We were proofing our recall with the recall game today, with a twist. I’m going to call it the GPS recall. Proofing the recall is so important, because recall is not just one of those “nice to have” behaviours, it’s an absolute must to keep your dog and other people and animals safe. Islay and I have been proofing her recall in a variety of places, with increasing levels of distraction, but one I have had difficulty with is the out-of-sight recall. It’s trickier, partly because the dog is less engaged when they can’t make eye contact, and of course, because you don’t know how they’re responding and can’t alter your response to match.
At this late stage of the summer, the fields and hedgerows are very overgrown. This means that even being 10m away can mean the dogs are out of sight, so knowing they will recall is very important to me. There are also a lot of deer, birds and goodness knows what else lurking in the hedgerows, so they need to stay close by.
I’ve been testing my Kippy GPS lately and have been pretty impressed by the accuracy of the signal in our reasonably remote corner of the world. Being able to watch Islay’s location on the GPS allowed her get out of my sight, even if only a few metres away, before recalling. I built up the time on each trial to allow her more opportunity to become distracted, and also to get further away.
I was able to let her get much further away than I would have been able to without the GPS, because I would have had no idea how far away she was without it and would have recalled into sight. Not only did we manage to build up to 100m distance out of sight, but we had a 100% recall rate.
The live tracking on the GPS even let me see how quickly she was responding to me. It wasn’t always immediate (i.e. within a second or two), but she always made the choice to recall, even though there were clearly some competing distractions. You could say I’m pretty impressed! We have definitely upped our recall game.