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Structuring the End of the Recall with Australian Shepherd, “Wayne”

If you’ve seen any of our recall videos, you probably noticed that we use a training cot during the exercise.

Why use a training cot? Can’t the recall be trained without?


So, why use it?

While the recall can be taught without a “place” item, we prefer to start the recall with it.

“Place” means to get on top of. It’s a command commonly taught to help dogs learn to remain stationary. While “place” can be taught on many different items, the training cot is our go to for recalls because of its portability and ease of use.

We actually don’t start with the training cot in the beginning. We teach a very short recall where the dog learns to turn and come towards us consistently, using the “come” command. We also teach the “place” command separate from the “come” command during this time.

It doesn’t take long for the dog to learn these two exercises. Once we have it, we begin putting both together for a very basic short distance recall to the training cot at our feet in front of us. We like for the dog to sit facing us and preferably paying attention.

The components that were focusing on:

The dog turns and comes towards us when we give the command

The dog follows through for the entire distance of the recall Avoiding distraction

The dog ends the recall properly sitting and paying attention to us

The dog does not break the sit command at the end until we give the release word.

These four things start at a very short distance but as we are having success, we begin to increase that distance. This is a gradual progression.

Of course, dogs make little mistakes as we progress but we are addressing said mistakes so that the dog can have the best understanding.

The training cot structures the end of the recall because it gives the dog at target to land on. When they have a smaller spot to land on, it’s easier for the dog to stay focused after the recall is complete. This helps prevent the dog from finishing the recall and then sitting on your feet facing away from you, scanning for the next distraction.

We want the recall to have meaning but there’s also the built-in understanding of follow-through at the end. That way, we don’t end up with a touch-and-go type recall where the dog comes to us, sits briefly, doesn’t pay attention, and then runs away again.

So to sum this whole thing up, the training cot can help structure the recall so we have better reliability before during and after the recall. Also, recalls with the training cot is just a lot of fun!

Once we have a really reliable recall, the training cot becomes more of an option. Of course dogs can get a little rusty with their skills if they aren’t practiced frequently enough, so using the cot again to brush up on some skill or to create a little added precision is also a great option. 😊


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