Ep #8 (transcript): How to Teach a Dog to Come When Called: Interview with Author of The Original Rocket Recall™ & Founder of Cold Nose College Lisa Lyle Waggoner

Teaching your doodle recall, or coming back to you when you call, is giving your best friend a vital and life-saving skill. A Rocket Recall can save your dog from a tragedy in traffic, getting lost away from you, or approaching something dangerous or lethal. Begin to learn easy-to-follow methods that let you say goodbye to the embarrassment of calling your dog and getting no response, and hello to recall training that's fun and effective for you and your dog.

In this episode, learn the foundation of expert recall training during The Doodle Pro™'s interview with professional dog trainer, founder of the Cold Nose College, and author of the new book The Original Rocket Recall™.

In this part one of our interview, Waggoner addresses FAQ's on teaching your dog to come when called including:

  • How to get my dog to focus on me outside and how do I get my dog to come every time?
  • The best recall words to use when training my dog to come when called?
  • Why is my dog not coming when called or why does my dog ignore me when I call him?
  • How do you train a dog to come without treats?
  • How do I get my puppy to come when called?
  • How do I get my dog to pay attention to me outside?
  • How to get your dog to come when distracted get your dog to come when other dogs are around?
  • What do you do when your dog won't come or how do you discipline a dog that doesn't come when called?
  • Is a shock collar or ecollar good for teaching a dog recall?
  • How to teach a stubborn dog recall or how to recall a dog that won't listen?
  • Is it ever too late to teach a dog recall? 

Be sure to listen to part 2 of their interview where Waggoner details the protocol for training a solid Rocket Recall via her 12 Rules of Rocket Recall. (Scheduled for release 9/13/22)

Get your doodle's attention the first time with our free download of the top treats doodle's love at https://thedoodlepro.com/toptreats. A fantastic compliment to Waggoner's recall  https://www.coldnosecollege.com/rocket-recall-podcast-download/ and you can buy your own copy of her book The Original Rocket Recall™: Teach Your Dog to Come at all major book retailers, including Amazon.

If you want to bring your Doodle parenting to the next level, sign up for The Doodle Pro™ Society waitlist now! Members get exclusive access to The Doodle Pro™, Doodle training modules, and live Q&A's with world-renowned guest experts (that would usually charge $100's each to book a virtual session). Visit thedoodlepro.com/waitlist to be the first to know when doors open again!

Read the transcript:


Corinne Gearhart: Hi, doodle parents. I am so excited about our guest today. Lisa Lyle Waggoner is a pro trainer she is here to talk about this book, Rocket Recall that she wrote and I love it. So for those watching on video, you could, I don't know if you can see all of my highlights. This is a passion of mine.

I agree that it's a lifesaving skill for all of our dogs to have . 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: Thank you so much for first of all, thank you for having me and thank you for providing this wonderful forum for your listeners to learn, I never meant to be a dog trainer and it was the death of a dog who propelled me into dog training.

And once I started learning about the science of training and started understanding dog body language, I was hooked. And I, it was just a logical step for me to move in that way. Over the years I've gained additional education, additional certifications, my husband and I he's a professional trainer as well, we run Cold Nose College we have a group of trainers who also provide services to our clients and it's all virtual these days. Yeah. Our clients can be with us anywhere. I'm a certified separation anxiety trainer as well. I have that specialty and we have just a big spot in our heart for anxious dogs with separation anxiety, and all dogs who want to learn more, whose guardians want them to learn more about how to live peaceably in our weird human world.

And I do think our world can be odd for dogs if we don't help them learn to live within. 

Corinne Gearhart: And Lisa, I must say that you're being quite modest. If she says that she's done some additional training, if there's a certification, she's got it. And is the faculty on it. So we are just honored to have you with us and for you to want to care for separation, anxiety, pups, and target them particularly is amazing because a lot of trainers have to refer that out.

