Tuesday, March 1, 2016

DVD Review: Rocket Recall (“Come,” dog training, treats, positive reinforcement, reward, recalls)

Rocket Recall: If you build it, they will come, by Lisa and Brad Waggoner (Tawzer Dog, 2015, 65 minutes, $29.95)

Yippy, Skippy!
DogEvals has been aware of Cold Nose College (North Carolina) with Brad and Lisa Waggoner for quite some time now but we just recently purchased one of their DVDs and . . . are we ever glad we did!

Perhaps the Most Difficult Skill for Your Dog, and You. . . .But You CAN do it!
First of all, Lisa and Brad, the dog training “professors" at Cold Nose College, truly make you believe you can teach your dog to have a reliable off-leash recall. Cold Nose College, “where cold noses meet warm hearts,” is where “We make training fun!”


They break down the process into teeny tiny bits so that you are successful every inch of the way plus they are full of easy-going praise for you (and your dog). We all know that when people receive a reward (for us, that may be praise or just seeing our dogs succeed), we tend to repeat the behavior and have fun with it! Rocket Recall is easy, effective fun personified – I would watch any DVD by Brad and Lisa, attend any seminar, workshop or class. (Wish they lived a few hours closer to Maryland!)

Rocket Recall also reviews the Four Stages* of Learning and the Twelve Rules of Rocket Recalls, then Premack it! (Grandma’s Law), ending with R&D – not research and development, but reinforcement and distractions. Catchy terms make quicker learning and easier remembering.

The Kitchen Dog God
Many dogs are “kitchen dogs”: that is, they quickly learn to give an automatic Sit in the kitchen because that’s where the treats are. This is what Cold Nose College refers to as having a dog with a high school diploma.

But you probably want your dog to get his or her PhD and come when called outdoors, off-leash.

That is where Rocket Recall comes in with plenty of small, doable baby-steps starting with a captured check-in which is clicked and treated.

Hint, Hint
Helpful hints abound like which hand to hold the leash, the treat, and the clicker when you have only two hands, not three. Thoughtful treat placement sets up your dog for success, then and only then can you graduate to a long line and distractions. You can also change the word, Come! to something fun like Cookie! or Shazaam!

Cues (not commands) can be visual, auditory (voice or a whistle) or environmental (less controllable, like a knock on the door).

If you ask me, . . . .(but you didn't)
The DVD may be too long and repetitive in that there are a few too many (for this reviewer) demonstrations of the same technique or behavior being trained with so many different dogs -  either clients and their dogs, or the trainers’ dogs themselves. In addition, I would have liked the slides with writing on them to be shown for a few more seconds – there were times when I was taking notes, looked up to see some worthwhile words, looked down to jot them down, looked up at the slide to catch more of the memorable words – but we had gone on to the next demonstration (guess I will just have to watch the DVD again!). And finally, there were a few places where a voice-over would have been more effective in explaining something.

However, . . . .
Having said all this, Rocket Recall is still perhaps the best bang for your buck and will become a treasured resource for teaching a rock-solid recall to your clients and to dogs alike.

Hmmmmm. . . .
I wonder if Rocket Recall works on kids. . . .

*acquisition, fluency, generalization, maintenance

No comments:

Post a Comment