Clicker: Recall

Training Clickers

Q: When I try to get Mr. Stubborn to follow me, he ignores me after one or two times, what do I do?

A: Let me take a wild guess….. you’re NOT treating Mr. Stubborn when he finds you. You have to TEACH him that he wants to find you, and you TEACH Malamutes by going straight from stomach to memory. Have you got a clicker? This is a perfect game for the clicker. I’m teaching this in my class next week.

Hide & Seek, or what will become a Perfect Recall
1) Load the clicker — 5 clicks/treats for no reason except to get him focused on the magic treat dispenser.
2) Stationary attention — 5 click/treats for the most minuscule eye contact
3) Say joyfully, “Kimo, Come!” Turn and run out of the room. If he follows, click/treat and exclaim with joy! Good Puppy! If he doesn’t follow you out of the room, peak back and make eye contact, click and toss a treat halfway between you. He WILL get closer and closer if you are reliable with the treat dispenser. Make sure you reward with JOY every tiny little small teensy itty bitty motion towards progress. Don’t ask for perfection, you’re teaching Hide and Seek not formal obedience recalls.
4) Continue for 2 minutes only. He may be right on your heels, that’s GREAT. He’s engaged, he’s participating, he’s anticipating.

Pretend to quit after 2 minutes, lots of praise, body scratches, put the clicker in your pocket, turn and do something else, ignore him in a low key way for at least 30 seconds, count in your head to make sure you are waiting. 

5) Shout with joy, “Kimo, Come!” And run away for 10 steps. Dogs love to chase, dogs especially love to chase the treat dispenser. Again, if he follows, clock/treat. If he doesn’t peer back, make eye contact, and click/toss a treat half way between you.

Tomorrow he will get faster and faster. For the first year of their lives I reward each and every recall/come when called as if they had just narrowly escaped a gruesome death. I imprint on their little brains that mom is ALWAYS thrilled to see them and ALWAYS going to reward them, no matter the circumstances. 

Repetition and breaking this down into smaller steps. No one learns to drive Nascar before they get their learners permit. You start small and work your way up.

Sidney Helen Sachs

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