WE PLANT THE "SEEDS OF IDEAS" IN DOG OWNERS MINDS - THESE IDEAS EVENTUALLY BLOSSOM INTO A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF DOG BEHAVIOUR - Sally Hopkins
WE PLANT THE "SEEDS OF IDEAS" IN DOG OWNERS MINDS - THESE IDEAS EVENTUALLY BLOSSOM INTO A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF DOG BEHAVIOUR - Sally Hopkins

RECALL

This webpage contains a description of the following -

  • Summary of Recall

  • Aims

  • Equipment needed

  • Recall Starters Level

  • Recall Bronze Level

  • Recall Silver Level

  • Recall Platinum level

  • What the Handler learns

  • What the dog learns

 

see Before Each Training Session Begins

 

SUMMARY -

In Recall the dog learns to run to its Handler from a distance of approximately 50ft/15m. There are no "sits", "downs", "stays", "waits", etc  in any of these Dog Games.

 

AIMS - this is the first and most important Game that a dog and Handler can play together not only for safety reasons (see Precious' Story) in everyday life. It is a simple but effective way of having fun with your dog in a positive and constructive way. The Handler learns how important the reward is to the dog whether it is food or a toy etc. One of the fundamental requirements of allowing a dog freedom off the lead is that it returns to its handler when called.

 

 In Dog Games training we continually repeat some of the most simple instructions and ideas to instill them in the Handlers so that it becomes second nature to them.

 

EQUIPMENT -

  • netted training area

  • comfortable harness and lead

  • treat box or motivator

 

Within the netted area of training Lane A, the dog should wear a comfortable harness so that it will be comfortable when held before being released. Being held by its collar will put pressure on its throat and would be uncomfortable for the dog. Time and patience is also required as well as observing the dog's behaviour and body posture and language.

 

The Trainer holds the dog by its harness and releases it as soon as the Handler calls the dog's name.  This is called a restrained recall. This pressure exerted by the dog pulling to get toits Handler will tell the Trainer about the Handler's relationship with their dog. Does this need to be worked on?

 

The dog quickly learns

  • that it will be given a high value reward by its Handler if it runs quickly to him

  • to transfer this knowledge to its everyday life as the Handler consistently gives the same triggers - both in body movement and vocally.

This Game helps the dog to associate running back to its Handler with being given something it really enjoys - its motivator. If this motivator is then used in other situations (such as when called into the house; out on walks etc) so that the dog is rewarded each time it returns, the dog will choose to come consistently back to its handler.

 

RECALL STARTERS LEVEL

see Before Each Training Session Begins

 

AIMS - from a restrained recall,

  • the Trainer looks to see how the Handler MOTIVATES the dog to come to them

  • the dog learns to RETURN to its Handler over a distance

 

STARTERS 1 - training session number 1

This is the dog's first experience of doing this Game. At the Starters level we are looking for 3 successful runs out of 3 as the dog and the Handler are "Learning the Game".

 

First Run

With the Trainer holding the dog on a harness at the Box end (the closed end) of Lane A (Primary training lane), the Handler calmly walks away to about half way down the Lane away from the Trainer who is holding the dog. The Trainer is expecting the dog to pull against this restraint to get to their Handler, feeling for the mood of the dog through this pulling. Having prepared the Treat Box/motivator, the Handler turns, gives eye contact to the dog and calls him.

 

Having successfully run to the Handler (towards the gate end), the dog gets lots of praise and treats/motivator. Here, the Trainer gets a good feel of the relationship between Handler and dog. The Trainer calmly walks to the Handler and discusses the success or otherwise of this first part of the exercise. The Handler puts the dog back on the lead and all three calmly walk back to the Box end of the Lane to repeat this exercise.

 

Second Run

Again, with the Trainer holding the dog on a harness at the Box end of Lane A, the Handler calmly walks three-quarters of the way down the Lane, away from the Trainer who is holding the dog, prepares the Treat Box with one or two treats and, when ready, turns and calls the dog. Again, the Trainer feels for the restraint and what this is telling about the dog. Again, the dog has successfully run back to the Handler and received his treats and praise. Again, the Trainer calmly walks to the Handler and discusses the success or otherwise of this latest part of the exercise. The Handler puts the dog back on the lead and all three calmly walk back to the Box end of the Lane to repeat this exercise.

 

Third Run

Again, with the Trainer holding the dog on a harness at the Box end of Lane A, the Handler calmly walks to the far end of the Lane, away fro the Trainer who is holding the dog, prepares the Treat Box with more than one or two treats (a Jackpot) and, when ready, turns and calls the dog again. Again, the Trainer feels for the restraint and what this is telling about the dog. Having successfully run back to the Handler and received his Jackpot and praise, the Handler puts the dog back on the lead. The Game is finished and all three calmly walk back to the car to put the dog away to rest so that the lessons learnt will slowly sink deeper into his brain and memory (Latent Learning).

