How to train a pup to 'come'.

(21 Posts)
mumnosbest Mon 17-Mar-14 10:20:49

My pup is about 7 months and still wont 'come' on command. It would be lovely to eventually be able to walk him off his lead and know he'll come back but at the moment getting him back in the house safely is more of a concern. He's a bit of an escape artist. We've got the back garden secure but if we've had visitors/postie etc and they've left the front gate open then the kids open the door he gets out and runs ip the road. If I go after him he runs further and thinks it's a game. He wont come but knows his name and just looks at me. All I can do is stand and look and wait till he decides to come home. I'm terrified he's going to get hit by a car while I watch. Also these escapes always seem to happen minutes befor I leave for work or a school run sad
Any advice?
On a seperate note. Does clicker training work for training a dog to sit, stay etc?

nuttymutty1 Mon 17-Mar-14 12:20:14

Is he food or toy orientated?

If food say come and give him some food. Stand right up close to him.
Jus keep doing his several times a day. If he prefers food say come an then play with his toy for a few minutes again repeat several times a day

Never run towards a dog if it will not come to you run away with a high pitched voice and the dog is more likely to chase you.

Yep clickers are fantastic for sit stay and down.

Keep you dog on a long line until you have his recall perfected.

I would book a few sessions with an APDT trainer to help put you on the right tracks with training

mumnosbest Mon 17-Mar-14 15:52:50

Thanks nutty Sounds like good advice. Not really fussed about food but loves his toys so will try that. Neighbours will think I'm crackers, running down the street, squealing and waving a toy monkey about! grin
Will also start the clicker too. What does APDT stand for? Thanks

SilverShadows Tue 18-Mar-14 09:18:50

I would go back to basics, use some really high value treats such as cheese, sausage etc.

Stand next to pup and call his name. As soon as he looks at you give the treat. Do this several times over a few days. Gradually move slightly away so when you call his name he has to come to you to get that valuable treat. Then a few days later start doing it from another room so he has to find you for the treat. Then you can start to move to the garden where there is distractions. You can also see if he will respond when he is playing/sniffing etc.
If you get a failed one, don't endlessly call his name as that will just turn you into background noise. Just walk nearer and make yourself interesting when saying his name - jump up and down, wave arms etc.

Gradually you can start to do it in public when there is noone else about.

Also what you could do, it do all of the above, but rather than calling, use a whistle. We introduced a whistle doing all of the above when our pup was about 8/9 months and that worked really well. We used chopped up bits of black pudding as treats and she went mad for them.
I prefer a whistle, just because it attracts attention their more than shouting does.

mumnosbest Tue 25-Mar-14 22:26:59

thanks Silver All sounds good so fingers crossed

Floralnomad Tue 25-Mar-14 22:47:52

You really need to stop him escaping its only a matter of time before he causes an accident . Even with a good recall he could have been hit by a car before he hears you calling . You need to develop an entrance and exit plan so that the dog is safe when the door is open . Do you have an inner porch that could have a stair gate put up ? And tell the children that they need to ensure he is shut away before they open the door .

Owllady Wed 26-Mar-14 10:03:16

I would put a please close the gate sign or beware of the dog sign on your front gate. It's what I have had to do as I have a wrap around gard en and I get fed up of people not closing the gate, but they seem to do it with the sign on. Even though my son thinks the dog on the sign looks more like a rabbit hmm

Speak to the children about keep opening the door too and making sure the dog is secure first.

Booboostoo Wed 26-Mar-14 10:40:15

What kind of training have you done with him? Are you taking him to training classes? If not, I think it's a really good idea to take him asap.

Clicker training can help you with a variety of behaviours, including recall. However, you need to start at the beginning:

When you start working with food the first thing you teach is a 'leave it' command, otherwise you risk getting mobbed for the food! Put a nice treat in your hand, close your hand around it so the dog cannot get to it, place your hand low down level with the dog's nose and wait. At first the dog will sniff your hand, lick it, try to get at the treat...if at any moment the dog's nose moves even a tiny bit away from your hand, click and open your hand so he can eat the treat. Repeat ad nauseum. You are teaching the dog that if he touches, licks, bites, or mobs you he doesn't get the treat, if he moves away from the food, he actually gets the treat. Within a few days the dog should be backing away from your hand immediately.

Next thing you need to teach is his name. Say his name, when he looks at you, click and treat. As he learns this make the exercise more difficult, e.g. hold the hand with the treat away from your body, call his name (his attention will be on the treat) and click and treat when he looks at you.

Next thing you need to teach is that being near you is a good thing. Have treats on you at all times, any time the dog happens to be near you, click and treat.

The recall game: you need two people for this game in a safe enclosed area. Stand fairly close to each other (2m apart?) and take it in turns to call the dog "Dog's name and come" in a high pitched, super happy voice. Click and treat as the dog comes to you in turn. In time increase the distance.

