Mainline Border
Collie Centre
Golcar Farm
Spring Lane
West Yorkshire
BD16 3AU
01274 564163
Meg - 1979 – 1992
Nine National trials
English team 1983
The first of our Main Line of dogs
and the inspiration for MBCC
Corporate Collies
Freedom of Spirit Trust for Border Collies
A Happy Recall
A dog without a recall is like a car without brakes, it is dangerous!

A recall is instant, it is not negotiable and it should be happy. Any variation on instant is not acceptable, if a dog comes back first time when there are no distractions such as another dog, person or an interesting smell, but not when there is a distraction then it does not have an instant recall! Rather like children who are well behaved on their own but play their parents up in public when they think (a) they can get away with it and (b) there may be something to be gained, even if only in the short term. These children are not showing respect for their parents and dogs who only recall when there is nothing better on offer are not showing respect for their pack leaders.
Unfortunately most dogs who have a poor recall do not realize they are being disobedient. Without realizing it, their owner (or maybe a previous owner) has failed to explain that this command is none negotiable and succeeded in teaching the dog it must not come back first time by repeating the command and then praising for the failure to respond immediately.
How does this happen? If a dog is to come back the first time it is called it must never be allowed to ignore ONE recall and this means keeping the dog within the distance it will listen to its owner. It is a mistake to allow a dog the freedom of the open spaces and great distances from it's pack leader until it accepts, respects and listens to this pack leader. An instant recall will always be negotiable if the handler is not the pack leader so like many other problems the recall does not stand alone, it combines with walking correctly on a lead, being good mannered and respectful.
A recall must be 'happy', a dog should want to come back to it's owner at the first time of asking, in fact it should never want to be so far away from it's owner that it has lost contact with him or her. It is not difficult to achieve but it must go hand in glove with strengthening other weak links in terms of good manners and it does not involve check chains, pulling, shouting or distress to either owner or dog.
Not everyone likes other dogs 'molesting' theirs when out for a walk because the offending dog cannot be recalled, not everyone likes dogs approaching them at all. A dog without a recall is an accident waiting to happen and a dog who does not have an instant recall is a dog who is giving the orders.
Just a little thought into commanding and good manners is worth the sheer joy of seeing your dog bounding back to you and leaving something really appealing behind for the love it has for you. It is a feeling beyond words.
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