Chaiary: the Kiba recall challenge!

Chai has a good recall away from dogs, even out of full-on play. Only Kiba is different: Kiba is Chai’s best friend. She is only a month older and they have the same play style.

Chai is able to recall … But only once they have played and Chai has satiated on Kiba. When she first sees her and hasn’t yet had an opportunity to play, she cannot currently respond when I call.

I love a good challenge, so I’m going to work up to recalls away from Kiba before Chai has had a chance to say hi!

June 12, 2023

Here, I’m trying an informal recall on leash: I will use the leash to stop Chai if she doesn’t respond. I will wait her out if she doesn’t respond and then “okay” release and drop the leash. Only once I get her to recall on “Pup-pup-pup” alone do I want to try and use her formal recall cue. That’s the plan for now anyways!

There were a two or three more recalls between June 12 and July 22 that I didn’t record and didn’t take notes on … And sadly, all I remember is that I did not get Chai to respond on Pup-pup-pup on the pink long line. Picking back up with a video on July 22:

July 22, 2023

Today, I decided to try a shaping approach: I would simply wait Chai out, release with “Okay!” and drop the leash as soon as she reoriented, weight-shifted or moved an ear back towards me. Well – I did, and Chai said, “Now what?”

Next time, I’ll either run up to Kiba together with Chai or call her when she checks in rather than releasing her right away: check in – recall – tongue click – chicken – “Okay!”

I don’t want to introduce that “Now what?” confusion into our recall!

Is one of the above options better or worse than the other one? No, they are simply different. Go with your gut if working on a similar challenge with your own dog!

July 24, 2023

I botched today’s training plan even though I went over it in my head before getting to the park: Alan and Kiba were late, so Chai and I worked on positions and personal play first. When our friends suddenly came around around the corner, I barely had time to hit record on my phone … And I ended up repeating yesterday’s session rather than doing what I actually wanted to do, which was call Chai when she reoriented. Anyways, here’s the video! Looking a bit better than yesterday, so we’ll take it as a win either way! And next time, I will call her!

My challenge: I only get a single recall to practice this because once the two Border Collies have had a chance to greet each other, I can call Chai without problems. The challenge is before they’ve said hi to each other! We’ll try again Wednesday.

July 26, 2023

I stuck to the training plan today, called “Schnee” as soon as Chai reoriented, got THE most enthusiastic response and ran back to Kiba together with her. I had planned on using my informal recall cue but the formal one came out of my mouth instead. It worked though – so all good!

Finally, things went (almost) according to plan … and I did not record it. Sad face. I’ll repeat the same step another time to get a video.

Today’s single salvageable picture of a great session isn’t very helpful!

August 3, 2023

Off leash Kiba and off leash Chai met at the park today. We hadn’t planned for it, but I felt optimistic, had chicken ready because we had just practice a food distraction recall, and just went with it! I used my formal recall cue (“Schnee!”) since it had worked so well the last time and Chai spun right around from running up to greet her friend, came back for her handful of chicken and then enjoyed a good play session. WE DID IT! I’ll repeat the exercise to get video proof. But oh-SO-proud of my girl!

Some pics from after the recall and after they played – by now, I had had time to get out my phone! Happy pups!

August 23, 2023 (the date in the video thumbnail is wrong)

FINALLY, I got my formal recall away from Kiba on video! Chai saw Kiba – checked in with me – looked at Kiba again – recalled on “Schnee” and got a piece of liver before being “okay”-released to play with her friend! SO proud of my puppy! (And SO grateful for these two friends – this human and his dog – and the fact that I can count on them unconditionally and for much more than just training dogs. Thank you, Alan.)

September 8, 2023: using the opportunity for another formal off-leash recall before saying hi to Kiba

I used today’s play-and-training-and-catching-up meet up for another recall away from Kiba before the dogs had a chance to say hi. I reinforced with liver and okay-released Chai to play.

You’ll see in this clip that recalling away from Kiba has become easy for Chai: as she’s growing up, she’s getting less playful which makes Kiba less of a difficult distraction than she used to be. Good girl, Chai. Sooner or later, I’ll have to stop calling you a puppy!

This video concludes the Kiba recall series! Recalling away from her bestie has turned into a walk in the – literal – park for Chai!

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