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  #1  
Old November 4th, 2011, 03:30 PM
067734m 067734m is offline
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Just can't master the RECALL. Help!

The facts are these:
- suspected Beagle/Coonhound mix
- ~6yrs old, adopted from kennel
- we've had her for a little over 8 months
- learned excellent recall on leash, indoors
- learned excellent 'sit', 'wait', 'down' commands

Problem: the Recall outdoors, off-leash.
Once she gets her nose to the ground, it's like nothing else exists! We've tested her a few times at the cottage and she will wander off (and eventually get lost).
I've tried:
- positive training, repeat successful recalls all the time indoors and on-leash outside
- tried (and currently training when I feed her) with a dog whistle...
- all kinds of treats: dog treats, bacon, goldfish crackers, hotdogs, raw meat.

Nothing is as enticing as all those SMELLS!
Hound-owners, please tell me there's a good training trick for this!
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Old November 4th, 2011, 09:48 PM
kitona kitona is offline
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You know your dog loves to track. Why not seek out local training groups that do just that? If you can train your dog to do something constructively that he's going to do anyway, you're way ahead of the game. You will benefit and so will your dog
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Old November 5th, 2011, 09:49 AM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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Originally Posted by kitona View Post
You know your dog loves to track. Why not seek out local training groups that do just that? If you can train your dog to do something constructively that he's going to do anyway, you're way ahead of the game. You will benefit and so will your dog
This idea is genius! I was going to comment but when I saw this reply I can easily say that this one is probably the best suggestion you could possibly get.
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Old November 5th, 2011, 12:18 PM
kitona kitona is offline
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Hey Ben Max, I'm blushing here! If I had a nickle for every time I've been asked by husky owners ''My dog keeps running away. What do I do????'' I'd be one of the 1%. LOL My reply? Go with them!
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Old November 5th, 2011, 06:37 PM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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Hey Ben Max, I'm blushing here! If I had a nickle for every time I've been asked by husky owners ''My dog keeps running away. What do I do????'' I'd be one of the 1%. LOL My reply? Go with them!
Actually I have to agree with you kitona. I usually have ideas to pass along but you totally took the wind out of my sails.
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Old November 10th, 2011, 11:01 AM
067734m 067734m is offline
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Thanks for the suggestion! Tracking classes sound pretty cool, so I'm eager to check it out. (Our dog would probably love doing more 'work' - she loves her 'hiking harness/backpack' that carries her water).

I'm just wondering though... These classes may be wonderful to teach my dog how to track, but do you think that they'll solve the problem of getting an obediate recall?

We live in an urban center, so here's a *possible* scenario: What if we're walking on-leash along a busy and road she sees/catches the smell of a cat, and slips her collar? I want a RELIABLE recall for both obedience/play and safety reasons.

Have you had similar 'recall' issues solved by a tracking class? I've had other family dogs (even terriers) that learned the recall MUCH better then our little HOUNDdog! So far, I'm sticking-out on training with the dog whistle. But I just bought a ~50m lead and want to incorporate that into some outdoor training... Hopefully that will do the trick.

Any other suggestions welcome!
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Old November 10th, 2011, 12:53 PM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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I find your "possible scenario" to be very frightening. Personally I would never trust that dog's recall. She is bred to follow her nose and much as you try to train and even seem to achieve success I would never trust her in a situation that might be dangerous to her.

You could use a martingale collar on her, they are very hard to slip out of. I think they would have to break before a dog could get out of one.

Our friend who runs coonhounds puts a gps locator collar on his dog. Now, he intends the dog to run because he hunts her but the gps locator allows him to find her. An idea to consider?

Two neighbours have rescue hounds, a Beagle and a Bassett. Neither will let their dog off leash.

If you want to really try though, is there a hound club you could contact? I agree with your thinking that the tracking class might give your dog work and exercise she enjoys but it does not train for recall. Though a nosework class I attended does use the dogs off leash and they stay nearby because the scents they are trained on aren't usually found leading them away, but I think that varies.
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Old November 10th, 2011, 04:53 PM
067734m 067734m is offline
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I could look into it - I'm not sure if there are any hound clubs where we are.
And yes, that situation is frightening! I wanted to communicate my desire to train a recall for safety as well as obedience/fun. We live in a city at a major intersection - which is why I got my dog a harness - and why we'd never let her off-leash in the city. But I was hoping that we could work towards leash-free time when we go on our weekend day-hikes/runs.

