Zero recall

(26 Posts)
FattyFatCakes Mon 15-Apr-19 18:19:29

We have inherited two gorgeous, sweet, gentle poodle crosses aged 3.5 and 1.5 years. They are perfect family dogs but they have absolutely no recall.
They used to live on a farm (but are not working dogs) and were allowed to come and go as they please, having great adventures along the way.
In our garden they chase squirrels, birds, rabbits etc so I wouldn’t trust them around livestock.
Since we’ve had them we’ve only taken them to fully enclosed, fenced areas to walk but we would like to venture further afield and they really need lots of exercise off lead.
Is there any hope for improving their recall or is it too late? I’ve had plenty of adult dogs before but have never done recall training from scratch. I’m happy to pay a professional as I think this is way beyond me but I don’t want to waste a load of money if it is totally hopeless.
Thank you for any advice.

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stucknoue Mon 15-Apr-19 18:28:14

It's never too late. If they are food orientated start in the garden with the basics like you would a puppy, then armed with their favourite treats (cheese usually works well) try them in a larger enclosed space (the tennis courts at the park are a popular spot here) then a fully enclosed park at a quiet time of the day before fields etc with no fence. Rescue organisations may have even better advice on timescales but it's daily training, rewards for good behaviour and consistency that works

FattyFatCakes Mon 15-Apr-19 18:38:05

Thanks for replying.
I wasn’t sure if it was something that had to be taught before their brains fully developed iyswim.
Ok so I’m up for the challenge but this is going to take time! In the meantime, do I continue to take them for walks - which basically means they will bugger off whenever they feel like it?

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whethertheweatherisnice Mon 15-Apr-19 18:41:09

I have a 20 metre long line for our puppy. Cost less than £5 and she can get a really good run around with it on.
I practise recall when she’s on the long line and if she comes when called she gets cheese or other treats.

lorisparkle Mon 15-Apr-19 18:52:11

I second getting a long lead. The plastic coated ones are great as they don't get soggy. We used it a lot when we first had ddog. There is a fantastic Facebook group called 'dog training advice and support'. It has lots of files giving advice plus a dog trainer will answer specific questions. We were also recommended the book 'total recall'.

FattyFatCakes Mon 15-Apr-19 18:52:35

Ok great. Stupid question but do I hold onto one end? Won’t they get completely tangled?!

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FattyFatCakes Mon 15-Apr-19 18:53:27

Have just taken ‘total recall’ out from the library!

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GreenTulips Mon 15-Apr-19 18:56:24

We did treats - one in the bedroom one downstairs, plus kids in various rooms - took turns calling them and they’d come - MAKE sure you also or the dog Incase you need to grab their collar at any point

Then we moved on to ‘moving’ so call and move rooms

When our walking praise the dog, say the here or come work giving them a treat

Then off lead every few yards call and treat call and treat

Obviously this gets less over the weeks - until you call and pat more until there’s no treats just fuss

FattyFatCakes Mon 15-Apr-19 19:01:26

That makes sense thank you. They are both very bright so in the house / garden they will come / sit / stay but on a walk they have no idea that they’re not supposed to bugger off. I don’t use ‘come’ as I know they’d ignore me!

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AvocadosBeforeMortgages Mon 15-Apr-19 19:43:42

I inherited a 14mo terrier x who came with zero basic training.

After about 6 weeks of bonding, teaching a sit etc I decided to bite the bullet and teach recall. I took him on a (very) long walk on an extending lead (though with hindsight I'd use a long line). I frequently gave him the command of "PestDog, c'mere" and delivered him a particularly high value treat (dehydrated beef heart I think). When he was doing it reliably, including around other dogs, I took him to an old railway path (only two directions in which he could bugger off, I reasoned), took a deep breath and let him off, and continued practicing recall. It went fine. Even if he doesn't come back immediately he still gets a treat as he did do the right thing eventually (the worst thing you can do is tell a dog off for not coming back pronto).

I'm not sure how I had the balls to let him off after 6 weeks of knowing him, 3 hours of practice and when he wasn't mine at the time (then owner had given permission). If I'm honest I think it's an unusually short timescale.

I've not lost him once, he doesn't like going out of my sight or too far from me, and his recall is almost perfect (rolling in dead things, chasing squirrels and the occasional dog being the odd blind spot). I wouldn't trust him around livestock as the stakes are too high but we live in a city so it's a non issue.

Anyway, even old dogs can learn new tricks!

