The Barking Recall

Clara Running

Here is an “almost Wordless Wednesday” (except my videos have a lot of words in them!).

I have been working with Clara since she was tiny to make sure she didn’t “catch” some of Summer’s reactive behaviors, and to help her cope well with distractions by reorienting to me.

In the future I will write a real post about what we did, but today you just get to see a movie.

You can also skip forward in time to see how the behavior helped develop her habitual self-interruption and reorientation to me when in intense situations as an adult dog.

And you can skip way forward in time to see how the conditioning fared 10 years later.

As usual, comments are welcome, and feel free to ask questions.  Enjoy!

Sorry for all the vertical videos in there. They are from before I saw the light about that.

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Thanks for reading!

Copyright 2012 Eileen Anderson

17 thoughts on “The Barking Recall

  1. what happens to clara when your not home and summer barks at something? Your not there to give her reinforcments…

    1. Rachael, that’s a great question. The short answer is I don’t know. But it wouldn’t be hard for me to find out, and I’ll put it on the schedule to film. I could turn on a camera and leave the house about when the mail carrier is due. My educated guess is that Clara doesn’t bark then, either. Since I conditioned her from a puppy, she never developed the habit, and has another strong reaction in place, even though I’m not there all of the time. (I was there a lot when she was a puppy, and Summer was at doggie day care for three days a week during Clara’s early weeks). Also I have observed that although she certainly barks at things, she doesn’t usually “join in” when the other dogs bark. She has her own set of triggers. One of the guidelines for this type of conditioning is that you need to be extremely consistent and treat every single time the trigger happens. That’s why if I wanted to help Summer get over her fear of delivery trucks, I would need to stay home 24/7 for probably several weeks. She already has a long standing emotional reaction in place that Clara never had. So you are wise to ask what happens when I am gone. I will let you know.

  2. Hi Eileen, I’m really enjoying your videos, thank you so much. Two questions, what are you giving Clara from the can? Is it cheese? Looks like a handy and quick special treat with the added bonus of keeping hands clean… and second, do you have any suggestions for barking in the car, when it’s not easy to treat? I have the same situation coming up. I’m about to bring a new dog into our household and I’m concerned about her picking up the reactivity that my current dog has in certain situations.

    1. Hi Julie: That is Kraft Easy Cheese. It was the turning point in taming Clara by the way. The night she crept into my house because she heard Cricket barking, she stayed hunkered down until I gave Cricket some of the cheese. She came over to see about it and the rest is history. It is still one of her favorite things. I think it is soothing because she can lick it out of the nozzle. Also it keeps at room temperature, so I can keep a can or two around the house at strategic locations. The car stuff is a challenge. When Clara was a puppy she rode in a crate in the passenger seat right next to me, so I was able to give her treats (usually Easy Cheese) safely when Summer barked without taking my eyes off the road. For us this generally happened in quiet suburban streets anyway so i could actually pull over. When I had a passenger we would put Clara’s crate in the back and the passenger could reach back with the cheese. Some people use a Manners Minder inside of or on top of the dog’s crate. Oh, two more things about the cheese: around here you can get a store brand, and I think the product is about the same, but the nozzle mechanism tends to break down early. Also, even with the name brand, it can sputter when can gets near empty. Clara is fine with that but it scares my other dogs. I hope this is helpful. Thanks for writing!

  3. Any videos on just a good recall? I have a 8 mth old lab whose recall is “ok”. Meaning as long as she isn’t doing something more interesting than me she will come when called. She is a real “sniffer” so if she is out in the yard and sniffing away she doesn’t respond until she is done her sniffing.
    Thanks – I really enjoy your videos.


    1. Hi Gayle! Funny you should mention that because I’m working on a recall post. In the meantime, here is a beautiful one from Carol Byrnes of Diamonds in the Ruff, calling her beagle/rat terrier mix away from sniffing. Also in my post “Let the Treat Fit the Feat” is a video of Marge Rogers’ Rhodesian Ridgeback Rounder, being called away from a bowl of food. She used Leslie Nelson’s Really Reliable Recall program. There is a DVD and maybe and e-book.

      Here is Stanley, the beagle/rat terrier.

      1. Hi Eileen – thanks so much for the quick response. Nice to know it can be done – now just to figure out how it is done!!

        Thanks! Gayle

        1. Gayle, here are a couple of nice articles. The first one tells about how to do it step by step. The other is more theoretical, but has some really important information in it.

          Also let me put in another plug for Sue Ailsby’s Training Levels. If you don’t want to buy a book right now, the old version is online right here. Follow the link for Writing. Hope this helps. She has a really nice protocol for recalls as well. Oh, here’s one more. These are some old videos of mine playing the “one person version” of Sue Ailsby’s recall game with my dog Zani. Here’s the first day we played it: . Here’s a few months later.

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