News from those rescue hounds you mentioned doesn't sound promising...
I'm not giving up yet though!
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Old November 10th, 2011, 08:52 PM
violagirl violagirl is offline
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I'm not sure a 100% reliable recall is going to happen for any dog.

What about a really reliable down? At least that would allow you to catch up.

In the classes I took the trainer taught an "emergency" come. You do not say it all the time. Sometimes we say Rover come! so often that they tend to start to ignore the word.

My emergency recall word is "schnell" something that i wouldn't generally use in everyday speaking.

After teaching it for about a year now, I don't teach it every day but I SHOULD, i am starting to see my oldest dogs head whip around to me followed by her body when I say it. I make it as interesting and fun and exciting to be running top speed back to me as possible.

You have to use baby steps though. Inside the house is a completely different ball game to outside in a new environment at the cottage. For most of the year I've been teaching it my dogs are "off" leash...first dragging 30 foot leashes, then 15, then 10, then 6...they still drag a standard dollar store leash in case i have to quickly catch them all but it took a long time before I trusted them enough to do that short of a leash.

Once your dog can do a recall 100% in the house...move it out to the yard...just add a bit more distraction every time. If she fails..back it off to where she can succeed and keep doing it.
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Old November 10th, 2011, 11:37 PM
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erykah1310 erykah1310 is offline
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Have you looked into e-collar training?
Before the flaming torches come out let me just clarify you are not shocking your dog for a recall but instead using the "page" option ( depending on the collar) which is only a vibration. I'm sure you can get collars that only vibrate for a lot cheaper than a good e collar but I like the more expensive ones because the range is better on them.

Basically how it works is you have the collar on, remote in hand and dog on a long leash
You just stand somewhere and let your dog wander off, say command and press the page button (which again is just a constant vibration) as soon as your dog turns and looks at you or takes a step towards you, you release the page making the vibration stop.
It really doesn't take long for your dog to turn fast and come towards you when hearing the command after a bit.
If off leash recall is what you want 100% of the time I would recommend you find a trainer that can teach you proper use of a pager. You can't just put the collar on for recall work only as dogs are smart and learn fast that the collar is what is causing the vibration. You don't want a dog that is completely e collar dependant so a trainer to help you with this is a must. ALL my dogs are trained recall on ecollars, we are in the bush a lot and I want them to come when called every time regardless of the distraction they face as it could very well be a life or death situation if they go chasing after something like a bear, coyote or even a rabbit that leads them to a road... Too risky to not have solid recall in my opinon
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Old November 15th, 2011, 12:59 PM
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tenderfoot tenderfoot is offline
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Put her on a long leash outside and stand still. Let her mind wander away from you. The heart beat you see her mind drift you need to walk a few steps in the opposite direction and enthusiastically say "let's go!". If she doesn't move in your direction then give her a gentle pull on the leash until she moves one inch in your direction then release the pressure on the leash. If she stops before she reaches you then do it again. You might have to repeat this a number of times until she gets the message. Be very happy and have a small party when she joins up with you.

Repeat this drill several times until she responds more quickly each time you invite her to join up. Remembering that you only move a few steps away from her in the opposite direction but enough steps that she has to make an effort to keep up.

Its as though you are the center hub of a wheel and she needs to keep within a certain distance close to you. Each time you move she needs to move too. This keeps part of her mind on you while she is having fun exploring. The end result is that she will (typically) hover closer to you than she has in the past and her 'coming' will improve as well because now she is learning to keep you in her sights and not lose all focus due to interesting smells.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 03:01 PM
067734m 067734m is offline
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Thanks, all excellent advice. I have been tempted to try out those remote controlled collars at the store, but wanted to exhaust all the 'simple' options before going there... (I think this is a pretty cool tool though).

I love the wheel imagery. That's what I'm going for; I always want to occupy even a tiny portion of her brain, so at least I'll register... and it will be FUN for her to speed back.

