Now that the dog is able to consistently do Recall, pointing in any direction at the training venue, the dog is now ready to be introduced to the distraction of other dogs running in an adjacent lane. These distraction dogs can be practicing either Recall or Bounce in Level One and Two. For Level Three, the distraction dogs can be doing any of the Dog-Games in the adjacent lane, as the dogs will be running in both directions while the dog being tested is running in the one direction.
The introduction of distraction training is very important in any Dog-Game as many dogs (particularly those bred to chase prey or herd animals) have a very strong instinct to chase anything that moves. This instinct is even more heightened when the dog is working and excited, so the dog needs to learn that taking his eyes off the motivator and running to the barrier results in him not being given the motivator and the withdrawal of his handler's attention. The dog soon realises it is far more fun to play the Recall Game rather than make a futile attempt at chasing the other dog, which he can never reach due to the netting being used as a barrier between the lanes.
It may seem rather pointless to take so long over distraction training. However, this early training will be very beneficial once the dog progresses to more complicated Dog-Games and it has to cope with jumps, retrieving, running round a cone, or pressing a box, plus distractions.
|WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT A BARRIER, SUCH AS PLASTIC NETTING, BE USED BETWEEN THE TWO DOGS WHEN DOING SILVER. This prevents either dog running into the other's lane and causing it harm if it becomes overexcited or anxious.|
|You can use either two or three lanes when teaching a dog to do Recall Silver. Three lanes is particularly useful as one dog can work in Lane One, the other in Lane Three, and Lane Two can be kept empty. This is because some dogs need to have quite some distance between them and another dog to do Silver, and the empty lane with the two sets of netting between the dogs helps them to cope better with the situation.|
See Guidelines for a full explanation of how to set up for success. Ideally the dog should be trained in exactly the same location that it was first taught Recall.
Training and test for Level 1
Set up the two lanes (see Netting) using the first location that the dog learned Recall. Try to set the two sets of poles as far apart as possible so that there is the maximum amount of distance between the two dogs running. This distance can be lessened as the dog becomes accustomed to the presence of the distraction dog.
If the dog becomes distracted by the presence of the other dog and goes to the netting, the handler should say nothing but run to the far end of the runback area ignoring the learner dog completely and putting its motivator away. The handler of the distraction dog should praise it for returning to him and give it its motivator. Meanwhile, give the learner dog the opportunity to think through how it has not been rewarded, yet the other dog has. As soon as it looses interest in the goings on in the adjacent lane, the helper should quietly approach the dog and put it back on its lead and return to the jump marker where it was last released from. Repeat the exercise. If the dog is still unsuccessful, reduce the distance that the distraction dog runs and, if possible, increase the distance between the two lanes even more. The dog is learning by trial and error that it is far more fun to return to its handler and be rewarded, than stare forlornly at the other dog that it cannot reach.
Once the dog is consistently doing the Recall without being distracted, the helper can take the dog back to the 51ft marker at the end of the lane).
If the distraction dog is able to do Bounce, the jumps can be put in its lane as a further distraction.
Over a period of time the distance between the two lanes can be reduced.
Ideally, the certificate should be attempted when the dog has had no practice training sessions within the past hour. The dog enters the Recall lane and does 5 faultless runs in a row (from the 51ft mark), without once going wrong (ie running past the poles rather than through them, being distracted by the other dog and not returning to its handler for the motivator, not being allowed to be caught by its harness).*
Training and test for Level 2 certificate
Set up the two lanes as in Stage One but have one set of poles at the opposite end of the course to the other so that the dogs are running past each other. Take in to consideration the difficulties the dog had doing Stage One and set the lanes up at a reasonable distance apart.
The location of the lanes in the training venue is not so important at the moment but should be taken into consideration should the dog have difficulties coping with the exercise.
Repeat steps 1-6, but with the distraction dog running in the opposite direction to the learner dog. Some dogs find this type of distraction training hardest of all as they desperately want to change direction and follow the other dog to see what it is doing or the reward it will be getting. Persevere by taking very small training steps and setting the dog up to succeed as much as you can.*Training and test for Level 3 certificate
If it is not possible to get sufficient dogs to do this, one distraction dog can be used as in Stage One and Stage Two. The dog must run between the finish poles and return to its handler and then be immediately given its reward while being held by its harness. A certificate will be awarded for doing 5 correct runs in a row with no errors in the training session.
Set up the two lanes as in Stage One but take in to consideration the difficulties the dog had doing Stage One and Two, setting the lanes up at a reasonable distance apart.
Repeat steps 1-6, but with the ultimate distraction of a variety of dogs running backwards and forwards doing their Dog-Games while the learner dog does a Recall run. By this time the dog should be totally oblivious to what is going on around it and can cope with any distraction *
Having gained a certificate at Levels 1, 2 and 3 the dog has now earned its Silver Recall rosette.
The dog can now progress on to Platinum Recall
As soon as the Entry Form and fees are received the Dog-Games staff will enter your dog's details on the website Roll of Honour, so that you have a record of its achievements as it progresses through the Dog-Games, and your certificate (and your rosette when you gain the third certificate) will be posted to you.
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