Tiny Recalls, Big Skills
Tiny is almost 5 months old. He's also under ten pounds. This kind of recall distance for such a small dog is the result of lots of work, patience, and clear communication.
How we did it:
First, Tiny needed to learn how to walk on a leash. Can't teach a dog unless they understand how to follow and pay attention.
It took quite a bit of work just to get Tiny to move forward on a leash because he would often put the brakes on and not move forward at all. At first, he wouldn’t take food. He started out too nervous.
Soon, he got confident with leash work, he could walk better but still wouldn't walk through unsure areas - mostly narrow tight spaces so we worked on that...a ton! We built up his confidence with that too. The micro-sized prong collar helped out quite a bit with this.
Once Tiny was able to walk over obstacles, dog beds, and training cots, we began to teach him the remote collar. This is the part where the work really begins, because we practice hundreds of repetitions with come, place, sit, down, and kennel.
We build distance, duration, and distraction with each one including the recall.
As we start to see Tiny understanding exactly what we want, we slightly increase the challenge. For the recall, that means we slightly increase the distance. We practice lots of repetitions at each distance building that consistency in response to the remote collar “come” command.
How the remote collar works for recall:
We say the dog's name followed by the "come" command. At the same time as the "come" command, we press and hold the button on the remote collar set to the dog's working level. As soon as Tiny turns toward us, we release the button and praise with "goooood”, “good boy”!
What we typically see with recall practice:
We commonly see a dog who may be hesitant at first become more certain about what we are asking. As they become more confident we see the motivation begin to pick up.
End result: a dog who used to put the brakes on and not move forward who now has a ton of fun running full out back to the handler, not away!