001 002 003 004 005 006 007 008 009

Recalls in Perspective

Posted on 07/21/10 18 Comments

I received this letter from a student yesterday that I thought it was well worth posting it to all of you. Not just because of the uber nice things she says about me, but to put all of this focus on recalls into perspective.

Hi Susan,

I am writing to express my gratitude to you.  You helped me save my dog’s lives.

Yesterday morning I arrived at my parent’s house.  My 4 dogs jumped out of my truck and ran for the front door (after being released, of course).

On the other side of the front door my mom is  in the kitchen ready to dole out  special treats to her beloved “grand dogs”.  I trailed behind with an armload of stuff.

My dogs arrived at the front door to be greeted by a huge, agitated 4ft long rattlesnake (we live in Arizona), coiled and buzzing loud enough that I heard it from 20feet distance.   It was less than 2 feet from my group of dogs.

I called my dogs to come and all 4 of them turned off grandma’s treats (and the snake) and ran back to me.

That is a brilliant recall!

After my heart stopped pounding and the fire department removed the snake, I had a moment to contemplate the events and my first thought was: Thank you, God, for Susan Garrett and her part in my life and my dog’s life.

This reminds me that each of us can make a difference in another persons life, even if that person is a thousand miles away. We truly are all connected.

I’m a weekend enthusiast for agility, without aspiration for more, but even from this place, there is purpose for a brilliant recall.

Thank you for your gifts and talent and most importantly, for sharing those gifts.

Gratefully yours, Tracy, Dart, Bingo, Jackpot, and Elgin

After I read the letter, I wrote Tracy and asked her if I could post it for all of you. This was included in Tracy’s reply;

I think it is worth mentioning that my dogs are hard-core Australian Cattle Dogs.  They are not “what-else-can-I-do-to-please-you” Golden Retrievers, for example.  They came when recalled because they have been reinforced for doing so in a variety of circumstances and not just because they love me and want to please me.  They recalled off  high-value rewards  in their  ” 10 step value hierarchy”  (My mom’s cooking is 8 .  A wiggly reptile to chase is probably a 5).   They  are living proof that the concepts taught at Say Yes work.  One of my favorite “Susan-isms” is “Reward your dog. Pay the dog!   It is money in the bank”.  Yesterday, I made a huge withdrawl on that account.  And it was worth every penny…..

Again, my deep gratitude to you.   Sincerely, Tracy Paul

Those of you already signed up for the Brilliant Recall e-course know what Tracy is talking about when she mentioned the “10 Step Value Hierarchy.” That of course,  was your first piece of course homework that you found when you logged into your membership area of the blog.

Now I am not bringing all of this up  just to taunt the rest of you that are not members (because we closed down registrations yesterday at 4 PM).

Here is what happened last night. As you all know we have never done anything like this before. It is a brand new venture for sure. Thus, we had many hiccups with the process and around suppertime last night we realized we had some overlaps/duplications or unpaid memberships sooooo . . .

The number of registrations we thought we had was not all together accurate. For that reason, we are going to open up registrations again, but only for one day.  By Thursday we should have a better handle on exactly who is in and who is not. So 10 AM Thursday morning I will re-open sales but just for 24 hours. Thursday 10 AM to Friday 10 AM you can once again get a spot in this course. That is it. Really! Please don’t email and ask for any extensions after Friday at 10 AM.

Meanwhile let me say how grateful I am to those of you that have registered. You were all marvelously patient through the process and it’s hiccups:). Neither Jason nor I had to deal with a single cranky pants and for that, really I am so grateful.


  1. Susan says:
    Thursday, July 22, 2010 at 1:03am

    If you are having trouble seeing the course information then either:

    You are not logged in (email Jason if you need info)
    Your account needs to have Permissions set (see Jason)

    You can check both of these issues by looking at the info in the log in box on the right. Shoud see your name and a member level.

    Or you are not looking in the right place (click on the big box on the right that says Members Enter Here)

    Email Jason if it is the second one. Smile if it was the first or third one.


  2. goldmedalagility says:
    Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 11:54pm

    I signed up for the Recall Course but I have the same problem as some of the others above about finding the Pre-class game that was posted and the assignments. I don’t think I’m computer illiterate. Must be having a “senior moment” or something! 🙂


  3. Tracy says:
    Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 10:46pm

    Hi Amie

    I apologize for offending you by insinuating that Golden Retrievers are easy to train. I know from experience that they are not. I choose the example of a Golden because they are my second favorite dog breed and I had the pleasure of caring for one for 6 months while my business partner was in Japan. Brilly is a lovely sweet-natured dog and just thinking about her makes my heart warm! She was ever near my side and always willing to please just for the sake of making me happy and asking nothing in return for herself. Brilly made me a better dog trainer. Mary Lou Hanlon can attest to my struggles to teach Brilly to shake hands! I learned exactly what you pointed out in your reply: Establishing a reward hierarchy and keeping it valuable to a dog that will work just to please the handler is challenging and difficult. MUCH more so than establishing a hierarchy for a dog that values toys, treats, etc. to satisfy itself.

    In my letter to Susan, I wanted to emphasize the power that her recall training method has. I should have been specific with details rather than use the phrase that caught your attention. My youngest cattle dog comes from a breeder in Australia that breeds Dingo (the wild dog) back into the line every 5 generations in order to preserve the breed heritage. Dart’s “dingo” is 3 grandmothers removed. Unlike other breeds that gather livestock and bring it to a handler, the ACD herding instinct is to drive livestock from a handler. So you see, my dog is not only instinctually, but also genetically, predisposed to avoid people. Given the strength of instinct and genetics, there is no reason in the world that my dog should have come to me when I recalled. He came because of Say Yes training protocol. Throughout his life, Dart has been told, “Its Yer Choice” and when his choice matched my desire, things that he valued (toys, treats, my attention) were lavished upon him. Encouraging him to be operant established a communication system that serves us in agility and herding and most importantly, as I discovered on Monday morning, life.

