I mentioned a while back, I believe, that Isaac's recall needed some work. Recall simply means when you call your dog to you, he comes. Well, Isaac does - sort of. But on his own time, not mine. He's in no hurry. If there is something more interesting, he will attend to that first, then get back to me. I want to be able to let him run off leash but I can't really do that safely without a good recall. And even if you never let a dog off leash, he still needs a good recall, really, in case something ever happens where he gets away from you.
I realized that to Isaac, the command "come" seems to mean "come on over here, sweetie, when you feel like it." So I needed I new command, one that would mean "get your butt over here this instant!" I considered various words, but couldn't decide upon one.
I ended up deciding to get a whistle. I got one that I can put on my keychain. It's a loud sound and a sound Isaac is not used to and the sound can carry a lot further than my voice. That whistle will mean "get over here right now!"
Today we started our work on his whistle recall.
My goal in training this recall is that he will believe that the whistle means he comes and it cannot possibly mean anything else. I want him to come when he hears the whistle, no matter what he is doing, no matter what else is going on.
But we had to start with something easy. We had to start with simply teaching him that the whistle means come.
So we started in my living room. There was nothing interesting going on and in fact, Isaac was rather bored because had hadn't gotten to go for a run or even a good walk in a couple days due to inclement weather. So when he realized I was getting ready to do something, well, he was pretty interested and eager to participate, whatever it was.
Plus, I had hot dogs. Isaac will do just about anything for a hot dog and so was paying close attention because he wanted to figure out what it was he had to do to get a bite of hot dog.
So I told him to sit and told him to stay, and he did, watching me very closely to see what I wanted him to do for those hot dogs. I sat down across the room, gave the command "come" and then blew the whistle. Isaac, of course, raced over to me as fast as he could and claimed his reward.
We did that three times. Then, instead of saying "come," I just blew the whistle and motioned to him to come. And he came running. We did that twice.
A couple hours later, we did it again. Only that time, I didn't say "come," I just blew the whistle and motioned him to come. We did that twice, and then we did it a couple more times, with me just blowing the whistle. And he understood that the whistle meant to come.
A couple hours later, we did it again. That time I only blew the whistle. We did it in different rooms of the house, which is important so he realized the whistle means the same thing wherever we are.
Isaac thought it was a great game. He got to run across the room and eat hot dogs. What could be more fun?
I, of course, think he is brilliant. He figured out what the whistle means so fast.