Previously, we wrote about developing a relationship with your dog, a relationship that should be coming along grandly by now.(See "The secret of a happy recall" Now we will add experience, experiment and exploit (the “e” in recall) and consideration and confidence (the recall “c”).
Experience is a biggie. You and your dog need lots of experience in different situations and places. When you have time and your dog is up to the challenge, train through a few situations in the same place.
When a novel situation appears, don’t avoid it, exploit it. Work through it or at least through part of it. If this is not practical, remember the distraction so you can recreate it at home. Always remember to break things down into easy-to-learn pieces so your dog can succeed.
Experiment with your voice to see which tones, pitches, and other variations your dog responds to. Teach him to come in different voices. If he has trouble with a voice, turn it into a game. Speak in the voice he doesn’t particularly like or respond to and follow it with silliness, treats, and toys. Soon he won’t mind your Jekyll and Hyde voices.
Don’t use the recall command when playing the voice game. If your dog is a real softy, use the weird voice for a fraction of a second before getting silly.
Experiment with different facial expressions as well.
Why go to this trouble? It may seem extreme, but when you are nervous or frightened, your voice and expression can change. These are the times your dog may hesitate to obey.
While working through these wild and crazy recalls, be considerate of your dog. After all, he’s just a D.O.G. Don’t fry his little brain or scare him. End on a positive canine note.
You may not be satisfied, but make sure your dog is. Dogs are happy with very little, so stifle your goals and your ego and let a little be enough. Considerate training gives your dog confidence – confidence in what he does and confidence in you.
Remember, you are the bearer of all good doggie things and all good things come through you! Keep up the good work and one of these days before chasing something tempting, your miracle dog will stop, turn around, and ask, “Mother, may I?”
Next issue, we’ll finish the recall training process with ALL
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