Meanwhile long line him in open spaces. Put a very light weight, long line on the dog in addition to his lead. When you get to an open space detatch the lead and allow the line to trail behind the dog (you must make sure it does not get tangled!). Recall the dog, if he comes, click and treat. If he ignores you step on the line, walk on the line all the way to the dog, place two fingers under the collar, walk backwards to where you were when you first called the dog, click, treat and release.

Of course you can teach sit and other commands with the clicker but you need to be taught how, You can do it with books and videos but idealy go to a training class.

mumnosbest Wed 26-Mar-14 13:10:48

Thanks Booboo I've started clicker training as far as he knows click=treat but your instructions are much clearer. I think a sign on the gate is agood idea and I've asked all the regulars to shut the gate so hopefully we'll get there. There's nowhere for a safety gate unfortunately.

mumnosbest Wed 26-Mar-14 13:12:23

Puppy classes would be great and hopefully, money permitting, something I can manage in the summer.

Booboostoo Thu 27-Mar-14 07:38:03

Can you install a self-closing gate? They are used a lot for animals on farms and I think you can buy a gadget the converts existing gates.

Training shouldn't be that expensive. My old training club offers 7 week classes for �40, max 8 dogs, one trainer, two assistant trainers, which I think is really good value for money. If it were me I would not wait a moment before find a good class (many have a waiting list) and enrolling asap.

mygrandchildrenrock Thu 27-Mar-14 20:14:35

My puppy training class is £2.00 per week. You initially have to pay for 4 weeks but after that it's just £2.00 every time you turn up.

mumnosbest Sat 05-Apr-14 12:56:01

I will have a look at puppy classes. I thought they'd be a lot more expensive than that.

CalamityKate Sat 05-Apr-14 13:56:51

Try to pick a word/sound (whistles are good) that you will ONLY use for recall.

Pair that word/sound with the BEST treats, and/or his absolute FAVOURITE toy depending on what he likes best.

Start off using the sound/word when he's already running to you and can see the reward. Progress to calling THEN producing the reward when he turns to you. Then to only producing it when he GETS to you.

GRADUALLY build up from:

In the same room, no distractions
In the same room, minimal distractions
In the garden, no distractions
Ditto, minimal distractions

Etc etc. if you're in any doubt that he'll recall (think "Would I bet a tenner that he'll respond??") don't use the word/whistle - maybe use your old cue. That way you're always setting him up for success.

Teaching a reliable recall has got to be methodical, step by step and relentless. There's no point getting it reliable in the garden with no distractions and then expecting the dog to respond in the park when there's lots going on. As said above the use of a long line keeps you in control when in training.

As with all training, recall is something that needs constant practise and reinforcement. It's a potential life saver.

CalamityKate Sat 05-Apr-14 13:59:38

Recall and toilet training are I think pretty much the only 2 things I can think of that I wouldn't see the benefit of training with a clicker.

I'm a MASSIVE clicker fan when it comes to any other behaviours though smile

Booboostoo Sat 05-Apr-14 16:10:42

*Recall and toilet training are I think pretty much the only 2 things I can think of that I wouldn't see the benefit of training with a clicker."

Why ever not? Like all other behaviours first you create opportunity for the behaviour to happen then you click and treat. The only possible complication I have ever come across is puppies that stop toilet mid-flow to get the treat, so you have to make sure the toileting has stopped before clicking.

CalamityKate Sat 05-Apr-14 17:25:39

Yes exactly. So you're technically marking the stopping of toileting, not the toileting itself. A bit like teaching a sit, but clicking just as they get up from the sit instead of the sit itself. I just think toilet training, done properly is easy enough anyway, so I wouldn't risk the confusion with clicker timing you mention <shrug>

Booboostoo Sat 05-Apr-14 17:46:48

Well I agreed with you about the toileting but couldn't see your point about the recall. Recall is about the dog ending up next to you so you just click when the dog is next to you.

CalamityKate Sat 05-Apr-14 21:22:48

But by the time he's arrived at your side you might as well just reward. I just don't see that recall is the sort of precise behaviour that a clicker excels at marking.

Booboostoo Sun 06-Apr-14 09:25:55

You don't start by marking the entire recall, you shape it so you start by marking the being near you. There should be plenty of occasions where the puppy happens to be near you, you mark and reward each one. Partly it's also a case of clicking what you want, being near you, and ignoring what you don't want, being away from you, exactly how you would with other behaviours like not jumping up. The reason you should avoid just feeding is the it can take time to produce and give the treat which may confuse the dog as to which behaviour is being rewarded.

As for the toilet issue this is one of the very few cases where you can name the behaviour straight away because once it starts it reliably takes place so this can help with identifying what it is you are rewarding for even in the absence of a click.

CalamityKate Sun 06-Apr-14 09:55:51

Yes toileting can be named immediately which helps. Easy to get on cue quickly.

Still wouldn't bother with a clicker for toileting or recall smile

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