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How to keep dog within an acceptable range when off lead

(16 Posts)
babyblackbird Tue 10-Oct-17 22:42:39

I know the theory - i.e. Pippa Mattinson Total Recall - change direction, be unpredictable, make dog keep an eye on you, hide behind trees etc, but having tried all of these consistently over the course of many weeks my dog still ranges too far from me. He has an excellent recall but that means I am having to call him every 10 seconds or so because he is constantly ranging quite a way at a pace.
I have a longline and have been keeping him on it more but none , and I mean none, of my other friends with dogs have ever even had to train this - their dogs naturally stay within 10 metres or less of them - what am I doing wrong ??? Any advice / tips ???

BLUEsNewSpringWatch Wed 11-Oct-17 10:09:15

Does your dog know a wait command - as in stop where you are now type command?

I found initially that recalling every time he went to far meant he was too excited when I sent him off again. So I started telling him to wait every time he got too far. If he didn't wait he got recalled into me immediately. If he did wait, once I was close I threw a treat a step or two a head of dog, as I said his release command, the treat helped stop him zooming off. Then over a few weeks he pretty much stopped trying to get too far ahead.

Bubble2bubble Wed 11-Oct-17 10:46:41

What breed of dog? Some have a greater need to run than others, some will naturally stay at your feet.
I have two springer collies who love to run, but have a 'stay close' command which Is different to an actual recall but I can use if I need to keep them away from children/ other dogs etc while off lead.

babyblackbird Wed 11-Oct-17 12:14:18

Thanks for replies - he's a working lab and still entire at the moment which I have been told means his desire to sniff and explore is greater than a neutered lab. Before people chip in with get him neutered there are very good reasons why I'm not right now including being advised by my vet not to.

How do you go about teaching a wait ? Or stay close - he knows a heel command which I use to keep him close when I need to off lead , but I really want to stop him ranging too far in the first place.

He stays close if we are playing with his ball but then he just becomes ball obsessed and ignores his environment.

BiteyShark Wed 11-Oct-17 14:06:06

I am currently teaching a stop command. To do this associate the 'sit' command with one blow of a whistle. At first this only worked when he was by me. Now I can get him to sit when he is a distance and then I signal to stay with my palm of my hand and walk to him and praise. Eventually i hope to get him to sit whilst he is running but we haven't got to that stage yet as still proofing the sit and wait at a distance when he is just mooching about or looking at me.

MissWilmottsGhost Wed 11-Oct-17 14:14:56

My dog responds to "hey! Too far!", and will stop and wait for me to catch up. But I am struggling to remember how she learned that, I don't think I taught her consciously confused

I did do a fair bit of walking the other way or hiding behind trees if she went too far to hear me. She used to do some classic double-takes when she saw I wasn't meekly following behind. I think she thinks she needs to keep an eye on me or I get lost grin

babyblackbird Wed 11-Oct-17 15:37:41

Misswilmotts I think my dog is hoping I will get lost so that I stop ruining his fun. Doesn't matter how exciting I try to make myself, he would rather sniff ( and eat crap)confused

littlehayleyc Wed 11-Oct-17 16:19:32

I did a recall course with a trainer. The method we used was to work with the dog on a long line. When the dog gets nearly to the end of the line, you use a word like 'steady'. You then use your hand to brake, so that the dog has to stop (if it doesn't do so voluntarily) you then call the dog back and reward. We were taught to use different rewards such as play with a toy, give a treat or run away so the dog thinks it's fun to chase you. You can also throw a treat on the floor and they have to find it. After repeating this lots of times the dog associates 'steady' with getting to the edge of the distance they should be. You need to practice in lots of places and it's easier if you're moving at a reasonable pace so the dog isn't getting bored of being called away from things it wants to sniff. My dog is 18 months and not neutered yet either, and he doesn't dash off in front very far now, and will wait or come back to find me when I call.

babyblackbird Wed 11-Oct-17 16:53:48

Thanks Littlehey that's really useful

BertieBotts Wed 11-Oct-17 16:56:46

May be helpful:

villainousbroodmare Wed 11-Oct-17 17:32:05

Wait is easy to teach, although if I were teaching it again I'd use a different word as people are endlessly, pointlessly saying "wait" to dogs, which is not good for a command word.
Easiest with another person. Other person walks ahead of you with dog on short leash. You call Wait! Person stops dead. Word for you to catch up and perform release move - for me a deliberate long stroke down the dog's back but just anything to prevent him dashing off the second you catch up. Then click and treat and on you walk again. Practice not releasing the dog immediately.
It is hands down the most useful thing I have taught my dog, and it's easy to teach as it comes naturally to them, much more so than recalls.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Wed 11-Oct-17 20:59:47

I also have a young entire working lab and he is exactly the same. He can run like a bloody greyhound and seems to prefer being about fifty yards ahead of me. I tell him I might as well be out by myself for all the company he is.

babyblackbird Wed 11-Oct-17 22:20:39

Ha ha MissAdorabelle that's exactly how I feel !! I sometimes wonder if there is any point me being on the walk and whether if I just opened the front door he could sort himself out. I reckon he would do exactly the same route we often do and not notice my absence at all grin

ruthsmumkath Thu 12-Oct-17 07:35:04

I have a Labrador based dog - he loves a run about chasing squirrels and foxes - I take him to some woodland and walk around with little dog at my ankle while he uses up his energy - as long as he comes back when I call I don’t mind him wandering.

Dollyollie Thu 12-Oct-17 07:51:22

We’ve taught our ddog to wait, we walk a lot in the country and I don’t like her going out of site or too far ahead. I think she picked it up from lead walking we ‘wait’ at traffic lights and when crossing the road etc so she automatically stops (and gives me the hurry up look) if I shout wait. She isn’t very brave though and naturally doesn’t stray far

usainbolt Thu 12-Oct-17 17:37:33

Just keep giving him titbits at regular intervals on the walk - he will keep checking back to you frequently. Over time you can increase the length of time between the treating

Be careful to reward when he is near you not when he is the furthest point and you recall him back

The aim is to have a reward circle around you of about 6ft reward him when he is in this circle.

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