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GSD Lifeline

GSD Lifeline

PostSubject: RECALL ~ LONG LINE TECHNIQUE   RECALL ~ LONG LINE TECHNIQUE Icon_minitimeThu Apr 23, 2009 10:07 am


I always suggest that a long or trailing line is used to teach recall. Whistle training is a good way to go and knowing what your dog finds rewarding (or what makes him tick) is a useful tool also. Be prepared to make high pitched sounds, run away, wave your arms in the air, jump up and down on one leg ~ whatever it takes to get your dogs interest. Work on the Nothing In Life Is Free aspect in general about the home and your dog will appreciate more the time you do want him. Recall is so much more than it appears to be. You have to always be the most rewarding experience, otherwise why should the dog return?

Firstly you need to get used to moving with your dog on a trailing line. Practise letting the line in and out using two hands in a looping motion - I tend to start people on a 3 or 5 metre line. It is called a trailing line as that is what it should do; trail.

You need to remember that the time on the line is actually your dogs free time so move with your dog in manner which means there is always slack in the line and it is trailing, it should not be in the air. If the line is slack it means that should the dogs legs get a little tangled it will be able to free itself. So for the first few days dont even bother with recall just get used to handling the line. You wont need to call the dog for anything as you will just be able to work your way to the dog up the line looping it in as you go.

Teach your dog a release command like' Off you go'.

When walking your dog on its regular lead always keep the dog on one side and do not allow the dog to stop and sniff or toilet, keep walking you are in control of where you go, how fast and when you stop. Expect your dog to stop at kerbs.

When you reach the first day of actually trying recall this is how it goes;

short lead walk to the free time place.

Dog in a sit whilst you attach the line and then remove the regular lead.

Give the dog its release command and move round with your dog allowing him to sniff and toilet and explore for about ten mins. During this time be watching your dog and note the times he is not too busy with other things and if he ever just looks back at you.

After the ten mins wait for the first opportunity your dog is just staring into space or looking back at you, call his name in an excited manner - be confident that your dog will return.

Wave the toy or treat about. As your dog comes towards you keep up the encouragement but dont say 'good dog/fido' just keep on motivating the dog to come to you.

As the dog gets close extend your arm with the toy or treat in to lure the dog the last few feet still being vocal and excited, backing up if necessary - still no 'good dog'.

With the lure bring the dog into a sit in front of you. As you allow the dog to take the toy or treat gently take hold of the dogs collar so you prevent him running off again as soon as the treat is gone. Praise lavishly with a fuss, smiley face and happy body language and then give the dog the release command and let him go.

The idea is to get four or five good recalls in about a half hour of free time where you always release your dog again.

At the end of the walk do not call the dog to you but work your way to the dog, fuss him and ask for a sit. Place his regular lead on the collar then remove the long line and walk your dog home in a controlled manner as described earlier.

When you have had three days on the trot of perfect recall from these kind of situations you will up the anti a little. If you get two good days and on the third the dog misses even once start the three day count again.

For example the next level would be after the initial 10 mins of free time to call your dog when he has just lifted his head from a sniff ~ again three days of perfect before moving on.

The next level could be from in the middle of a good sniff etc.

I usually suggest to people that once they are confident with the 3 or 5 metre line and the dog is returning reliably from the middle of a sniff that you extend the length of your line by another 3-5 metres and get the 100% recall on that length of line from mid sniff before moving on.

When you reach the stage that your dog can be over 15-20 metres away from you and recall 100% for three days on the trot you go to the final line level. This takes differing amounts of time for every dog and handler team.
For example the next level would be after the initial 10 mins of free time to call your dog when he has just lifted his head from a sniff ~ again three days of perfect before moving on.

The final level involves you tying a good knot in your line every 18 inches to two feet.

You take your dog to his free time place and release him as usual moving with him on the line then you drop the line but still move about as if you were at the end.

Recall your dog from a level one ( no distractions) and praise and release.

Still move as if you are with your dogs line.

Recall your dog from a level two, praise and release but do not then move about as if still on the line but stay quite close to the line so if needed you can put your foot on it. This is where the knots come into play.

If your dog takes off and ignores you then you go after the line and get your foot on it asap. The knots prevent the line just running away under your shoe.

When you have had three days of 100% recall from any situation then you chance it without the line. Any time your dog goes backwards then get the line out, move back two stages and work your way back to no line.

If you use clicker with your dog then this can be used to reaffirm the great recalls where the dog comes back spit spot but dont use it just for any recall.

Vary your rewards in value level and always have a selection.

Always be interesting to your dog.

Dont stress

Have confidence


If your dog has got very used to ignoring its name and the come or here command then right from the first day of teaching the recall use a different expression and not the dogs name. I usually suggest saying 'dog, dog,dog queeeeeckleeeeeeeee' in a high pitched voice and using the whistle ( once the dog has been whistle trained and is already on its way back).

By Karen Lawe of Fun Dog Training
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