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Wandering off....(53 Posts)
My golden is 4 and a half. Her recall has always been sporadic but, we’ve worked hard and in familiar places, she’d be happy to go off but always return when called for a treat. Recently, she’s just pleasing herself. Even in places we go and she knows she’s off lead and what’s expected of her. She’ll just carry on walking and sniffing away from me.
It’s gotten to the point where her walks are getting shorter and shorter because I just don’t have the time or patience to stand there calling, waving a treat. I ALWAYS praise when she DOES return but she’s suddenly become even more unreliable.
Any tips. Clues as to what’s going on?
Why are you letting her just wander if she has no recall and is totally ignoring you?
Put her back on her lead and go back to basics with recall practise. Dogs shouldn't be wandering around freely if they're not going to respond to their owners - what if she gets herself into danger or goes upto a dog on a lead and won't listen to you? She could get herself hurt and you'd be responsible as she's not under your control.
Treat her like you'd treat a puppy and go back to basics with all your recall training.
Work on recall using a longline, so she can't just wander off and please herself. don't reel her in when she doesn't come, just tug the line a couple of times and make yourself as appealing as possible.
I agree with a long lead. If you know your dog isn’t listening you really need to keep it on a lead all the time until recall improves.
My dog loves his squeaky ball. He gets either a treat or a play with the ball. The squeak is a great noise to get his attention too. Would your dog be interested in something like that?
Longline for sure.
Don’t feed or feed half her usual meal so she’s hungry prior to the walk. Then shout her back to you lots and feed her the other half of her breakfast biscuits from a bag in your pocket throughout the walk a few at a time. That way she will know you always have food and she will come.
Perhaps your treats weren’t tempting enough before?! Bits of chicken usually deal the deal.
I don’t feed her before walking. Treats are pretty nice. We are a dog food company. I may have given the impression she just wanders about. Until recently, I could keep her at my side when off lead and allow her to swim/field KNOWING she’d return to the whistle. ALL OF A SUDDEN this has totally ceased.
Oh, and yes, I understand I need to go back to basics but anyone have any ideas why this may have come about?
It's the time of year for lots of nice smells - deer season, rabbits, foxes, plus there's lots of livestock around too.
Autumn/spring are the worst time for it.
Have you seen the FENTON video?!
Go back to your initial recall training on the longline and she will get the picture again. Currently doing this with my spaniel as he has forgotten his recall manners and is having a little reminder!
No, not seen it. Will look it up.
Just reminds me of this time of year and is absolutely something my beagle would do!
If she's not coming back then wandering off is somehow better (more fun, maybe) than coming back for praise and treats.
What is she doing when wandering off because that might help you refresh her training.
For example, if she's off sniffing things then try to find a way you and she work together to sniff - e.g. basic scent work to find her treats rather than just be handed them.
If she's off chasing squizzers (as Monty Don calls the squirrels that Nigel chases) then perhaps a game involving something she can chase, such as a flirt pole.
Bored...! Good grief. She has so much of my attention. Must be ME then!
her walks are getting shorter and shorter ...*She’ll just carry on walking and sniffing away from me*
Well, she just refuses to walk on pavements. We had a one to one trainer who came to work with me who didn’t believe what I was saying but she was totally non pluses by the dog throwing herself to the floor and NOT moving. For anything. We used high value treats and eventually she suggested a choke chain. I refused that but we do use a slip lead, high on her neck. You’d need to see the performance to believe it. It just became less stressful to walk her in fields (we live in a very rural area).
Have you tried a harness? Ditch the trainer who suggested a choke chain!
I love goldies Many of them throw themselves onto the pavement and refuse to move - I see it more in goldies than any other breeds.
You need to reward the movement not lure her when she is already lying down.
To prevent the lying down energise the walk for a bit. Walk slowly, skip a few steps, talk in a high voice, reward her for looking at you as she walks, let her sniff, turn around quickly and run in the opposite direction calling her in a high pitched voice =- all of this onlead.
I know you didnt like what I said about her being bored but I do think you need to look at her focus on you and what she find rewarding.
If you were to write her bucket list from her point of view it would possibly include:-
playing - tugging
cuddling - she is goldie
lying in muddy puddles
you know her better so there will be other bits.
Think of your interaction with her does it include this when you are out and about?
Probably you Let her off lead and let her go and do her own thing,
Maybe call her back for a treat but that lasts a few seconds but her sniffing which she is enjoying lasts so much longer. Again I am guessing.
Instead make your interaction with her more from her bucket list
Get her involved in a tuggy play at home to start with.
Dont call her but treat her every time she looks at you or focuses on you. Hide toys on the walk - drop them as you walk out and get her to find them on your return.
Have you heard of the rucsac walk - that is great to get dogs interest back onto the owner.
I just search on mumsnet and see you were given very similar advice on a thread earlier in the year. did you follow up on any of the advice reading Overfedstanley she is saying exactly the same as here!
Just to add - you use treats as a reward but not all dogs are especially food motivated. My dog will do ANYTHING for a tennis ball so I always carry one if I'm going to let him off the lead.
If she's just wandering and sniffing while off-lead, is she not interacting with you in any way? Why not take a toy with you and interact - we have various tugs, a ball and a thrower as well as frisbee that we alternate through when we go for off-lead walks.
I don't really encourage my dog to just go off and sniff because he's likely to get distracted and ignore me, whereas if I keep him engaged with a ball or toy, he's less likely to wander off on his own.
This is what we do....
We drive to the fields but, I walk on lead the last 5 mins or so because she KNOWS there’s good stuff at the end of it and she WILL walk on the pavement for that short distance, in the field there’s some sniffing and running down to the river but also some flinging of the ball and rewarding recall. She good on this type of walk usually and I think someone up thread mentioned that at this time of year, there’s some pretty tempting smells about so, that makes sense that she’s rather preoccupied. We always have some ball play and a bit of training where she only gets rewarded if she does as asked. I don’t walk in a group of dogs anymore. Haven’t done for a couple of years because she’s off doing her own thing. She NEEDS my attention. What’s baffling is, she ant be bothered with me at the moment, she had to go to a dog sitter for three days a fortnight ago. She’s gone there from being little and this time, they said she was like a different dog. Not playing not mixing. Not really engaging. When I got back (travelled to Derbyshire for my mums’ funeral) we saw the vet who checked her over and all is well.
She’s never been your typical golden. We had one when I was little and it was like a big soft cuddly teddy. Very biddable, very kissy, always sat next (or on) to you 🙄. This girl isn’t like that. You can’t cuddle her, she’ll whale eye you and pull to walk away. Not kissy (which is fine). Very possessive with her toys/stuff. The pet sitter asked us not to take her bed because she was getting nasty with their dog if it so much as looked at her blanket! She’s always in mud/swimming/rolling/greedy so, all those things are very typical goldie but, the gentle biddable easygoing nature? No! We’ve got a duff one! 🤣 I love her to pieces but she’s NOT like any golden I've ever met before!
Just now, I had to walk totally out of my way to get back to the car because there’s some roadworks at the end of a little shortcut pathway which she WILL NOT walk down. I made up my mind to just keep going and reward her as she moved forward but she flatly refused to budge an inch. Arse to the floor....head down. Eventually, I had to give in and go HER way.
It’s exhausting. She’s always been like this but it’s gotten worse in the past month.
@Jouska.... do you mean “on her way back” home? Or when I first got her?