The Barking Recall

Clara Running

Here is an “almost Wordless Wednesday” (except my videos tend to have a lot of words in them!).

I have been working with Clara since she was tiny to make sure she didn’t “catch” some of Summer’s reactive behaviors, and to help her cope well with distractions by reorienting to me.

In the future I will write a real post about what we did, but today you just get to see a movie.  As usual, comments are welcome, and feel free to ask questions.  Enjoy!

Sorry for all the vertical videos in there. They are from before I saw the light about that.

Discussions coming up:

  • Is It Really Just a Tap? (shock collar content)
  • Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

Thanks for reading!


I wrote a post and made a video about the training process that gave us this result. See it here: Classical Conditioning: Creating a Positive Response to Barking.

About eileenanddogs

Passionate amateur dog trainer, writer, and learning theory geek. Eileen Anderson on Google+
This entry was posted in Classical conditioning, Cues, Dog training hints, Examples for Teachers and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The Barking Recall

  1. rachael para says:

    what happens to clara when your not home and summer barks at something? Your not there to give her reinforcments…

    • Rachael, that’s a great question. The short answer is I don’t know. But it wouldn’t be hard for me to find out, and I’ll put it on the schedule to film. I could turn on a camera and leave the house about when the mail carrier is due. My educated guess is that Clara doesn’t bark then, either. Since I conditioned her from a puppy, she never developed the habit, and has another strong reaction in place, even though I’m not there all of the time. (I was there a lot when she was a puppy, and Summer was at doggie day care for three days a week during Clara’s early weeks). Also I have observed that although she certainly barks at things, she doesn’t usually “join in” when the other dogs bark. She has her own set of triggers. One of the guidelines for this type of conditioning is that you need to be extremely consistent and treat every single time the trigger happens. That’s why if I wanted to help Summer get over her fear of delivery trucks, I would need to stay home 24/7 for probably several weeks. She already has a long standing emotional reaction in place that Clara never had. So you are wise to ask what happens when I am gone. I will let you know.

    • Hi again Rachael, in case you are still reading: I tested that very thing and you can see in the video in this later blog post.

  2. Julie says:

    Hi Eileen, I’m really enjoying your videos, thank you so much. Two questions, what are you giving Clara from the can? Is it cheese? Looks like a handy and quick special treat with the added bonus of keeping hands clean… and second, do you have any suggestions for barking in the car, when it’s not easy to treat? I have the same situation coming up. I’m about to bring a new dog into our household and I’m concerned about her picking up the reactivity that my current dog has in certain situations.

    • Hi Julie: That is Kraft Easy Cheese. It was the turning point in taming Clara by the way. The night she crept into my house because she heard Cricket barking, she stayed hunkered down until I gave Cricket some of the cheese. She came over to see about it and the rest is history. It is still one of her favorite things. I think it is soothing because she can lick it out of the nozzle. Also it keeps at room temperature, so I can keep a can or two around the house at strategic locations. The car stuff is a challenge. When Clara was a puppy she rode in a crate in the passenger seat right next to me, so I was able to give her treats (usually Easy Cheese) safely when Summer barked without taking my eyes off the road. For us this generally happened in quiet suburban streets anyway so i could actually pull over. When I had a passenger we would put Clara’s crate in the back and the passenger could reach back with the cheese. Some people use a Manners Minder inside of or on top of the dog’s crate. Oh, two more things about the cheese: around here you can get a store brand, and I think the product is about the same, but the nozzle mechanism tends to break down early. Also, even with the name brand, it can sputter when can gets near empty. Clara is fine with that but it scares my other dogs. I hope this is helpful. Thanks for writing!

  3. gayle says:

    Any videos on just a good recall? I have a 8 mth old lab whose recall is “ok”. Meaning as long as she isn’t doing something more interesting than me she will come when called. She is a real “sniffer” so if she is out in the yard and sniffing away she doesn’t respond until she is done her sniffing.
    Thanks – I really enjoy your videos.


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