Chai’s distraction recall training, round 3.2: starting over at the barrier level!

I’ve decided to chute back down to distraction B (a bag that used to have food in it) at the barrier level (level 2) in the house and build back up from there. I’ll skip distraction A (empty plate) and work with only B (bag that used to have food in it) and C (kibble) instead. I’m calling this recall round 3.2 because it’s the 3rd “new attempt” and I’m starting at level 2 (the barrier/helper stage). The drawing board I went back to after this session says:

I’d worry about all things off leash and barrier free after working through this new barrier plan. I excluded the empty plate – wasn’t it beneath Chai already? Let’s find out!

July 15, 2023: single rep success at the barrier level (level 2) in the house!

Paper bag (intermediate distracton) in plastic container

Kibble (difficult distraction) in plastic container

For now, at round 3 of our distraction adventures, I’ve decided to let Chai check out the barrier, but not provide her with access. For now.

July 16, 2023: the roof, the roof, the roof has distractions …

In the two videos below you’ll see me move towards the distraction to celebrate with Chai rather than away from it (as I recommend you do when working on recalls with your own dog). The reason I move towards the distractions is that I want our reward celebrations to be on camera, and that’s the only way to make that happen since we’re coming around a corner.

Chai does a lovely job with distraction B, the paper bag in the plastic container (barrier):

The next session, we’ll move on to distraction C: kibble in the plastic container! Being good students of my recall protocol, we took a break of personal play and relaxation on the roof before setting up the next challenge:

Chai was being a superstar again! Go puppy! (Once more, my smart student is setting me up for an extinction burst in the future. She knows how reinforcing recall success is for me …!)1

Level 2 (barrier) at the park!

Riding my wave of success, headed back outside in the late afternoon for real-world recalls at the barrier level:

This wasn’t a single-rep success session: I quickly tethered Chai after getting distance with my treat tosses, returned to the camera to reposition the kibble box and then returned to Chai to release her for the second rep of what would end up being the 2-rep session from the video above. We then took a break for some park fun … and had a new session about 15 minutes later:

Single-rep success! And on that note, we called it a successful day! Only distraction C at the park is left, and we’ll test out of the barrier stage again (third time’s a charm?)

July 17, 2023: third time IS a charm this time! Single-rep success on kibble in the plastic box at the park!

I’ve taped the container to make sure Chai can’t get to it, and upped my first reinforcer to an entire handful of chicken.

Single-rep success! We tested out of the barrier level! Go puppieeee!

I’ve completed the barrier plan I made. Now it’s time to go back to our headquarters and figure out how to proceed … our goal, after all, is still off-leash recalls away from unprotected distractions. And I know that Chai is a powerful strategist – as am I! (Insert suspensful music!)

  1. Just joking, of course. She is a dog, not a cunning human! ↩︎

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