It isn't in everybody's wheelhouse. It's really a well honed technique that requires a lot of patience and empathy. And I'm really grateful that you and your team really take that challenge on to create more comfortable lives. Thank 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: you. Thank you for those dogs.

 That condition in a dog really is a welfare issue. both the dog and the family that lives with the dog. 

Corinne Gearhart: Yes. Yeah.

 And we talked a little bit before we started, but Lisa's got a new puppy which I've enjoyed watching online. I don't wanna put you on the spot, but if you're able to show him right now?

Oh, sure, sure.

I just love this. So for those listening, she's got her Aussie all stretched out on his back legs, sprawled and he's in his crate and he's completely relaxed and asleep and the door's open. And to me, that is an example of you using patience and a training plan to get your dog to want to do what you need to have a cohesive life together and how happy your puppy is in that crate.

And they don't start there. 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: They do not start there and we are not fully crate trained yet. He's comfortable with the door closed for a certain period of time. Yeah. But I'm not rushing it. There's no reason to rush it. I want him to develop a true love and enjoyment for that crate. And so yes, he entered on his own, decided to lay down there.

I could tell he was sleepy so I didn't reinforce him. I didn't drop any food this time when he went in, cuz I didn't wanna jazz him up with yeah. Even some low value reinforcers and he just, tipped over and went to sleep. So it makes me very happy to know that he's comfortable 

Corinne Gearhart: in it.

Yes. And that is creating such a wonderful foundation for where you want him to get to, which is what I saw throughout this book. For those who are our dog science nerds or just like to understand the why, what I found really interesting and unusual about your book is you broke down the whys and the science.

First of why we're going to do this step by step approach to teach rocket recall before you jumped into the steps. I could imagine a lot of readers just wanna skip ahead and get to the steps to fast forward. Just toss 'em in the crate with a Kong and close the door. So can you tell me why you chose to structure it that way?

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: Thank you so much for recognizing and for embracing that. I think it's really important. For anyone who wants to train their dog to learn a bit about training and behavior concepts. Because they are the why of why things work. And they're also key to you, the learner in understanding why something doesn't work And so they help you problem solve issues, training issues that occur that are going to occur. When you hit them, it can, if you understand those whys, it's oh, okay. Now I understand. I went too fast. I added distractions too soon. No problem. I'll just back up to where my dog was last successful and start again.

So yes, that's why I included them. And I did my best to include them in a way that they were easily understandable by any reader. Yes. Trainers and companion, dog guardians alike. 

Corinne Gearhart: think you did that successfully. I have studied Karen Pryor's clicker work. I am studying under Jean Donaldson's Academy right now, and these could be heavy concepts.

 So if you are not a dog trainer, this is a nice walkthrough of the why's and the science behind it without feeling too burdensome. Exactly. So kudos to that, cuz that's hard to do 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: I don't want to make eyes glaze over. It's easy when I'm learning something, trying to learn something new and it gets a little bit too deep or too jargony too fast.

It's like it's hard to learn. Yes. So yes I'm thank you. I'm glad you found it that 

Corinne Gearhart: way. 

My pleasure. Did I tell you guys, I was really excited about this book? I really enjoy it. You had talked in the beginning of your book about you seeing recall or a dog coming when they're called as a life saving skill, I would love to hear more.

how you came to that conclusion 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: experience really. We can say, gosh, if your dog will come back to you, it can save them for many things. But the first time I recalled a dog to me where I thought their life could be in danger was my Aussie Gibson. And he was in the tall brush and I was just sure there was a snake now I didn't know if the snake was poisonous or not, but I didn't care.

I didn't wanna wait to find out. Yeah. And my recall took him right out of that brush and right back to me. So that was the first example. And then over the years at our, on our property, away from deer or away from other animals, but just about five months ago can't remember the exact situation.

I think Brad had just come home. and the gate to the house was open. We live out in the country. So the gate to the road was open. We live on a road is not heavily trafficked, but I heard Brad say, Lisa, the dogs are out. And so I panicked I ran out the back of the house. The dogs could not see me.