    Again, I apologize for singling out Golden Retrievers to illustrate my point.

    Best wishes, Tracy


    • Amie says:
      Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 8:41pm

      Hi Tracy!

      I really hope I didn’t take anything away from you! I was totally impressed by your story and hope to get that level of drive for me that you have. I’m sorry that I jumped on the Golden comment but I am really sensitive about it! My girl is NOT the willing to please Golden at all. I got her 3rd hand from a lady who left her all day every day in a yard with 3 other young dogs. At 6 months the breeder took her back as she did not even know her own name let alone sit/down/come. I got her at 9 months and while she loves to work now, we really struggle with environmental distractions (aka even leaves blowing!! and heaven forbid WATER). She has come a long way and most people don’t realize now the struggle we have had. I also made a TON of mistakes and am now (at 5.5 years old) going back to foundations to try and get the whip lash response that you have! I just feel that many people take for granted what I DO have because she is “just” a golden, hence my response!
      Again, I feel very motivated by your story. It can happen! I too can have that response!

      ps. I’m intrigued by the Dingo in the line, is this common in Australia?? It seems so odd to me! Does the breeder keep Dingos for this purpose?


  4. Michelle says:
    Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 9:57pm

    Is it Aug. 1st yet?


  5. Catherine Enderton says:
    Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 7:35pm

    I’m a new member who is signed up for the Recall class. Please give me a 1 2 3 method for finding the Recall class assignments and videos without having to go back through all my emails. Sorry to be so clue-less. I’m excited about the class. I have just signed in and read the blog messages but I don’t know how to find the pre-class game(s) you sent me in an email several days ago when I wasn’t ready to start. Now I have my dog’s favorite treat ready and I want to begin! Cathy


  6. Mary M says:
    Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 7:30pm

    So glad Tracy was able to recall her pups.

    I don’t know if I heard this statement at your camp Susan or elsewhere, but I use it all the time when talking with other dog owners.

    — “Recalls, for Life”— and this is the epitome of what I mean (and what was meant by whoever said it first – of course I note to others that someone on my dog journey coined the phrase before me!).

    Thanks for sharing such an inspirational story!

    —-also please let me know if this was a “Susan saying” so I can give credit where credit is due!!!

    Mary Muliett


  7. Jason says:
    Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 6:05pm

    Please note the 10am is eastern (New York) time. And you can email me with any registration issues. [email protected] webmanna . Com


    • DiCunningham says:
      Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 8:13pm

      Hi Jason- Just came back from vacation and I’m trying to register but can not. Am I doing something wrong?
      Thank you


  8. Pat says:
    Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 4:22pm

    I’m trying to getin to register but it says the class is closed.
    Filled or not?


  9. Heather Ritchie says:
    Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 2:34pm

    Hi Susan

    I registered for the advanced course a couple of days ago went through the paypal portion but was not redirected back for registration with you. I’m guessing that is why I haven’t received the homework assignments etc Please help with what to do next as I am not too computer savy….Cheers Heather


    • Mary M says:
      Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 7:32pm

      You should email Jason, see Susan’s “help is on the way” post for his email address. I think this was where she posted it!


      • Mary M says:
        Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 7:33pm

        LOL… or look two posts below 😉 Just noticed he posted it here as well!

  10. Rachel says:
    Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 1:07pm

    Tracy — I’m so relieved for you and your dogs! Thank goodness for Susan and also for your hard work.


  11. Sydney Nazario says:
    Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 12:21pm

    The Advanced e-course hasn’t officially started and I feel like I have already gotten my money’s worth! Wow! what a difference in my dogs, especially the 3 year old. Her speed and attitude are back and our tug is improving by leaps and bounds. If you use C value rewards you get C level results, but if you switch to A value rewards you get A plus results! I can hardly keep up with her average or better – it keeps growing! The whole thing is so reinforcing to me.

    God Bless you Susan for inspiring so many people. It’s come at a perfect time for me.


    • petmombr says:
      Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 10:19pm

      I feel clueless too … where is the info on the a-b-c value rewards ? and where are the homework assignments everyone is talking about. This seems to be a bit complicated to find everything. I have to agree with someone else who said they get alot of emails and find it hard to sort thru. I did find one email today from say yes, in my JUNK mail . Why one would go there and not others is beyond me. However, my computer erases all JUNK each night. So I’m wondering if I am missing emails with the info I’ve listed above. help !


  12. Amie Barnes says:
    Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 10:55am

    I just wanted to comment on the “what-else-can-I-do-to-please-you” Golden Retrievers statement in her letter. This is a misconception! It is still about the 10 Step Value Hierarchy with Goldens. They seem like they want to please you simply because so many of them find even kibble a 9 or 10! I have a Golden and a Malamute and have to work just as hard to keep my bank account high for the Golden as I do for my Malamute. Dogs are dogs and this story would be just as impressive to me no matter what breed it is. It is like Susan says, do not label your dog! The dog is a reflection of your training so please do not discount my hard work just because I have a Golden.


  13. barrie says:
    Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 9:23am

    Wow, what a difference a day and a client check make! I finally got a long overdue check last night and I was bemoaning to a friend that it didn’t happen in time for me to sign up for the course 🙂 Thank you Susan for the second chance!


Post a Comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *