This Chart of Klon’s Favorite Things, ranked 10 (most) to 1 (least) is based on a list of distractions prepared for his Extreme Recall class.
Klondike may be the world’s greatest companion, a certified Canine Good Citizen and the beneficiary of something between 19,000 and 32,000 years of domestication, but list up his favorite things (as we did as part of an assignment for his Extreme Recall class) and it’s clear he’s very much an animal, and a predator at that. As you can see above, his favorite things, with the exception of stinky cheese, all involve either dead animals or animals he’d like to kill. However, he is a predator with refined tastes – he strongly prefers the more expensive stinky cheeses.
And speaking of Klondike’s Extreme Recall class, it continues to go well and we are starting to see results. Klon will turn on a dime when he hears his name and come even when presented with distractions up to about a seven on the above chart. He just might be able to go above a seven but I’m not 100% confident of that yet.
In the above video from Extreme Recall you see Klondike being distracted by lead instructor Sandi who is holding a bowl of kibble. I call him, he puts the recall above the kibel and comes. Full disclosure: though Klondike did a good job, I did not. Rule one is only call once. That’s because dogs learn to count, and if you call multiple times they often start thinking coming on the second or third call is OK, even desired. Klondike is not the only one who needs regular training!
The insight behind the Extreme Recall class is that for a dog to come even when coming would take it away from something it really likes (say, chasing squirrels), the dog has to believe that all good things come from or through the person. Thus in the video you see me taking Klon back to the treat bowl after he’s come to me. By the same token, in the class we are taught that if we are walking and the dog sees something it wants (say, a cat), to call the dog and when it comes as a reward to point it towards whatever it wants and give it permission to go after it.
But here’s the surprise twist: I think the course is making Klondike more affectionate with us. He’s always been a friendly dog, especially to the family. And increased friendliness may be due to just getting more closely bonded to the family – today marks five months since he joined us. But it feels like a little more than that – and I think learning in class that all good things come from us is at least a large part of the reason why. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this, but it sure feels like a lot of responsibility.