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How do you stay sane when they run away during recall training?

(26 Posts)
Notonaschoolnight Sat 11-Jan-14 08:29:49

I need your wise words as yesterday was scary for me, she's 13m today and right now I don't believe my training treats, emergency highly desirable toy, sains taste the diff ham and (no longer all that) clean whistle will ever stand a chance when she spots the dog and owner in the distance before I do.

She's getting more and more cocky with stand offs happening pretty much everytime I let her off

She's a wheaten also a breed that people say can never be totally trusted off lead so at the min I'm fighting the temptation to finally cave in and buy an extension lead (I assoc that with failing)

NuttyMuttie Sat 11-Jan-14 09:47:11

Don't let it happen.

Do if she is now being unreliable then she has to go back onto a long line. The more times she "practises" ignoring your recall the worse it will get.

I personally think recall is ongoing training and not by doing traditional recalls.smile

As one of the country's best trainers that I was lucky to work wth always said "Recall must be the beginning of something fantastic for the dog not the end"

So if you are recalling a dog from playing with another dog putting it on a lead and slowly walking away after giving a bit of cheese - why should the dog come back?

Your dog is showing you that she loves to play chase and running about games as I expect this is what she is doing with the other dogs.

You need to do this with her, get a tuggy or a furry toy tie it on a bit of string and run around your garden and get her to chase it and catch it.

Get her to run around the sofa following the toy and you.

Then you will stand more chance out and about if your get your toy run away from her calling in a high pitched voice, she will see more games, fun games and come charging.

Recall is about relationship with your dog, another thing to do is to just reward your dog in the house when she is near you, close enough to touch her collar, she will learn that this is a positive place to be and we naturally come to this point over time.

Play games at home with other people put her in the middle of a circle and each person call her in turn, quickly and in a fun way, reward with game or treat at each person she goes to.

Practice a recall with food on the floor, if you can not call you dog away from cheese in your sitting room there is no way you will call her back when out and about, do the same with a toy.

Get a friend with a dog and proof recall calling her from a familiar dog

teaching come with distractions

Lilcamper Sat 11-Jan-14 09:58:00

Use a harness like this dog-games-shop.co.uk/perfect-fit-fleece-dog-harness and a long training line like this www.amazon.co.uk/Nylon-Outside-Line-Black-50ft/dp/B000NWMB70/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1389434185&sr=8-3&keywords=long+training+lead until you can't remember the last time you needed to rely on them.

moosemama Sat 11-Jan-14 10:46:32

Notonaschoolnight, I have to say I don't agree with the Wheatens not being trustworthy off-lead thing. Mine was a pain in the proverbials as a pup, as she wanted to say hello to everyone, but as you know, with enough patience, time and effort on my part, I ended up with a girl that never left my side in the park, because she just wanted to train all the time - to the extent I had to teach her the cue 'go play' to get her to go off and get some exercise.

Speaking of which, would you consider doing something like agility or heelwork to music with her? Both are fantastic for building a bond and increasing control and it was doing htm that finally convinced my girl that it was more fun to be with me, than to run off and say hi to every single person that entered the park.

She is still young and the world is still such an exciting place to her. I second what Lilcamper said about a the harness and longline (I have a perfect fit harness for my pup). You can get different lengths of longline, depending on how far you want her to get. Longlines are designed for you to step/stand on before your dog gets to the point where she is too far away. By using one you can retain some degree of control, while she can still have some freedom. To start with though, I would keep her on it and do lots and lots of recall and release, as well as the fun stuff Nutty mentioned in her post, until she is reliably coming back, even with distractions. Make sure you always put a hand in her collar or harness before you reward her for coming back, to avoid the situation where you end up with a dog that dances around just out of reach or ducks away when you try to grab them.

Then, only when you are confident and would bet money she will return to your cue, you can start dropping the line, but leaving it attached and it will give you some security that you can get her back, even if she's fixated on something else. Don't use it to drag her back though, as it needs to have positive associations.

Having her on a longline will take the stress out of walks and once you are less anxious about her high-tailing off across the horizon things will start to imrove.

