Training Tune – Up

I’ve emphasized to my students the need for a reliable recall – a word that makes Fido stop in his tracks, pivot, and run right back at you with legs moving faster than a dog’s tail in a meat market. Safety is my number one reason. If your dog is headed into the slow lane of the freeway, a really rapid recall works miracles. But I recently found yet another reason. When you are standing on the back porch step with an ankle broken in four places, a hefty dose of pain killers rushing through your bloodstream just to make it possible to stand, and your dog seems to have lost the ability to connect the word “come”with any perceivable forward motion, the desire for a recall becomes an imperative.  Will she come in the house first or will I fall over first?

Don’t Let The Tail Wag The Dog

So this broken ankle has made me reassess my level of  acceptable response time. In the parlance of dog trainers, this is referred to as “latency.” It is the time between your “cue,” which use to be called a “command” (but then was discarded because it sounded too, well, commanding.) By being lax I have allowed my dog to set her own standards of acceptable “latency.”

The other thing this accident has caused me to realize is that I am no Nureyev. The unwieldiness of the “walking boot,” which should really be called a “limping boot” has nearly caused a matching “walking boot” to be necessary for the other leg. Which would actually make it much easier I think. I mean, it would have to be easier than walking in stilettos! When trying to round up my recalcitrant, lazy, and might I add thoughtless, bulldog, looking at me with wide-eyed innocence, I was forced to leap non-Nureyev - like over what I will euphemistically call a pile. The result was not pretty.

A Tune – Up and a Tweak

So I am re-evaluating the state of our “recall.” In her defense, a couple of underlying issues come to mind. She is not the spring chicken she once was, for one. And she is curvy and voluptuous, for another. OK. Fat. But really, I could skin a cat (not that I would, although I am strictly a dog person) in the  length of time it takes her just to decide to saunter my way.  I am not an impatient person generally. Sure, I would love her to run at me like she’s on fire but am willing to accept a rapid but eager shuffle.

To help toward this goal, I am using a nifty little web based, super simple goal tracker. It is an amazingly easy way to keep track of not only dog training goals, but any goals. It’s call Joe’s Goals.

Lesson Learned

What I have been reminded of by this is that training is never done. Situations are always changing which give us an opportunity to do some tune – up training. And as I tune – up this recall my mantra has become “this is an opportunity, not a problem.”

Related Posts:

How To Train A Reliable “Come”

How To Play Chase With Your Dog

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3 Responses to “Training Tune – Up”

  1. Michelle S 09. Mar, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    Cookie is voluptuos, not fat. But yes, I will agree that training tune-ups are very necessary – especially with deliberate bulldogs! (The term ‘cookie’ works for Coal, but probably wouldn’t work for her. Maybe “Cookie want a cannoli?”)

  2. Kathleen 09. Mar, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    Tessa earned her ASCA CD this past weekend, and the judge commented on her enthusiastic recall. She comes barrelling across the ring, hitting the brakes and skidding into me in a sit. It’s very cute…

  3. Elizabeth Deitz 09. Mar, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    What a champ!! Send me a photo!

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