Recently, after teaching for three weeks on the road, I wrote this statement on my facebook status . . . “There is nothing more important that teaching your dog a reliable recall, nothing . . . it is the foundation of all brilliance and it reflects the relationship you have with your dog.”
I had over 100 people share their feelings on this statement, almost all where positive. However last night I was referred to a FB post where someone scorned my darning to attach the suggestion of an emotional investment into something that is science.
It is not the first time I have been criticized for suggesting that our dog’s recall or lack thereof reflect the relationship we have with that dog.
The line strikes a nerve in people who have a weak recall or perhaps those feeling the need to defend such people. People get upset, perhaps even cry, because they think I am saying “your dog hates you.”
This morning I looked the word “relationship” up in the dictionary.
1. The condition or fact of being related; connection or association.
2. Connection by blood or marriage; kinship.
3. A particular type of connection existing between people related to or having dealings with each other: has a close relationship with his siblings.
4. A romantic or sexual involvement.
So I am really being “unscientific” when I suggest that the recall reflects the relationship between dog and owner? Take the first definition and rephrase what I have been saying for the last twenty years; “Your recall reflects the connection or association your dog has with you.” Does that make it sting any less?
Perhaps you have a stunning, speedy recall in your house–that shows me your dog sees value in coming when called in a secure, distraction free environment where he is comfortable. I can’t tell you the number of high level obedience dogs I have seen that have a brilliant fast & accurate recall on one cue in the obedience ring but will not come when they are called if they are chasing a squirrel, cat, another dog etc in a park.
The truth is I am hoping to kindle (okay without the crying, I don’t purposely want to make anyone cry) an emotional response from people when I challenge the relationship that exists between dog and owner. Recalls save dog’s lives. Candy coating the science behind how you create that recall rarely inspires people to do something about a problem because up until that point, they haven’t seen it as a problem! I have said it many times before “Irritation is motivation.” You must view your weak recall as a problem before you will ever be inspired to fix it.
I can happily walk around carrying 15 extra pounds on my body. I wish I could be more irritated by that, if I were, I would get rid of these last ten pounds and be at my goal weight.
The fact that your dog runs away to chase birds, visit people, checks out other people’s training bags or just get the zoomies in the agility ring is the cumulative result of your dog ignoring you in more subtle ways over his lifetime.
I look at it as God (or the universe whatever works for you) using the dog as a vehicle to let you know your dog training is weak in that particular area. Clearly the more subtle cues (of the dog leaving work to go get a drink, or take a swim or even the dog not coming the first time you ask in your backyard) you have been given, has not had enough impact, on you or you would have been irritated to fix those things when you they first appeared. The weakening of cues such as contacts or a recall doesn’t happen over night, it gradually sneaks up on you if you let it.
It is human nature “manage” behaviour that is irritating to us so we don’t have to go to all that work to train. I am no different. We don’t have a doorbell in our new house because I was irritated by all the barking that went with the door bell ringing. I could have trained my dogs not to do it, but instead I managed the behaviour so I don’t have to see it again (now when someone hits the doorbell button at our front door the phone rings 3 short bursts).
More that a few months ago when Encore and Feature where running in the field I called Encore and she barely took notice. Does that mean our relationship is crap? Nope, it just means she sees more value in Feature than in me in that environment. It reflected my relationship with her when Feature was running. It needed to be repaired, so I fixed it.
I was spurred to write that comment on my Facebook page when I saw soooo many people who where so keen for instruction in handling their agility dog but where helpless if that dog decided to ignore them and to do their own thing. The sad truth is if instead of offering a handling clinic I had offered a “recall clinic” few of those people would have shown up– not sexy enough to take a day off of work to learn how to teach a recall.
In my opinion a dog that sees value in their owner and has a great recall makes handling much easier and, it if done correctly, has the added benefit of tightening turns.
Today I am grateful for a sleeping in my own bed for the first time this month.
