spaniel recall!!!

(12 Posts)
whatatod0 Sat 27-Oct-18 21:58:21

Help! Our gorgeous Sprocker Spaniel is 10 months old now.
In the garden he is well trained, BUT as soon as he is off the lead on a walk he just runs and runs and runs. He often runs off for 20 - 30 mins and so far has always come back. I know we need to do something before he gets lost. I have tried treats (sausages, meat, dog treats etc) tennis ball, toys, games, fuss/praise but he is just not interested when he's on a walk.
We have an 18month old dog too who's recall is good.
What can I do??

OP’s posts: |
Whitney168 Sat 27-Oct-18 22:01:55

I’m afraid the answer to that is keep him on a lead until you have trained a reliable recall.

Dull, I know, I feel your pain as I have one who is not reliable and we are very careful where we let him off lead - but with mine it’s because he thinks every dog is his friend and he wants to go and see them. If he was disappearing, he would absolutely not be off the lead at all.

VinoEsmeralda Sat 27-Oct-18 22:02:39

The tip we got many years ago was to hide from him. It really worked. Just stood behind a (fat) tree and watched on.

1805 Sat 27-Oct-18 22:03:57

yep, do the hiding thing regularly! One dog comes to find me….

LizzieBennettDarcy Sat 27-Oct-18 22:13:32

My cocker spaniel was on a long training line for about 5/6 months between 12 and 18 months. He lost all common sense, and was just too interested in running free and sniffing out birds. My wake up call came when he chased a pheasant and nearly ran out onto a busy road. So back on the line he went. I kept a squeaky toy in my pocket, he's obsessed with them and won't ever ignore it or otherwise a tennis ball. And lots of interaction so he's focused on you.

It does get better honest, this is the "teenage" rebellion and pushing boundaries. But you must keep them safe. I've also got an Acme whistle that always works too. Total Recall by Pippa Mattinson could be worth a read.

whatatod0 Sat 27-Oct-18 22:26:40

Thanks.
Yes I do the hiding thing too! He's fine when he's nearby and both our dogs race to find me!
I have just bought an Acme whistle to save my poor throat. I think a long line will be next.

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Sat 27-Oct-18 22:43:04

I remember being told in gundog training class that you need to keep spaniels close to you because if you let them get too far away and they pick up a scent they will be gone.

My cocker from the age of 6 months to almost a year went through his teenage phase and we lost recall. I did all the hiding, walking off in the opposite directions, playing ball etc to stay interesting. I practiced recall lots of times on each walk to try and reinforce it and tried to make sure he didn't go too far.

Mine had a few scares but not as bad as what it sounds like for you and in that situation I don't think I would be comfortable off lead. The difference being I know mine didn't venture that far away because I switched to walking in wide open countryside so I could see him and we were away from any roads and never saw any other dogs.

What I am not sure from your thread is whether you had mastered recall outside and had now lost it or whether recall was always a problem. My dog had good recall with a whistle outside until he reached the teenage phase so he 'understood' he needed to come back but just stayed away because he was being stubborn so I knew if I kept at it recall would come back when he grew up and it did.

If you have always struggled with recall outside then that's a bit different as you need to get him understand what to do in that situation. I have just seen you have got a whistle. That is essential and you now need to go back to basics in the garden and then progress outside so he understands what the whistle means.

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whatatod0 Sat 27-Oct-18 23:29:08

thanks biteyshark.
I think in his younger months, he followed our other dog more, so recall was ok. Now he's more confident and he just goes off on his own.
We try to be responsible and only let him off the lead in safe areas, but obviously we can't be sure he is always safe when he's gone. He pulls dreadfully when on the lead still, ready to run as soon as he is let loose.
He can respond to the whistle in the garden, but not in the open yet (early days).

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Sun 28-Oct-18 08:15:55

Hang in there, OP!

These are the months you have to press on with nothing but faith the learning is going in and will emerge again when the hormones have stabilised grin.

Battendog is 15 months old (springer) and I was just thinking this morning that his recall is starting to get better again, rather than worse. We spent an entire walk with him recalling on first command (even if he took a second or two to make the decision!).

I'd never heard the point about not letting spaniels venture too far as their nose'll take over but it really rings true for me.

Things I have done with Battendog:

- carry treats and reward him for anything he does that I like, e.g. if he trots 20-30 feet away and then back to me of his own accord, he gets a treat
- when he recalls back I tend to make an embarassing amount of fuss, like a little party
- try to remain interesting throughout the walk: I might hide or get excited encourging him to jump over a log or ask him to come and investigate something strange or run away in a random direction or suddenly produce a toy he didn't know I had. Anything to keep his focus on me.
- never call him more than twice and allow a little gap between calls for him to make a decision to come back or not. If he doesn't come the second time, I go and fetch him.
- never wait for him. Actually, sometimes I sneakily do this because I have to keep an eye on him but I try and make it always look like I might walk off without him, if he's not careful!
- keep a beady eye out for anything he might find distracting to get him back on a lead before we meet it - other dogs being a biggy.
- recall randomly on a walk, for no reason. I don't want him to think a recall only means there is something fun I want to distract him from!

BiteyShark Sun 28-Oct-18 08:21:13

missbattenburg the keep them close was told to me by the gundog trainers. It's because they (spaniels) are breed to work 'closely' with the handler unlike other gundog breeds that are breed to work at large distances from the handler. So if they venture too far really you have lost full control of them (especially when young with recall).

Tattandthis Sun 28-Oct-18 08:27:11

Have you trained him to respond to the whistle?

With my spaniel I used liver for recall. Only for recall.

First week. Twice a day I would give 3 quick pips on the whistle in the kitchen with my dog next to me and feed 10 pieces of liver.

Next week I would do the same from a different room

Week after I would whistle whilst she was downstairs and I up

Then progress to the garden.

Then outside on a long line.

You have to give him incentive to come back

WisestIsShe Sun 28-Oct-18 08:30:49

I can highly recommend the book Total Recall by Pippa Mattinson.

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