Real Life Recalls
Yesterday, I sat in my office poking at a few things on my desk, when I heard the distinct sounds of Lilly trying to sass the mules next door. While the mules actually handle her barking and bossing quite well, I’d rather she not get kicked. So, I went to the front door and said in a mostly normal tone of voice — “Lilly, COME.” And, she did. I’m not saying it was perfect, but here is what made it better than your average recall.
I was out of sight. She could not see me. I could not see her.
She was a good half-acre away from the house, so we had distance as a challenge.
She gave up what she was doing and came inside.
I did not holler. I did not repeat the cue, but I did offer other encouragement.
It wasn’t the fastest recall in the world. It took a good 60 seconds for her to make it up to the house.
I first read about the recall as a many part response in Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt. Her point, as I remember it, is that getting a dog to COME actually requires several things to happen, including stopping whatever the dog is currently doing, turning toward you, and then coming to you.
While I won’t put any trophies on the shelf or even dare compare this little real-life success to the kinds of off-leash, high-distraction recalls KB has on her Labs, I offer this as an example of how little work around the house (in addition to regular formal training scenarios) pays off.