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Survey Says . . .

Posted on 07/09/10 22 Comments

Thanks to everyone for your feedback on the recall survey. I closed it down last night. Your comments have been invaluable. It makes no sense for me to design an e-course for you all based on what I think you need without finding out from you what you think you want!

Often times what we want as a student isn’t always what we need to progress our skills. Having never done anything like this in the past I am creating the curriculum of this e-course in much the same way I design a seminar.

My experience will direct me to what students need to progress their dog training in the long run but if I don’t satisfy your wants in the short term it is unlikely the process will be reinforcing enough for you to stick with it.

What I have learned during my years as an educator is that if I give you only what you want (not my style) I am retarding your potential growth as a dog trainer. On the other hand, if I ignore what you want and give you just what I believe you need (a past limitation of mine as an instructor), you will likely ignore me as a presenter!

The key to education, as I see it, is to balance what I think you need with what you know you want. That, in my opinion, is the ideal learning environment. Thanks to all of your comments on the survey the e-course is coming together to be just that. A blend of both your wants and needs.

A few highlights from the survey; more than half of you had 2-3 dogs at home and 66% of you turn your dogs out in a group all at once. Fenced in yards are popular with 91% of you having one but less than 15% have a dog door.  55% live alone or with just one other person in the house.

Of the  42% of you with brilliant recalls 68% of you never use a flexi and 60% of you routinely have your dog play with other dogs.

I say that last line as if it is significant but funny enoough those of you that don’t have brilliant recalls 68% of you never use a flexi and 60% of you routinely have your dog play with other dogs. Exactly the same numbers!

So my conclusions from the survey are I continue to suck at picking the questions to ask that will produce any usable statistics BUT you guys continue to bail me out and make the whole process so worthwhile by the awesome feedback you give me in the comments section of the questions.

Bravo for you. Well done, thank you, I appreciate both the support and the extra time and effort you took expressing your feelings.

Next week I roll out the program. Very exciting. Thanks for all of the wonderful encouraging comments about the instruction so far, I am glad you are as encouraged about the program as I am.

We have a CKC world team practice today. The entire team got together yesterday for an awesome classroom session lead by Mental Prep Coaching specialist John Cullen. It was way fun. Each of us revealed a nickname. I think they will be posted on our CKC World Team website at a later date.

No there are no spouses just my siblings and I with my two step sistas and my late step-mom in the middle.

Today I am grateful that all of my brothers and sisters will start rolling into town later today. We have a family reunion organized by my mom’s side of the family this weekend. My sister Vicki from Atlanta, sister Mary-Lynn from Vancouver, brother Rob from Ottawa, brother Dave from Kingston and of course the rest of my siblings that are local will all be there.  Will be a blast I am sure.


  1. Alan Gardner says:
    Friday, September 10, 2010 at 5:21pm

    Hi Susan, I came across this blog while looking for something else. But thought I’d drop a comment. The key to a good and meaningful questionnaire (quantitative research) is to first get your qualitative done. Basically this means talk to people and get feedback first on what your objectives (of the questionnaire)are and potential questions might be. Secondly start with the ‘easy’ questions first then get into tougher stuff. Thirdly, be careful of reporting percentages on their own.

    By the way I was looking for agility visual turning cues so don’t know why i ended up here!



  2. Tanya says:
    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 6:18am

    I am looking forward to anything that I can learn as I have 2 female bull terriers so I have stubborness in the genes. My older girl(3 1/2) has a fairly good but slow recall that I would love to learn to strengthen and add enthusiasm to it. I would especially be thankful for any ideas on getting a strong, reliable recall for my younger girl(1 1/2) as she is deaf and needs to be constantly on a lead unless she is focused on me in a restrained recall or if I have a toy that she wants when we are in the backyard or at flyball. However when she has something in her mouth she switches me off and goes inside her head and doesn’t pay attention and perimeters the yard and we have to catch her. If she doesn’t have something in her mouth that I have given her to run with if she gets out she will go into the garden and pick up a stick that I am not happy for her to have. If I can get some ideas to change this that would be great.


