times a day for the next two weeks.

    Only call him once. The recall won’t work if you repeat it…this is why it is so important that you know your dog will come to you the first time. We also don't want to teach him that come is an option, or we will weaken the cue, so make sure he will come when called. This means any other time, you must just go get him until his recall is better.

    It is your job to convince your dog he has just done a miraculous thing when he comes to you. Feed him in close to your body while you touch his collar so you don’t get drive-bys. Save special treats that your dog doesn’t usually get. Anything your dog loves to do or eat, save it and associate it with the recall. Each time you call, reward for at least 30 seconds. Make it the best 30 seconds of his day and associate the cookies with games, toys, wresting, patting, and lots of superlatives: Terrific, awesome, wonderful, beautiful, excellent!!!!!!

    Now, we want to click each correct response too and this is important. When do we click? As soon as he takes his first couple of steps toward us!!!! Think about it, if we don't use the clicker, the rewards are for the dog sitting in front of us and watching, not for the recall! They will make the association much quicker and be more inclined to turn away from distractions if we mark the behaviour we want with the clicker as soon as it happens.

    Use different motivators to reward your dog when he comes to you. Your motivators may be toys, different types of food or anything else your dog goes gaga over.
    Do not use your dog's name before the cue "come" when playing the recall game. In two months, once they fully understand their new cue "come", and after you have played the Name Game, adding their name will be a bonus.
    Be sure the motivator is being used as a reward and not as a bribe. Call the dog, click them for coming and then present the reward. Do not hold the motivator out like a lure out in front of their nose as then you are teaching your dog to come to you only if they can see the toy or food first.
    Walk a short distance away and call out your cue "come" and run back, your dog chases you -- click and reward. Be sure you vary your body position. Some times call your dog and when he starts to come, you run away so he can chase you. Sometimes start to run away but then stop and let him come to your while you are standing still. Occasionally don't run at all. Be unpredictable. Most of all, be fun and exciting!

    Once you have done your two week's homework, it is time to introduce distractions. I believe that this is where most people go seriously awry with their recall training. If you are serious about recalls (and you should be), you need to make yourself an excel spreadsheet. OK, just kidding, but you do need a pen and paper and a little foresight.

    Here is a strategic approach to help you shape a more reliable response each and every time you call your dog:
    Make up a list of situations, people, toys, places, other animals, food, objects or odours that
    your dog finds distracting, to the point of not listening to you. Refer to the accompanying chart if you need ideas.
    Rate these distractions on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most distracting to your
    dog. Now, for the next week, make a point of having your dog on lead or long line at all times when they are around any distractions that are "2" or greater.
    You are going to avoid any "10" distractions for the next 2 months. This means you are not going to allow your dog freedom to choose not to come to you, when number "10" distractions are in their environment. This may mean keeping your dog on leash for the duration of this program, or just going out to get him when you want him.

    Begin to add a few of the distractions that rate a "1" on the distraction scale. Remember to only call your dog once, if your dog chooses the distraction over you, score one for them, minus 20 for you. You then need to execute at least 20 additional recalls before you can progress with your homework. By the end of the week your dog should be doing a successful recall with distractions of "2" or lower.
    If your dog does not come with one cue at any time during the program lower your criteria. You may need to lower the rank of the distractions, if you are working with distractions. You may need to move closer to your dog or get more attractive rewards.
    Progress up the distraction chart as your dog allows you to, but not too fast. You want to try
    to work your dog in the presence of their number 10 distracters, but not until you have diligently done your homework of at least 8 weeks of recalls. After eight weeks you should have put in an average of 20 recalls per training session, 3 times per day, 7 days per week.
    Over the two months of work you would have done at least 3360 successful recalls with your dog.
    If your dog has a long history of not coming when he is called you may need to extend this program. It may be more difficult for you to work up your distraction list, be patient and only move forward with success. Rather then 8 weeks your schedule may be 16 or more. The program will work if you are methodical and DO NOT let your dog ignore a recall at any time.

    You may not have thought of every possible distraction your dog may encounter but if you have worked through as many distractions as you can think of in as many different locations available to you, your dog will start to generalize his recall to all locations and all distractions.
    Following through with daily reinforcements for coming will give you a solid foundation of shaping your dog want to run to you, each and every time you call, regardless of what distractions are in their environment.

    Sample Distractions



    Park with kids on climbers, playing soccer or just running Sheep, birds, rats, horses Door bell ringing Balls being thrown/rolled
    Dogs in crates near by Good smells on the ground Dogs on leash near by Eating things from the ground (like horse poops)
    Dogs running loose near by Bunnies in the woods Dogs doing flyball near by Bicyclists
    Toys all over the floor Rollerbladers Food in containers on a chair Toboggans
    Food in containers on the floor Nail clipping time Food scattered all over the floor Another family pet out playing
    Squirrels running in a park Another family member walking away Squirrels running in your yard Another family member feeding another family pet A thrown toy like a flying disc in mid-air Obstacles in the way between handler and dog
    Squealing children (no need to hurt the children in order to set this one up) New environment—different training building, friend’s back yard A cat running by You standing still, not moving at all, when you are calling and waiting
    The opportunity to swim (near open water) Empty dinner bowl on the floor A delivery man (or mail man) walking by Full dinner bowl on the floor A remote-control driven car, driving by Opening of the front door
    Stuffed things, I love stuffed things Hose, sprinkler, running water

    Boy, you guys have a lot of training to do this week ;D 8)








    Dana


    To err is human:To forgive, canine."
    - Anonymous

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  3. #2
    Ender's Mom's Avatar
    Ender's Mom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Reliable Recall

    Ok... I feel pretty positive about something... we were doing the first part mostly right! ;D (Go us!)

    I'm sure I'll need to reread this a few times... but I think we will start working on this as soon as possible.
    ~Lindsay

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    Fallriver's Avatar
    Fallriver is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Reliable Recall

    Ok... I feel pretty positive about something... we were doing the first part mostly right! (Go us!)
    You rock!!! Yes, you have been building a very solid foundation and will soon reap the benefits. Now go make your spreadsheet
    Dana


    To err is human:To forgive, canine."
    - Anonymous

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    Ender's Mom's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: Reliable Recall

    Quote Originally Posted by FallRiver
    Ok... I feel pretty positive about something... we were doing the first part mostly right! (Go us!)
    You rock!!! Yes, you have been building a very solid foundation and will soon reap the benefits. Now go make your spreadsheet
    Of course the most difficult part in all this is getting Eric on the same page as me.
    ~Lindsay

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    CoCosMom's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: Reliable Recall

    Okay, this is AWESOME! Thanks so much Dana!

    Lindsay, I have the exact same problem with Charlie!!! Ugh!
    ~Jo & CoCo


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    DefaultRe: Reliable Recall

    Quote Originally Posted by Ender's Mom
    Of course the most difficult part in all this is getting Eric on the same page as me.
    I'm having a really hard time with this too. We're just not consistent with Lexie. I feel like I'm talking to a wall sometimes when it comes to her and it's driving me nuts. I think I should start another thread to vent and get suggestions on this rather than hijacking this one.

    Dana, thanks for this article too!

  9. #7
    Ender's Mom's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: Reliable Recall

    Quote Originally Posted by putertutor
    Quote Originally Posted by Ender's Mom
    Of course the most difficult part in all this is getting Eric on the same page as me.
    I'm having a really hard time with this too. We're just not consistent with Lexie. I feel like I'm talking to a wall sometimes when it comes to her and it's driving me nuts. I think I should start another thread to vent and get suggestions on this rather than hijacking this one.

    Dana, thanks for this article too!
    Check this thread out... https://www.justlabradors.com/forum/i...ic,6596.0.html
    ~Lindsay

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    theoconbrio is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Reliable Recall

    Again, awesome. I love the idea of feeding for 30 seconds. Another form of consequence to your eating the treats would be to let your dog see you *feeding the treats to another dog* if he fails to come. We did this in our basic obedience class and it was stunningly effective for curing laggers.

    I'm glad to see Susan Garrett's name associated with something good. I had only known it from her book "Ruff Love," which struck me as extreme bordering on psychopathic. I thought, jeez, if I need to crate my dog 3/4 of the day just to get a better agility performance, maybe I should take up oil painting.

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    Fallriver's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: Reliable Recall

    Yes, both consequences are quite effective, IF you drop the ball and ask for too much behaviour from your dog. Ideally, if you progress according to Hoyle, you will not set him up to fail and you won't have to resort to negative punishment (withdrawal of an expected reward).
    Susan Garrett's name is associated with a lot of good things. Although Ruff Love is just that, it is not typical of Susan's approach. Her Bringing Light To Shadow is likely a better reflection of her methods.
    Let's face it, many of us have labs so we don't have to go through what owners of JRT's must : 8)
    Dana


    To err is human:To forgive, canine."
    - Anonymous

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    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Reliable Recall

    A good friend of mine is a huge fan of Garrett's methods - I really do like her foundation building exercises, but I think for the average pet owner that might be entering the occasional agility trial, Garrett might be the equivalent of an Olympic training camp, and not really necessary.

    (Clarification - Bringing Light to Shadow was written by Pam Dennison, another excellent trainer from the US). Susan Garrett has written Ruff Love and Shaping Success (which I'm using with the foster puppy, along with Sue Ailsby's Training Levels), plus there are a few DVD's out with specific agility topics. )

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