Friday, April 1, 2011

On the Road to a Brilliant Recall!

Last summer I took Susan Garrett's online course, "The 5 Minute Formula for a Brilliant Recall!" A different game was presented every day for a month to help achieve brilliant recalls. It was a good course and introduced a lot of fun games to play with your dog. I believe Susan's philosophy is that if you have a brilliant recall, everything else will fall into place - so to speak.

I think that's true - if you have a brilliant recall, you likely have a good relationship with your dog and he is much more willing to work with you. It's all about the dog finding the value with you, and not with other distracting things around him. Not having done a lot of these games previously, things moved along pretty fast and I found it hard to keep up. I was still trying to master the first day's game at the end of the month. Fortunately, at the end of the course, we were able to download all of the daily lessons so we could go back through them again at our leisure. So, that's where I am this spring, starting back with the basics.

Jackson has a pretty solid recall - but brilliant - it is not. So, now we are recommitted to going back through those lessons to make our recalls more brilliant. Today we worked on one of the first games to shape the basic recall. Jackson is not motivated by toys so I used the highest value food treat that I have found - moist dog food.

Since the weather is breaking here in the Midwest, it was a great day to get outside and play. (I wish I had done a lot more of this type of activity when I first started training Jackson : )

1 comment:

Honey the Great Dane said...

I have to agree - when I first started training Honey, the only 2 things I really focuse on was a good Heel (not in the Obedience ring sense of positioning but in the "attention walking" sense of walk by my side and ignore all distractions) - and a really good, reliable Recall - and I would say that those 2 things have made all the other training afterwards much easier and definitely made the difference for dancing. Coz with dancing - unlike Agility where you've got the "running" to keep the dog with you - and with Obedience, where everything is very controlled and usually not too excited or fast, with dancing - it's just you and your dog in a big open space and lots of excitement and free movement - so if you don't have a strong bond, there is really nothing making your dog stick with you to perform your routine instead of taking off to check out the audience, etc!! And I think all our recall training really helped develop that bond.

And funnily enough, when I first started training it - this was exactly how I did it - through games! I didn't know about these "official programmes" - I just sort of played these games with Honey because I enjoyed them. I never taught her a proper Obedience type recall till much later - but I found that an easy modification once I had her already recalling well, at high speed, in a free space. I think most people teach recall the serious Obedience way from a Sit and then try to do it from free...but I actually think it's much better doing it from free, with lots of distractions - then it's always easier later to convert it to the more formal, controlled Recall in the ring.

Looking forward to hearing more about Jackson's recall training!