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04 October 2008

BASTA! Or... maybe not? We need a trigger word for a Really Reliable Recall. Your opinion/idea? [More:]

So... we need to train/practice with Sky for something called the "Really Reliable Recall". This is where you train the dog to come immediately to you when you give a certain command... no matter what. It's a command you use in an emergency, when the dog may be really upset or distracted, etc. - like earthquake, he/she's about to run into traffic... etc.

You train by using the best, most amazing, most irresistible treat EVAR when they come to you on that command, and by periodically reinforcing this training you should be able to have one word that they will respond to in any situation.

But the word. It needs to be different than any other word you use when you talk to the dog, it needs to be short, strong, unmistakeable, and easy for us to remember so that we aren't fumbling for the word when we need to use it.

V. came up with "Basta" (meaning "enough!" in Italian), which is nicely explosive and identifiable (seems unlikely to sound much like anything else we would say to her), and I think that our best idea so far, but wanted to ask if you guys have other ideas.
We should have started this earlier. I post this now because we just narrowly avoided a nasty.

Three cats in a totally mad, screaming, biting, clawing catfight on the stairs leading to the upstairs apartment (the two cats that live upstairs, and a bold intruder); down they tumble in a big feline ball of slashing gnashing claws and fangs... and if they hadn't diverted over to the next door neighbor's terrace they would have ended up downstairs in the courtyard, where Sky was dashing around in anxiety over the big brouhaha. Imminent danger of cat claw in the eye or somesuch (the upstairs cats would not normally attack her, but if she -or anyone- ended up in the middle of this mess, aiiaiiaii!

And she wouldn't come when I called her.. aargh. She always responds, so I've become complacent. Need to start training the Recall.
posted by taz 04 October | 03:46
the best, most amazing, most irresistible treat EVAR = Slim Jims
aiiaiiaii! would make a hella trigger word.
posted by Ardiril 04 October | 03:50
Oddly enough, they don't really have Slim Jims here. They do have doggy versions, but they probably suck in terms of content (probably mostly slim jim colored corn doodah or something). I think I'm going to use something SUPAH IRRESISTIBLE, like raw beef chunks.
posted by taz 04 October | 03:53
The great dane loved Slim Jims. He would come over the kitchen bar or scratch through the door the moment anyone opened one. ...and the floor became a wading pool of drool.
posted by Ardiril 04 October | 04:08
hey! - sounds like my husband!


sorry. will not stop winking 'til Nov. 5. Never gonna to give it up; never gonna blink it down. you betcha.
posted by taz 04 October | 04:14
Colored corn doodah!
posted by Lipstick Thespian 04 October | 07:54
will not stop winking 'til Nov. 5. Never gonna to give it up; never gonna blink it down. you betcha.

that is funny.

As an avid watcher of the Dog Whisperer show on tv, he says not to use the dog's name as a command but a sound. I find the tch sound, like at the end of the word watch very effective with all animals as a no or stop statement.

But the come over here NOW command is different. Yes, Basta, sounds like an excellent choice. I've heard that dogs like the sound of b and d, like in gooDBoy.

Basta is a good word to use in Europe because it will bring the attention of others as well in the event of an emergency.
posted by nickyskye 04 October | 08:40
A few months ago, The Fella was tickling me mercilessly, ignoring my giggling pleas of "No! Stop! Really!"

Then, to his surprise and mine, I burst out with "Safeword!" He stopped immediately, rearing back to give me a puzzled look.

It did not go over terribly well with the family present, either.

So, if for some reason you decide against Basta!, I heartily recommend Safeword! Uh, unless it's a word you're likely to use a lot around the dog.
posted by Elsa 04 October | 11:27
I like "Basta!" a lot. I've always loved how exasperated it sounds. And it's a good word for breaking through chaotic noise -- it's strong and sharp enough that people (and presumably dogs) can distinguish it.
posted by occhiblu 04 October | 13:30
My 2¢. Basta is a good idea due to the way it's spoken. Think traffic, loud ambient noise, shouting, whatever. You need as few syllables as possible, and stay away from the vowels 'o' and 'u', as they are not usually projected as high or as sharp as 'a'. Sharp will cut through lower-pitched traffic noise, etc. Dull sounds will get swallowed up. Example: we'll replace the a's with u's - Basta becomes Bustu. Say both loud and you'll hear what I mean. Too many syllables get can lost in surrounding noise.
posted by Zack_Replica 04 October | 13:42
...basically what occhi said. must preview.
posted by Zack_Replica 04 October | 13:44

posted by mudpuppie 04 October | 13:53
What happens if you're around people animatedly speaking Italian?
*makes interrogative gesture*
posted by ethylene 05 October | 00:16
muxtape 8tracks music update. || Hey there, Joe Six Pack!