And I said, my recall cue, yelled it in as loud as a voice I could and in about five seconds, they were back to me. Ugh. And so Callie who is now no longer with us, but she's in my book. She was very environmentally centered so if there's a prey, she was gonna be on that scent. I was thrilled that she turned around and returned on a dime to me.

So that was a life saving experience for me. Probably my book hadn't been out for a couple of weeks and I received a Facebook message from someone that said, my brother bought me this book and I read it and I started using your techniques. I went for a walk with my dog yesterday, put him in his harness and we went off through the neighborhood.

I hadn't hooked to the harness fully and he came out of his harness and started trotting off. And your book and your, my recall cue, he came back to me. She said, you probably saved his life. You just don't get better feedback than that, gosh, she's not a trainer. She had just started using the protocol.

 But just those few weeks, she had already developed such a reinforcement history with her dog that he wanted to

Corinne Gearhart: return to her when called. 

What I love about your step by step strategy, the relationship with the dog guardian or the dog parent is stronger than before you started.

So not only does it not damage it, but you're reinforcing your connection with your dog which I really love. 


Lisa Lyle Waggoner: I'm very happy that even with the grief I'm still feeling with the loss of Callie which is deep. Yes. And I won't talk much about it or I'll cry. I have a new puppy and I'm thankful that I'm able to be present enough, even with the grief to be able to witness how our bond is growing.

Yeah. To see our relationship change over these five weeks we've been together. His bond with me has grown and my bond with him has grown and we both want to be together now. it's just 

Corinne Gearhart: so beautiful. That is wonderful. And he would never replace her. 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: Never, ever no never. There will always be that spot for her.

Yes. And all the dogs we've, been blessed to love and work with. 

Corinne Gearhart: Yes. 

in our membership, the Doodle Pro society, we just did a module on using treats effectively with our doodles and identifying high, medium, and low value treats. , I'm glad that you like that. So you have a really great outline in one of the chapters of the book about identifying what are, I forget the word that you used for it, not triggers, but what are the things that entice your dog and then matching them up with the appropriate value.

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: Yes, absolutely. It's important for us to understand how their dog sees their world . So if there are things that your dog finds distracting and that could be anywhere from a leaf blowing in the wind to a squirrel then it's important to find a reinforcer, something that they will work for in that environment.

And so you pair the low value distractions with the low value reinforcers, and I'm learning that all again with Keaton, he's distracted by different things than Callie was. Yes. And wow. Are his food choices and, his food preferences different than hers. So what works for one dog doesn't necessarily work for another, just like people.

Yes. It's in my book. I think I talk about this. I like cottage cheese and I like broccoli. And, you could pay me for with those two foods, but Brad, my husband cottage his cheese, you could chase him out of the country with a spoon full of cottage cheese. Understanding what distracts your dog and what will work as a reinforcer in front of that distraction is really important.

It helps you set your dog up for success. So training will, help you reach your goals.

Corinne Gearhart: I work with hundreds of doodles, one on one, and I've borrowed this from other trainers, of course, but the softer and stinkier is usually where I start and seeing what is motivating for them. 

 With Keaton and your last dog can you give us a couple examples of their highest value? 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: Yes, I sure can. For Callie, she was more food motivated really than Keaton is. A wider range of things would work for her but for her salmon dried salmon treats worked really well.

Nice for Keaton. I've learned at least top of the ladder right now with all the different things I've tried. Is a product made by Munster, milling Munster, freeze, dried meatballs. Ooh, I learned about them. Yeah. I didn't know. I didn't know them. One of my Facebook friends posted she does a lot of nose work with her dog.

Yeah. And she posted, she just got a big shipment in like, I wanna know what those are. I ordered them. He thinks they are just fine. Oh. So yeah, they're a little big for him right now. So I have to cut them up and they're a little crumbly, so they're not that easy to handle but yes, they're made of a hundred percent beef organs. So pretty I 

Corinne Gearhart: find if it's really stinky and like a really desirable food being dehydrated it doesn't matter. It doesn't that part doesn't have to be soft if it's really got those smells and tastes. 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: And for Callie rabbit Zukes worked, rabbits were a big distraction for her so Zukes rabbit flavor were one of her favorites and she was a highly distracted dog.

