Friday, 31 August 2007

The Recall

I walked in Ruffey Lake Park today with my friend Liz and her GSD 'Jabari.' As usual, Penny, my dog of indeterminate breed, raced to find Jabari and they greeted each other with a romp on the grassy hillsides that are such a wonderful feature of the park. Liz was accompanied by her friend Bev, who has adopted a glossy-coated small dog that might be a Tibetan Spaniel. His name is 'Jasper'.

Till now, when Bev has taken Jasper out for a walk, she has found that he doesn't come back, so she fretted about letting him off-lead - but we promised her we'd help find him if he did indeed leave us. The park is huge, 68 hectares, so we thought it was unlikely that Jasper would be in any danger if he wandered off a short distance. Here's a link to the park for those who are interested, but it's a boring site, I must say.

Shortly after we set off we were joined by Sue with her GSD 'Ricky'.

Yep, Jasper took off. It was worrying, putting our plan into action: walking AWAY from him instead of chasing after him. He disappeared along one of the concrete paths, following a guy with a black labrador, but Bev held her nerve and didn't call him. It seemed like forever that we waited but it was probably only a few minutes later that I spotted his feathery tail waving on the hilltop and we knew he was looking for us. We headed off down the hill and soon he came rushing back to Bev. She rewarded him with a feast of treats.

He did go off a few times again but not out of sight. We walked to one of the picnic shelters and put the dogs on lead for a while but then, to let them know that being on-lead doesn't mean the end of the fun, we set off for another, shorter off-lead walk.

Here are a couple of sites I have found useful in teaching the recall:

And a favorite:


missy said...

Liked your clickerdogs link. I am trying to teach my dog tricks, eg. spinning. Do you use your clicker to teach tricks? I am having trouble co-ordinating holding the clicker and the treat. How do you go with this?

parlance said...

Hi, Missy
Yep, I know what you mean about trying to juggle treats and the clicker. I'm actually using a 'bridge word' nowadays instead of the clicker. The bridge word works just the same as the click - it marks the actual moment that the dog exhibits the behaviour I want and lets her know a reward is coming. I just say, 'Yes!' I can also vary how enthusiastically I say it and this lets her know whether she's done a great job or just an ordinary one.