 

 

Having completed these 3 successful Recall runs out of 3, the Aims of  Recall Starters have been achieved and the Game finishes.  The dog is rewarded, given a drink and returned to the car so that the lessons learnt will slowly sink deeper into his brain and memory (Latent Learning/ Memory).

 

The Handler would have awarded a 3-tiered Rosette (red outer, yellow middle, white inner) on having completed this stage.

 

If there are any lessons for the Trainer to learn and pass on to the other Trainers about this dog/relationship, the dog's training record is where this should be recorded.

 

In Dog Games training we continually repeat some of the most simple instructions and ideas to instill them in the Handlers so that it becomes second nature to them. As Trainers we are doing this several times with the different dogs in a training session. But a Handler goes home and returns, maybe, a week later and has forgotten some of what was said in the previous training session. So, with no apology, in Dog Games training we continually repeat some of the most simple instructions and ideas to instill them in the Handlers so that it becomes second nature to them, over time.

 

RECALL BRONZE LEVEL

see Before Each Training Session Begins

 

AIMS - from a restrained recall,

  • the Trainer looks to see how the Handler MOTIVATES the dog to come to them

  • the dog learns to RETURN to its Handler

  • and CONSISTENTLY over a distance

 

BRONZE Certificate 1

The dog learns to do the same Recall exercise but to be more consistent and to achieve 5 successful runs out of 5. 

 

With no other dogs around and still in the same training Lane (A) and running in the same direction towards the gate end, the same procedure is followed as above. Having completed these 5 runs, the Game is finished and calmly the dog is walked back to the car to rest so that the lessons learnt will slowly sink deeper into his brain and memory (Latent Learning). The Handler has achieved Recall Bronze Level 1 Certificate.

 

BRONZE Certificate 2

At the next session, again with no other dogs around and also in the same training Lane, BUT RUNNING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION towards the closed end, the same procedure is followed.

 

Having completed 5 successful runs, the dog is rewarded and returned to the car.  The Handler has achieved Recall Bronze Level 2 Certificate. BECAUSE of the change in direction, the dog may struggle initially. This may well be caused by the "scent geography" of the Lane.

 

BRONZE Certificate 3

With no other dogs around and also in the same Lane, AGAIN REVERSE DIRECTION  of running BACK TO THE ORIGINAL towards the gate end. The same procedure is followed. With the change in direction, again the dog may struggle initially, which may well be caused by the "scent geography" of the Lane.

 

Having completed 5 successful Recall runs, the Game is finished and the dog is rewarded and calmly walked back to the car to rest so that the lessons learnt will slowly sink deeper into his brain and memory (Latent Learning). The Handler has achieved Recall Bronze and would have been awarded a 3-tiered Rosette (red outer, yellow middle, bronze inner) on having completed this stage. 

 

If there are any lessons for the Trainer to learn and pass on to the other Trainers about this dog/relationship, the dog's training record is where this should be recorded.

RECALL SILVER LEVEL

see Before Each Training Session Begins

 

At the Silver level of any Game, plastic netting should be used between lanes for the safety for both dogs.

 

AIMS - from a restrained recall,

  • the Trainer looks to see how the Handler MOTIVATES the dog to come to them

  • the dog learns to RETURN to its Handler

  • and CONSISTENTLY over a distance

  • with the DISTRACTION of another dog close by

 

At Silver Level, it is IMPERATIVE  that both dogs in their respective Lanes are allowed to Read the Newspaper. The Trainer in each Lane should watch the dog in their Lane to see the reaction of their dog to the presence of the other dog and the movement in the other Lane.

  • Do the dogs notice each other?

  • What is the reaction of each dog to the other?

  • If one of the dogs is becoming over excited, why?

  • Can these 2 dogs work together?

  • Do you need to change the distraction dog?

For the benefit of each dog, the sitution needs to be managed.

 

SILVER Certificate 1

A decision needs to be made by the Trainer but in discussion with the Handler. Silver level requires another dog to be under training (or otherwise) at the same time BUT in another Lane and running in the SAME direction.

  • should our dog run in Lane A where it has done its previous training & another dog in Lane C? OR

  • should our dog run in Lane C which it is new to and also with the added distraction of another but "experienced" dog in Lane A?

Which would be most beneficial to our dog without pushing him too hard? In a new environment (different Lane), the dog may struggle; also with the movement and distraction of another dog nearby (but not close). If the dog is struggling, take a break. There is no rush. Try each run and see how the dog copes. If he is struggling, go back one step, reward him and then the Game is finished. Put him back in the car, taking care to avoid any other dogs. This is classed only as training as the objective was not achieved. 