Corinne Gearhart: For sure. 

What do you tell your students when they bring home a new puppy? And they're worried about their dog getting an upset stomach with using treats for training? 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: Very good question. I like to use, if I can inside, I like to use my dog's kibble and if your dog will work for kibble inside, there's no reason not to use that.

I have done that with Keaton and he will work for kibble for inside work outside. I need something, a little higher value, so I try to feed less fatty treats . If I can, and though I have used some hot dogs or vienna sausage with him outside, but I try to minimize the use of those. And then I usually add at the end of the day or a couple times throughout the day, some canned pumpkin, just a teaspoon, a couple teaspoons or a tablespoon full that help keep their stools firm versus runny..

Corinne Gearhart: Perfect. And I jumped ahead a little bit. I mentioned I'm excited about this book. I jumped ahead a little talking about different variety of treats, but I'd love for you to share with our listeners, what role treats and reinforcement with food play when teaching a rocket recall, 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: I love that you use the word reinforcement because the food we use in training really is used as a reinforcer.

So if food is used correctly in training, we're gonna be reinforcing adding the food after a behavior has occurred. So an analogy is engineers reinforce concrete to make it stronger. And so we wanna reinforce our dog's behavior by the use of adding food to it. When something is reinforced, the behavior gets stronger.

And that's what we want. Food comes after the behavior occurs, not before. Now with that said, there are certain things we ask our dogs to do, or we invite them to do or help them learn to do by luring them. So we are using a food lure to move them in such a way to elicit a specific behavior. But then we fade that food and are only using the hand prompt.

And then the food is delivered after the 

Corinne Gearhart: behavior occurs. 

 So in what Lisa is talking about, people could use a, something stinky treat above a puppy's nose to lure them into a sit and then you switch into the hand signal and then you could even go into just verbal. But with recall, it's not look at the bone I have.

I'm correct. And then asking for them to come to you because that can break down the pattern of you being able to use a verbal recall cue. 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: Without 

a doubt. Absolutely. And I think one of the reasons, the protocol that I've put together, I don't think I created any of this. I just put it together.

I've learned all these things over my 17 years of being a professional dog trainer. And I've organized it in such a way that it's progressive and systematic. So we gain success along the way to the ultimate, turn on a dime and return to you return to me. But because I start with the check-in game, which is waiting for your dog to offer a look to you, and then you're reinforcing that.

We start from the very beginning of the food coming after the behavior. There is no lure. Yes. And so that offered check-in becomes very reinforcing to your dog because they've been reinforced for turning and looking at you. It happened to be this morning. Keaton. He's learned to love the Creek outside our home, which is wonderful, but it's also outside our home.

And if he gets muddy, yes. And so I just let him run up and down the Creek and he ran up into the brush and he was just sitting up there looking at me and I didn't call him because it was a very high distraction environment for him. I just waited to see what he would do. And he eventually came out of the brush and came to me.

And so I reinforced it. Like good job, buddy. You came from that. highly distracting environment. To me. I fed him. I happened to have hot dogs on me, that moment winner, nice, fed him a couple hot dogs and then released him to go back and play in the Creek, which is another one of my strategies. When I called the, which I called the recall and release game.

Corinne Gearhart: And in your step by step, you are teaching them to come before you're adding the cue. And that's an excellent example of you. Didn't call him to you and then reinforce. He's learning that's a desired behavior. And then you'll add the cue onto it. I am totally am on board with that strategy.

A lot of people worry that in using treats to reinforce behavior that they're bribing their dog. And sometimes that can sound like I want them to do it because they know they should, or I want them to do it to please me. I'm their owner, or I'm worried they'll only listen if they know I have a treat.

