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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all.
Gemma’s recall (with just a shout of her name, followed by an excited Come!) has been amazing since getting the chance to put it to the test at puppy class and in the park. There are obvious a lot of stimuli yet to test it with, but the real winners for me have been a no nonsense recall from playing with a friend, friend + toy, and playing with other pups at puppy class. I’m so pleased with her! She always gets fussed, treated or 5 seconds with our secret re-call toy that she only ever see’s on a recall, or a mixture of the 3!

Now then. For simple practical reasons, I would like to move onto using a whistle for her recall. Longer range, got a sore throat etc! Plus the bonus of trying a remote sit!

But I’m stuck on how to do it. I’ve been reading the book Total Recall, it’s excellent, but the approach seems to be to assume your existing recall sucks, and start from a blank page with the whistle. But because Gemma’s existing verbal recall is so good and we’ve spent a lot of effort and time on it, I’m very weary to throw that away and start again. Could I end up with a new whistle recall that’s not as good as the verbal one she’s known since day 1? I’m wondering if I can’t just introduce it as a second cue, so call her as normal and introduce the whistle as we do that?

In an ideal world I’ve have used the whistle from day one. But I didn’t, so my experienced fellow lab whistlers… what should I do? Thanks!
 

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Mine werent taught from day one but learnt to recall to a whistle really quickly. My fathers dog learnt by the end of one walk. I know he understood the command and wasnt just running in with them because he turned before them on one occasion.

All I did was call them normally and once they were running back use the whistle even in the house for supper or to give them a biscuit. It didnt take long. I gave my daughter a different type of whistle because she kept playing with mine and I didnt want them to believe they could ignore mine. They come running for hers as well.


Good luck whistling :0) please excuse the lack of apostrophes.

Amanda, Roxy and Buster
 

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Use your normal voice to start the recall and then as she is running in to you use the whistle. I use bursts of 3 pips when teaching the dog this; imagine you are pipping in time with their legs running if that makes sense? Use your usual praise when she returns. Golden rule is never use it when they are not running towards you (when they are learning).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Brilliant folks thank you! Exactly what I was looking for.

My instinct said to call her as normal then add the whistle to form that association with that too and the same meaning But even my puppy class trainer (who I havent made my mind up about yet lol!) said start over with the whistle and not link the two things together :?
But some second and third opinions have convinced me to ignore her thank you :p
 

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I did the same with Homer. I simply called then blew three pips on the whistle as he started to come then at first gave him some juicy pieces of chicken and then like the recall book alternated with less tasty treats for a week or two. He now knows whistle means no nonsense.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hey everyone.
Sorry to bump my old thread but I have a follow up question please.

Have successfully trained in the 3pips whistle recall - yey!

My question now is - do any of you still maintain a verbal recall too? I've been trying to hedge my bets and use a bit of both (no longer together now she's learned the meaning), so far so good with both. Seems useful in case I forget/lose the whistle, or is she fails to respond to one cue, I can use the second.

Just wondering if this is normal, any downsides? Do other whistlers also maintain a verbal recall too and alternate? Not really seen any literature that talks about using two recall cues, hope I'm not being too clever for my own good :)
 

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I don't know what the professionals would say but I do still use a verbal come and body language as well as my own natural whistle. Sometimes I will just stand and hold my arms out without any sound if they are looking at me. If they are in the garden and I want them in it's my own whistle. I always take my acme whistle out on walks and when I was conditioning the dogs to the sound I kept it on all day long only taking off to go to bed. I feel that I need a reliable recall if I don't have a whistle to hand. Maybe others would say it might confuse the dogs but mine understand all of the commands.

My acme whistle is my 'special' command though. It has to be obeyed. If one of them was in pursuit of a cat for example and I had any doubt that they might not listen to the whistle I may not choose to use it. I would use my come or own whistle instead because I don't want them to ever believe they can blank the acme whistle and fingers crossed so far they haven't realised that they can. :)
 

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Its very important dogs recall both verbally and to the whistle if you choose to use a whistle. There will be days you forget your whistle etc etc so its important she understands a solid verbal recall before even starting to loop the recall whistle over it... And then deliberately keep your verbal recall fresh in their minds by regular practice so they respond equally well to both. :)
Di
 
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My question now is - do any of you still maintain a verbal recall too?
Yep, I use both, in fact I use a third too, a silent Arms Open Wide body language Recall. Very handy when you're down wind and have forgotten your whistle ;)
 

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And funny enough Jules, everyone does, sometimes without even realising. So many commands we use dogs respond better to our body language than our voice. So anyone can try... Stand with your back to your dog, hands in pockets and JUST say your recall command or JUST blow your recall whistle and most will stay sitting there looking slightly baffled ... Till you half turn round to them and open your arms or clap... Then they come running ;-)

we used body language much more than verbal commands and they are foreigners to our language after all, so they learn gestures much quicker than words.

D x
 
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we used body language much more than verbal commands and they are foreigners to our language after all, so they learn gestures much quicker than words.
I suppose it's because their first language is Body Language, albeit the dog version.

When dogs are together they are conversing all the time, silently and oh so subtly (most of the time). I love watching my lot "talking" to one another.

I guess this is why dogs make such great companions, as they pick up on our moods and feelings so easily; they literally read us, even when we don't realise we're doing anything. 8)
 

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Totally agree. take the dog that manages to 'chain back' all the way from loving his free run at the park... to you slapping your thighs in a familiar way and standing up saying 'right then!' or whatever we have done 16,000 times before we take the dog for a walk. they manage to see it enough to make it a gesture they greet with a leap up nd a massive display of excitement.

Di
 

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Not allowed to use a whistle in ability or rally o and I often forget to take whistle out on walks so verbal recall and whistle recall a must in this house!

As well as the standing with arms out silent recall I also have the little beckon of a finger recall which is called really sweet and cute when seen by others!!
 

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Totally agree. take the dog that manages to 'chain back' all the way from loving his free run at the park... to you slapping your thighs in a familiar way and standing up saying 'right then!' or whatever we have done 16,000 times before we take the dog for a walk. they manage to see it enough to make it a gesture they greet with a leap up and a massive display of excitement.
Coco knows from the mouse clicks on the computer when I'm about to close it down, she also knows that I breathe in before standing up. They take so much on board that we don't even consider.

Griffin has learnt that whistle = food so he's happy to come to me, I usually back this up with "Griffin, come-come". So I'm sort of training whistle first, then voice command.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the replies everyone!
I'll proceed with keeping both cues charged and fresh :D

You've got me on the body language one though. I used that in the early weeks to get the ball rolling, but have slackened off since she learned the commands. My biggest fault is I'm a bit stiff really, no good at dancing either lol!
 

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Well, sort it out John!!!! They operate best on you having 'moves like jagger' and don't you forget it ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-)
D x
 
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