She does this very well (stays within my "wheel") on the 'extendi-leash' (one of those 15m ones that automatically rolls up). She even loves racing back to me to continue on our walk or jog, when I tell her to 'come on!'. I guess it will just take more training for completely off-leash - so I should stick to it! I've already bought a really long piece of rope so I will start giving it a try!
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Old November 15th, 2011, 03:04 PM
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erykah1310 erykah1310 is offline
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All you need is a vibrating collar for recall, just watch the range. Most of the ones you buy at petstores aren't worth the price of the batteries you need for them.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 06:26 PM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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Originally Posted by tenderfoot View Post
Put her on a long leash outside and stand still. Let her mind wander away from you. The heart beat you see her mind drift you need to walk a few steps in the opposite direction and enthusiastically say "let's go!". If she doesn't move in your direction then give her a gentle pull on the leash until she moves one inch in your direction then release the pressure on the leash. If she stops before she reaches you then do it again. You might have to repeat this a number of times until she gets the message. Be very happy and have a small party when she joins up with you.

Repeat this drill several times until she responds more quickly each time you invite her to join up. Remembering that you only move a few steps away from her in the opposite direction but enough steps that she has to make an effort to keep up.

Its as though you are the center hub of a wheel and she needs to keep within a certain distance close to you. Each time you move she needs to move too. This keeps part of her mind on you while she is having fun exploring. The end result is that she will (typically) hover closer to you than she has in the past and her 'coming' will improve as well because now she is learning to keep you in her sights and not lose all focus due to interesting smells.
As usual, you give good sound advice.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 07:29 PM
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tenderfoot tenderfoot is offline
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Remember if you rely on anything that is not you, your dog relies on it too and it is tougher to be successful off leash or with distractions.

Flexi-leashes can cause more problems than they are worth. When your dog is on an extendable leash there is always pressure on the collar unless you have it locked down. So your dog learns to pull against the pressure on the collar to get where he wants to go. Hence teaching the dog to pull his human everywhere he wants to go PLUS he is leading the dance not you.

It also places him in what we call 'recess' brain. He is out in front of you and all around you doing as he pleases not thinking about what you want. Like a child holding your hand but pulling in every direction trying to dictate where they want to go not where you, the adult/parent, are intending to go.

A dog who lives in recess most of the time has a very difficult time listening to you. Their brains literally become wired to be independent and impulsive.

Why would you ever wish to use electricity to try to train a dog when it simply takes good skills, consistency and a sound relationship. Resorting to devices doesn't teach the dog it simply forces him and it doesn't hone your training skills. You do not learn to communicate effectively when you can simply push a button and zap the dog to make him behave. Devices quickly become crutches for the human and don't teach your dog to think.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 10:32 PM
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erykah1310 erykah1310 is offline
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Originally Posted by tenderfoot View Post
Why would you ever wish to use electricity to try to train a dog when it simply takes good skills, consistency and a sound relationship. Resorting to devices doesn't teach the dog it simply forces him and it doesn't hone your training skills. You do not learn to communicate effectively when you can simply push a button and zap the dog to make him behave. Devices quickly become crutches for the human and don't teach your dog to think.
First off, I will just quote myself. Its easier
Quote:
All you need is a vibrating collar for recall
Quote:
Before the flaming torches come out let me just clarify you are not shocking your dog for a recall but instead using the "page" option ( depending on the collar) which is only a vibration
Its a tool, as is a collar, as is a lead... I'm sorry if a vibrating box attached to a collar is offensive and automatically leads people to believe you are electrocuting your dog but until one completely understands ANY tool that is being used, the dog is being forced.
Same can be said for long line training with turning to walk away, you are making your dog rely on the pressure on the tool that is the lead and collar to come to you. Unless you are completely relying on treat based bribes 100% of the time you are using a tool. Even the treat or clicker for praise is a tool.

There are more than one humane way to train a dog and I will use the method that is most reliable in my opinon.

None of my dogs are dependant on the e collar. Nor are they traumatized from being vibrated ( not electrocuted) by using them as a teaching aid. However, 100% of the time when i call them, they turn on their haunches and come barreling over to me as happy as can be. Since training with said torture device also included many treats and praise. It is a simple conditioning, the dog makes a choice. Either continue to run away and feel that annoying vibration behind your ear or turn and come towards me and it stops and treats are waiting. When training with the e collar the dog is introduced to the collar as nothing more than a collar for weeks prior to being introduced to the vibration.

