Question on recall cue after reading Patricia B. McConnell's the other end of the leash

Discussion in 'Labrador Puppies' started by HollyBerry, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. HollyBerry

    HollyBerry Registered Users

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    ... or more specifically the chapter on audible communication.

    We had about a 9 month wait before we could bring home our Small Munster puppy; and in this time i scoured the labrador site and read through as much as i could on Totally Gundogs (thank you Pippa!). I bought us some Acme 211.5 whistles and practiced the cues to get the feeling right in my mouth etc. I was set on 5 pips for recall and 1 peep for stop.

    We were ready to rock and roll until we found out our breeder had been using an Acme 604 double tone to 'recall' the puppies to their food from about 3 weeks of age. She used the single tone side (reserving the trill for the sit/stay we would all later teach) but she blew it as a singular long peep. She would also later then train all 6 month old puppies who came back to the puppy training days (and her own dogs) to sit/stay to the trill sound but also in a singular long peep. (this was a bit of a confusing idea to me at the time because surely its not as crystal clear for the dog to react instantly? of course the sound differentiation is important but perhaps it adds confusion to the figuring it out or maybe even the training? Anyhow this concern got swiftly lost in the whirlpool of other concerns that dominate when you first bring home a puppy, the more developed training sort of faded in to the mist.)

    (maybe this is a ridiculous question but bear with me..)

    This is mine and my partners first dog as adults (we come from dog families) so even though i'd prepared lots; the conviction you gain from reading the internet versus what your dog training and established breeder is telling you isn't quite as powerful or impressionable perhaps, so i felt easily swayed to buy the double tones instead and use those cues. Helpful as her recall was passionate and consistent in low level distraction environments from day one. Yay.

    Reading McConnells chapter on vocalisation highlighting the use of high, frequent short sounds to initiate or encourage movement has however reignited my conviction that the multiple pips (that seem overwhelmingly popular now for crystal clear reason) is surely the best way to go, and i would like to change her cue.

    So my question is could someone please help share what you think of my concerns risk/pros etc? Or what would you do if you were here now? I don't want to bound headlong in to teaching a new cue only to read another book next week that highlights exactly why it was a bad idea when i could ask some experienced people first!!

    For reference Holly is 4 months old, and has a verbal recall cue 'kiwi' also which is good (but not as reinforced as the whistle)

    Pros of the single peep recall we use now:
    She knows it
    Its got a LOT of positive reinforcement repetition history

    Cons of the single peep recall:
    The stop whistle will be exactly the same sound even though different pitch
    It's a 'slow/stay' sound to the dog objectively speaking (as evidenced in McConnells research)
    It's too easy to variate the duration we blow for, or, even worse, repeat it if she's coming from a long distance (cringe worst/easiest mistake to make i know)

    Pros of a string of pips
    Clear movement-initiating sound
    A cue i would like to use later if we get another dog. Don't want to be stuck to this single peep all my life!
    Clearer constrictions to duration of delivery - so we can be more consistent
    Clearer constrictions with regards to repetition - less tempting to repeat (in my mind at least)

    Cons of string of pips
    My OH thinks when we try to teach her 'stop' whistle now with a single peep she will be confused (my argument was the original plan was to teach her stop whistle with a different sounding peep anyway so surely same difference?)
    I'm worried it might be information overload? My guess is this best time to change it if ever because she is still young to soak up stuff like a sponge right?
    I can't find the info on the 604 on the tone frequency if its the same as 211.5 or not, i'm guessing its not or they would say that but that might also cause confusion.

    Recall has been really fun training for us so it's no hard feelings for the re-work, i'm just not sure it won't be unhelpful to her for the concerns above? But maybe they're unfounded? Or am i being overly concerned about the power of movement initiating and non movement initiation sound? What do you all think?

    Thoughts and advice welcome please! Sorry for such an essay!

    Thank you :)
     
  2. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    Well, it certainly sounds a bit confusing and I'm not sure I'm totally understanding but I like your reasoning and it's exactly the obsessively detailed question I'd have when I started out :eek:

    I don't think it matters if the whistle is 2-toned or one tone, but I do think the number of pips matters and I do think you need to have one whistle in your gob. I've worked and competed with other people who had these two whistles around their necks (although I think they had one for 'stop' and one for 'really bloody stop right now'!!), and it always struck me as impossible. I mean, when you need to give a cue, you need to give it instantaneously - you don't have time to be fiddling around and switching whistles for goodness sake. You need to have one whistle, in your gob, all the time the dog is off-leash. So you need to be able to give all your whistle cues with one whistle IMO.