Don't be despondent, you will get there if you stick with it.

How old is she now?

Notonaschoolnight Sat 11-Jan-14 15:49:32

Thanks everyone, she's 13m and sorry I didn't explain that when offlead its with a perfect fit harness and a longline and the puppy class (which really she's too old for but the trainer thinks she's not ready for the older class as when she's let offlead in the arena she's really submissive and quite scared of the bigger more dominant dogs and I agree with her) is 30min play 30min agility.

I do all but Nutty's last 2 points as well but ill certainly have a go at the food one but I don't have a friend with a dog

Hopefully I am doing myself a disservice and this is about her being a difficult age and more interested in saying hello to every man, woman or beast perhaps when she becomes an adult she'll settle down a bit

Still not sure how to handle the next offlead walk right now will have to give it some thought

NuttyMuttie Sat 11-Jan-14 16:06:29

She should not be having off lead walks at the moment

moosemama Sat 11-Jan-14 17:20:12

She is at 'that age', which is a pain in the proverbials, but also good, because it means it will get better as she matures if you stick with it.

Don't let her 'off-lead' for the time being. She can get plenty of stimulation and exercise at the end of a long-line and that way you will have lots of opportunities to keep working on the recall and finding ways to make it fun and rewarding for her.

You can hire secure fields for off-lead exercise if you really feel she a good off-lead romp and that way you don't have to undermine her recall training as you can just let her romp until she's had enough and comes back to you, without worrying about her bothering anyone else or running off. Have a google in your area and ask at your dog club as well. If you have a local greyhound rescue, you could try asking them as well, as lots of hounds use these exercise fields for off-lead/free running.

cansleepanywhere Sat 11-Jan-14 18:18:26

My lab is 9 mths and wants to play with everyone. If I'm letting her off lead then I make sure it's somewhere I can see someone coming from a fair way off so I can put her back on the lead. She's fine with bikes, joggers, ducks and other wildlife.......just crazy about dogs!

As for recalling off dogs, you don't necessarily need a friend with a dog. A few times I've asked other dog walkers whose dogs look 'up for it' if they wouldn't mind if my lab played with them for a couple of minutes and I walked away and recalled her (under the proviso that I would hot foot it back if she decided she'd rather be with them). No-one refused and you'll find a lot of other dog owners are happy to help.

Good Luck smile

Lilcamper Sat 11-Jan-14 19:24:34

My lab is 2 and still thinks every dog he sees is his bestest mate ever....I have recently found out he goes nuts for pouches of wet cat food, perfect recall treat smile

moosemama Sat 11-Jan-14 19:58:13

I use Fish4Dogs Salmon Mousse for the same thing Lilcamper. Another good one is a tube of Primula Cheese Spread - just something unusual, that they only get as a super-duper reward and the pouches and tubes mean you don't end up with mucky hands after every dog walk. grin

I don't have the running off towards other dog problem with my pup - he tends to run the other way. My older boy is 8 though and loves absolutely every dog he meets. Fortunately his early recall training has paid off, with just a bit of a hiccough when we first started walking the pup with him and he seemed to completely forget it all. hmm He's back on track now though.

Lilcamper Sat 11-Jan-14 20:20:50

Primula was his LLW reward...saved my fingers being caught grin

Notonaschoolnight Sat 11-Jan-14 20:51:49

Thanks all lots of things to think about ill look into secure land locally and I have to admit the longline trailing off her now has so many knots its prob only 3m long ish if someone comes close enough for her to see I tend to stand on it as she's given me some right burns when I've tried to hold it

If I'm understanding the advice and need to go back to holding the end of a longline long enough for her to run about on ill have to get a new one and some decent protective gloves!!

Do we all agree no retractable? I don't even know how they work

Lilcamper Sat 11-Jan-14 20:56:21

No retractable, shudders I have seen pictures of injuries to both dogs and humans caused by them. They are evil.

MonstersBalls Sat 11-Jan-14 20:58:37

My collie pup gets too excited by really high value treats (I've tried cheese cubes, sausage and primula) so I've been using Iams cat food. The cat doesn't like it so it's accidentally become my usual treat bag filler.