I do agree with all you said but what makes me a bit crazy is the generalization that motivation and hard work will always create a perfect recall. I have a Golden Retriever that with very little training has a lovely recall. My other 3 are Siberian Huskies that get DAILY recall training and still have less than perfect recalls. What I have found is that they have a much greater comfort level of distance from me, the Golden is checking in at 5-10 feet away the Siberians don’t start checking in until about 30 ft away. Also, the golden never asks why and with out a full on sales pitch the Siberians are not interested! I got terribly frustrated early on because my instructors basically wrote them off as impossible to train for agility. Not eager to accept that I studied them as individuals not as the generic “dog” in all the training programs and started to think outside the box. They will never be Golden’s and an outsider may scoff at our recalls but they are there and improving daily. I guess the point is that the instructor must be able to take into account the individuals that make up the relationship and give guidance when the “normal” stuff doesn’t work. There is nothing more DEmotivating than being told you don’t have a good “relationship” with your dog when you are doing everything by the book! Some times you have to throw out the book and just look at your dog!!! It has worked for us!
I WISH my border collie had a reliable recall. I feel like I’ve tried everything. I even purchased and watched over and over the “Really Reliable Recall” DVD and tried all of the techiques on the DVD. The biggest problem I have is my BC doesn’t care for food so clicker training can only last a few treats before he is done with that. You might be asking yourself right now, what kind of treats? All of them, grilled chicken and beef seasoned all different ways, cheeses, all kinds, weiners, turkey, all the treats other dogs love. Dice doesn’t seem to value food like my other dogs do even at mealtime. He loves tennis balls and frisbees and kind likes tugs but nothing in the world is more valuable than a tennis ball to him. I even use it to clicker train with when a behaviour I’m looking for will work with it. He’s doing great in agility training BUT he won’t come to me if there is something he’s more interested, like another dog playing agility. I’ve been working on it for a year with no real results or success. My other 3 dogs have reliable recalls, something I never needed to train. I adopted Dice from the city animal shelter at the age of 7 months. I could tell he had never been in a car or the house or been socialized with people and other dogs. Over the past year, he’s grown leaps and bounds and I know it’s been agility training that has given him the confidience to enjoy his life now. He’s a gem with the exception of recall. I’ve even had trainers help me with suggestions to no avail. I’ve hit a brick wall and don’t know what else to do. I know I have a great relationship with him and I also know I’m just not as interesting as something moving fast or another dog. 🙁
Susan, in my opinion, there can’t be enough attention (pun not intended) to recall. As a crossover trainer, I remember how much we worked on this, and my Leonbergers were rock solid. We worked on it every day…literally. Thankfully, positive, reward based training and clicker training came along. My “kids” loved it and so did I!!! My beloved Leos are gone now, and my most recent rescue, a 2 yo Xoloitzcuintli, was trained at Paws for Humanity in Montana Women’s Prison. He passed his AKC Advanced Obedience test while there. Woo Hoo! An easy road for me, training him to be my service dog. He was great at all the basics, as long as we were in the house or on the deck. Took him out in the pastures to roam and work on his recall. Boy! Did I get blown off! Back to square one, and a new cue. We’re working on it on a long lead. He’ll get there, but our relationship won'[ be complete until we get this together. Thanks for the post and your blog.
Ah the JOY of a recall. I now understand. I always owned working breeds and in reality the never seemd to want tobe anywhere but beside me. Then my daughter decided SHE wanted a JRT OK How different can a terrier be from a Rottie there both Dogs Right… WRONG… So traing a JRT like a Rottie ends up with an untrained JRT. At least it did for me. No really Abby is great now that she is 13 years old and finally decided that I REALLY do mean come HERE NOW! Now we have added the next addition a Border Terrier. I have learned MUCH and done things OH SO DIFFERENT. Being with me as much as is possible, CRATE GAMES !!!! and NEVER OFF LEAD and even then just the slightest forgetfulness puts her back on long line even in our back yard. End result I have the joy of walking outside and seeing her at the end of our 1 acre property calling her and have her FLY home fast as she can with the HAPPY JOY THAT MELTS MY HEART EVERY TIME! She is the joy of my life .
