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Recall - back to basics(9 Posts)
The gorgeous adorable hellhound is approaching 10 months and recall is a thing that has really slipped. Some days he is great, others less so.
The biggest problem we have is that nothing is more interesting to him than other dogs. They are his favourite.
Anyway, I appreciate this a problem I need to solve with hard work my end. My guy tells me I should go back to basics. Start at the very beginning again as if he was a baby. Rewarding the recall cue then increasing the distance, distraction and duration.
I have a long lead etc. I guess I'm really just after reassurance that he won't be a knob forever if I persevere!
My working cocker was a compete arse for recall during his teenage months. Bought me to tears a lot of the time.
* The biggest problem we have is that nothing is more interesting to him than other dogs.*
This is probably the biggest thing. We don't walk the traditional walk anymore because it's bloody boring for BiteyDog so yes anything is going to be more fun than that. My dogs couldn't care for high value treats when out and about.
What he does love more than dogs, people, deers, rabbits is working with his nose and hunting instinct. When I stopped walking and started engaging him things changed.
I did hide and seek, running or walking away from him all the time so he had to keep an eye on me and couldn't sit back and think I would wait or find him, chasing balls and hunting for balls. It took months but really a lot of that time was me changing my approach to engage him more. We can now walk past deer, dogs and rabbits and he will stick with me and I honestly would have laughed at you if you had told me that when he was 9 months of age.
During all that time we avoided distractions so walked at times and in places with hardly any dogs.
My JRT had a great recall until we moved house when he was 2yo and he went nuts chasing squirrels (never caught one, but he would just piss off after them and completely ignore me). Three months of reinforcing the basics plus long line and he recovered his recall. He’s 11yo now and not had any other recall problems. It’s a massive pain, but common and going back to basics works.
Thanks both. I'll keep working on recall and hope he stops being a knob!
We have now got a couple of different quiet routes @BiteyShark so will be sticking to those while we practice!
He never disappears just won't come back. Ha. Makes me look a right loon.
I like the hide and seek strategy. I might try that next time we're on a quiet walk and see how we go.
Get a long trailing lead and stay a distance away from other dogs. Use the lead like a saftey line rather than an object of control.
Use treats and encouragement to keep your dog moving with you, rather than towards the other dog and only use the lead to hold him if you have to. The idea being that you build up a habit of him choosing to stay with you, rather than a habit of him fighting the lead.
Do this often enough, be consistent and eventually other dogs become a bit more boring again. When combined with the habit forming above you should get some good recall back again - once the teenage months are over!
Make yourself ore interesting as bitey suggests and the training will be even more effective.
It'll improve when he's less of a teenager. But do keep training.
Have a special recall word. Only use this when you expect instant recall. e.g. "Dogsname come"
Use a different word for situations where you want him to look at you when he's ready or head your way at his leisure. e.g. "Pup". Use this word as much as you like.
Whilst he is training only use the Recall word if you know he is going to come. Do not use it when he is playing with other dogs as he won't come. If there are other dogs, keep him on lead, or go over and retrieve him. Everyone had puppies with bad recall don't be embarassed. If you feel the need to shout something use the come at your leisure word.
When training recall start somewhere boring with him very close to you. Give the recall command and show high value to him treat. Give him the treat and praise him. Only use these treats for recall no time else (mine likes bits of those cat sticks, they keep in the pocket in a little baggies for ages). Practice at home, garden and on boring walks. Gradually increase the distance. Mine loved galloping from the other end of the house for a treat at random times.
Don't use the recall word to bring him to you for something not fun like nail clipping or a bath. Always make recall super-fun. If on a walk don't recall him to go home.
If it's of any reassurance, most dogs tend to lose interest in playing with others once they mature. They might have a friendly sniff and a tail wag when they meet a strange dog, but that tends to be the extent of it! Mine barely ever play with other dogs now (and if they do, it's a short chase for about 5 seconds), they are more interested in sniffing around.
Thanks everyone. Some really good tips and words of hope!
There is a book called Total Recall by Pippa Mattinson that I used when my 9 month old dog wouldn’t come back in command. At one point walking her off lead was really stressful. The book helped, as did the passage of time. Dogs that age are arseholes, but it gets better, honest!!