Elka's recall at the park is very, very good. She's on a 20 foot leash, and 9 times out of 10, she'll recall on cue without further coaxing or further prompting. She runs at me, and typically hooks to my left (a definite improvement over the days when she ran at me and I caught her full on), where I catch her, then reward her, and then let her go. Taking pictures at the park the other day, though, I noticed something about that hook to my left.
See, I want Elka to listen to me. We all want our dogs to listen to us. But sometimes, I need to remember to listen to her as well.
I don't really have a pattern of when I recall her; we'll be walking and I'll do it. She'll be sniffing something and I do it. Or, in this particular day's instance, I'll want to take pictures of the approach.
Because I was taking pictures, I was standing upright and holding the camera, not bending to encourage or catch her.
And I realized: Elka wasn't hooking left to run past me and continue no her merry way. She was hooking left in order to circle around and heel on my right:
And then get rewarded:
And then wait for the cue to go again:
After it made it through my skull that this is what she was doing, I tested it a few more times, to the same result, each time. Not a perfect heel, not quite a "finish", but good enough. It's funny to repeat something a number of times and not really recognize a pattern, isn't it? I was so very happy when I finally did! Though by that time, Elka wasn't sure what my deal was. Clearly, in her mind, she'd been doing it right all along.