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How to best handle a failed recall

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Hi there, I have a 9mo BC. I work on recall and collar grabs daily and she is almost always on lead. There is only one situation when I take her off lead and that is when I take her to this big, open field where there are no distractions and I'm working on beginner agility skills (i.e. short sequences around cones). I take the long-line off because it knocks the cones over and she has demonstrated reliability in always coming back to me (she has so much value in doing agility flatwork and tugging with me)....until today.

After a short sequence, she got a bit of the zoomies and started running circles around me. She refused to come back to me. I tried all of the following things:

1. Have her chase me. I was doubtful this was going to work, because it hadn't in the past. She will follow me, but keep a distance. I gave up on this pretty quickly, because she seemed to enjoy "herding" me and I didn't want her to find the situation self-reinforcing

2. I gave her commands from a distance to see if I can get her back into "working" mode. She took the commands - sit/down/stand. I asked her for a "front" and she came, but as soon as I went in for the collar grab, she darted off again. Tried again, she executed a few cues from distance, asked her to "heel", and darted off when I went for the collar grab

3. I stood still and ignored her, thinking that being inactive and boring, she might no longer find fun in this game. I gave up on that after 5 minutes.

4. I took out the frisbee (her highest value). She did her distance down. With the frisbee visible, I asked her to stay and approached her. When I got to about 5' away, she started backing up. I hid the frisbee behind my back to communicate "no frisbee game unless you obey" (which she understands). When she went back into her down, I made the frisbee visible. I repeated this a few times, but I couldn't get within reach.

5. I finally gave up after about 10' of doing all of the above. I asked for a down and then quickly released her to catch the frisbee so I can get her to retrieve. She knows that frisbee has to be placed in my hand if she wants it thrown again. She would put the frisbee in my hand and dart off so fast so that I couldn't grab her collar. Because I didn't actually end up having the frisbee in my hand, I requested her to "get it" and she repeated the fast drop and dart multiple times so I couldn't grab her.  After a few attempts, I finally decided to turn my side towards her and stretch my arm out far so that she can at least be successful in getting the frisbee to my hand (rather than failing because she was darting off so fast to avoid the collar grab). I rewarded that with a throw.

6. Once she started to successfully get the frisbee to me, I did multiple short throws in quick succession. She started to properly retrieve and I finally could grab her collar and put the long-line on. I did another several throws with her long-line on just to make sure she didn't associate long-line = fun is over / going home.


I definitely need to reflect on why this happened in the first place. It's probably a combination of the following (a) i might have pushed her too hard teaching a new skill, she was failing too often and I wasn't giving her enough rewards through easier skills (b) she might have been over-tired, (c) she might not have wanted to go home.

My question is, do you have recommendations on how I could have handled this situation differently? I didn't want to rely on the frisbee as a mechanism for her to come back to me. I know the easy answer is to say, don't take her off the long-line until you have a solid recall. I thought I did - no distractions and we were doing agility flatwork that she absolutely loves doing. Today was humbling....






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