Course if I think she might not come I go to her. She is only 9 months old and we have a LONG way to go to RELIABLE. And are still working on it. The OLD JRT she almost always comes first time if not give it a min. she will be there as soon as she puts that darn squirrl up a tree. There are priorities and I have never been hers.
Wow… we really do let things go … recall is so important, I walk my dogs offleash all the time and we do run into coyotes on a semi regular basis, for safety if I hear or see them I leash up but some times I don’t see them or here them and my dogs do. My dogs are very good in this situation and will stay with me, on the odd occassion they will run after the coyote if they are away from me ( not connected) at the time of distraction. They will return quickly when I call for them. But I must say one is better than the other two and I have to admit that those relationships need to be worked on. I also would have loved a seminar on recalls and would have taken off work for it to really get this sorted but in truth I know I have a much stronger relationship with one over the other two and I know it is my lack of building a better connection and relationship with them. My bad and now I will work on it – let me know when the recall workshop comes to BC. Cheers
I love the line: “Irritation is motivation”
I have said for years, “Frustration brings learning.” Not only in the dog world but in the human world as well.
Keep up the good work – wish I lived closer to you sometimes. I’d love to see you work more.
OK You have my attention. My 1 yr old Aussie has great recall in almost all situations except… a car appears out of nowhere, a jogger when he is away from me, he will rarely break off of the full speed chase unless it is far enough away he has a chance to rethink. I have to be very careful where I let him off leash and keep a sharp eye out. It IS the most important thing to me. He is sooo good but I can’t risk to test so what is the magic answer?
I am not an agility person but rather an obedience person. I have recently experienced exactly what you are referencing. My issue was not a dog who failed to come when called but a dog who would wander off at times. I recently switched trainers. During my first session with the new trainer my dog would wander around the training center when I was speaking with the trainer. I would call him and he would immeidately return but then wander off again if I was not totally focusing on him. The new trainer pointed out to me that it was my dog’s job to pay attention to me instead of me micromanaging my dog’s environment. She then proceeded to tell me that unless I held my dog responsible for his own behavior he would never respect me. She then showed me how to correct him any time he started to wander off or did not follow me when I moved to a new location. Initially I was offended by what the trainer had said as it is never easy to face your own shortcomings or to realize I had allowed my dog to be in charge. I swallowed my pride and did what she suggested. At first my dog was not happy about our change in relationship and he tried me multiple times per day. It took a lot of hard work and consistency on my part but I stuck with the program. My dog now respects me and his stress level in the ring has decreased. As a result , many of the issues we were experiencing on particular excercises have disappeared. Sometimes to become a better trainer you have to be willing to humble yourself and face the unpleasant truth.
For me it’s not “hitting a nerve”. Just because you get an argument doesn’t mean that it’s “a nerve being hit”. As i wrote in FB, I think people think one way some times, instead of realizing that a recall is just one of many things when it comes to having a good relationship, and understand what clickertraining REALLY is they just focus on one thing. I mean you can teach your dog to always check you on the daily walks which leads to you NEVER have to be calling the dog at all! As I also wrote you can tech the dog to LOVE a harsh voice simply because it is what you pair it with but that’s beyond the subject.
I know that the “the recall is the most important thing” is directed mostly to people who doesn’t even train their dogs. Their dogs WILL not check them on their walks. But it’s still just ONE thing that leads to a good relationship.
I don’t think anyone really objects to a recall being important, but still…….:)
It took me a while to understand relationship as you defined above. It’s about checking the ego at the door and listening with an open mind.
A relationship with your dog is a like any relationship in your life…you have to make an investment both emotionally and physically. Depending on the type of relationship you want, that’s how much work you have to put into it.
I’ve learned to look at the recall behavior as a tool of measurement. I know where I stand with my dog, in terms of understanding, in each environment and situation. It IS in fact, very scientific.
I really appreciate the insight you offer on your blog. I have a beautiful chocolate lab who I adore and I enjoy learning all I can to help make her life and our relationship the best it can be.
