Last year I had the pleasure of working on some Recall Training with the lovely Lulu the greyhound!
Her owners Kirsten and Dan had recently adopted Lulu, a retired racing greyhound, at the age of 4.
She had lived in kennels for most of her life so moving into a family home was going to be a real treat for her!
Kirsten and Dan were concerned that she didn’t respond to her name at all, and so booked me in for some recall training.
Kirsten already had a 12 year old lurcher called Toby at home who was brilliant off the lead, and she wanted Lulu to have the same freedom on walks that he had.
SAFETY AND MANAGEMENT
From a safety point of view it was important that we took into consideration the fact that Lulu had been taught to chase small furry things, so it wasn’t going to be realistic to expect her to come away from animals like rabbits, squirrels and cats. We also introduced a muzzle.
TIME FOR SCHOOL!
Our first task was to find out what Lulu would find rewarding to come back to. Luckily she was very food motivated and we won her over with cheese and sausages!
On our first session we played ‘Puppy In The Middle’, where Dan and Kirsten had a handful of the treats each and practised calling Lulu back and forth between them. She responded brilliantly to her name!
Once she was working well in the garden we started to build up distractions in carefully planned stages.
As a safety precaution we used a long line for our recall work. This is a 12 foot lead, different from a retractable or extendable lead. We attached this to Lulu’s harness and used it to manage our training sessions so that she wasn’t tested around distractions that she wasn’t ready for.
We worked in two different local locations with a range of distractions and Lulu worked fabulously.
The strong bond she had with her owners combined with the positive reward based training made sure that she wanted to come back and came back every time!
We also managed to get her jumping in and out of the car happily when previously she had refused!
Well done Lulu!
Thanks so much for working with us and Lulu to improve her recall. What I’ve found most interesting is that more than training Lulu, it has been about training us!
Lulu has come on leaps and bounds since we starting working together, when I think back to how she wouldn’t get into the car and now just leaps in. I’ve learnt so many tips and tricks from you that I can use moving forward to help her learn other things, too.
I really like the format of the sessions – you showing us what to do and then leaving us with homework to get on with. Sometimes we were better than others at fitting that in, and I appreciate your understanding of that too.
And finally, for humouring us owners and being as impressed by our fur babies as we are. Watching Lulu walking off lead was such a proud moment for me and i know you understood how I felt!
I’m hopeful that we’re well prepared now but will definitely be in touch if we encounter any training needs in the future.
Massive thanks from us all,
Kirsten, Dan, Lulu and Toby