Be sure to check out Rocket Recall: Part I!
Now that you’ve established with your dog that hearing their name and coming when called is FUN! You can move on the next level of training a Rocket Recall. Just as stated in the last article, there will always be competing motivators in your dog’s life. “Should I go to my person or go smell this really interesting bug over here?” We want our dog’s answer to be “go to my person” every time.
During the first level of Rocket Recall training we didn’t want to call our dogs off anything fun or call them to us and then do something non-fun with them. We wanted to build a very positive association with coming to you. We are now going to up our game with our dogs.
In this next level, we will be adding distraction and arousal. It’s important to move onto this next level ONLY if your dog is ready for it.
We will now set our dogs up in controlled environments, practice in fenced in areas or have our dog on a long-line to prevent them from running away.
- Have a friend or family member assist you for level II training.
- Your assistant will have some treats on hand (preferably of lower value than your treats at the start).
- They will lure your dog away from you and feed some of the treats.
- Then you will call your dog’s name, when you do this, your assistant will stop treating and ignore the dog. This means no eye contact with the dog or motion of any sort.
- Repeat your dog’s name once more if needed, as your dog turns towards you, use encouraging body language and sounds to get your dog moving in your direction (squatting down, open arms; kissing noises, squeekers).
- As s/he does, use your Recall word.
- When your dog reaches you, praise lavishly and give small, high value treats for a solid 30 seconds.
Your dog learns in that moment that coming to you even when there are other distractions is more reinforcing!
We will now do the same exercise but, in addition to distraction, we’ll be adding some arousal too.
- Have your assistant encourage your dog to chase them, maybe have them entice your dog with toy if they aren’t interested in the chase.
- As your dog is chasing your assistant, call your dog’s name once.
- In that instance, your assistant will stop and freeze. Toy goes away and the person ignores the dog.
- Call your dog’s name once more if needed, encourage your dog to come you using body language and sounds (squatting down, open arms; kissing noises, squeekers).
- As your dog moves towards you, use your Recall word.
- When your dog reaches you, praise lavishly and give small high value treats for a solid 30 seconds.
- Note–If your dog seems to enjoy chasing people, you can run the opposite direction of your dog to encourage him to come into you at a faster pace.
Next: Rocket Recall: Part III