As far as the recall is concerned, she is pretty good about coming to me in most situations but not always. I guess that means she values our relationship but some things are more important. What tips do you have to improve on that?
Also, there’s a new place in Phoenix where I live called Arizona Dog Sports. It’s a great indoor facility that the owner has dubbed a “gym for dogs.” I think it’s a very unique set up in that it provides a variety of dog training classes but also incorporates a lot of unique services as well like a canine nutritionist, dog massage therapy, holistic vet, dog yoga, and others.
The owner there really is passionate about owners giving the best to their pet and she is familiar with agility. She has done so much for me and Haley that I love recommending her to others.
If you’re ever in the Phoenix area and have the opportunity, you should look her up.
Thanks again for the advice.
Robann raises a very important point. Many instructors don’t use the basics of positive motivation with their human pupils & that’s sad.
I think even if you believe this issue of relationship & recall is so tightly bound (& actually I’m not convinced for the same reasons Nancy Kemna raises in her blog post; I occasionally hang out online with gun dog people – since I own one – & there are people who have trained excellent recalls with e-collars & force. I think some of them might have good relationships with those dogs, but certainly not all do. Their recalls rock, though.) but even if this IS your belief, I don’t know that it helps the students in your class very much to hear it phrased that way.
I think I know what you’re getting at with the relationship: the level of engagement, back & forth communication, trust, willingness to work – all these things are part of it. But I think for most students, it would go further to just say: IME, when people are having probs with x, y, or z, I think they need to go back to the basics & focus for a few weeks/months on these fundamentals.
Also, it just occurs to me that Silvia Trkman talks as glowingly of tricks training as foundational to a relationship with dogs…. I suspect she’s getting at similar issues.
Thanks for the wonderful blog. So much great info here!
AWESOME post, thank you for your great insight, Susan
I couldn’t agree more. I’m definitely guilty and wish I had more motivation to work on reteaching this. Any particular suggestions on how to build value for myself for my girl? She’s a total hound so smells are always taking priority (which definitely isn’t an excuse) but a factor to consider. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Guilty. But I ‘( didn’t cry. My dogs need a better recall. I’ve just been too “xyz” to get on it. Cuz its always good enough right up until it isn’t one day. Good reminders and well stated pots.
I would love for my phone to ring when my dogs hear a car pull into my driveway!!
One of my dogs has a terrible recall. Does this reflect our relationship? I believe so. It doesn’t mean that my dog hates me or I don’t love my dog. I don’t take offence to your comment at all and this is how I can learn from it. I actually laughed when I read your comment on FB.. Did she just see me out side calling my dog?
Your training methods have completely changed my other dog who has a pretty good recall now.. just to keep trying to retrain myself and my dogs.
Nice, thoughtful response, Susan. When I attended one day of your camp, I found the experience supportive and enriching, and I took some good things home. So this doesn’t apply to you…but I do have a simple question regarding instructors.
Why don’t they use positive reinforcement with their students, like they insist on with dogs? Humilation and yelling, especially when one is paying for the experience, is counterproductive, and one must consider the “bad vibes” it creates for the canine partner whose owner is being yelled at.
I ask the same question.
I do know that at first, rule number 1 is, never call your dog to you when you are not sure she will come back. Always begin in a win-win situation, then don’t forget to take it gradually into higher distraction environments. If you don’t do this, you got nothing
Rule number 2, not so easy to remember, is make the duration of the reward last at least 20 seconds – with relationship value
Rule number 3 is to do your homework: work on it frequently for short periods during the day.
What I want to know is, how come – it seems to me some people don’t do any of this and their dog has a great recall in any situation.
PLEASE, please, please Susan. Can you tell me what you did when you said you fixed it, meaning when Encore barely took notice of you when running with Feature in the field?
Dianne – I’d be careful about letting your puppy ‘choose’ what it would prefer to be rewarded for. In ‘Shaping Success’ Susan talks about that very thing when she found Buzzy refused to take food when around the agility equipment because he was so high. Plus, we don’t really want our dogs circling behind us when we’re working if we’ve called them into the front of us – could be going into blind cross territory, although it didn’t work out too badly for the Russians recently! 🙂
seems half the world is “in recovery ‘..
