If you haven’t already, get started with parts I & II:
This is the final installment of Rocket Recall. This week we will talk about pressure and distractions with our dogs. Even with all the best preparation and practice, there will be times when your dog will not want to come away from something. This is where pressure comes into the equation. It is very important that our dog comes when called, like previously stated, this could save his life someday.
Again, we want to make sure our dog is ready for this next step before we get started. If your dog has not accomplished the first two levels of Rocket Recall, then they are not ready to begin this level. Each level can take weeks to accomplish, so don’t be in a rush. Be patient and practice, practice, practice!
Have a long-line attached to your dog when training this next level. 30-40 feet is an appropriate length for the line. Be sure the line isn’t to heavy for your dog. If you have a small breed dog, you may need to make your own long-line, which is easy enough to do*.
You’ll be enlisting the help of another person for this training as well.
- Have your helper distract the dog with some low-value treats and then call your dog to come.
- Your helper will stop treating and ignore your dog.
- You will reward your dog with higher-value treats when he comes to you.
To step this up.
- Have your helper open their hand with treats, when you call your dog this time, your helper will keep their hand open.
- If your dog doesn’t respond within 3 seconds and come off your helper, you’ll pick up the long-line and gently reel them in. Again rewarding heavily when your dog comes all the way into you.
- Do not yank your dog away
- Do not scold him for not coming on his first try
- Do not repeat the cue to come multiple times.
- DO reward your dog heavily when he comes to you–with treats or toys.
- DO be animated with your dog so that you’re more appealing to them–cheerful voice, clapping hands, kissing noise, and running away from your dog will elicit more attention.
For adding distraction, build on the Running Game.
- Have your helper run away from your dog and entice them to follow.
- You call your dog to you, your helper stops and stands still, ignoring your dog.
- When your dog comes to you, reward.
The next step is to have your dog come even when your helper continues to run. For this, you’ll use the long-line again.
- Have your helper run at a slower pace or a brisk walk, so that your dog won’t be following at a fast pace.
- Call your dog, your helper will continue moving forward, but will stop enticing the dog to follow.
- You’ll give your dog 2-3 seconds to respond, if they don’t, pick up the line and reel them in.
- Reward your dog heavily when he comes to you.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to use high value treats, such as cut up pieces of meat, as reinforcements for your dog. Or to use high-value toys that your dog doesn’t get to play with on a regular basis. You have to be more interesting and rewarding than the other distractions in your dog’s environment.
*For long-line help, please contact me.