The thing with any training is unless you understand the fundamentals behind each and every thing you are doing, you probably should not be doing it as a first timer on your own which will now bring me to this quote
Quote:
I would recommend you find a trainer that can teach you proper use of a pager. You can't just put the collar on for recall work only as dogs are smart and learn fast that the collar is what is causing the vibration. You don't want a dog that is completely e collar dependant so a trainer to help you with this is a must
the reason I push people to classes or trainers so much is even things like a choker ( put on wrong), prong collar (hanging around the neck), leash correction ( with no release), "pop"(lifting a dog clear off their front feet), infamous Cesar Millan "Tcchh" and jab can be used the wrong way and WILL be if not taught why, how and when to do them.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 11:54 PM
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Absolutely - anything that you use in training that is not you, is a tool. Tools aren't wrong, its how they are used, how much you depend on them and why the dog is responding. Even halter collars which are touted to be 'gentle' can cause a wrenching of the neck, so is the dog being good because he is afraid of having his neck wrenched? The second you cause pain or fear you lose trust, and good relationships are built on love, trust and respect.

If you need an e-collar to train your dog, my question is where do you go when the low level vibration doesn't work? Crank it up to the next level until it does work? Not our cup of tea.

If I am not succeeding in a relationship it is my responsibility to be a better communicator. I need to be more interesting to be with, and it is up to me to communicate more clearly so that my partner understands me.

When we get results with just the look of an eye or a change in tone, I feel good about that. If someone needs a pocket full of treats to be successful then we would hope to be able to help them move beyond their dependence on food to get results from their dog. We teach them to use just their touch, tone and energy to get results with as little energy as possible and then we have accomplished something for the betterment of their dog, their understanding of dogs and their relationship.
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Old November 16th, 2011, 02:06 AM
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erykah1310 erykah1310 is offline
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Just want to clarify too since this is the internet I am honestly doing this for the sake of defending a method i see no problem using and am in no way picking at this for any personal reason nor do I disagree with what you are saying tenderfoot, I respect what you are saying and your concerns with a collar and it seems i am picking on just you but I sort of am because we're the only 2 talking right now in this thread. Hopefully you don't see this as attacks on your training style, because it isn't in any way.

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If you need an e-collar to train your dog, my question is where do you go when the low level vibration doesn't work? Crank it up to the next level until it does work? Not our cup of tea.
If done properly there is no need to go to crank anything up. The collar vibrating is my version of the leash giving a cue. Since proper recall with an e collar is started on lead with clear communication and slowly tools are removed from the equation when the dog understand the command fully I do not see the difference one bit between a properly used collar to a long line other than having the ability to cue from far.
People make an e collar ( or a vibrating collar with no ability to even shock) be seen in too much of a bad light.
They are NOT midevil torture devices if used properly.
It is like that horse trainers quote ( I can't think of who) that I love so much "Frustration begins where knowledge ends" If someone who is training their dog doesn't know what else to try to get the result they are looking for with what ever method they are using they will just increase the severity of what ever they are doing out of frustration. Be it a harsh choker correction inflicting un necissary trauma to the trachea or an unnecissary shock from a collar. However both in my eyes are equally bad, this is why people should be seeking out professional help BEFORE their knowledge ends.

With my dogs in the environments they are in and being that I am not ever with just one of them at a time a recall and a down are 2 commands I will not mess around with. The communication for both of those commands is crystal clear and the same for all 6 of them. If we come across a bear on our travels I am not willing to risk them not coming 100% of the time when called regardless of distraction or excitement level of the rest of the dogs.

Quote:
If I am not succeeding in a relationship it is my responsibility to be a better communicator. I need to be more interesting to be with, and it is up to me to communicate more clearly so that my partner understands me.
Exactly! Same principle. Vibration, does not stop until you look towards me ( first few times) as soon as you do, its party time. If the dog stands there stareing at me I will do anything to get a step towards me even use a cue from a leash. If the dog turns and looks away the uncomfortable vibration returns. It isn't clear to them at first which is why you don't set them up to fail, it starts off small until they understand the concept. I don't know, I have never had to think " Oh I should give a shock because this isn't working" but then again, I didn't just go to the store and pick up a collar and think.. this should fix all my problems. I took time to learn about the tool that I was going to use and how to use it properly.