FattyFatCakes Mon 15-Apr-19 19:49:36

Wow I’m impressed! Good to know you can teach older dogs but unfortunately my two are so confident and love adventure. The moment I take them out they disappear and then they reappear 30 mins later happy as Larry. Even though I know it’s a fully enclosed space it’s disconcerting and I’m not sure how they will ever recall when the world is so exciting confused

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GreenTulips Mon 15-Apr-19 19:50:11

Well start shouting TREAT! And see how that goes

fleshmarketclose Mon 15-Apr-19 19:59:02

I adopted Bella who is 9 and had no recall, now nine months later I walk her offlead every day with no problems. For Bella food is the key so I carry a bag with tiny cubes of cheese , ham, hotdogs although I'm confident now that she would come back even if the bag was empty. We started small in the house, in the garden, in an enclosed field and then once she was reliable we ventured out on the trails. It is great to watch her running free tbh.

FattyFatCakes Mon 15-Apr-19 20:11:42

Lots of positive messages thank you and so far no one has said it’s a lost cause hooray! I’ve just ordered a treat bag, long leads and another dog whistle online. Excited but apprehensive! Dh thinks I’m fighting a losing battle but will give it my best shot!

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whethertheweatherisnice Mon 15-Apr-19 20:16:36

Though that said “and bought another dog whilst online” 😂😂😂

florentina1 Mon 15-Apr-19 20:21:26

We acquired our dog when she was 8 and really needed professional help. The trainer advised us to only feed her during the day with kibble as a treat on a long training lead. Then give her a normal meal at night, Fortunately she loves her food so calling her to us, making her sit then giving her a piece of kibble worked really well. Then, when we knew she would come back we went off lead at very quiet times. Within a few weeks she was fine with recall. Now she has normal meals at home but one quarter is kept back for recall on walks.

Bonkersblond Mon 15-Apr-19 20:32:40

Try using a whistle for recall, start by using the whistle to call in from the garden followed by a treat every time you let them out, maybe not at night(thinking of your neighbours). My terrier who does mostly as she pleases always comes back on the whistle.

FattyFatCakes Mon 15-Apr-19 21:17:00

whethertheweatherisnice could you imagine grin

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FattyFatCakes Mon 15-Apr-19 21:18:51

Great tips thank you. I’m definitely going to use the whistle as I need something that can be heard, consistently, and I hate calling. I have the attached to the leads so they’re always with us. And great idea about food as I don’t want too fat pooches!

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FattyFatCakes Mon 15-Apr-19 21:19:25

two damn autocorrect

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AgathaF Tue 16-Apr-19 07:17:22

Second the advice already given and would add that taking them out to walk individually for now might be helpful. They'll probably chose to play and run off together at the moment as that's what they're used to doing, rather than listen to you and engage in training.

MsMightyTitanAndHerTroubadours Tue 16-Apr-19 07:30:07

whistle is a good idea, some are really sensitive to tone and any hint of cross/exasperation in your voice and they won't recall.

dh is a bugger for that....calls dog, dog ignores, dh shouts more and so on.

I try not to call the dog until I have its attention, so I "hoo hoo hooooooooo" or "huuuuuuPAHHHH!" (think Big Fat Greek Wedding!) then call as soon as dog looks about to see what fool is creating such a racket. I discovered this as I didn't think one of the pups we had really knew his name, so calling him was just meaningless noise, so the "hooo" ing for attention, then clapping, calling, rummaging in pockets for delicious treats was all much more effective.

Twooter Tue 16-Apr-19 07:35:04

What Agatha said - i’d Only let one off at a time to start with.

Squirrel26 Tue 16-Apr-19 11:25:36

I don’t want to be the only negative person...but my dog arrived at the age of about 1, with a very strong prey drive and zero recall. Almost 2 years later and he has achieved more-often-than-not recall to within grabbing distance in fenced areas where we’ve done lots of training and he thinks ‘can’t catch me’ is a fun game to play. It took close to a year before he would acknowledge me outside AT ALL - wouldn’t take treats, wouldn’t make eye contact, didn’t react to a whistle. We had to do loads and loads of work on making me interesting to him - ‘watch me’, hand feeding, he had to be taught to play chase and tug with me inside then gradually move on to playing outside. I have spent enough money on training that I could probably have built my own dog run by now. He is lovely. He loves people, and inside he wants to be a close to me as possible, but it’s been so so hard to try and get through that obsessive hunting focus and get his attention, and I don’t think I’ll ever really trust him off lead.

I don’t want to make you feel like it’s hopeless, we have actually managed massive improvements and he’s still progressing, but Jesus has it been sloooow and painful! Stupid dog. He’s lucky he’s cute.

FattyFatCakes Tue 16-Apr-19 12:05:16

Oh no, mine have a ridiculously strong prey drive and that’s what worries me most. I feel like I could get to the stage where they recall unless there is something to chase which isn’t really recall is it?!

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