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Was this Dh's fault?

(9 Posts)
littlepeas Fri 07-Aug-15 10:09:57

I'm having to tread very carefully with this, as dh is very touchy about it and feels he wasn't at fault, but I think it was down to user error. We have a 7 month old golden retriever puppy - overall he is a very easy puppy but we are still having issues at mealtimes (he is extremely foodie) and with recall when he sees another dog (his recall is otherwise excellent).

I am mainly responsible for walking and my tactic has been to only let him off lead where it is quiet - this is the case for most of our walks, as our house backs onto miles of quiet bridleways and footpaths - if we are on the green near our house/the park/somewhere where we are very likely to meet other dogs I either keep him on, or let him off but stay very vigilant and most of the time I spot other dogs before he does and get him back on the lead. I get him to sit and wait on lead, while the dog either comes to say hello or walks past. He is gradually getting better, but I do feel like we need to ride it out to an extent, and the greatest improvement will come with age and maturity.

Dh walks him on his own roughly once a week. His attitude is that the dog needs to learn not to approach every dog he meets and he lets him off more freely than I do. This tends to result in the dog running over to greet every dog he encounters with dh hopelessly recalling him. Last night dh let him off on the small green opposite our house, so that the dog 'could trot alongside him back to the house' - fair enough in theory, but the dog spotted a much smaller dog on the other side of the green and took off after it. The small dog was petrified of the huge golden retriever bounding towards him and ran away with our dog in pursuit. Luckily the small dog only lived around the corner and ran home and they didn't cross any roads, so both were retrieved safely and thankfully the owner of the small dog was ok. Our dog is big and playful, but very soppy and not remotely aggressive, but obviously the little dog didn't want to play and it and it was our fault that this happened.

Dh has come back with the attitude that it was the dog's fault for having no self control and not coming when called, rather than his fault for not having proper control of the dog. I think the opposite - we know that his recall is shit when other dogs are around, so we should behave defensively and not let him off in an area where we are likely to meet other dogs and definitely not right next to a road!! He is a puppy and still learning, I am working on it but it is taking time and dh is being a bit impatient imo.

I do wonder whether the dog is taking the piss out of dh a bit? I am his main walker/carer/handler - I have done 90% of the walking and all of the training (classes and lots of practice at home) and I feed him. He has never run off on my watch - I do take more care, but I wonder whether he sees me as a greater authority than dh? The care has naturally fallen to me as I am at home and also, really, I am the dog person - dh likes dogs, but this is his very first one, where as I have grown up with (much smaller!) dogs and have more experience.

I have got to the end of this and realised that there isn't a great deal of point to this post, but I needed a bit of a rant about it. I don't know whether I should just take 100% of the responsibility for walking - it is so much harder in the summer holidays!

MeganTrainer Fri 07-Aug-15 10:22:57

Of course it's your husbands fault.

So he thinks the dog should learn not to go off after other dogs. What EXACTLY is he doing to TEACH the dog not to?

Dogs don't generalise well. He is not "taking the piss" - he behaves differently with you than he does your husband because he hasn't yet realised - because he hasn't been TAUGHT - that the rules are the same on walks with your husband as they are with you.

I'd think about stopping your foolish DH from walking the dog until he can be sensible.

WeAllHaveWings Fri 07-Aug-15 10:25:29

If both of you are walking the dog, then both of you need to do proper recall training with him before you let him off in public area's where he's likely to be tempted to run off.

Your dh seems to think the dog will automatically understand English and do as he's told. Doesn't work that way.

You might train him to recall perfectly, but your dh will have a different tone etc and will need to train him too. He also needs to be trained in various surroundings with various distractions.

We had/have trouble with our Labrador, I was mostly walking and trained recall to the whistle and he was almost perfect (even recalled instantly from unexpected running sheep!), I then gave dh a whistle and he broke the dog sad

Within a week he had undone all my good work by using the whistle at the wrong times and sometimes chastising him for his poor behaviour instead of rewarding him when he returned regardless of what he had been doing.

Sorry, but I think you are going to have to, like me, train both your dog and your dh grin

MakingBaking Fri 07-Aug-15 10:28:02

We are pretty much in the same situation as you! Our pup is 11 months and will take off after a dog given the chance, of course it is usually the wee dogs that run off and then dpup thinks that's a great game!
Thankfully he is toy orientated so most of the time we break out the game of fetch around other dogs and he can ignore them but otherwise we do the sit and wait thing, sometimes holding his collar or on lead. (He's gotten into trouble for running off after other dogs at his daycare but that is on another thread!)

I am crossing my fingers that he will calm down with age and ignore dogs more. But it does help if I'm there rather than anyone else. I do most of his walking, feeding and playing so he sees me as slightly more interesting than my DP so is more likely to stay close and respond.

You're right and the fault is with your DP, the pup is still young and he should have been managing the situation better. The only thing I can suggest is for your DP to make himself more interesting to your dog. LittlePup needs to see spending time with you and dp as more rewarding. Does he like toys? Or perhaps try just loping around like a gorrilla every now and again, our pup loves this and lop around with us though we do look like fools!

Godstopper Fri 07-Aug-15 10:29:35

Issues with ..

"recall when he sees another dog (his recall is otherwise excellent)."

That means he does not yet have a reliable recall. The test of a good recall is to see if your dog recalls around distractions (it's easy otherwise). You have not said what you are doing to train it: but, lots of tasty treats reserved only for that situation, and frequently. Find a fairly quiet spot with a long line and practice, practice, practice.

I'm not trying to be harsh: I've been through it with my Border Terrier, who used to charge into hedges (squirrels), and zoom at anything that looked interesting. Some walks were purely about training the recall. We also did it inside the house too. Now, we're there and I barely think about it - but it took about a year!

Your husband really needs to be on the same page as you. Your dog behaves differently with him because he has been allowed to: it's easily fixable.

WeAllHaveWings Fri 07-Aug-15 10:38:51

Recommend the "Total Recall" book, but both you and your dh will need to agree which approach you are taking and also both read the book and do the training.

littlepeas Fri 07-Aug-15 11:38:08

Thank you everyone. I know the recall needs a lot of work - he is good with most distractions, but even food (and this is an extremely foodie dog) will not tempt him away from other dogs! Maybe if I have him on lead I could start distracting him with a really good treat and go from there? I will have a look at the Total Recall book.

MeganTrainer Fri 07-Aug-15 19:04:36

The food is only part of it.

In some situations you could wave a roast chicken and the dog is still going to find the distraction - be it another dog, a squirrel or whatever - more appealing in that moment.

As the excellent Total Recall will teach you, it's about teaching the recall very methodically and doing things in a certain order. You also can't skip steps or rush through them. It's all about conditioning a response USING food but ultimately the dog won't always be recalling FOR food. If that makes sense.

Booboostwo Fri 07-Aug-15 20:02:56

Of course it's your DH's fault, he probably needs to sleep on it and will come to the same conclusion.

As for the recall it does make sense that the dog listens more to you if you do most of the training. If I were you I would try to strengthen the recall in general with all members of the family with the recall game (small enclosed area like a garden, two people a few metres away from each other, one calls the dog clicks and treats the recall, the other calls the dog). I would also be tempted to long line him around other dogs to break the habit of running off with them.

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