For those of you following Fred's frenetic funventures, we've been working on calling him in from the yard. Now when Fred is in the yard, it's because he has important business, like sniffing the boundaries, digging a hole, looking for squirrels, or peeing on everything. So the response from Fred when Caitlin or Brian would call him would be, "not now, I'm busy." If he was in the far corner of the yard, the response would be, "I can't HEAR you..." and just continue sniffing.
So, we decided to start over, and make the recall a fun game. We would start with new word for calling him in, and a fresh new reinforcer treat that he would love – until the behavior became muscle memory.
Well, the ultimate fun recall word is "Cheese!" because you can't say "cheese" without smiling – right??? Plus, Fred loves cheese. So we started calling him in just from the porch, then gradually increasing the distance until he was in the far depths of the yard.
Fred loved the new game, and now keeps one eye on the back door whenever he is out, just in case someone calls him back in. One thing I stressed was to practice this several times throughout the day - not just when you need him to come in. Play it often. Practice these behaviors when you don’t need them, and you’ll have them when you need them.
Fred’s recall is much better now, and his focus skills and listening skills are vastly improving. Fred is such a funny dog, and so excited about everything he does. I always look forward to working with Fred, Caitlin and Brian.