 

Having completed 5 successful runs, the dog is rewarded and returned to the car and the Handler is awarded Recall SIlver Certificate 1. Make a note on the dog's training record the name of the distracting dog because this may prove useful later.

 

SILVER Certificate 2

Again, a similar decision needs to be made. Silver level requires another dog in another Lane at the same time. The running direction is again switched for the dog but both dogs are still running in the same direction. Again, with the change in direction, the dog may struggle initially. Again, this may well be caused by the "scent geography" of the Lane.

 

Having completed 5 successful runs, the dog is returned to the car and the Handler is awarded Recall SIlver Certificate 2. Make a note on the dog's training record the name of the distracting dog because this may prove useful later.

 

SILVER Certificate 3

Again, a similar decision needs to be made. Silver level requires another dog to be another Lane at the same time. The running direction is again switched for the dog but both dogs are now running in opposite directions to test the focus of the dog for the AIM to be achieved.

 

Having completed 5 successful Recall runs, the dog is rewarded and returned to the car. The Handler has achieved Recall Silver would have been awarded a 3-tiered Rosette (red outer, yellow middle, silver inner) on having completed this stage. Make a note on the dog's training record the name of the distracting dog because this may prove useful later.

 

If there are any lessons for the Trainer to learn and pass on to the other Trainers about this dog/relationship, the dog's training record is where this should be recorded.

 

RECALL GOLD LEVEL

There is NO Gold level in Recall but you could create one if you want

 

RECALL PLATINUM LEVEL

At this level, we are looking to GENERALISE our training so that the dog can cope with this Game ANYWHERE. The dog will now be working outside of the Lanes and, therefore, managing the situation is paramount

 

see Before Each Training Session Begins

 

AIMS - from a restrained recall,

  • the Trainer looks to see how the Handler MOTIVATES the dog to come to them

  • the dog learns to RETURN to its Handler

  • and CONSISTENTLY over a distance

  • how to play this Game anywhere (to GENERALISE this training)

 

PLATINUM Certificate 1

To prepare the dog for this next exercise, as usual, he is brought into one of the Lanes to relax him, let him read the newspaper, as he knows the routine now. When he is relaxed he is taken to the appropriate part of the training ground.

 

This first Platinum session is usually carried out in an area similar to P as indicated in the Layout of the Training Area. There are the restrictions of the netting to one side and the stock fencing/hedge on the other side but the width of this new Lane Area P is greater than the Training Lanes (A and C) so it will be a different "feel" for the dog. The dog has not worked here before.

 

Having completed 5 successful restrained Recall runs, the dog is rewarded and returned to the car and the Handler has achieved a Recall Platinum Certificate 1. 

 

PLATINUM Certificate 2

Having read the newspaper, the dog is brought to an area similar to Q as indicated in the Layout of the Training Area. There are the restrictions of the netting to one side and the stock fence/hedge on the other side but the width of this new Lane Area Q is greater and one end is more open to the remaining field. Again, the dog has not worked in this area before and so it will be a different "feel" for the dog.  

 

Having completed 5 successful restrained Recall runs, the dog is rewarded and returned to the car. The Handler has achieved a Recall Platinum Certificate 2. 

 

PLATINUM Certificate 3

Having read the newspaper, the dog is brought to an area similar to R as indicated in the Layout of the Training Area, the middle of the field. There are no restrictions on any side just the open field, hence the need to manage the other dogs. Again, the dog has not worked in this area before and so it will be a different "feel" for the dog. 

 

Having completed 5 successful restrained Recall runs, the dog is rewarded, given a drink and returned to the car.  The Handler has achieved Recall Platinum and would be awarded a 4-tiered rosette (red outer, yellow middle, red inner, yellow inner) on having completed this stage

 

 

 

 

A little trophy was also presented which could be engraved with the dog's name, date etc. 

 

If there are any lessons for the Trainer to learn and pass on to the other Trainers about this dog/relationship, the dog's training record is where this should be recorded.

 

