Wednesday, October 1, 2014

City Dog: Using Our "Secret" Recall Word

While we knew there would be a transition period for the pups when we moved, we hadn't thought about how we would need to have new training and routines just because of the space itself. 
The biggest thing we're realizing right now is how living in a single-family home our front door leads directly outdoors so the pups have more potential to plan an escape:
In our old place, our front door led to the stairs in the hallway which was closed in by the main building door. So even if they left our unit's front door, they would just be trapped in the hallway.
So we got a bit lax, and we let the pups step out in the hall to welcome people into our home.
Which now means they think they can still leave our front door and step directly outdoors to welcome people into our home.
We do have a front gate, but we've noticed that sometimes when people come to visit they haven't closed the front gate completely or they are still coming in leaving it open enough for an escape. 
We also know much Mr. B loves to run:
During one of our training classes long ago, we learned how to create a secret emergency recall word. The idea is once the pups hear this word they will forgot whatever urge they have to run off and they will turn back, robot-like, and return to us.
We use a word that is "special" that we would not use in normal conversation around the dog, but is also something we could easily yell out in an emergency.
We chose the word "Yikes!".
It takes a couple of months to embed the word. We start out by yelling "Yikes" followed by "Come" and when the dogs come running they are greeted by the best food ever. And we make sure to praise them heavily.
Eventually we are able to eliminate the "come" and just use the "yikes" with further distances within our home. And we always need to make sure to have the best food.
We've been consistently reinforcing it, and we've also heard it's important to only practice when we know they will come to make sure it really would work in an emergency.

The pups are really enjoying the extra treats that come with this type of training.
Has anyone else been working with potential escape artists?

Bringing back the stay space.
We did develop this gate system so the pups are always in sight whether we let them out front or back.
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Melanie said...

Those are the cutest pictures of Mr. B ever! I think it's funny that we worry about our dogs escaping. I always say I don't want Henry to "escape" (like we're holding him prisoner) and then I think, why would he want to escape? He has it MADE with us! Comfy, warm beds and lots of table scraps and treats.

Debra@Peaceabull said...

I used to work on it with Ray but haven't in quite awhile. The last time I did it, Julius came running just because Ray did, lol.
We need to get back to doing it. Our trainer who taught it to us also has her cats trained for "the word."

OG said...

Love the pictures! And E looks very chic in the first one! Looks like a fashion shoot!
I need to work on a secret command. Or a not secret command!

Rachel @ My Two Pitties said...

Kaya is awesome at recall and easily listens to "come." Norman, on the other hand, heavily relies on his secret recall word, "uh oh." At least it works!

One of the first things I taught them as puppies was to not go through gates and doors just because they're open. We slowly worked up to not even needing leashes to go out front, get in the car, greet guests, etc. We live in a suburban setting so it's different than city but there's not risk of the great escape because it's not even in their wheelhouse:)

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