In reference to Ariel’s statement above, I think it is the Best thing to be “in recovery ” from a SG seminar !!
And you know what the song say’s “the answer is BLOWIN in the wind….
SO, hopefully it won’t be you !
I don’t care what they say, YOU ROCK !(and roll, and rock, )
Please…please…please have a recall seminar …in the Pacific Northwest area!
Here is one of my many favorite quotes:
“A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear,
who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can
be who you have always known you could be. ”
Nancy you rock!
I am with Amy a semiar on recalls, duration behaviors, crate games, and retrieves would be a blast!
Also…..side note why are you thinking you need to lose anymore weight, your gonna blow away in the wind if you lose too much!!!
I consider recall a life skill for my dogs just as I considered knowing how to swim a necessary life skill for my kids. I test my dog’s recall every chance I get in . safe places. Having had a dog who found most things more interesting than me I do think it’s easier to train in the breed that I have now who are known to be people dogs. Having said that – Max’s excellent recall did not work when we had a racoon in our yard last year so it will always be a work in progress for us.
I stand by my rant.
Thanks for your comments on the FB post, and I’m glad I irritated you enough to motivate you to write this blog. We differ on the value of using the word relationship. You think it motivates people; I think it closets them and makes them ashamed to seek help in working on this very most important skill. I see your point – I hope you see mine. I suspect we may both be right – there are people that are irritated and tweaked by the idea that their dog is not responding due to a “relationship issue.” There are others that are ashamed of that “relationship issue” that don’t seek help.
I have to laugh because I got very excited about a recall class they were doing in my area, like how cool is that, four lessons of just all sorts of games to build relationship and strengthen recall. The funny thing is the instructor was very careful not to suggest that part of building the recall was building relationship-but after I saw peoples reaction I understood. I was really suprised when no one wanted to sign up and made faces when I said they should sign up with us, LOL. Heck, relationships, recall, who can not afford some improvement in any area like that, and I by working on my recall I did see how much more solid our working relationship grew.
I completely agree with you. I have a very small Jack Russell from working lines, that had had little basic obedience training when I took her on. We had exactly that relationship that you describe – good recall when there was nothing more interesting. As you said I ‘managed’ it. We started to have various problems in the ring and I was not sure of the cause. Then someone pointed out that my problems were not agility related but ‘foundation’ related. I got extremely irritated at basically flushing my entry fees down the drain -so we went back to school. In my area it is hard to find an open space that is not encircled by roads – so a good recall really is a life saver. I want to know that if a rabbit gets up in front of her I can still get her back. Its not completely proofed yet – but I’ll work on it until it is – I owe it to both of us.
OK, I love the idea of not having a doorbell but I can’t resist asking how long until they bark every time the phone rings? Isn’t it Pavlov’s bell whether it is a door bell or phone ring tone?
Great blog and training philosophy.
I was concerned about the dog’s picking up on the telephone to answer the door as well but the phone rings far far more often with us picking it up then it does to get us to answer the door– so the answer is no. Also when the phone rings those three bursts you can pick it up and talk to the person at the front door (intercom system) so there is no need to answer the door at all if you don’t want to — way too random an event (3 bursts=answer the door) for the dogs to pick up on it.
Alas when my kelpie was a young pup, I concentrated on stays, releasing to toys and teaching him to lie on his side to relax him as he’s a bit nervy. Tried training reliable recalls at and away from home but never really succeeded. Guess I’m just too lazy but I do appreciate the life saving value of a reliable recall. Strangely enough, he is very reliable with his recall when he’s working stock. I can call him and he comes to me? And he is really focussed on his stock work. Sigh…no excuse. Need to get off my butt and train him more.
I think that one of the hardest aspects of growing as a dog trainer is getting over your ego and allowing your mind to open up to criticism and new information. Using your dog’s behavior as a tool for assessing your ability as a trainer can be a painful experience, but without honest assessment, you will never really grow.