I'm interested to see you using cat food Lilcamper because I've been worrying about its suitability.

Op I wouldn't see using an extension lead as failing. I think you do what what you have to until they're reliable.

moosemama Sat 11-Jan-14 21:08:50

Definitely not a retractable lead - they are the devil's own invention.

I have several different length longlines from here. They are made of a lovely soft material that doesn't rip your hands up like some other webbing leads or the rope-style ones.

I',m just about to order a new police-style lead from there as I was so impressed with them.

Notonaschoolnight Sat 11-Jan-14 21:12:16

They look perfect moose thank you out of interest what size would you go for in my position?

moosemama Sat 11-Jan-14 21:18:45

Longlines are designed for you to stand on rather than grab when the dog is free-running. I prefer the wider soft-web ones myself, because with sighthounds, if I do happen to be holding them and they see something and take off after it, they can go from 0-60 in seconds and my hands would be shredded with anything more coarse.

moosemama Sat 11-Jan-14 21:23:37

How far away from you are you comfortable with her being? I used the 10ft one at first with Pip, as although I wanted him to get a bit of freedom, I also wanted to do lots of recall work and wanted him to be close enough to be able to get his attention easily - setting him up to achieve if-you-will.

He's mostly off-lead now, but if we're somewhere new or I think he's likely to be too distracted to recall reliably I have him on the 20ft one, so he gets plenty of freedom, but I am still in control, just in case.

Notonaschoolnight Sat 11-Jan-14 21:30:46

I get you moose thank you

Lilcamper Sat 11-Jan-14 21:40:33

If you tie knots in them at regular intervals you can step on them and they won't run under your feet. Monsters I have a big dog and a small pouch of cat food is only used as a recall reward when another dog appears.

moosemama Sat 11-Jan-14 21:49:25

Same here, Salmon Mousse is a top-grade, surprise recall reward. They never know when they're going to get it, which helps keep them interested.

If they recall from a particularly tempting situation they get to scarf a whole pouch as an ultra-reward - which is a bit like winning the jackpot for them.

They don't get enough of it, regularly enough for the ingredients to be a huge issue - although there is actually nothing in it that would be an issue for them anyway.

mintchocchick Sat 11-Jan-14 22:14:53

Moose - with the salmon mousse you linked to - can you snip the side off the pouch and squeeze bits out for them as rewards rather than having to handle the food? I am getting fed up with sticky hands from sausage chunks or chicken bits on every off-lead walk. I also then have to walk without a glove on that hand and that's going to be a problem if the temps drop! So maybe with those salmon mousse pouches you squeeze it out to give them straight then save the rest - I imagine it lasts a few days opened in the fridge?

MonstersBalls Sun 12-Jan-14 00:54:55

That's a good idea to have a variety of treats. My problem is colliepup keeps jumping up at me if she knows there's cheese in the offing!

We're still a loooong way from reliable recall. hmm

moosemama Sun 12-Jan-14 10:54:30

Yes, you can either snip the corner off and actually there's a ripable strip so you can keep it intact until you get to the park, then rip it open a little and squeeze bits out if that's how you want to use it.

I used to use it for kongs as well and it does keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

mintchocchick Sun 12-Jan-14 21:23:43

Thanks moose, I will try and find those. I'm banned from internet shopping as I have a compulsion to spend the minimum needed for free delivery and the family budget isn't quite balancing at the moment, so I need to find somewhere nearby that stocks the fish4dogs so I can buy just two or three!

My puppy does that leaping thing as he knows I always have treats in my hand! It is very annoying as he might do it throughout a whole walk if there are no interesting dogs to play with. But I balance out the fact that I must have treats that are immediate as we walk along a bridleway and see joggers, cyclists and the occasional horse and he's fascinated by all those and if I don't get him back quickly, he might be off chasing them. So leaping is the price I pay, but I do wonder if I'm doing this whole recall thing correctly when he insists on leaping and being a pain!

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