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I'm having some questions on training a recall for a dog. I'm a little confused on what the right recall will be and if I can use multiple recall cues.

TOP SHELF RECALL:
I want a recall that I can use when my dog is off leash in the woods and is far away from me and possibly chasing a prey. I don't want to carry a dog whistle or traditional whistle with me, but I do have a really loud natural whistle that I create with my mouth. So I'm thinking that I can make this a super amazing recall with some awesome rewards and use it sparingly. (My one hesitation with this is that my girlfriend can't make the exact same whistle sound... so maybe I'll try and use the sound that Jean Donaldson suggests in her "train like a pro" dvd, but I'm not sure that it is as loud as my whistle)

EVERY DAY RECALL:
And then I want to use "come" as a general everyday recall. I'll also use awesome treats to condition the response.

CLAPPING:
I find that my girlfriend tens to use clapping along with come to get the dog to come as well in everyday situations. Is the clapping muddling the come cue or do u think the pairing will help. And should I add clapping to my come cue?


I'm wondering if using multiple cues for the same behavior will make both cues less effective than using a single cue. Or if using my everyday cue for come behavior will be less effective in a more distracting environment and fail me in that distracting environment. And if that distracting environment is out in the woods where the dog can be far away from me will a verbal sound like "come" be as effective as a whistle.

Thanks for your advice.
 

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I'm thinking that multiple cues would be confusing, and thus, less effective. But, I wonder if you could combine, for example, a loud whistle and come, the whistle to get his attention, then come would be the cue. And, you could have your girlfriend combine clapping and come. That way, come would always be the verbal cue...
 

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My personal experience has been good with multiple cues, although we did it mostly out of necessity instead of by design. Pip is quite shy and when we first got him he was extremely intimidated by being called with any verbal cues, especially "come" or "come here". So we very first taught him recall using a squeaky toy, which he loved and responded to fabulously. Over time, we slowly transitioned from the toy into whistling (not with a toy whistle, just whistling with our mouths). When he had a solid recall with whistling and he was much more bonded to us, we reintroduced verbal cues, although we say more of a slurred "c'mere" than "come" or "come here".

His recall is best with whistling and about equal with the toy or verbal. But he still does respond to all 3 of them. I tend to use the whistle most of the time, myself, because it stands out more from all the other people at the dog park practicing recall by shouting "Fido, come!" :p
 

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Most people use a informal recall that the dog does not HAVE to obey. They use the dog's name. To me this would also include clapping, whistling or any attention getter that "attracts" the dog without commanding it to come. You could also use a word like "here" provided it is different than the formal recall command such as "come" (your choice of words).

The formal recall is done with a voice command and the dog must obey. You are not just attracting the dog to come over, but commanding it with authority.

You can use the same word for both provided you don't care whether you have authority with your dog. Plenty of people don't. Their dogs mostly do whatever they want. Nothing wrong with that provided they're keeping the dogs safe. You're probably like me and you want the option of authority when you need it.
 

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I have multiple recall cues, which include the dog's name, or "come", or "POODLES!" or "get your royal heinny in here NOW!" lol I sometimes whistle, clap my hands, or use a dog whistle, or a hand signal, depending on the circumstances/situation. Bottom line, a recall by any cue means the same thing: get your butt to me and do it now! All of the PooDells are very good at coming when called, however, I am in awe of my youngest, Lucia, whose recall to date has been 100%. Every single time. Never experienced that in all the years with all the dogs in my life. She's amazing.
 

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To put it in different and less colorful terms, the harder and more important issue is to teach the behavior. Assigning cues to the behavior is fairly straight forward afterwards. I do not have a perfect recall, but I do have a perfect sit and a perfect out, by perfect, I mean 100% behavior, as opposed to response time and conformance.

With Sit, I taught my pup a verbal cue, then quickly taught a broad hand signal. As he got older, I faded the signal to a finger movement, a glance, or a nod. I also taught him to "read," so that he sits when he sees a specific flashcard with the word SIT printed on it. It looks cool, and sounds a lot cooler than it really is... it is just another cue.

My point is that first teach your dog to come perfectly when you whistle. Then, add additional cues when he is less excited, can see you, is closer to you, or is being clapped by your girlfriend.
 
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