The handler learns -

  • The importance of providing their dog with comfortable and suitable training equipment for the game they are about to take part in (ie the harness), and how to put it on the dog correctly so that it does not impede the dog's movement.
  • Whether their dog becomes anxious or stressed when the dog is waiting to run back to the Handler.  If this is the case, the Trainer and Handler should acknowledge this and help the dog by keeping the separation time between Handler and dog to an absolute minimum.
  • Not only what motivates their dog but themselves as well.
  • How to really play and interact with their dog so that it wants to try hard and please not only the Handler but itself as well.  Dogs are very tuned-in to their Handler's feelings and emotions and sense when they have the human's undivided attention and heartfelt praise, and when the humans are just "going through the motions" of rewarding the dog (see motivator).
  • To train the dog in very short sessions (either for a maximum of 2 minutes or a maximum of 5 repetitions of an exercise) before the dog becomes over excited.  Then take the dog away for a quiet time where it can either relax in the safety of its car or wander off for a quiet sniff and have time to think about what it has just learnt, without the distractions of the Handler talking to it or the presence of other dogs nearby - this quiet thinking time is called latent learning.
  • That dogs are very good at reading human body language.   Many dogs are very responsive to even the slightest movement of their Handler, and try to anticipate what will happen next - it often looks like the dog is mind reading!  Therefore, the Handler learns to consistently control his own body movements (which could be seen as subtle signals by the dog) so as not to mislead or distract the dog.
  • That the Handler must be consistent with the commands and signals that they give their dog, otherwise it will become confused about what it is supposed to do and will make mistakes (see Dog's Dictionary).
  • Their dog will be confused, stressed and unable to learn if the Handler cannot learn to communicate with their dog.
  • How important their tone of voice and relaxed body posture are when working with dogs. Negative emotions (such as anxiety, stress, frustration, fear or nervousness) are easily transmitted to dogs. The dogs become apprehensive and nervous, as they do not understand why their Handlers are showing these emotions.  Many dogs misinterpret the situation and believe they are the cause for the Handler's anxiety, and consequently they either refuse to do the exercise, run off, or become too stressed to continue the session.  On the other hand, if the Handler shows positive emotions (such as confidence, relaxation, and is unfazed by what is going on around them) the dog also relaxes and feels confident of its surroundings and what it is doing.

Calmness + Confidence = Success

  • Never to train their dog when they are feeling negative emotions - the session will always end in failure.
  • That they should consistently reward their dog every time it is successful.
  • The importance of praising and rewarding the dog the instant it correctly FINISHES the exercise (not whilst it is still doing it).
  • To finish each short training session on a positive note - if the dog is unable to understand what you are trying to teach it, ask it to do something it is confident of doing instead (such as a sit, down etc).  Then go away and think of how you can train the dog taking smaller steps in the training programme so that it can succeed in the next session.

 

The dog learns -

  • To calmly and confidently walk away from its Handler while on a lead which is held by a Trainer. This trust and understanding between human and dog is very important to build a strong relationship between them.
  • That if it returns to its Handler as quickly as possible it will be rewarded with something it wants (it's motivator).  The dog is always rewarded in the "Handler's area" of the Lane.  The dog soon learns that the Lane area is where it "works" and behind the Handler's area is where it will be rewarded and played with.
  • Not to become stressed or overexcited while waiting to be released.  There are different ways of doing restrained recalls (which will be explained in Recall Starters) which helps dogs to cope with being held by their harness by someone who is not part of their family, and to overcome their anxiety to return to their Handler.
  • To understand what the Handler wants it to do by trial and error -

 

If the dog does the right thing, it will always be rewarded with a motivator.

If it gets it wrong (eg the dog does not return to the Handler) the motivator will be withheld. The Handler will stand still and silent so that the dog has the opportunity to think through what has just happened without the Handler distracting it. It will then work out what it did that particular time and experiment by offering a different behaviour next time - most probably the correct one.  It should be noted that some dogs become distressed by the Handler's silence and need the reassurance from the Handler saying something such as "oh dear!" or "try again" as a cue for the dog to offer another behaviour.

The dog is then given the opportunity to get the exercise right (and instantly rewarded) so that it does NOT become discouraged from trying to do the exercise again in the future.

  • To trust its Handler, as the Handler consistently rewards the dog every time it does something correctly, and only withholds the reward when the dog gets it wrong.
  • To understand its Handler's body language, and the various signals and verbal commands used as cues for the Game to start and finish (see Dog's Dictionary).
  • That the training area, the Trainer, and the equipment that it uses, pose no threat to the dog.  In fact, these triggers begin to have happy associations for the dog as they mean that it will soon be rewarded for doing the Game correctly. You will soon find that your dog will become relaxed and confident when it enters the training area (and later the competition area).
  • To relax and be able to concentrate on what it is being taught (see stress).
  • To store what it has just learnt in its long-term memory because it is given the opportunity to relax after the short training session (this is called latent learning).  
    • If a dog is given a variety of tasks to do, or
    • if the training session is too long, or
    • if it is distracted and becomes stressed,

the dog will be unable to assimilate what it has just been taught and will not retain it in its long term memory.

  • To become accustomed to wearing a harness so that it can lean its body weight into the harness shoulder straps and adopt a racing start stance without having the painful and unpleasant choking sensation around its neck that would occur if it was held by its collar.

 

This web site has been written by Sally Hopkins (unless the author of the web page is stated otherwise).

 

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