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Recall Training

Bam Bam
May 19th, 2007, 11:32 PM

I am new to the list, so hello everyone. Just a question regarding recall. I have a 2 year old female golden retriever and am having trouble getting her to come back to me when she is off leash at a park. Any suggestions about training would be welcomed.

Kodiak Bear
May 19th, 2007, 11:45 PM
Bam Bam what have you tried?

Bam Bam
May 19th, 2007, 11:55 PM
Well I have tried calling her but no success. She is usually playing with other dogs and I can't get her to even look at me. I walk away like I am leaving the park and she doesn't care. Don't really know what to do that is why I am asking for help.

May 20th, 2007, 10:57 AM
Have a look at the website for Tenderfoot Training - they have some excellent stuff on training. I have two Goldens so I can appreciate the "fun" you have getting their attention! They are awsome dogs though!

May 20th, 2007, 12:09 PM
Well you can't just expect a dog to come when called if you haven't done extensive training. Especially when she is out playing with other dogs. You need to start in a low-distraction environment such as your house and work up to situations like that. You need to make it a really positive experience for her to come to you. Tons of praise, and occasional high-value treats (but don't let her see the treats--hide them in your pocket, otherwise some dogs can learn to only respond when they see a treat in your hand!) And remember if you call the dog, and she comes to you and then you take her away from the dog park, she will learn "when I listen, the fun stops! I will just ignore them calling me from now on!" So once you have worked up to recall in a high distraction environment, like playing with other dogs, call her and then tell her she's a good girl and let her go back to playing. Do this a few times during every play session, so she learns that the recall doesn't always mean the fun is stopping! For now, when you need to get her, just go and leash her. You may want to keep her on a really long leash when starting outdoor training, so she cannot run off. Just don't try to drag her to you, encourage her to approach you on her own. Start with short distances, where you are only a few feet away and work up to farther distances.

You need to work on distance and distraction, but it is very important that you only increase one at a time. So you start out in a low distraction environment, in the house, and work on increasing distance. Then when you increase the distraction (moving the training out to a slightly more distracting place, like the back yard), you need to start out with very small distances again, and work your way up.

Bam Bam
May 21st, 2007, 02:39 AM
Thanks, this is really good advice. My friend suggested to use a long lead also but to include a prong collar as well. Do you think that would work. I personally don't like the look of them. I am told it only gives them a little pinch but that the dogs don't like it so they respond.

May 21st, 2007, 06:55 AM
If you add in a prong you may very well teach your dog that something not so nice happens every time they come to you. That won't teach a reliable recall.

You really need to start with no distractions and work on it inside, then your backyard, and super slowly build it up. It doesn't happen over night, nor does it happen without a lot of work.

May 21st, 2007, 08:52 AM
Prong collars are excellent training tools IF they are used correctly. For this - you really don't need it.

You need to keep your dog on a leash until he is 100% reliable on his recalls. Remember - every time you say "Come" and your dog doesn't come, you are reinforcing that "come" is an optional command.

I have a 30 ft. long line that I take my Belgian out on. I don't use the "Come" command if he is distracted - I use "Here" to get his attention and then "Come".

It takes time, patience, and consistancy. The hardest part is remembering NOT to use the word "Come" if you can not reinforce the command.

Bam Bam
May 21st, 2007, 11:51 PM
Thanks. I really like when you said "here" then "come". Makes so much sense.