Mattie, sometimes, with an unruly wild hooligan dog, who is slow to grasp a reliable recall on a long line, sometimes it becomes necessary to start coiling the rope up, to bring the dog in in a hurry, when she is ignoring your recall-- say you are out in an open field practicing, and another party shows up with their own wild hooligans off-lead. You call your dog, but that turns out to be the one time out of ten that he ignores you. Desperate to get him back in before something awful happens, you start gathering up the long line so you can get hold of your dog without chasing him, which of course, would only make a game out of it.
Since we're on the subject: (Gundog Guy, I'm definitely looking for your input on this, as well as Mattie's and everyone else's)
As everyone knows, I'm still working on recall with Dottie. She's 100% in the house and in the garden, but anywhere else, she's a wild hooligan.
So I've been doing long-line training with her at the ball field, and that's going pretty well. Not as well as I'd like, but she is improving.
So anyway.... yesterday, I took the girls out to the park for some recall training. I took a fetch toy for Annie, who can be off-lead, and had Dottie on a long-line, tied around my waist, (so I had my hands free). I also had a bag of treats in my waist pack, and my whistle. Something awesome and totally unexpected happened-- two things, actually: 1) I finally
got the "drop it" command ingrained into Annie's head, so she was retrieving to hand, rather than trying to play tug. Woo-hoo! 2) While Dottie was running around, seemingly oblivious, she was actually keeping an eye on me, so every time Annie got a treat for releasing her toy to me, Dottie came galloping over and parked herself in a beautiful, tail wagging sit in front of me. I didn't even have to blow the whistle or call her-- she just kept checking in every time Annie did a retrieval!
Then... just as we were starting to get tired, and I was nearly frozen, some birds flew over head and Dottie of course, being a Llewellin Setter, was mesmerized. I had a dickens of a time trying to get her back, since she did not respond to the whistle, so I had to start coiling the rope in so I could get her back and we could leave. Ideally, I realize that we needed to have left just a bit sooner-- and I was intending to-- it just so happens that wild migrating birds do not register their schedules with the American Flight Administration.
All in all, it was a really fun session, and I'm really pleased with the girls' performance-- especially the way Dottie was paying attention to where I was and what I was doing, even though she looked oblivious, running around like she was. This is significant, since being bred in the U.S., and I suspect for American Field Trials and hunting from ATV or horseback, Dottie is a big runner. She is not bred to stay close the way Annie (a flusher) is. So trying to teach her to stay in close proximity, rather than running into the next county has been a huge challenge.
So I guess what I want to know is... does this sound like we're on the right track? What should I be doing to ensure better results?
If an opportunity comes to you in life, say yes first, even if you don't know how to do it.