The Million Dollar Recall Part 2
You should have
Some Recap First …
We have restrained our dogs and got them highly excited; this is known as going into drive. Drive is a rewarding activity for your dog as it produces positive brain chemicals such as endorphins and dopamine, so they actually form a big part of the reward.
We have dropped a recall cue into the mix when the dog was released which pairs the action with the cue. This is a super effective way to put something on cue.
We have rewarded our dog for coming “to” us not just running “at” us.
Now, we are going to ask for a little more and give a little less, because we are going to be reshaping what we do to get a reaction from our dog.
Your helper and equipment are the same; your dog’s role is the same too.
You will follow the same steps, starting right at your dog and walking away.
You will not yell many things and get all excited this time, you will be testing to see if your dog predicts the events and goes into drive right away.
Stand still if your dog does, this may cause your your dog to stare at you, that’s fine.
Now call HEE YAA and your helper releases your dog.
Keep standing still and as your dog approaches you, wait until your dog is now only 3 metres away and THEN give the “YES!” marker and then proceed to get your food or tug out and reward.
In each repetition you want to give your “YES!” marker later and later until your dog is able to get to you, seeking approval and then you mark yes and reward.
You want to identify what you are happy with now, my criteria is to have my dog come to me, right to me. Not near me, past me or anything else.
When my dog recalls super fast, full of enthusiasm and commitment and gets to my feet, this makes me mark “yes!” and pay.
The final Step
We need to now begin to fade out the accessories, starting with the helper. Do this by having your dog off leash and recalling it to you.
Mark and reward the same still using the harness and line.
If your dog is showing very good reliability, it is time now to add distraction.
Distraction is things that your dog values, either negatively or positively, but either way they stop your dog from working.
Start with distractions at a distance and recall your dog when the end of the line is at your feet, or even in your hand. Use this is a safety line so if your dog fails and bolts toward the distraction, you can limit it with the line.
When you feel that you have a dog performing reliably, you can fade the line and then the harness.
The real skill is transferring your appearance from the person who was going insane to get your dog to get excited, to a passive person that recalls their dog and when the dog gets to you, it makes you mark and Ideally the dog will think that it is making you behave that way, not you’re in a good mood or you are making a choice to reward.
You don’t want to stop rewarding for as long as you can, and this doesn’t mean for the next 4 times, it means for weeks or months.
Mark the Elements
Let’s say that you went to work and worked all day, and you did pretty good work all day, you knew not perfect but it was ok. You put your hand out for the pay and are told that you had made a big mistake and that you would not be paid. You asked what was the big mistake, because you had done many things but not sure which was the “big mistake”.
Your boss went silent… Look at these three possible outcomes based on the personality of the person.
- The person will become angry, frustrated and combative. This is called CONFLICT
- The person will become nervous, submissive and avoidant. This is called SHUT DOWN.
- The person will become de motivated, and look for another paying activity. This is called DISENGAGED.
Which of these is the best relationship to have with your dog?
If you answered none, your right.
Learning to mark the elements means that you can give importance to each step of an exercise.
This part of the Million Dollar Recall is near the end, because you need to have a dog that will come, hard, fast and looking for a drive reward before you can run this step.
Your dog needs to know that your verbal marker or clicker proceeds an awesome reward too.
To begin we will have our dog in a large area, not inside your laundry but in the back yard, or bigger area, with not a lot of distraction.
We want your dog off leash, perhaps in harness with line on if your dog is easily distracted and may get involved in other things.
Wait until your dog is not looking at you but in fact, looking in the opposite direction, you might have to toss a piece of food out in front.
So your standing in an open space, your dog is facing the opposite direction and your maybe 5 – 10 metres away.
Give your recall cue, loud and clear and be ready.
As soon as your dog reacts spit out the marker YES or click the clicker.
The dog continues to come and you move backwards rewarding when the dog catches you.
Now think about what just happened, most dogs turn around because they are interested in the reward and to get it they must, turn around, move to handler etc.
I am aiming at teaching the dog that turning around, which is disengaging from what is in front and engaging with you behind, is the most rewarding part of the recall.
Why? because the majority of failed recalls happen when the dog is engaged with a distraction. No one teaches the dog how to disengage distraction!
They teach the dog to run to them sure, but dogs can run without training…
In the next 6 weeks, I would train the dog that I will fire out the yes marker at the split second the dog disengages a distraction and engages me, the dog understands that yes means reward is available so will come anyway, but I am building the power of disconnection.
I am developing muscle memory and turning the dogs decision to turn toward me and away from distraction into a sub conscious reaction, rather than an educated and weighed up decision.
When the dogs gets to me it will receive a lot of food treats, a wicked game of tug, a ball on rope produced that will make the dog think this is the most rewarding exercise on the planet.
When I know this is solid and when I cue the recalls the dog spins around fast every time, I want to raise the criteria. I want to now add speed to the list of requirements that make a solidly rewarding outcome for the dog.
Again we start the same way, but when the dog is recalled and spins around it will see me running away, either run backwards (don’t all) or run forwards looking back (don’t fall) and when the dog dives into the recall and pours on the speed, scream, YES! and slow down allowing the dog to run you down.
Mentally picture this as if you were viewing it from side on, as the third person.
First you would mark just the turn around, now you have started to mark the first three of four steps when the dogs gets down low and gets fast.
Over time you will raise the bar further and then vary what pays, lose consistency that says every time you do “X” you get paid… Have your dog bursting with excitement that the yes could come after the fastest spin around or when it is running as fast as it can!
There are times when I call my dog off a distraction and when he spins instantly I’m super impressed, so I SAY SO.
I say YES!
Training is never done, you’re always building reward credit!
Build Reward Credit…
You recall your dog, he comes, big deal right?
Yeah it is. A dog has heightened senses, when it is out in the park, it is getting hit with smells that would be a thousand times what you would smell. A dog does not have the power to go to the park when he pleases, he is locked in a yard until you decide to take him, so letting the dog run in the park is awesome.
And in the middle of that you call “here” and the dog bolts toward you with great enthusiasm, giving up everything the park beholds, that is really something…
Try to always remember this and take into account the rules for the reliable recall.
Let’s think of every time you give your dog access to the reward experience, it is worth $1.50.
When you recall your dog it is worth $1.00. So effectively let’s say that each time you reward the recall, you have $0.50c credit.
You run 100 recalls in a row and reward them all over say 50 days, you have 50 recalls in credit.
Let’s assume it works like this, so were always rewarding and saving for a rainy day. Don’t ever let the savings run out or you end up with a broke recall.
Pay every one you can, leave some up your sleeve in credit just in case.
Let’s keep in mind credit needs to be held with you, not with the tug or the food. So when you recall in my program you use the drive program which means you don’t show the dog the food or the toys.