Instructor: Donna Hill
Build the Bond: Recalls Part 2 continues from Part 1 but the focus is on teaching our dogs that they can move away from high level distractions. We will be using controlled set ups and desensitization as well as several more games to teach this. Learn how to use barriers to teach your dog how to ignore the distractions.
Be ready to put your thinking cap on for identifying and creating unique distractions for your specific dog. Things like collecting droppings from a favorite animal, using synthetic animal scent from hunting stores and using kids toys that move and make noises to train a solid leave it at home before taking it on the road. Flying frisbees can trigger dogs to chase as well. Do you have a radio controlled toy car? How about a battery operated cat? Start watching for sales at toy stores.
Learn the "Look at That" game and how to apply it to teaching a recall!
Join us for more fun and learning a recall!
Part 1 or a good recall without distractions is a prerequisite.
There are no scheduled sessions for this class at this time. We update our schedule frequently, so please subscribe to our mailing list for notifications.
Registration will begin at 10:00 AM Pacific Time.
Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 25 students, Bronze: unlimited.
Gold Level includes access to all course materials and the ability to post questions and videos to the course forums. Students will receive instructor feedback on written and video assignments.
Silver Level includes access to all course materials and the ability to participate in the discussion forum. Students may ask GENERAL questions about course materials and may submit two, one-minute videos for instructor feedback. Any questions specific to your dog MUST be accompanied by a video.
Bronze Level includes access to all course materials and the ability to read all questions and answers posted in the class forums. Students will not post questions or submit written or video assignments.
For more details, refund policies, and answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.
Quick Game Checklist for Part 2 by Week
Step 4 Distractions
Lecture 3 Starting List of Distractions
Prerequisite: Build the Bond: Recalls Part 1
*treat pouch or easy to access pockets
*high value treats (rela meat)
* dog toys (tug, ball on a rope, balls, squeaky toys etc)
*20-30 foot long line
*6 foot leash
* battery operated toys
*cone or other similar object
* remote control car, truck, animal
*synthetic or real scents (rabbit, squirrel, grouse)
*open barriers (Xpen, crates, link chain or wire farm fences etc)
*access to distractions (animals like farm animals, rabbits)
*human helper (to handle/manage distraction like remote control car, bicycle or live animals
Along with controlling the distractions with barriers, it may be necessary to first desensitize your dog to high level distractions so the dog can work around them. The distractions may cause excitement or fear.
Below is an example desensitization plan for Game 8 when FDSA student Faith Eastwood found that her dog Milo was so aroused when interacting with the flirt that he hurt himself. He was so adrenalized that he didn't feel the pain and wanted to continue playing. So, she created a plan to incrementally desensitize Milo to the flirt so she could use it for recall training. The plan can be adapted for anything that your dog gets over-excited about. Thank you for sharing Faith!
Her videos are added after each series to demonstrate the steps.
Teaching the foundation behavior of eye contact:
1. Eye contact with low value treat in hand working up to holding a treat at arm's length
2. Repeat step one with a high-value treat
Adding in part of the distraction:
3. Eye contact with just the flirt (no pole/string) in my hand near my body working up to holding it out at end of arm length
4. Eye contact with flirt pole with flirt held tight to the pole not dangling, and working up to holding it out at arm length
5. Eye contact with flirt pole resting on couch next to me, then on my on lap
6. Eye contact with flirt pole held with flirt dangling - work on progressing this so flirt is dangling to the floor. I also added some small swinging motions in the air
7. Eye contact with small movements of the flirt pole with the flirt on the ground
8. Dropping the flirt a very short distance to floor and clicking for resumed eye contact
9. Work through this again with me in standing in different rooms. I think it'll be faster this time.
Here Faith is adding movement to the flirt as well as asking him to do some simple work.
10. Next, she will retrain the process again in her backyard again which is a fairly low distraction environment. Outside she will gradually work up to more exciting movements with the flirt pole.
After that, She'll repeat the process again with the front yard where he's less focused.
In this process, she'll also work up to using the flirt pole as a distraction while asking him for other easy behaviors (or work) like sit, down, touch, and backup that he knows well.
One word of caution is not to take the desensitization process to the end as we want to still be able to use the flirt as a reinforcer. It IS possible to totally desensitize the dog to the flirt!
Playing with the handler near other dogs and decreasing the distance between over time can help desensitize a dog to other dogs.
Here Jessie and I play with a client and her dog nearby. Since she is preparing her dog for agility trials, the agility equipment between us helps to give the dog environmental cues to learn to ignore other dogs when the equipment is present. Both dogs have been reactive to other dogs so this is a great controlled exercise for them both! It was a long incremental process to get them to be able to play with us near the other dog.
Fear may also be an issue for recalls. This client's dog was scared of many sounds (from bees to busses and real planes) and would bolt for the car when she was scared. In particular, she was scared of remote control planes that flew at the same time as her agility class. Here we working on desensitizing her to them. We first broke the distraction into pieces (sound, motion, height) before combining them. We started at a distance, decreased it and added her working with her handler once she showed that she was more comfortable in their presence.
We started with desensitizing her to the sound of each distraction we used. A Dremel tool made a good starting point as it allowed us to change both the duration and the pitch of the sound. The higher sounds are more like the engine of the remote controlled airplane she was afraid of. In this session, the handler was feeding her each time the sound was turned on. The sound stops, the food stops. Very quickly the sound became the cue for the food. The volume was increased when she was comfortable. You can see how she looks at the sound and back at her handler. That is a good indication that she learned the sound means food.
Next, we introduced the sound of a remote control car by holding it so she could see it and revving the engine the same process we used with the Dremel.
Then we put the car on the ground and started with moving it slowly for short distances.
The dog needs to be able to see the distraction. She was fed only after it moved. The car was moved for longer durations. Taking the food hard is an indication the dog is stressed so distance needs to be increased.
Then we decreased the distance.
Then we added some distance back in and had her play ball with her handler while the car was moved for longer periods.
The car made passes closer and closer to the dog and her ball. Eventually, while she was still aware of it, she wasn't as stressed by it.
We then introduced the sight of the plane. She was fed when she looked at it. Her ears go back due to the bus in the background, not the plane moving. The sight and movement of the plane in my hand doesn't seem to bother her.
The sound of the plane's engine is turned on at a distance and the same process as for the Dremel was used.
Then controlled simulated movement was added by turning on the engine and walking back and forth and around her starting at a distance and moving closer as before.
Next, we flew the plane at a distance from her. She was fed for looking at it. In this clip, we are working much closer to her. She was comfortable enough with it at the end, she ran over to investigate it when it hit the ground.
You'll be happy to know that this dog is trialing in agility and having fun! No more running out of the ring back to the car! And yes, she can do a recall in the presence of the planes and other sounds. The desensitization process helped her with more than just remote controlled airplanes! With dogs that are fearful, it is better to do more repetitions at greater distance than you think is needed than to progress too fast. You are building the dog's trust in the process, not just desensitizing her.