If you follow the blog, you know that recall is one of the things that we train most often.  Our dogs are hunting dogs and often work off lead so it is important that they come when they are called.  It is not just a matter of convenience.  It is a matter of safety.

A couple of years ago we were out hunting pheasant and Storm flushed a bird over an ice covered pond.  The weather was mild and we knew the pond was not frozen enough to hold a dog.  Hubby did not take the shot and Storm was recalled from the bird.  Better safe than sorry.

Read Testing Recall

Last week I had yet another chance to test Storm’s recall.  It went down like this:

I let the dogs out to do their business before putting them in their runs for the day.  It was a warm morning for February and a little foggy.  There was absolutely no wind.

Storm ran out and directly to a pine tree across from the door.  I thought “wow she must really have to go”.  But she did not go.  She started sniffing.  What I did not see when I let her out was that a bunny had just left that spot and moved a few feet over, where it froze like a statute.  Storm did not see the bunny at that point.  She was busy sniffing.  I knew that any second Storm would swing her head to the side and spot it too.  It was only a matter of time and the bunny was only about 2 feet away from her.

Bunnies must not be too bright.  It easily could have sneaked away while Storm’s head was turned, but I guess it’s instinct was to sit still.  The problem was that once Storm spotted it, she would have pounced on it or chased it.  Then bunny would have run and probably headed to the front yard and the road in front of the house.  Not a good thing.

We have an Invisible Fence system because we cannot have physical fences where we live.  The dogs are well trained on it.  The only problem is that the system failed last Fall, (there must be a break in the line).  We need to get it fixed but we have to wait until the ground thaws.

Back to Storm and the bunny.  As soon as I noticed the bunny was literally two feet from Storm, I recalled her.  She gave me a questioning look, but she started to come back to me.  Of course at that same moment the bunny must have gotten nervous because it indeed took off running: full speed, heading toward the road.  Storm saw this and was ready to retrieve the wayward bunny for me.  I called her a bit more urgently and surprise!  She came to me.  I was so happy with her that she got a ton of pets and I just happened to have a a cookie in my pocket so she got that too.

Storm will be 10 in June and you might be wondering why her recall would be in doubt after all of these years.   Her recall is solid, however she and I do not often encounter bunnies right in front of her face.  Hubby is the one who hunts her so normally he would be recalling her off an animal or a bird.  We live in the city so I do not expect to encounter many things worth chasing in the yard.  OK once in a while it happens.

Read About The Time Storm Met A Skunk

After the skunk experience, I usually do not take any chances after dark and take the dogs out on lead.  I guess I might have to rethink this for daylight hours too until we get the fence fixed.  I am just glad we put so much time into recall and it paid off because at the moment, all I had was recall.

chesapeake bay retriever
Good Girl Storm

8 thoughts on “When All You Have Is Recall

  1. Way to go Storm. Preacher seems to have forgotten her recall and goes joy riding for a half hour at a time.

    1. Oh that Preacher. Lucky for me Thunder was off on the other side of the yard so I did not have to test his recall.

  2. I have a feeling that the bunny was just as happy as you that Storm did so well with her recall. When we did obedience training, the trainer said that “Come!” is the most important command. (Mommy would suggest that “Leave it!” is also a pretty important one, especially with my little sister, the Hoover.) She’s only had to use it once in an emergency: when I took off after a squirrel that was headed to a busy road. Luckily, I paid attention in school. 🙂

  3. Our recalls are pretty good, but if there is a critter forget it. We are only off leash when there is a fence.Good for her coming back so well.

  4. my recalls are pleasure-oriented… the mama sometimes think I haven’t noticed that Phoenix is MY name and not the name of another dog…

  5. Great job, Storm, I think that is impressive. We are working harder with Luke on recall. It’s my hubby’s dream to be able to let him off leash, but with all his fears I’m not I’d ever be comfortable with that. However, there have been accidental escapes from the yard, so for that reason I know it’s something we need to keep working on.

  6. Wow! I’m glad that Storm came back to you! I’m 100% positive Barley would not have done that–which is why she is never off-leash anywhere without walls or fences 🙂 I agree with you that bunnies must not be very smart because they sometimes come under our fence and I don’t always notice them before letting the girls out–they’ll run across the entire yard looking for an opening instead of squeezing under the gap they were sitting right in front of! That, of course, makes Barley very excited and me very anxious 🙂

  7. Of all the commands you can teach a dog, obedience commands are most important. Glad she came back, that was quite a temptation for her.

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