  3. Sharon Goodwin says:
    Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 8:29pm

    Your timing is wonderful. I will do these excercises with my 2 year old bc and with the pup I’ll be getting this fall. Brilliant!


  4. Sharon Normandin says:
    Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 8:23pm

    Wow, I had no idea you had such a large family! Have a great time at the reunion. I was an only child and it is so lonely.

    My 6 month old BC pupster has a brilliant recall; he came with it, at 8 weeks. I can call him away from play with other dogs, poking a frog in the grass, looking for squirrels out the window, away from his food dish. I really don’t feel like I had anything to do with it, he seemed hard-wired to come racing to me when I called his name. And his major reinforcement when he comes is merely praise. Have I just gotten unbelievably lucky, or can I expect as he ages to see a difference? To try to be clearer, at around 5 months he suddenly seemed to forget his cues for “sit” and “lie down”, so might he also hit some milestone in his chronological development where he forgets what his name means? I guess I shouldn’t take the chance, I need to continue to put a lot of value on the recall I have, right?


  5. Jan K. says:
    Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 3:58pm

    What about someone who can’t run b/c of bad knee problems? I have a student like that. She can only do about 2 maybe 3 sequences in class & her knee is shot for the next day or so. Are there any ways to work on the recall w/o having to run so much? I know she would love to have a good recall for her 5 yr old JRT.
    Thanks, Susan! I love your stuff!


  6. Gene says:
    Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 1:36pm

    I think a questions you should have added to your survey were: 1) have you read Ruff Love a. yes, many times over; b. yes, looked through it, read parts; c. no. 2) Did you follow the Ruff Love Program? a. yes, to the letter; b. most of it; c. some parts of it; d. no. I for one would be a “b” girl. My puppy has the BEST recall of any dog I’ve ever owned, and I credit you for it. No doubt if I had done the 12 months of caging and the head harness, not only would her recall be brilliant, but she would walk brilliantly on a leash. I would be highly surprised that anyone who answered a, a would not have a brilliant recall.


  7. Al Winder says:
    Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 11:47am

    Am just about to take a sneak peak at recall video (during work hours, no impulse control here). My 9-mo.-old GSD girl is just learning the recall, from scratch, so I am wildly excited to have you as my guide. She’s brilliant in the house — burns up the wood floor like roadrunner treading air over the cliff. She did 3 recalls in class — at 12 feet from a Wait past a line of dogs 4 ft. away on either side. Dogs are her biggest distraction after deer and foxes. I don’t give her a chance to chase wildlife. Here’s something I do with her in our training room at home: she adores ball retrieves, so whenever she’s picked up the ball and is about to turn to bring it back, which she does 100% of the time in order to get me to throw it again, I call out, “Inka, heeere!” Is capturing the recall this way a good idea or not?
    Can’t wait for the e-course.


  8. Janet says:
    Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 2:14am

    recall words

    ordinary recall “come”
    far away recall – right now, I mean it, or I will hide behind a tree and you, dog, will get all stressed out looking for me:
    “C’mon” said the way Leyton Hewitt says it when firing himself up at tennis.

    Others I know about
    “here” and “heeee- Yaahh”
    “free beer”
    And some people just use the clicker, or a chain rattle or a dog whistle, or worse, (for dogs that go to sports games) a ref’s whistle.


  9. Janet says:
    Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 2:10am

    Pardon my ignorance but what is a “flexi”?

    Looking forward to insights on building better recall.

    I follow some of the methods in Lesley Nelson’s Really Reliable Recall. But as you say, it’s an ongoing process, once you have a great recall – you still have to work on it and build value – every day. And to get the best results you have to have the ultimate treat/game for reward.

    For my dog and friends dog – that ultimate reward can be different every day – what a challenge.


  10. Theresa says:
    Saturday, July 10, 2010 at 2:07am

    wow…. Great looking family !!!!
    I hope you have a wonderful wonderful time.
    Of course I am thankful and sucking up every word that drops from your little mouth !!
    Oh….. REEEEallly cute boy lookin’ ova your shoulda !!!


