Saturday, May 5, 2012

Command Clinic: Recall Revelation

I've discussed recall twice now, in Command Clinic: Recall and Command Clinic: Recall Revisited. It doesn't mean that Elka's not still learning. And, it especially doesn't mean that I am not still learning.

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.









15 comments:

  1. That is hilarious. Sounds like she knew a little bit more about what the end product should look like than you did!

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    1. I guess she does!

      My dog is smarter than me. This isn't the first time, nor will it be the last, that I reach this conclusion.

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  2. Bless her,she seems a smart one to us!

    Love her collar/harness combo!

    slobbers

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    1. Thanks! Have a little dog mom paranoia that I never thought I would. But what if the leash (collar, harness) fails?

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    2. The collar and harness hopefully won't fail at the same time, and you have that cool connector as backup. Duke's collar and harness are red too, though Elka's collar is much nicer!

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  3. How clever. You're right that we have to be watching all the time because a smart dog knows more than you'll ever realize.

    Isn't it great that no matter how well you get to know Elka she can still surprise you?

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    1. I do love it when Elka still surprises me. She's a constant source of delight and amazement ^^

      It's also funny to me how much she picks up just by observing and listening to us, without "active teaching".

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  4. Elka, you're so smart!
    Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!! woo woo woo!

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  5. She does look very pleased with herself -- and rightfully so, I'd say! She looks fabulous in that red, too! Isn't it scary when you realize your dog might be smarter than you are? lol

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    1. I love red as Elka's color. I'm not sure what I'd put on another (hypothetical) black Doberman, especially if it's a girl, as the fiance does not like purple. Though we could get a red one and dress him/her in black....

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  6. I am impressed that you were able to do all of that and take pictures. :)

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    1. Hah, thanks. I just tried to stay out of the way!

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  7. I'm with 2browndawgs--I would have dropped the camera for sure. :-)

    Elka looks so awesome with that big smile in the last pic.

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    1. It's all right, the camera has a wrist loop ;)

      That last picture is my new favorite, I think. Once in awhile, I catch a good one.

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