August 14, 2014
The chow hall is crowded with teams and puppies and Nylabones and Kongs are strewn about on the floor. The door to the yard is propped open for the summer breeze. Practicing off-leash recalls in a prison isn't very risky. After all, where could the puppies go?
Tammy starts a series of three recall exercises with a "blind" recall. She holds each puppy at the far end of the room and has the handler go out of sight. When he is hidden next to the ice machine, or squatting behind the trashcan, or just tucked in behind another team at the end of the lunch table, he calls. Tammy releases the now-excited pup.
One puppy takes advantage of the situation. His paws scrabble on the tile floor, he snatches a Nylabone and hightails it out the door on a run that reminds me of Norman Rockwell's painting, "No Swimming". His handler goes to fetch him.
This one isn't the only opportunist.
After a few more puppies make a break for it, I can't hold back. I say, "What are you teaching these puppies? How to escape and steal things?" Everyone laughs.
Tammy switches sides for the recall past a distraction (me again, on the floor with my camera); the puppies are recalled away from the door. This works much better.
|I have no clue which puppy this is running past me. Note the open door in the background - he completely avoids it!|
|This pup races to his handler and ignores me too.|
After these two risky recalls, Tammy has the teams practice the In-For-Training (IFT) recall. The handler has his puppy sit, down or stand, then walks in front to the end of the leash and calls the puppy to come. The pup must not do a "fly by" and must stop close enough for the handler to grab the collar. Easy-peasy.
|Chris (in front) and Ro call FLDs Bandit and Sammy.|
Before heading out to the yard for more training, Ro rolls a large blue ball into the room as a distraction.
|Oooo, the big blue ball!|