A Little Recall on Scotia’s Recall

Recall is a big part of Scotia’s training. It’s something we regularly practice to ensure it is never lost. Being that Scotia is so anxious, it’s super important for her to have reliable recall. She understands when I call her that I have something she likes: food. I try not to recall Scotia if I don’t have some kind of reward for her. That is super important. I wouldn’t do my 9-5 job if I didn’t get paid. Scotia wouldn’t do her job and listen when I need her to, if I didn’t pay her. The two of us just accept different kinds of payments.

Scotia is trained with two kinds of recall: general day-to-day recall, emergency recall. When I say ‘Scotia Come’, she knows I want her to come to me, but she might still finish sniffing or rolling or whatever she’s doing. The emergency recall, is much more important that she drop everything and come to me right away. This is good for times where she’s anxious about a scenario or when there’s imminent danger.

There are two main things that decipher the two types of recall: reward and call. For the general recall, I use her name and ‘come’. When she gets to me she gets praise and a low or medium value treat like a piece of kibble or whatever treats are in my treat bag. Emergency recall is pretty different. I use a specific whistle and when she comes, she gets a very high value treat and a lot of it. Typically this is hotdog, cooked meat, or cheese. Because Scotia is very food motivated, this works super well.

Scotia’s general recall

Scotia’s recall is not perfect. I feel like that’s important to say. She is really great and I would say she has 95% consistent recall. The main time she will not come is when she is frozen in fear. At that point in time, no matter what I say or do will change her recall. We will continue to work at it and decrease the number of things that put her in a frozen state, but until then, that’s a risk I take, every time I take her leash off.

One component of her recall is maintenance. On every walk or hike we do, I practice her regular recall. Then usually a few times a week I will practice her emergency recall. It’s important to keep these in the forefront of her mind because in the case of a real emergency, I want to know that she will come to me with a good amount of confidence.

The type of treats I use is another important part of her recall training. If I were to use a treat she didn’t particularly like, she might be less inclined to come. I tend to use a mashup of treats and always rotate them so I am keeping her guessing. I will avoid treats that she doesn’t like, but once I’ve bought the bag, I will be using them all.

In the next post I will go through some of the treats that I like to use for Scotia’s training and how I came to using those treats. I will also chat a little about finding what is high value for Scotia, keeping in mind it will be different for every pup. I hope you come back to checkout that post!

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