Just today, I had reason to be very thankful that I practice recalls with Shyla daily.
Today, it was pouring rain, and my enthusiasm was lagging. That might have been part of why her first couple of recalls were lackluster. When I see her trotting slowly rather than galloping fast for a recall, I say "try again". Somehow, she's learned exactly what "try again" means (I didn't purposely teach her it). Shyla then goes back to where ever she was when I called her and awaits another recall. I remind her to "stay", and then I tease her by excitedly talking to her and doing a countdown: "three, two, one, SHYLA COME!".
That almost always works - producing a very fast recall.
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that I had special reason to be thankful for our work on recalls today. As it poured rain, we came out of the forest into a clearing and a mother deer with her fawn were standing just in front of us. Last year, we had a bad incident in almost exactly the same situation where Shyla chased and deeply scared the fawn. I was horrified, and I wrote about how frustrated I was with my "teenaged dog".
Today, Shyla took about 3 steps towards the mom and fawn before I said "Shyla Come!". And, she turned on a dime to return to my side. We had the biggest treat party of our lives!!!! Seriously, Shyla seemed in disbelief at how many tiny treats I gave her, one by one, while I told her what an amazingly good dog she is!!!
I believe that recalls are the most important part of training because a good recall can keep a dog (and the wildlife) safe. Consequently, we are participating in Susan Garrett's Brilliant Recalls program.
As I read through the program's materials, I realized that I've totally neglected training recalls around the distractions that can happen indoors - like food dropped on the ground, guests at the door, or wild animals walking by outside the windows. It will be lots of fun to try using Susan Garrett's techniques to train a good indoor recall.
But, it'll never be quite as much fun as recalls in meadows full of flowers.