So what are your thoughts for those sorts of objections to this method of training? 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: First of all, again, let's, a bribe is something given ahead of time. We're not giving the food ahead of time. We're giving it afterwards and dogs will do what works for them, just like people do.

I can say all day, my dog ought to do this. Yeah. Maybe my friend ought to do that too, but she didn't. I think that if people understand that food is a tool to help create a behavior that's stronger. And that over time, because of the relationship that's built in the bond that's built, you can start randomly reinforcing, maybe not with food, but with something else of value to the dog.

So that could be toys that could be play. if you're using food to reinforce and you're also praising your dog at the same time, then that praise takes on value because it's been paired with food and for low value behaviors, I might just use praise. Let me say this. I am always gonna say thank you to my dog in some way for the things they do.

Yes. Whether it's Hey, good boy. That's awesome. Or a little pet under the chin. If your dog likes hands on praise, there's no reason not to always recognize the wonderful choices our dogs make throughout the day. 

Corinne Gearhart: And we're not robots that only dispense praise to our dogs and loving words and pets when they've obeyed.

So that would be really hard to not say who's a good boy when they come up and give you a snuggle and they come by your side and holding back those pets. If you were to hold back all forms of praise and affection, because that's their only, reinforcement that wouldn't, to me, wouldn't be a very rewarding relationship 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: that I

exactly, it's just not it's a relationship that has no nurturing to it.

I I think if we respond politely and thank each other I respond I've been married, Brad, and I've been married almost 38 years now. So we've been hanging out together just a few years. Yes. But, and we love being together. And if he does, if he hands me a glass of water, if I'm thirsty, I'm not going to ignore that.

I'm gonna say, thanks. Gosh, that was really nice of you. I really appreciate that. yeah. Don't ignore behaviors that you like. Reinforce behaviors that you like with people, please. And also with your dogs.. 

Corinne Gearhart: A lot of people who agree that teaching a solid recall is a life saving skill in that they agree that it's really important to them.

A lot have been told that you must use a shock collar, also known as an E collar to guarantee that your dog is going to come back to you. And that's the only effective method to teach a rock solid recall. What are your thoughts on that opinion? 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: First of all? I absolutely disagree with that because I see the strength of the recall in my dogs that have been trained without a shock collar.

So let's talk first about something that is unpleasant to the dog . And so if we think about shock, I don't care how low level somebody says that shock is to the dog's neck. The collar was not designed to be pleasant, right? So the dog is working to avoid something versus working to attain something. So a dog who is reinforced with something that they find value valuable, they will go above and beyond to excel to get that reinforcer . But a dog who's trained with aversives will do just enough not to receive whatever that aversive is. So I want a dog who wants to work with me and strive to do something that they're going to be reinforced for.

 I think one of the things that I've heard many people say is you have to have food on you all the time. You have to carry some food. Not always, you have to have some sort of reinforcer, but it doesn't have to be food , But doesn't the shock collar trainer have to carry a remote tool with them?

Correct. I just I'd much rather have food in my pocket to reinforce my dog with than something I'm gonna cause that would cause pain to them. 

Corinne Gearhart: There are times where a guest opens the front door and a dog darts out. Someone might not have their remote handy and the collar on, and which dog is going to have that basis. And I completely agree with you. I don't come from a place of judgment. I think all of us do the best we know, and the best absolutely. With the information we have. 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: Yes. Without a doubt. I, before I learned, and of course, you know this from having read my book, cuz I talk a little bit about my journey.

I trained my dogs on my home with all aversive techniques and I just didn't know that there was a different option. Yes. And so we all only do what we know will work and, it worked, I will never argue that averse and training don't work because they do but wow. I just really want my dog to really work to attain.

And I wanna see the joy in my dog's eyes. Yes. When they're learning, because I saw the other look in my dog's eyes when I used different techniques. And I really like what I see now much better. 


Corinne Gearhart: I see the differences between doodles that I work with that have been trained both ways.

