But this time, when we practiced our emergency recall, we disappeared around a corner and called the dogs from out of their site… and then threw in some extra distractions. First we just tossed a toy as we were walking away, to see if the dogs would be distracted by it. We had three very different reactions.
Maybelle could not have cared less about the toy. The nutter dog grabbed the toy but then carried on her way to her owner. The other dog briefly checked it out before finding her owner.
The next time we squeaked the toy a little before tossing it. This time everyone ignored it.
You know who else ignores things? Owners.
This has been bugging me for weeks. The #1 rule of dog training is to be consistent. The #2 rule is not to repeat yourself. The dog has to learn to do what it’s told the first time, and the way to do that is to be consistent with your commands and make sure you can control the outcome. I continue to be amazed by the people who ignore this, even in the presence of an instructor telling you “Do not repeat the command.” Of course, I am a bit of a control freak — like my herding dog — and so I follow the rules. After all, I’m paying these people for the benefit of their expertise.
This week, at home, we’ll be practicing our recall in increasingly distracting environments, as well as the rest of our commands. Unfortunately there is no squirrel to practice with in class.
So when Maybelle set out for a long hike on Saturday I was sure to take her treats with us. We must have walked a total of six to eight miles without ever seeing another person (or dog) but I left her 25-ft leash on her and let her drag it around. After we’d been walking for a couple hours I decided to practice the emergency recall. She did wonderfully with it.
Now we just have to get her good enough with it that the next time we’re in the yard and a couple of Rottweilers come walking up the street she doesn’t charge them… Yes, she’s done this and luckily she didn’t get her little doggy ass handed to her by the dogs that were twice her size.