My goal with this blog is for you to enjoy your time here. Most of the posts talk about my experiences raising my two yellow Labrador Retrievers, some are just for fun, and others share the best dog related information and products I have found.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Do you have an "Emergency Recall" Cue?

Over the last year I have often said that many of the things I did right were by sheer "dumb luck". For instance, we never allowed the dogs out the walk through gate unless they had a leash on. No real reason behind it we just never did it. Even if we were doing yard work and in the driveway. Now we can leave the gate open or open the large automatic driveway gate and they won't run out. I've noticed lately from simply telling them to "wait" while we drive in past the gait that they wait inside the house now until they hear the gait begin to close before coming out to great us. Of course teaching a "wait" vs. a "stay" has also helped and I've learned has it's value in many other situations. (Perhaps another post)

Then there was about 2 months ago when we met two 5mo old Golder Retriever puppies and their owners at the lake. We were swapping puppy stories and talking about training, how much I had done over the last year, etc. Then one of the women said something that lit up a big light bulb in my head. She said, "yeah, and we're working on the 'emergency recall' and that's coming along real well." I knew exactly what she was referring to and immediately also realized that I had never made a point of training an emergency recall with my dogs. I'd worked very hard on just training a recall and keeping the word "come" or "their name" positive with good rewards for consistent responses from them. Consistency definitely has been an issue in the recent months especially with adolescence. Even now at 16 months and the tail end of adolescence still quite evident, recalls often have something left to be desired especially with my boy "Shelby".

The next week while in Hallmark I saw a small whistle that could sit on a chain around my neck and bought it with the "emergency recall" training in mind. That week we started what last night I learned first hand will save your dogs life.

The evening was going as usual. We were enjoying play time at our park at dusk. We were headed back to the car. An owner and their dog were entering the park and were still by the entrance. Another dog was near by. The owners were talking so the little dog was unleashed to play. The little dog was a yapper and soon had the attention of our dogs and three other dogs. Overwhelmed by the much larger dogs and the enthusiastic interest they were paying it the dog squealed and charged out of the park and into the street. I panicked at first and yelled my dogs names then reached for my neck and blew quick sharp chirps from our "emergency recall" whistle. To my absolute relief just as they hit the exit they turned around and headed back. My heart slowly returned to normal from the adrenaline rush. It took awhile because just as my dogs turned around I watched 4 other dogs from our group run out into traffic after the little dog. I said a quick prayer as I watched owners running while yelling and screaming after them. The good news is that no one was hurt and everyone was leashed and back with their owners within a few minutes. But who needs that kind of stress at the end of the day.

Like I started saying, "dumb luck"! who would have known that an owner would bring a 4mo old little dog who had barely gotten out of indoor puppy class, a class that had only included dogs it's size, to a park. Then with no recall of his own, take the dog off leash. All I can say is if you do not have a well trained "emergency recall" with your dog don't wait another day. I had mine in place just at the right time, literally it has been just the last month. Who knew?!

Magic Emergency Recall Cue: A personal perspective

"Really Reliable Recall" Training DVD
From Dogwise.com

Publisher: Healthy Dog Productions
Edition: 2004 DVD
Price: $29.95
Summary: From well-known trainer Leslie Nelson! Easy to follow steps to train your dog to come when it really counts, in an emergency. Extra chapters for difficult to train breeds and training class instructors.

© Healthy Dog Productions 2004

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