Quote:
When we get results with just the look of an eye or a change in tone, I feel good about that. If someone needs a pocket full of treats to be successful then we would hope to be able to help them move beyond their dependence on food to get results from their dog. We teach them to use just their touch, tone and energy to get results with as little energy as possible and then we have accomplished something for the betterment of their dog, their understanding of dogs and their relationship.
Absolutely! But all training is the conditioning for the behaviour we are after is it not? There are more than one way to get the exact same result and some work better in different situations than others, there are many variables to the equation.
As it is said in the horse world, "show it, practice it then refine it". A dressage horse doesn't start out knowing to move off a flex of a calf muscle or stop squeeze of the bum in a saddle, it has been refined to that level. Many may have been started with the usual heel for a cue while others respond more to a tap from a properly used spur ( not the spurs from western movies either) which tool you decide to use knowledgably will depend on each person and horse/dog.
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Old November 16th, 2011, 10:58 AM
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Thank you for your thoughtful response. Internet conversations are always awkward as you have no idea who you are talking to and what tones they are 'speaking' with.

Though I would still avoid using any device beyond a flat collar and leash, I am always mindful of the advice we share - not to recommend devices or treat based training because in the wrong hands and without knowledge they can either send the person and dog down a very wrong road or an unproductive one. I do not write in hopes of changing your mind as you are happy with what you are doing, but to caution others not to leap in that direction as a quick answer to their problems.

It seems you have tried to go down this path with as much understanding and consideration as possible. But as 'dressage' is our code word for all of our interactions with our animals, even the most inexperienced animals, we always strive to do less in order to get more. One of my most fun days is when I set my goal to not even speak to any of our animals (dogs, cats, parrots and horses) and still succeed in all that we do.

I know someone who is very successful with his dogs but I cannot stomach being around him when he is interacting with them. He gains great changes with some of the most aggressive dogs brought to him. Yet, there is always kicking, in your face confrontations, grabbing of the scruff, yelling and not much praise or affection between them. These dogs only get a break when they are calmly laying in their beds. Yes the dogs have a good home and are well cared for but the level of tension in the home always fairly high. This person learned most of this 'method' from watching TV. Does it work on these potentially dangerous dogs? Yes. Is it ideal? No. I am not comfortable with the end justifies the means when it comes to training animals.

When you observe animals together, it is the most impressive animal who is able to communicate with their peers without any effort at all. There is a huge difference between the horse who merely stands there and impacts his herd with his confidence and the one who feels the need to aggress, nag, and threaten his herd in order to be respected.

We too live in bear country, in addition to cougars, bobcats, moose, elk, coyote, fox and deer, and in 30 years have not had a problem. If a dog is not trustworthy then they haven't earned off leash time yet. Just as a teenager should not be driving on the highway until they are ready, we keep working to get them ready. We teach people to know their limitations so they don't set themselves up for failure, but to always continue working towards success. We believe this level of learning lasts a life time and translates to all of the relationships in their life.

I have recently been honored with the responsibility of training our newest rescue, a 5yr old, 1400lb, uneducated ex-stallion. He is proving to be the best teacher yet. Only the most thoughtful, gentle communication teaches him in the fastest manner. In the wrong hands he could become an extremely dangerous behemoth in very short order. He is very cautious in his processing of information and the temptation to use a heavy hand with him would be easy with many trainers. Bribing him with food would also be easy as he is the most food driven animal I have ever met, but it would backfire very quickly and not achieve the same depth of learning and long lasting connection. I am reminded daily that everything I do has meaning, every movement, breath, fleeting absence of awareness, every pressure and every release. I wish you could meet him - he has been such an impressive reminder to me that natural communication is the best most effective and long lasting way to teach and connect.

