Recall? What Recall?

It has been a couple of weeks, but Arizona has returned to group field classes.

It seems as though the entire group is back, Maverick the Duck Toller, Hank the black lab, Butler the chocolate, and Cassie the yellow lab.

Susie wanted to work with Hank and his owner, so she had us work with Chad (Maverick’s owner) and Laura.

Arizona did well at going to the bumper with the wing, but she forgot to come back. It’s like she’s forgotten what the whistle means, and any other form of recall we have tried to teach her, lol!

Instead of coming, Ari thought she would parade her bumper around Laura and Chad.

Despite trying a number of methods (e.g. with a tracking line on or off), Arizona was just not in the mood to return to me after fetching the bumper.

It was actually kind of embarrassing. I am not really worried about Laura seeing this mess, but Chad seems to be really into perfection and he hasn’t seen Ari work well yet, so it was hard to have him see her lack of recall.

Arizona is still not so sure about picking up a dead duck, so we’re trying to introduce it to her slowly.

Arizona laying in the grass with a dead Mallard in front of her. She's wearing her leash that has various shades paw prints on it.

It seems as though everyone in field uses an E-collar, and both Chad and Laura suggested we try one out, but Huib and I refuse to even consider it. We aren’t in a rush to get titles, so if it takes Arizona another year of lessons before she gets her WC (working certificate) then that is fine with us. We refuse to use a shock collar, even if Arizona is a brat!!

Hopefully next week goes better.


  1. Tami Jarvis says

    Good for you, going for time and training over instant perfection. In my experience, the loss of recall in adolescence is normal, aggravating, and a passing thing. Continuing to work through it with positive reinforcement even when it feels like you’re getting nowhere or moving backwards will result in good recall when the adolescent phase is over. I feel your pain, though. As a puppy, Loki had perfect recall really early, even from around corners and at a distance. Now? Ha! Makes me crazy, but then I remember Mitzi at his age. And Zay, too. So I guess I’m used to snotty adolescents flaunting their toys at me to show they heard me and are not coming when I call. Then they grew up and started acting like they were trained and everything! Whew!

  2. Completely agree no need to use a shock collar in this day and age!! Time, and consistency will win Ari over, and keep her awesome confidence in the world. There are many titled working dogs over here in the UK only positively trained (mostly by clicker) it just takes effort by the handler. You’ve already proved your training ability with your guide dogs – go for it!!

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