Monday, September 12, 2011


Before I post part two of Sandy Rowan's drop on recall method, let's pause to answer a pair of questions submitted by Sally in Texas.  (My God!  Somebody out there is paying attention.)

After reading part one, Sally wanted to know, do you continue to tap the feet as you extend the distance?  And do you continue to tap the feet as the diameter of the barrier diminishes?

Rather than give my own answer -- which would have been yep! -- I decided to contact Sandy again, as much to renew an old acquaintance as to get the answer right from the source.  Sandy and Mike no longer live in Alaska.  Trainers in the Portland, Oregon area are now privileged to take competition obedience lessons from Sandy where she lives and teaches.

Her answer to Sally's questions was two-pronged.  Yes, she would continue to return to the dog and tap the feet, even at a distance of 50 feet.  "Make it a game!," Sandy emphasizes (and so do I).

However, as her training has evolved, she has made subtle changes in how she reinforces and rewards.  Now, instead of tapping the feet, she moves the stick, pole, bar, whatever back toward the dog.  This forces him backward slightly, and then she has him quickly drop again.  Then she may toss a toy or a cookie into his chest.  Or she may toss it behind him and have him run and get it.  These reinforcement/reward options -- presented as a game -- shift the dog's orientation away from forward motion..

Thanks for the questions, Sally.

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