  11. julie says:
    Friday, July 9, 2010 at 3:10pm

    Susan, I really hope that some day I’ll be able to attend one of your seminars, because I believe you must be a won-der-ful teacher. Thanks for sharing!


  12. sian says:
    Friday, July 9, 2010 at 1:38pm

    I am really looking forward to this ecourse! I really do need to know the foundations and the nitty gritty. I’ve just started clicker training with my 10mth GSD (who’s recall is good with no distractions) and all we’ve done so far is that he knows when I click he gets a treat. I really am at the beginning, have never trained a dog before, am very keen to do so properly, and need to know everything.
    I’ve only leared bits off the internet from places like this website. Thanks so far, and can’t wait to learn more.


  13. Emma H says:
    Friday, July 9, 2010 at 1:12pm

    Does anyone have good ideas for recall cues. I’ve been thinking about what to use and I can’t seem to think of something good!


    • veronica says:
      Saturday, July 10, 2010 at 8:46am

      Cues for a recall?
      There are a few words that seem to get my dogs attention asap.
      When I say the words “Dinner!”(at meal times) and “cookie!”(a reward is coming)
      My dogs see that as a jack pot and go nuts.
      So I have been testing this when calling them from a distance….it works.


  14. Sherry Moore says:
    Friday, July 9, 2010 at 10:54am

    I called my brilliant dog off squirrels this morning and my newest girl, here not quite 2 weeks, is doing fabulous recalls. Practice makes perfect :). Thanks!


  15. Trudie says:
    Friday, July 9, 2010 at 10:23am

    Same question as Esther concerning release cues.

    My old cue to everyday happy recall was my dog’s name. I also had “come” which my dog did not always respond to. so as you suggested I discarded it. and for the restrained recall exercices adopted a new one meaning “Near me”. Or: “Dog’s name” + “near me” cue.
    So, this cue will only be used in a situation where the desired behavior is the dog to stop whatever he is doing, whip his head around and come to me.

    I also have a release cue from a stationary position, such as a start line, teeter contact, table, which is “OK !” to tell the dog to move with a burst of speed and pay attention to me. Which I assume I’ll continue to use in that context.


  16. Rachel says:
    Friday, July 9, 2010 at 10:04am

    10 siblings! Cool! I grew up with lots of brothers and sisters too. Never a dull moment, huh? Enjoy the reunion.

    Can’t wait for the e-course. I think the 15 minute teaser video is great – very inspiring.


  17. Jodi Altman says:
    Friday, July 9, 2010 at 10:03am

    Holy Fertility Queen of Ontario, your Mama musta been busy.



  18. Deanna says:
    Friday, July 9, 2010 at 9:36am

    enjoy the reunion!
    so verrry excited for the e-course =)

    i have a question though..

    i have 2 dogs one is a pet dog whos 7. my two year old is my performance dog the one i want to work on. none of them have good recalls. Will i have to work my older one as well even though it’s ok if she doesn’t have a brilliant recall??


  19. Michelle says:
    Friday, July 9, 2010 at 8:37am

    When you do your e-course, will you be showing examples, I am a very visual person and I understand what you say but may be interpreting it differently than what you intended.


  20. Laura says:
    Friday, July 9, 2010 at 7:37am

    Designing a survey that gets you meaningful data is not an easy task! I love taking surveys and I don’t know if I’d be any good designing them, but I often find myself thinking while taking one that they are not asking the right questions or they should phrase things differently or have more options to choose from.

    Looking forward to the e-course and I hope you have a blast with your family. The weather (after today’s rain ends) looks great for a reunion.


  21. Esther H says:
    Friday, July 9, 2010 at 3:49am

    Enjoy de time with your family !
    Since yesterday and after my first recall sessions last night and this morning some questions :
    * Using a new cue for recall, does that mean never using the old one again?
    * Since we start with the new recall, do I have to keep my dog on leash the rest of the time to prevent a slacky recall if needed? Or do I use the old cue for now?
    * If I’m in a situation where I doubt my dog will respond to my call, better not call and go get him without saying something (to prevent ignoring the cue)? Or once near getting his attention with goofy sounds and play?

    Again, have fun with your family and excited to continue the programm.


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