    Whether that is a 2-toned whistle or a single-toned whistle I don't think makes any difference, as long as you are consistent and replace lost whistles with the same whistle again...
     
  3. HollyBerry

    HollyBerry Registered Users

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    Hi Jo,

    Thanks for getting back to me! I know its confusing, when my partner and i try discussing it we get confused on which detail we are referring too haha.

    I guess the crux of it is i want to ditch the old recall, the whistle tone, the whistle itself and the pip number, and switch to a totally new one (so we have a movement initiating sound in theory..) just didn’t want to confuse Holly in the switch. We’ve decided to put the old whistles in a draw and use the verbal as the continuity cue while we train the new one.

    Two whistles for two stops?! That does sound a bit hard. I’ll admit even with a double tone i have to look at it to check visually every time i go to use it that i’ve chosen the correct end which is a bit irritating. Glad to swtch over to the 211,5 single tone!

    I wanted to ask you actually, i’ve been listening along to your clicker retrieve on the podcast and i went to youtube and checked out a few of the videos (thank you really helpful!). I noticed in the puppy casting excercise that your stop/sit whistle is an extremely short snappy pip, do you use this at a longer range/all ranges with this same duration i suppose you do? I wonder if the shorter noise is easier for the interruption of the dogs movement (or at least according to McConnells research thats the suggestion). Up until now i’d always envisioned a much longer peeeeeep on the stop whistle but maybe thats not necessary?

    Good to hear you don’t think its overkill to move to a pip series recall though! Will get started on some basic excercises tonight

    Thanks again for your help!
     
  4. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    It's funny because I've often wondered this myself. But up-close, the sit whistle is a quick pip. However, the dog wouldn't hear that very well at any distance or in any wind - so when further away, it is a longer peep and I even have a slight 'falling' tone to it, I did that just to make it a bit more distinctive to other whistles that might be going on nearby. Moye seems to respond well to it and not to be confused! Also glad you're enjoying the podcast and the YouTube videos!
     
  5. HollyBerry

    HollyBerry Registered Users

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    Ok so it's been trained in for a distance adjustment! I'll have to try and make that falling sound just to hear it i can't imagine it! Yeah i thought it might be a bit hard to distinguish if its too short. I will work with that then when the time comes, we're a bit stuck trying to make progress with sit-at-a-distance still so adding the whistle feels a bit distant hopeful future haha.
    Podcast and youtube have been great, really helpful just to hear and see it discussed rather than only read a method! It's helped keep my focus on the level at which Holly can still enjoy it and give repetitions quickly enough to keep learning, i had previously found it really easy to rush forward to stages she's not ready for (this happened and i had to go right back to the beginning, luckily when i started listening to the podcast haha).
     
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  6. TEE

    TEE Registered Users

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    I find 5 pips to long. Who can count and get that right? Prefer 1 piep for sit and two for recall. Works well for us. Good luck
     
  7. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    My recall is 5 pips and it's the same every time.
     
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  8. TEE

    TEE Registered Users

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    Interesting. Initially I had 3 but reduced to 2 as in Germany it is apparently the standard. Is there a fundamental benefit of more peeps vs less?
     
  9. Ruth Buckley

    Ruth Buckley Registered Users

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    My recall is 5 pips. I dont consciously count it, it just seemed natural to me and nice and clear. I only realised after I'd chosen it that 5 pips was a common choice.
     
  10. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    4 or 5 pips is a standard gundog recall whistle here in the UK.

    As for a benefit - I think the difference between one peep and 4-5 peeps is much greater than 1 peep and 2 peeps, so a dog working outdoors in wind and rain, is much more likely to be able to differentiate the two and know which cue is being given.

    Ditto for the 4-5 peeps - if there are shots being fired, wind and rain and beating noises to contend with, 5 peeps are more likely to cut through all that to the dog, than two IMO.
     
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