23 November 2008

Rhys and the "Recall" Trick

Yesterday at Bad Dog Class we worked on "recall," which is when you say things like "Rhys, come!" and then Rhys, instead of assuming that what you mean is "stop by when you feel like it, if you get a chance," actually comes.

So we had a little practice in class, and he did ok but not great, and then we were told that we should NEVER, EVER command the dogs to come to us if we couldn't actually make them do it, until they learned that really it meant now, get over here now, not at dinner time, because otherwise they would understand what was obviously true, which would be that we didn't mean it and they could instead run around and play.

So it was suggested that we get long lengths of clothes line and clip it to their collars when they went out, and then when we call "come" and they run off, we can jump on the clothesline and bring then up short, thereby teaching them that really there's no point in attempting to run over into the neighbors' yards and bark at their cats and steal their bunny slippers, cause really they're going inside instead. Cause we said so.

Oh, how elated we were to hear this excellent trick!

So we went right to the Home Depot on the way home, and bought supplies, and went home and created long leashes, and clipped them to the dogs' collars, and let them outside. Betty got herself all tangled up and had to be rescued.

Rhys went dashing off, discovered that the long line was bothersome, turned around and bit through it in 30 seconds, ran around for a while, and then sat down in the snow, wearing the long leash draped all over his head as decoration.

We were, admittedly, able to get him immediately, cause what was left of the leash was long enough to catch him.

But really. So much for the clothesline.


Marjie said...

How about one of those plastic coated metal tie out leashes? You can get them at the pet store. I bet it would take Rhys a day or two to bite through that. And they come with clips on both ends. Daisy had one of those cause she ate her long rope too.
She ate hers in the house cause Mum thought she could tie her up with it and take a nap! Silly idea.

Pandora said...

Too dangerous to tie dogs out, I think, so Rhys gets Constant Supervision whilst amusing himself outside.


Rhys bites through things Very Quickly, too.

And I can see it now -- Rhys pulling out the stake, or over the house.

Marjie said...

No, no, no, no! You use the tie out cable AS a clothesline. One that is not quite so chewable as the ordinary sort! But any dog dragging a length of whatever around must be supervised. Cause Daisy soon discovered that it was NOT actually tied to anything and that she could still bolt down the back steps.
Here's a trick too. Put up a string wherever the boundary to the area you want your dog to stay in is and teach the dog NOT to go past the string. It takes some time and I can't say Daisy does it all the time yet but she doesn't bolt down the back steps now unless I have my car keys and her leash. My Uncle Bill used to work with trained police dogs on the Pgh. Police force and he taught us that little trick. It's like Invisible Fencing without the nasty shock. Just a nice treat when the dog stays on the right side of the string. Uncle Bill swears by it. He claims that eventually you can take down the string and the dog still won't go past the boundary.
I'm not holding my breath but Daisy has great recall. It's her BEST trick.

Pandora said...

Ah, I see what you mean. Yes, metal would work better!

The not going past the boundary is the main thing we're working on now. Wish me luck.