The Silent Recall

By Jim & Phyllis Dobbs and Alice Woodyard

In previous articles, we covered the three-action introduction to the Tri-Tronics collar including the "Whoa" command. We also covered stop-to-flush, honoring, how to prevent creeping on birds, running a good hunting pattern, and a method to teach the dog not to chase "off game" and to leave snakes alone.

Then, for the shoot-to-retrieve enthusiast, we covered the trained retrieve and how to develop retrieving skills in the field. Now in this article we will address the "silent recall." Many grouse hunters will appreciate a way to signal their dogs to come in closer when hunting in the woods by using a signal the dog can hear but the birds do not.

Our 100/LR and 500/LR series remote trainers are available with an optional tone feature. This high-pitched, continuous tone is emitted from the electronic collar on the dog's neck, and is controlled by a green button on the transmitter.

With this tone you can give your bird dog a quiet signal to come in--giving you range control without any whooping and tooting. When you use the tone, other people in the area--or birds--can't hear what you "say" to your dog. But with the receiver on its neck, the tone is close to the dog's ears and it can hear the "silent command" regardless of your location. Dogs can even hear the tone while working in heavy cover where they might not hear a whistle or verbal command.

It's easy to teach the dog to understand the tone as a signal to come in, provided you do not use the tone to mean other things to the dog. First, get the dog used to the sound by pressing the green button and immediately calling it to you. Then reward the dog with praise.

After a few repetitions, incorporate the tone into normal training. Press the green button a moment before you give the dog its familiar command or whistle to bend or come in. Soon, anticipating your command, the dog will respond to the tone.

Now the dog can learn that the tone is a command it must obey. If the dog should ignore the tone, remind it to come by applying stimulation with the Tri-Tronics collar, just as you would if the dog ignored your verbal command or whistle.

However, there is one thing to remember. The stimulation cannot be activated while the green button is held down, and the tone cannot be activated while the stimulation is on. So if you need to correct the dog for ignoring the tone, release the green button and then apply stimulation as you give the dog your whistle or verbal command to come in.

Soon the dog will understand that it must obey the tone just as it does your whistle or verbal command to come in, and you will have a "silent recall."

First Appeared in:
Pointing Dog Journal
, September/October 1994.

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