I know many people go through many months before they are able to reliably create an excellent “come” command with their dogs. I wanted to write a personal story this week that gives you a level of understanding of what you can create.
Many of you know that my border collie loves to chase birds. I remember a time when he wouldn’t break away from chasing any birds when I would call me. Now it is different. Let’s say that practice creates huge shifts. The best results were created with me when I entered into a place of love and allowing. I shifted to not attempting to fix my dog from chasing birds so much to a place of allowing. As my energy shifted into this place huge shifts began to happen. First I wasn’t pushing a change so much in my dog or a “fix it” message. If I was training him one day and I knew he wasn’t in a place to perform a good recall I let it go. The days that I knew he would perform well I would call him more frequently.
I also created a place of fun during the training. I chose to have fun with it instead of force it. I did not train my dog everyday with the recall. I trained on days that it felt good for me to work with him. This always lined up when I was taking him on an off leash walk. Sometimes it isn’t the frequency of training dogs that creates the difference. Instead, the persistence of having fun during the training is the most important.
Okay here is the good news. I took my dog on off leash hike and he saw many animals. He broke away from all of them and came when I called him! At flyball (a dog sport) there are many days that he doesn’t chase the birds at all. Now that flyball is later in the day the birds are flying to their nests and the distractions are higher. Well last year when this happened he would run off for a while. Now he may run after them and immediately comes back when I call him!! Remember progress can take time. There are also days of backtracking. Remember to see the good on those days too!
Seiki, my dog, and I have been training a great recall for 2 years. Without distractions and with dogs the recall was easy for him to learn. With wildlife and birds this is his college class for him. He is learning one step at a time and I am choosing to learn with him. I hope you choose to learn with your dog too instead of just expect him / her to show up the way you want.
Remember to love what is and take baby steps!
Johanna Teresi, Professional Trainer and Owner of Four Legged Scholars LLC