And oftentimes those who have been trained with aversive look fearful of making a mistake because a lot of times they don't know why is that yank coming? Why is the prong coming? Why is the shock coming? And if somebody does tell you that it doesn't hurt, then it wouldn't work. So exactly. If it wasn't uncomfortable or it didn't add pain, they wouldn't respond.

 Just something to think about if it doesn't work without that collar on, then it means that there's pain added and I love that there is this step by step method that you really outlined. So people can feel more confident about teaching this life saving skill to their dog while still maintaining that relationship.

And if a dog sees something that really gets them over threshold be it their prey drive or. , they have fear of something. Their adrenaline goes so high that many don't feel the pain , which is a drawback from some of these aversives that you'll see dogs who will override an electronic fence and run past it for the bunny or for something they're running away from.

And then won't come back in. 

Exactly because then the adrenaline has come down and they're getting shocked from trying to return to their home. So just some things to think about and Lisa and I agree that we do the best we know, and we're just sharing this information. So people have more background as they make their choices and try to do the best with their doodles.

 We're going to go over together in more detail, your 12 rules of creating a rock solid recall in episode two. So we'll give more details onto that. But I know that you have a free gift for our listeners. And do you happen to know that link of where they could go? I'll also put it in the show notes how they get your 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: free gift.

Yes. It's longer than I can remember. 

That's okay. Can you tell them what it's about? 

Yeah. So the free gift is the 12 rules of rocket recall. Yes. So it gives you a synopsis in 12 steps of things to think about and to do, and also some things to refrain from doing so that it sets both you and your dog up for success.

In order to get that, turn on a dime and rock solid recall back to you. 

Corinne Gearhart: Excellent. I'll have that information in our show notes so that listeners can find that. And if you'd like to hear Lisa talk through the 12 steps with more detail and explain them better, join us for episode two, part two of this interview.

Thank you, Lisa. Is there anything you wanna add to our listeners?

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: I would just say thank you for listening. And thank you for being interested in recall. I do believe it is a skill that every single dog needs to learn. And it's simple, but you have to practice. I did a Facebook post this morning and showed a picture of Keaton.

Wasn't a video, but a picture of him running to me and he was blazing toward me. But I will tell you his recall isn't always that fast . So we're working on that. I do want my dogs to have speed returning to me, but that can take some time, but guess what? It's practice that helps make that possible.

I don't want it to be perfect. Because I don't think there is ever perfection in our world. But if you practice, it's gonna be possible. So follow through in small little steps every day, doesn't take a lot of time every day, just initiate five different steps during your day. The what's in my book, and you're gonna make progress, 


Corinne Gearhart: there. 

Remind us how old Keaton is now.


Lisa Lyle Waggoner: is 14 weeks old today. 

Corinne Gearhart: Oh, that's wonderful to picture him blazing towards you. That's great. And you do talk about in your book, if you have an adult dog that you've worked on, many of these steps of reinforcing their recall and you have that basis, that it can fade without practice. And I love that you identify regular part of your day moments that you can use to reinforce. 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: Yeah. It's those everyday moments in life where you can, quickly, get one reinforcer in for something that your dog does that you like that helps keep that behavior strong. If we don't PR you know, I give the example in my book, I used to be a great mandolin player.

I haven't practiced a lot lately. I've lost that skill. Yeah. Practice makes.

Corinne Gearhart: I love it. If you're interested in learning more about creating a rocket recall, I recommend that you grab her wonderful book. I know it's on Amazon and all major book sellers and congratulations, 'cause I saw it was like top 10 chart on animal training books on 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner: Amazon.

I'm very excited that it's done so well. And I had a wonderful group of people who helped me put the book together. So thank you so much. It's also available now at dogwise.com. Great. And also with mingle books in Canada, so fantastic. Please visit those resellers and help yourself to my book.

 I hope it will make a difference in your life and in your dog's life. 

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corinne the doodle pro

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I’m Corinne, The Doodle Pro™


That’s why I, The Doodle Pro™, do things differently.

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