Rescue dog and recall

(11 Posts)
pinguwings Sun 21-Apr-13 19:30:48

We have had our beautiful dog now for five weeks. She is approximately one year old. We think she is collie cross foxhound. She came from Ireland where she was found as a stray and then spent time in foster, so we have no history. She was very timid at first but she is now really blossoming and showing her personality.

She goes to training classes and knows sit, down, stay, we're working on heel and she's a lot better - would previously spend the whole walk with nose on the ground stopping at every smell there is.

She loves to run and boy can she run fast! In an empty secure park she is brilliant at running between two of us when called and gets a treat each time she does it. She's happy on a walk but she is ECSTATIC when she gets a proper run.

The problem comes when there is another dog playing nearby. All recall goes out the window and she will bound over to play. Luckily, all dogs we've met so far have played too or just ignored her but I'm very aware that not all dogs will have patience with a strange dog bounding over. So now if there are dogs in the park she stays on lead.

So where do we go from here? Can anyone talk me through whether a long lead (one of the 10m ones) would be any good and how we should use it? How can we get reliable recall when there are other more fun things around?

Other dog owners have commented that we'll never have the bond 100% as we didn't have her from a puppy. Is there truth to this?

idirdog Sun 21-Apr-13 21:05:10

You will have the best bond in the world if you put in some time and training, Nothing to do with having her from a puppy.

My passion is recall training and also I have several rescue dogs. I choose the ones with "issues" as I love a challenge and have never ever had a problem with good recall and bonding.

So you need to play games lots of them:-

1. Use a clicker say her name when she looks at you click and treat.

2. Create a positive zone around you, when ever the dog come close to you click and treat. The dog learns to near to you is a great place to be.

3.In a long hall have one person at either end call the dog between you reward with a game of tuggy

4.Restrained recalls always make a dog eager for the recall. Someone hold your dogs collar you run away calling the dog but the holder keeps hold of the dog as the dog begins to pull then release the dog. - you will get a quick fast recall if you do this regulary. Reward when the dog catches you

5.Have someone hold your dog and you hide call the dog once and wait for him to find you again reward when the dog comes to you.

6. Chase run around a group of trees of bushes, furniture, with a tuggy, let the dog chase you and catch up with you and finish with a game of tuggy.

7. Throw food away from you and the dog, let the dog chase out to it and eat it then run away calling the dog with a tuggy , reward the dog as it comes back to you with a game of tug.

There are hundred more games like this but playing these regularly makes the dog aware that better things happen near you. The dogs recall will become an automatic response despite any distractions or other dogs.

This will not happen overnight and you will have to play games regularly with your dog but tbh what a great way to spend your time.

You can long line whilst working on this but I would work on avoiding the major distractions if possible until she can deal with them.

pinguwings Sun 21-Apr-13 22:07:47

idrdog thank you so much. Will be showing the rest of the family this and trying out a couple of new games tomorrow! She has no interest in toys at the minute but treats are a big hit.

I don't think I really believed the bonding comment, just a thoughtless remark from a fellow dog walker when she asked why my girl was still on the lead.

Owllady Mon 22-Apr-13 10:18:26

that's a really useful post idirdog smile

if it helps pinguwings, I have had my new dog a few months and she is still bonkers when other dogs are about. We are going to training classes and it's just perseverance as all the dogs at the class seem to have similar issues, so at least it's normal for now wink ignore the other dog owners! Honestly, I am quite shocked how people think they can just pass comment like this now, I am sure it wasn't the same when i had my other two dogs a decade ago.

Callisto Mon 22-Apr-13 11:22:15

What utter rot about not being able to have a bond with her. The most loyal and loving dog I have ever had was a mongrel bitch that I rescued. She was three when I got her and she was my shadow. I also built an amazing bond with my first greyhound dog and he was two when I got him.

Ooh, great ideas there idirdog <makes notes for errant spaniel that comes back when he feels like it>

Callisto Mon 22-Apr-13 11:28:30

In fact the only dog I have had from a pup is DH's jrt. He is a grumpy sod and would far prefer to live with a friend of ours who takes him ratting.

pinguwings Mon 22-Apr-13 19:26:58

Thank you owllady - yes it does help to know that it's not just our dog who has her bonkers moments.

In fact she was brilliant today. We were playing lots of the games you suggested idrdog - she loves when we run away and she has to give chase. Very rare to get a completely empty park/field near us so we gave off lead games a go with a couple of dogs about 300ft away (as far away as we could get). She definitely noticed them but only made to go over to them once and came back when called. So proud!

2cats2many Mon 22-Apr-13 19:30:50

With our rescue, I had to use real 'high value' treats at this stage. Stuff like sausages, little bits of cheese and ham were all waaaay more interesting than another dog.

Also, don't lose heart if it doest happen straight away. It took a good year before I noticed that our dog was properly settled in and recalling consistently. Now she's ace.

lotsofdogshere Mon 22-Apr-13 21:03:34

Great post from lrdog (as usual). Our rescue boy Milo sadly died last year, he was 15 and came to us from the local dog shelter, aged about 18 months. He had been thrown out of a moving car at the gates of the shelter, on a busy main road. Staff brought him in, and he'd been there 6 weeks when he came home to us. He was skin and bones, no muscle tone, terrible gastric problems, scared of the dark/men and stole food, and guarded it fiercely. He had no training it seems, simply dreadful diet and unkind treatment. I kept him on a lead for 6 weeks, the longest I ever felt the need to keep any rescue/foster dog on lead. He had no idea how to behave on a lead, tried to chase cars/bikes/barked at everyone, and recall - well, you can imagine. It took a long time, maybe 6 months to get his diet right, during which time we kept a calm home for Milo, and given his history of starvation, food treats worked a treat. I was shocked that anyone could say if you don't have the dog from a pup, there will never be a strong bond. We've had a number of rescue dogs, each of them came with issues, but all became great companions. Milo remans a legend in our family, he was such a character, and once he'd realised no-one would hurt him, he'd always be fed and have plenty of walks, he relaxed and became the best dog anyone could want to share their lives with. Good luck with your dog, it is tough, but so rewarding when the dog begins to feel safe, trust you and enjoy life.

Booboostoo Mon 22-Apr-13 22:45:41

The long line works very well and I have used it in the past especially with dogs that have a trigger, e.g. a JRT who would lose his otherwise good recall when it came to rabbits!

You need a long but very lightweight (so the dog can forget it's there) line. Let the dog off the normal lead but keep the long line on allowing it to trail behind the dog (you need to pick your area carefully as in heavily wooded areas the long line will quickly get tangled up). Call your dog, if he recalls, click and treat very high value treats. If he does not come back step on the line so that he cannot go any further, walk on the line step by step, when you get to him place your hand under his collar and gently pull him with you are you reverse all the way back to where you were when you first asked him to come to you. When you get there click and treat very high value treats. Release the dog and repeat.

The line is lightweight so the dog forget its there, thinking he is free to run off, but when he fails to respond to your command he discovers that he can't run off and that he will have to recall to the spot you called him from. If you repeat sufficient times most dogs come to believe that you can control them even if they are far away from you.

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