Thanks for chatting, it's always nice to have a conversation with a thoughtful person, best wishes to you.
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Last edited by tenderfoot; November 16th, 2011 at 11:13 AM.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 12:35 PM
067734m 067734m is offline
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So cool to see that some of you have a background in horse training - that's where I'm coming from as well.
I am trying some of the suggestions - I'm not giving up on getting a solid recall!
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Old January 4th, 2012, 05:15 PM
067734m 067734m is offline
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Update on this case of recall training:

1. Tried using the long lead-line on a couple walks, saying the recall command, and reelling in the lead line if no response.
- This was awkward to do (ie manage a very long lead-line on a walk)
- I think that it may have been helpful, but I think that the dog *knows* she's still on a line...

2. Tried a new game: 2 pple + large, long park + treats
- My husband and I stand at either end of the park, let dog off-leash and practice recall back-and-forth between us. We add variation by hiding.
- Dog *LOVES* this game! Loves running at high speed. Enjoys 'finding' us.
- It is enforcing the recall, and also making it *fun*, for the dog to race back to us from far away: all good things
- Downsides:
1. anticipating the repetition of the game (ie running back to the other person *before* being called)
2. 'game' mentality: what if she gets tired of playing? So far, haven't reach this point...

We tested her off-leash on a long walk in the woods a couple weeks ago and she was GREAT - raced back to us everytime (and sometimes on her own)! When we had to start calling her more than once, we quietly put the leash back on. But she had over half an hour of being "free". She did NOT stay at our heels the whole time, but all-in-all great walk and an improved recall! Will keep up the training - hopefully I can shorten the distances she wanders when off-leash, but with that hound-nose, I'm pretty happy with what we've achieved so far!
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Old January 9th, 2012, 01:09 PM
Saucysailoress Saucysailoress is offline
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Quote:
In the classes I took the trainer taught an "emergency" come. You do not say it all the time. Sometimes we say Rover come! so often that they tend to start to ignore the word.

My emergency recall word is "schnell" something that i wouldn't generally use in everyday speaking.
I adopted this technique with my Collie/Dane, using the command "Now!" in my stern teacher voice! It is actually very effective for those moments when she is distracted by smells and portions of lamb and rice by the skips!

We recently acquired a 3 month Lab/Husky cross, and he has been very responsive as well. Whilst he almost always comes to "He-ere", he sometimes wants to keep playing - but "Now!" seems to be working very well.
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  #23  
Old January 9th, 2012, 01:54 PM
Digston Digston is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Saskatoon, SK
Posts: 167
Your game is exactly what we did in the puppy obedience class I went to. The trainer held the pup back while the owners hid, releasing the pup when the owners used their recall command.

My boyfriend and I still do this with our dogs. Now it is less for training and more for easy exercise You've found something that works for you so keep it up. To address the pre recall running try playing your game in different locations, and at different times. We play hide and seek in our house. We take turns holding the dogs back while the other hides then calls the dogs.

I don't think you'll have to worry about your pup losing interest in the game... ours still haven't
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  #24  
Old February 27th, 2012, 09:53 AM
067734m 067734m is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Digston View Post
Your game is exactly what we did in the puppy obedience class I went to. The trainer held the pup back while the owners hid, releasing the pup when the owners used their recall command.

My boyfriend and I still do this with our dogs. Now it is less for training and more for easy exercise You've found something that works for you so keep it up. To address the pre recall running try playing your game in different locations, and at different times. We play hide and seek in our house. We take turns holding the dogs back while the other hides then calls the dogs.

I don't think you'll have to worry about your pup losing interest in the game... ours still haven't
Yes! So far this game has done the trick! It's really been a breaking point for us.

We also have a great "out-and-back" walk in the woods (about 10k). I think that with the out-and-back, it's easy for our dog to "know" the way. I've been able to let her off the leash the whole way, and sometimes she comes back on the path to check for me without me having to call her! She still likes to run in the woods (sometimes out of view), which is fine as she has come back every time I call! Hooray for small victories!

The next step is to let her in the yard on her own. Although something tells me that no matter how much training we do, she'll never be one of those dogs that just hangs out in the yard!

As of now, we've had our dog for just one year. It took that long for the training to really 'click'. So a word those adopting (or getting a new puppy): BE PATIENT. If you stick to positive, fun training, you'll eventually affect some change! We're excited to teach our dog some new tricks, and maybe adopt another one!
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