You had me in tears at the recent Washington class because I was completely overwhelmed by the realization of how much work I need to do to get to where I want to be with my dog.
I really appreciate you for pushing us to be honest with ourselves. Of course you will pick up some criticism for your honesty- really looking at yourself can be an uncomfortable and emotional experience. I am still recovering from your seminar (and looking forward to the next one!).
Ariel thank you for your honest response, it has me looking at my dog/people training as well. Since “your dogs are a reflection of your abilities to train” so to are “your students a reflection of your ability to teach.” It is never my intention to upset someone to tears so. Personally my ego is never so big that I can’t constantly be evaluating the effectiveness of my tools and improving upon that which isn’t creating the desired response.
I like the fact that you reminded us all that it is a skill which needs constant revisiting and testing. I have a dog who’s recall was pretty jolly good – but now after 7 months of rehab being mostly on lead walking after an accident I am finding I have to work again to build up her recall to its previous level. Life is just so exciting now that she’s feeling better that we need to remind ourselves of the basics. Its never finished, never “trained” – always a work in progress – just like agility training 🙂
Personally, I am so glad to see this. I get so frustrated when I see dogs go into the agility ring with the intention to make the most of their momentary freedom instead of feeling motivated to go out and work with their handler. Invariably the handlers seem to laugh that at least the dog had fun while they gripe about getting whistled off the course. Never commenting on the lack of basic foundation with the dog of course.
I have a very young novice dog who is a bit slow on course as she builds confidence and learns to manage the stress of trials. I am thrilled with how well she’s working with me and recently posted to our breeder’s list that some of my most important foundation training is at out local dog park. (Crate Games is critical too of course!)
Our park is not fenced, and we have interesting wildlife – ducks and squirrels; dangerous wildlife – beavers, moose and on rare occasions black bear. We have bikers, skiers and runners passing through, nice dogs, and dogs I’d rather my pair to avoid. The park has about a mile of trail circling a lake. In order to relax and enjoy my park time, I have to have a reliable recall. From puppyhood my dogs learn that recalling is the ONLY option.
My girlie wore a 10 foot drag line for 3 weeks once she hit 7 months old and decided she didn’t need to listen. One failed recall and the next day she had a brand new drag line. I’d call, stand on the rope. If she came she got a jackpot and got to go back to play. If she didn’t I was able to prevent self rewarding and she’d miss out on the fun until she decided that giving me attention was well worth her time. She got the picture quickly that rules are rules.
My dogs and I may not have perfect runs, but we have a sound working relationship; so regardless of our success or failure, we’re in it together, and that’s what dog sports are all about for me.
Susan, If you had a recall workshop I would be there in a heart beat!!!
Owning four Kelpies I also have a responsibility that four herding dogs are NOT going to run wild at people or other dogs. It is interesting that not just in Agility but in every day life I run into probably 90% of dogs on the trails who don’t have a recall. The owner will be shouting madly as their dog runs at breakneck speed at my dogs so I probably put more work into recalls because others DON’T!! I tell mine to lay down so the offending dog stops and doesn’t know what to do. When the owner catches up they say “Don’t worry he is friendly” and I always respond the same…
“Well I won’t let mine interact with yours since I don’t want to reinforce his behaviour for running away and ignoring you”.. whereby the owner leashes their dog up and looks slightly embarassed. Sorry but my dogs aren’t playing with yours if you have no control….
LOL, doesn’t make me popular sometimes but hey… if the other dogs decides to be pushy they can’t call it off!! It is safety in so many ways!!
We as owners must sometimes say that eventhough we don’t like training somethings it simply must be done with brilliance and purpose.
