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not coming/runs to dogs when off leash

April 18th, 2005, 12:49 PM
I took my dog to a dog park and twice he ran off to meet/sniff other dogs, totally ignoring my commands to 'come'. That is not acceptable to me and I feel like a horrible owner when I'm yelling at my dog to come and he blissfully ignores me.

I think I will simply have to put him on a long line for a while until he earns the right to be off leash near other dogs. Is this a good idea? What length would be good? And what kind or cord (won't snag or tangle). I'm not really intersted in a retractable type of long lead, the handle is just too huge.

The bigger problem is him running right up to other dogs. I consider that rude. What I would like him to do is look to me for instructions on whether he can run up to them or not. How do I teach this? Give him a treat when he stays by me when another dog is around? Make him sit/stay or heel until I let him play with the other dog? I'd also like this to translate the looking at me before running (or attempting to run) after birds and cats while on leash.

He's been pretty bratty in general lately. I think it just means that he's settled in and feels comfortable again. Now I just have to make up for the 3 months in training he lost out on while living in the country :p We're slowly getting there :angel:

Lucky Rescue
April 18th, 2005, 01:48 PM
Never give a command you cannot enforce before your dog is reliable. This merely teaches him that he doesn't have to obey.

Never let him loose until he comes 100% of the time. Use a long line like a nylon clothesline to teach him "Come".

Start in a place where there are no distractions, like your house and then your yard. Let him wander with the line on, then call him. When he comes, praise, give a treat and/or throw a ball to send him off to play again. This will teach him that all fun does not end when you call him.

A dog park is no place to teach "come" and you are expecting way too much too soon.

April 18th, 2005, 05:15 PM
Even people who have the best trained dogs anywhere lose control the first few times they go to a dog park. The heirarchy amongst the dogs is far more important to the dog than you are. You have to have way more control over your dog to have any control at all in a dog park. I suggest training in a yard first then in a park and then in a dog park. You have to master no distractions, then some distractions, then tons of distractions one step at a time.

The other trouble with dog parks is that your dog can become aggressive or other dogs can be aggressive when your dog is on a lead in the dog park because either side thinks you will restrain the dog-- the other dog has "free" access to this vulnerable dog and your dog over-defends itself to compensate for it.

April 18th, 2005, 07:07 PM
A dog park is no place to teach "come" and you are expecting way too much too soon.

Well, with all due respect, he already knows the command so I'm not 'teaching' it to him persay. I simply want him to obey a command he already knows. Admittedly, it'a a high distraction environment, but better now than never.

I know that if I call him back before he starts running off, then he'll come. It's when he's already in flight that I know I have no chance. If I learn to recognize when he's getting distracted, I could call him back and either make him heel or leash him.

Perhaps I will skip the long line, It'll simply end up getting in the way. And since I have to rollerblade to the park, I don't want to carry a pile of stuff.

April 18th, 2005, 07:41 PM
You are right on the mark - if your dog checks in with you before reacting then most of your problems disappear. As his respect for you increases so does the frequency of his 'check ins' for advice. Right now the other dogs are just too tempting and he is willing to blow you off to be with them - like the child who doesn't follow curfew because it's more fun to hang with his buds. Our drills create the 'check in' from the get go.
There are 4 levels to training: inside - outside - outside w/ distractions - distance & distractions. If he is good a one level then you have to work towards the next level but NOT jump ahead to a level he is not ready for. Right now things are pretty good at lower levels of distraction, but you can't expect him to be great at a dog park unless you take the steps to help him.
Within each level there are also levels of distraction - you upgrade the distraction until he can do it with the ultimate distraction that he currently fails with. Does that make sense?
I work dogs on long leads at dog parks, its a pain in the ---tt at times, but it ensures that you have the last word. I just end up dancing around the dogs to make sure they don't get tangled. If you keep the lead loose then the other dogs shouldn't find it threatening and he shouldn't feel impaired.
We have drills that could help you - the 'stay close' drill creates an imaginary boundary that he must stay in - whether it's 2 feet away or 100 feet away - when you say 'close' he knows he's hit the boundary and needs to tuck in towards you abit. Kind of like telling your child to only go so far away from the house while playing with the neighborhood kids.

April 18th, 2005, 10:29 PM
Just wanted to add my .02 cents! My dogs have a regular 'come' command which actually means head my way and get really close and then they have the real 'come' command which means at my feet NOW. I found this was easier to do when going to dog parks as they all go nuts when we get there, they are very realiable on both 'comes' but I never as the other unless I mean it as it's more for an emergency type situation. Never did I ask if I couldn't enforce it as it only teaches them not to hear it. Check ins are great I always praise them or treat them even. It takes time and it's hard working at a busy park but it all comes together eventually.

April 19th, 2005, 09:59 AM
okay, after reading all of your great post and decided what would work best for us in our situation, I think I've figured out a plan.

When we go back to the park (maybe tomorrow) I'm going to give him a certain amount of space around me, directly proportional to the closness of other dogs. When we're at the far side of the park, he can be a good distance away, maybe half ball throwing distance. And when we're nearby another dog, he'll have to stay probably within a few feet of me as we pass by, though he can greet if the other dog passes this threshold (or I okay it).

Hopefully this will make him automatically pull into me when he see a distraction. I'll probably teach him 'watch me' and pair it with this.

And everytime he runs back to be (without me calling him) I'll treat.

I'm going to try to rain him to stop playing with another dog in my own yard first. When he's in the middle of it, I'll call him, treat him, and let him go back to play. This will also come in handy since there's one dog living in the house (who's occationaly in the yard) that he can't play with (but he really, really, wants to) and it can take a moment to tear them apart if I don't see her and we go out.

These are all techniques that I do, but not very religiously so he's not real religious about following them. I'll do better from now one :queen: