I wanted to thank the people on this forum who have mentioned emergency recall training, because it made me realize how important it could be and I have started it with my dogs. I thought it was worthy of a new discussion all on its own.

For those not familiar (and I wasn't til I read it here), we all know what "come" means, and have dogs with varying levels of compliance to the command. Even if your dog is pretty good, would it come if it was chasing a squirrel towards a busy road, or face-to-face with a skunk, or if you found yourself holding an empty leash and collar at a busy interstate rest stop? Some of us who have done lots of obedience might honestly say "yes", but for many others (myself included) the honest answer is "Not sure" or "Probably not."

So emergency recall is a different word, not the normal "come" command, that you train with high and constant reinforcement, and then never use to get your dog to come in from playing, or come over to you for petting or brushing. Only for reinforcement, and if you need it, for emergency. Unlike other commands where you wean off the treat rewards and get your dog to just respond for praise, you will ALWAYS use high-value food rewards for this command to keep your dog's motivation so high that he will literally stop anything else he's doing, no matter how exciting, to come back to you.

The gist of it is that you show the dog a very high-value treat and use your recall word excitedly, then give the treat when the dog makes contact with you. The high-value treat should be something your dog never, ever gets except for this training.

We are working on this now. Our recall word is, creatively enough "recall" (you need a word that you wouldn't usually use around your dog). The rewards are things my dogs never normally get; we are alternating between cut-up bits of hot dogs, and Bil -Jac liver treats. Pardon me if your dog gets these regularly, but they are actually kinda gross. LOL They smell very strong, which is what makes them appealing for this exercise, and they do have sugar in them, which I usually avoid, but I wanted something the dogs would drool for.

It took my dogs two sessions to strongly associate the treat with the word. After three days (only one practice per day, as the treats I'm using are not real healthy), I could yell "Recall recall recall!" and they'd come running from another room, full speed. I make them come all the way to me, but don't add another obedience command at the end like "sit" because I want their excitement to remain high and focused on the word.

After just one week, I was comfortable enough with the response that I was ready to test it. I sent my husband in the living room with some Charlie Bear treats. The dogs followed, and they were focused and excited enough about the Charlie Bear treats that Jack was saying "Aaa-rooo!" at him. He held them but did not give them, then I called "Recall recall!" from the kitchen and they both left my husband and his lousy plain ordinary treats and came flying, eyes shining and ears forward.

My next step is to try it outside in an open field. Then I want my husband to work with them too, so they'll do it for either of us.

A word of warning, though: your dog may make some rapid strong associations that you are not expecting. I was keeping the cut-up hot dog in the fridge in a sandwich bag. They only had hot-dog as the treat on three days.

Well, yesterday I went to get some grapes out of the fridge and they were in a sandwich bag. I opened the fridge door, rustled the sandwich bag.... and heard the sound of two stampeding Corgis who seconds before were asleep on the couch. Oi! That just goes to show that if the reinforcement is rewarding enough to the dog, they can learn a very strong association in just 3 sessions that last only a few seconds each. And then we all wonder how they pick up bad habits so quickly!! LOL

Anyway, I am so glad I learned about this training and strongly encourage it as something all dogs should know, as it could one day save their life (or save them from a snout full of porcupine quills).

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That is great Beth. The obedience instructor I went to with Sparty always did a recall session at the end of class that involved your dog running across a field around other well trained dogs in a stay position. This helped her people training for advanced obedience as well as us beginners. She also would release all of the dogs at once (the ones in training) with all the handlers recalling at once. The commotion just reinforced the training. Sparty has a great recall still and it has been years since he was in class like that. This is a good reminder for me to work with Izzy. I have been a little lazy with her because if Sparty come so does she.
I agree the group effect is very reinforcing.

Jack is very good on recall if he's not eating something in the bushes. LOL He runs full-speed to me. When we brought Maddie here, one of the first things we did is have my husband hold the dogs while I went to the other end of a field, and called them both. Jack brought Maddie right along with him in the excitement, and she learned quickly. She already had the general idea of what "come" meant, but it really reinforced it.
This training is an absolute must! We trained both Soffie & Griffyn using the word "touch"! And we have used it twice with Soffie. Both times at motels. Once when she scampered out the door and was heading off down the outside corridor. And once in the parking lot of a motel when she slipped her collar while out on her morning potty walk.

It is an INVALUABLE tool...... that can definitely save your best friends life!!
Yeah, mine "normally" come too.

Maddie is actually better at normal "come" than Jack as she's less independent.

If we are in an unfamiliar place, Jack is just about 100%. We had him hiking and he went to splash in a retaining pond, and he loves playing in water, and yet he came full-speed as soon as I called.

But here near the house in the park by us, where he knows exactly where he is and is not afraid of getting left, he's not as good. My fear with him is he'll get out the front door by accident, see one of his well-known doggie playmates across the street, and go running over. I need something strong enough to counter that desire to go play and see a friend, so I am hoping this will work! Hopefully I'll never need to use it, but I want it to be there just in case.
You can spend about $30 on a video, or I bought Leslie Nelson's booklet for about $10:
Leslie Nelson
I'm using "venite!" (Latin or Italian for "come!") - a word never heard in our regular vocabulary.
Part of the deal: the rewards are cordon-bleu, high-value, served up with lavish praise.
In training, esp. 1st time, you do it when you KNOW they're going to come -- like, when they're hungry and they've already seen and smelled that pork chop fat in your fingers.
Yep, the first time I got them very excited by making a big show of opening the brand-new bag of never-before-seen liver treats, then gave my command while I was feeding them. And I did it right before supper time.
I am happy to hear that they are picking up on it so quickly! Tucker learned super fast too - I guess that is what really good treats will do. Tucker usually gets charlie bear treats or something similar as well so scraps of people food are like a dream for him. I only practice 'touch' every few days now to avoid too much unhealthy food and he certainly doesn't forget what it means. He comes running form the third floor down to the kitchen. I don't know what people do when their dogs aren't food motivated - but I guess with corgis we don't have to worry about that. :)
I did wonder what people who feed table food all the time use; I would think the motivation would not be so high if the dog is used to really tasty treats on a regular basis.
I just wanted to update this to say I got to try it out, and it works!

I was bringing Maddie in through the front door from a potty break. Usually the dogs will stay inside the door unless I am taking them out, but Maddie was taking awhile to get in and Jack looked out and saw one of his dog friends in the middle of the road in front of the house. This was exactly the scenario I envisioned when I decided to do the training.

Well, he got past me (thankfully there were no cars) and went flying over to say "hello" and ignored me when I yelled for him, so I did my recall command and he came flying right back (I checked there were no cars coming before I called him).

I felt like an idiot for letting him get past me, but it all worked out well and the training paid off. He got quite a few liver treats for that one!
That's great that it worked!

We have Caleb pretty solid on normal 'come' but I know being a puppy he can and will have selective hearing so I'll be discussing this with my husband to start training.
The problem with the husband is that I only hope I can make him understand it's for EMERGENCIES ONLY. And not just for a quick reaction.

Gotta love men.
Yes, I have had many discussions with my husband about training!

As an example (and off-topic), if I am eating a snack in the living room, Jack will curly up on the couch next to me and doze off and more or less ignore me.

If my husband is eating in the living room, the dog sits in front of him, shuffling his feet, whoofing, and drooling.
A trainer I went to suggested also working on a distance sit or down. That would apply in the situation you were in if a car had been coming. Sparty could do it but I have not practiced it in a long time. I don't know about Izzy, she often has a mind of her own and has not had as many classes as he has.
I am glad Jack's ok and did good!

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