I think sometimes we all take for granted what having an amazing recall allows for us and our dogs. I went to the lake today with both dogs and a year ago my male wouldn’t have been allowed off lead. Walking to the car there was a bird in the bushes both dog went after it and both came back. There has never been anything more terrifying to me then thinking that my male would find something more reinforcing and do himself harm. W
I am now working with a new puppy 13 weeks old border collie, got her at 8.5 weeks.. I work on the recall all the time now. Last night in puppy class, the third class ( I missed the first two but I have been clicker training) we did recalls. My little puppy did fabulous. I called and she came right to me as a if fired out of a cannon. The instructor want to use click and food but we had been working with a tug toy reward. I used the food on the first call and it was OK. I traded places and as walked back my dog must have seen the toy on my back pocket and she came right to me then circled behind and leaped for the tug toy so we played tug. I also worked on proofing my crate games stay in an open crate. It went well in the class and amazed the other people. I had one miss, at the end of class the instructor was all excited and standing 10 feet in front of the crate and jumped and in a high excited voice said “You did great!!” My puppy shot out of the crate to her. Time for more work. I have been following Ruff Love and Shaping Success. It is amazing how we have a great relationship. The sits and downs are to say until released, all working well. Thanks for your training materials.
You are exactly right on this one. I have three dogs. Two of the three have excellent recalls and I have a great relationship with them. My middle child loves everyone the same. I always say that he would be happy to live with anyone. His lack of recall is a reflection of his relationship with me. For some reason we never got that great bond that you need with a performance dog and that you desire with a household pet. I will love him, feed him, and care for him, just like all the others, but I know that he is just as happy to sit in your lap as he is to sit in mine.
It took me a very long time to figure out what you meant by a dog’s recall reflecting its relationship with its owner. Mostly because I really didn’t understand the relationship part of it. But looking back at my previous dog, I was just a treat dispenser. The more I’ve followed your training methods, the more lightbulbs have gone off, and with my current dog (now 15 months), I finally truly understand what you mean by all this. I’ve worked hard on cultivating our relationship since she came to me at 8.5 weeks, and I am seeing the results of this. I am also now very aware that her actions/reactions DO reflect the status of our relationship and how well I’ve trained things. It’s so nice to have my dog constantly telling me how I’m doing (and it’s not always good!). The other day, my husband unknowingly paid me a huge compliment. He said of our dog, who is a Vizsla, “she’s like a border collie”. Yesssssss!!!!!! If that’s the impression she gives him, I will take it.
You must fill us in on all the other dog-friendly aspects of your new house!
How true! But then sometimes the truth stings and is not pretty…. An old, very wise dog trainer once told me: If you have a dog that does not come when it’s called, you don’t have a dog.
I have to admit that I am one of those with a not-so-there recall 🙁 My older dog had a great one that fell apart while he lived with my parents for a few years, and my younger dog never really had one. I would LOVE to go to a recall class taught by you Susan!
couldn’t agree more-way more important to me than anything else. We live in the country with lots of super distractions and recall training is a way of life around here. I would have galdly taken work off for a recall class!!!
Your comment “if it irritates you enough you will do something about it” has always reverberated with me ever since I did a seminar with you years ago. It plays in my head whenever I am in that situation. And I do something about it now rather than let whatever it is keep happening. Thank You!
(now when someone hits the doorbell button at our front dog the phone rings 3 short bursts).
Love this. Which one is the front dog?
I think with out a great recall all of the sexy, is like a hand full of gravel useless, can’t fill a hole or make a driveway, all you can do is trough it in the river for unlasting riples, That is what happens to all your sexy stuff with out it. It dosent last or look sexy. I live on a bizy road in frount and a hyway be hind so the is no option there. Well just my 2 cents Thanks Kandy
Susan, let me firt say that this is the best dog training blog I’ve ever come across! That being said, I completely understand where you are coming from here.
Peersonally, I’ve long rejected the scientific notion that dogs do what they do because of instinct. I can’t buy into me. I know my dog knows me, and I know he loves me. Heck, he IS my best friend!
Don’t worry too much about what others say. You know in your heart what the truth is.
Amen sister. I live in Toronto with 2 dogs. 1st dog, I never bothered to train a brilliant recall, she chases things, she stays on leash, forever. 2nd dog, I spent 1 yr practising recalls (and other simple foundation skills) and I have a dog who enjoys his freedom off leash with great responsibility. End of story.