Mumsnet does not check the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you're worried about your pet's health, please speak to a vet or qualified professional.
This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Stubborn dog and recall(18 Posts)
Our dog is just over a year now and recall still isn’t brilliant. He’s a poodle and since he was little he has been so keen on other dogs. We’ve tried classes where he has been around other dogs and the classes have been pointless as he’s so mad on other dogs.
We’ve used a whistle and a clicker but the interest in other dogs seems to override his interest in us. We’ve had special toys for just recall and also super treats like cheese, meat etc which at home he’d gobble up.
We’ve resorted to keeping him on a long line because of this. Just feeling a bit of a failure. Coming at home he’s fairly good at and he started well off lead when he was smaller but then it all went to pieces. He sees another dog and he’s off.
It probably all went to pieces because he hit adolescence and decided he didn't need you so much.
Get him back on the long line for as long as it takes to get his recall back in place; if it takes months and months, so be it, it could take a year, you still keep him on the long line. If he's in danger of running away and getting lost keep him on a lead for a while.
He's a poodle he's intelligent and needs his interest captured so make yourself the most interesting thing in the park.
Play hide and seek with him. Make him find you, hide some treats and get him to hunt them down. Be loud and lively so that you're more interesting than those other dogs.
You're not a failure you just need to keep working at it until it works.
He is still young and at a prime age for recall to be difficult. What you describe is not unusual and plenty of dogs eventually develop a solid recall having been little runaways at that age.
Keep using the long line, keep practising and rewarding coming back to you, keep him at a distance from other dogs that he is not too distracted.
Change direction randomly. Drop treats randomly. Call him back when there is nothing at all to distract him and reward him for coming to you with treats or toys. Run away from him if you can, he will chase you and celebrate when he catches you. Make it so he has to watch you closely because he never knows where you are going to go or what you are going to do next.
Do all that whilst making other dogs less interesting. Remember that distance from other dogs makes them boring. Passing close by dogs quickly (3-5 seconds to say hi) makes them boring.
Think about something like fun agility. It is good for this because:
- it develops a fun bond between you and your dog
- it's an activity where focussing on you is the most rewarding thing for the dog to do
- in between your turns in the ring you get to practise sitting quietly near other waiting dogs. You won't be asking for anything complicated (unlike in classes) and can just focus on keeping calm whilst not feeling stupid if you need to walk away to get that important distance
Oh, and don't expect things to change quickly. Think of it like a year long project that will succeed if you are consistent and perservere.
DICarter1 I feel your pain, my 18 month old mini schnauzer is the same. I am half way through reading the total recall book. Hoping it will be the break through we need! 🤞
Just accept he has to be kept on a lead.
Find a different class with a decent trainer - mine has 3 poodles - and her youngest is only 13 months - I can see how smart and stubborn they are!
This is the age where dogs begin to end up in rescue - particularly the strong young males. I agree, back to basics, the long line. Imagine you have just got him and you're starting from scratch. It's hard not to get cross with them as you KNOW they know what you want them to do. But honestly they don't - they forget!
My youngest is an 11 month old mini schnauzer boy, I got him at 6 months after the death of his owner. The last few months he's been very selectively deaf - he adores other dogs and will run up to any dog when he's off lead.
I've restricted where and when I walk, I stick with times where we know there are other nice dogs and sympathetic owners. I only walk where he is always in eyesight. I'm going to classes with a great trainer. I call him back for random treats, I praise his coming back like a mad woman.
I can see he's beginning to shift his attitude and listen to me. Today he was a delight. Yes, he ran up to a new (to him) set of dogs, but I knew the owners and didn't panic - had a chat with them "oh - new dog " etc then parted and walked away calling him with me, and he came.
You can get through this with him, but it will take some dedication - so worth it in the end though.
Are you saying there’s no hope seltaeb?
I've got a cocker spaniel, and around 10 months he stopped coming back to me. Gave me a heart stopping moment when he chased a pheasant about a mile over a field out onto a main road.... thankfully nothing was coming. I sobbed in the car for about 20 minutes before being able to drive home.
So he went right back onto a long line, and stayed on it for nearly 6 months until I could trust him again. You have to make coming back to you the best thing ever.... we started off with high value food like chicken or cheese, then a ball, squeaky toy and heaps of praise. He did learn, it's just adolescence and they come out the other side again.
Of course he isn't going to have to be kept on a lead forever.
But getting a solid recall takes times, consistency and hard work.
Its just practice as some one mentioned try a different trainer, we have some one local who trains close protection dogs, now he is totally different to all the others but he gets the best results. Its all about routine, and practice.
We have a very stubborn breed of dog but just bear it in mind when we do let her off, people forget some dogs are designed to run for miles chasing a scent or animal and you are trying to change that when its inbuilt
Don't give up Poodles are a fab intelligent dog
What Roomba suggests - all great! The three second rule also seemed to work for us.
I also have a poodle. Excellent choice!
He was very similar to yours around dogs/people when out when he was around one. Like you we used a long line. I also had a trainer come to do a couple of 1-1 sessions with me. Mostly all that Roomba suggested!
He's now about 15 months and his recall is about 90%. He adores some pink squeaky balls we bought and can hear them over anything else so when he comes racing back for that noise he gets either a play with the ball or a treat.
He's been put off other dogs by over friendly big hyper things. So while he will be friendly he'd rather be with his people. So if we squeak the ball and walk away he will follow us.
Squirrels still override most things, but he definitely seems to have a distance limit and he hasn't ever gone out of sight.
The trainer also said to me that most dogs are never going to be 100% recall but it's about the owner being aware enough of temptations and body language and just popping them on their lead for those few minutes if necessary. It distracting with food or a toy. She also said most dogs recall improves after the age of two as everything is slightly less new and exciting (though that's a bit sad ).
Keep working at it. You'll find something that works. If you can find a good dog trainer to do a session on a walk with you as well that really helps.
Thanks for all your advice. We’ve shifted back to a long line. Do dogs in general just bound up to other random dogs? I feel like he’s the only one who does it. He loves sniffing and has his nose permanently when we’re out. High value treats don’t seem to bother him when out. Meat/cheese they’re not as interesting as the environment. We’ll keep working on it though as he’s lovely.
From my experience loads of dogs bound up to random dogs. Whether mine is on or off his lead random dogs will bound up. I think it's your role to make sure he's not able to do that though.
Just need eyes in the back of your head at all times while he learns you are mire exciting than the other dogs.
If you look over any old threads that I was on you would see that recall was awful for us during my dogs teenage months. And I do mean awful because we live and walk in rural forest areas and he's a hunting dog so his nose rules him.
I stopped walking where there was other dogs and walked at times and areas where there would be less of them or if they were around I could spot them in the distance before my dog did and we would walk in the opposite direction or I would put mine on a lead and get him to sit whilst they other dog passed in the distance.
Every walk we worked on recall. Whether that was practising him coming back to a whistle, playing hide and seek, not saying anything but walking in the opposite direction to him all the time so he had to keep watching me. We stopped walking on any path or route and simply 'trained' in an area.
What I am saying is that I gave up on the traditional walk and just did recall training and focusing on me. High value treats for recall is comical for us. I could offer mine a fillet steak and he would turn his nose up. That's because everything outside is more high value than a bit of steak. What I did find is that actually hunting and chasing a ball was his high value thing. It wasn't obvious at first as he never seemed interested in balls (more chasing dogs/deer/rabbits). But when I started to chase the balls with him and hunt the balls out he really changed. Now he won't even chase a deer in front of us and ignores all dogs on walks even if they run up to us.
Persevere but accept it can take many months and look out for what your dog really likes. If he uses his nose then look for hunting games you can both do together when outside as then you become far more fun than just the person who walks him.
I could've written this post so hopping on for some advice!
I was advised at puppy school to use a happy cheery voice for recall so they think you've got something exciting for them. Worked a treat.
I agree with the happy voice - you need to be willing to sound like a complete idiot - happy happy happy!
Male owners find this difficult in my experience