Recall

Valuable training articles posted by Victoria and other Positively members.

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Mattie
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Recall

Post by Mattie » Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:45 pm

To have a good recall with your dog you need to have good recall in your house and garden before working outside in various places. It is very important to set our dogs up to succeed with recall, there is nothing worse than trying to call our dogs back and them not coming.

First decide on a word to use for recall, this can be any word but one not in constant use generally.

Never call more than once, we have all see dogs that come on the second or third call, have you every wondered why? The owner has taught the dog to come on the second or third call by continuing to call, the dog has learnt that he doesn’t have to come at first call, this isn’t good enough for me.

Never call your dog when you know he won’t come, that is teaching him to ignore you, again we don’t want this.

If your dog has his head down a rabbit hole or investigating something he won’t hear you when you call so no point in calling, his mind is on something else. Think of a child watching a good cartoon on the tv and you ask them to tidy their bedrooms.

I use a long line clipped to a harness, I don’t let my dog get to the end of the long line so he never learns how long it is, this is handy when I add another long line. I call him back from various distances and give lots and lots of praise, I go overboard with the praise.

I try to get my dog looking at me at first before asking for him to recall, this is so I know he has heard and I can encourage him back with my body language. If my dog isn’t looking at me I can try several things, high squeal, rustle a bag that normally has nice things in, start to walk the other way and saying “This way”, bounce a ball, anything will do to get my dog’s attention. I have been known to lie down on wet grass. :lol: I can then give the command for him to come back to me.

As my dog improves I stop getting his attention first and still expect him to come back to me immediately unless his head is down a rabbit hole etc.

Once my dog is doing well and coming every time I introduce a whistle, I give the command and whistle, it doesn’t take my dog long to associate the whistle as come and I continue to use both.

This doesn’t really take that long, it just looks like it takes a long time.

Once my dog is 100% recall on a long line I add another and carry on setting him up to recall every time but start to use the whistle more. The whistle travels a lot more than our voices so is very handy for recall.

I will often add another long line depending on were I am and how busy it is.

Once my dog is 100% recall I then drop my end and let my dog trail the line still working on the recall. If everything goes well I take a line off , work some more before taking the last line off.

I take my dogs away a lot and don’t know what the countryside is like, in these situations I will still put a long line on my dogs but let them trail behind. My dogs are used to this and don’t think anything about it.

When teaching recall to our dogs we also have to take into account our dog’s breed and what they were bred to do. Some dogs like Labradors are bred to obey us, others like Terriers are bred to think for themselves, it is up to us as owners to find something that our dog will come back for. This can be treats, praise, play, toys etc some dogs we have to mix these to keep them interested.

I am sure I have left something out, I would also be very interested in how others have got their dogs to recall, like everything else about dogs it is about setting them up to succeed until they understand what we want. Only then will they have a good recall.
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Fundog
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Re: Recall

Post by Fundog » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:22 pm

Well, now. It's about dang time you wrote this article Mattie! :D

By the way, not only did I print it out, (and gave it to Mr. Fundog to read) but I also copied and pasted it to my personal files. :wink:
If an opportunity comes to you in life, say yes first, even if you don't know how to do it.

jacksdad
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Re: Recall

Post by jacksdad » Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:02 pm

we are going to have to arrange to have her alternator go out more often :lol:

thanks for writing this up.

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Mattie
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Re: Recall

Post by Mattie » Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:57 am

Only if you pay for my car to be mended Jacksdad Image

I have had some terrible attacks in the past for the way I train my dogs, in fact this is the only forum I feel comfortable about posting them, if I am wrong I will be told but won't be attacked for them. To me as long as it doesn't hurt my dogs either mentally or physically and it works, I will do it if it gets or keeps me in control and my dogs safe.
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dontpugme
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Re: Recall

Post by dontpugme » Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:44 am

Fundog wrote:Well, now. It's about dang time you wrote this article Mattie! :D

By the way, not only did I print it out, (and gave it to Mr. Fundog to read) but I also copied and pasted it to my personal files. :wink:
I added it to my favorites list on my computer. :D I often answer questions on yahoo answers and give a bunch of positively urls. It's a lot easier to link to the articles section rather than a bunch of different ones. (once i gave 10 or 12 links)
--dontpugme

Sue1234
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Re: Recall

Post by Sue1234 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:54 pm

Mattie, your techniques are solid for the recall and I so appreciate your taking the time to post them. But here's where I need I a bit more help. Layla, our 14 month old rescued 80 lb. Golden mix, is not even remotely food driven and rarely plays with us even though we do try. She does enjoy playing by herself with her toys at times, but just like her food, she is not "toy driven" like some dogs. If she's not in the mood to play, and that is fairly often, she simply will not , even if we throw a ball or toy. She will most often just look where it lands and wander off in another direction or simply stay by us for a pat on the head. She is healthy, loyal and loving and she is really quite smart, but she simply does not very often enjoy playing with us, or even by herself. I offer all this info because I just don't know what to use to motivate her when I train her. I really need a good recall on her, but what do I do when even the tastiest treat holds little interest to her and I can't even use a favorite toy to motivate and reward her? I do heap on the praise when I get the desired reaction from her, but I need something pretty wonderful to get and hold her attention long enough to get my point across during training. A while back I tried to begin clicker training her, but after only two or three click/treats, she simply loses interest in the treat and will either wander away or lie down rather bored by the whole thing. (The treats I've tried so far are warm chicken, warm hot dogs and Natural Balance dog food rolls in beef flavor.)

Anyway, I could really use some guidance on how to train her - especially for the recall - when treats and toys will not work as motivators/rewards. Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated.

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GllntKnight
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Re: Recall

Post by GllntKnight » Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:24 pm

Mattie I've tried all that long line stuff the only way it works is I have reel her in like a fish otherwise she just stands there and looks at like Duh (dumb as a rock) or goes on sniffing elsewhere so I guess I should only recall once and reel her in like a fish all the time I don't think so. They have 4 PLUS acres to run their litle hearts out and I set up a lure course on cool days for aditional exercise or the treadmil. He comes when called he is also a champion in racing flat and hurdles, heck he comes when I don't call she is the problem and will always be. So far you haven't given any advice that I haven't already used.
The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue. ~Author Unknown

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive. ~Gilda Radner

Fundog
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Re: Recall

Post by Fundog » Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:49 pm

Sue1234, Just curious: Does Layla's Golden part of her seem to be a bit "birdy," or does her ancestry seem to hail from the show ring? The secret may lie in the answer. Please let us know what you think (post a pic, if you can), as that may help us discover the secret to her motivation.

Glintknight, although Mattie generally does not recommend "reeling in," I have had to train Dottie that way at first. Dottie is a bit retarded, due to her poor start in life with her original owner. However, she is both highly praise motivated, and food motivated, so even when I reeled her in (while using the whistle), I made sure to reward/praise her generously. She did begin to make the necessary associations after just a few drills. But one other problem I have with my Dottie is that not only is she is bit dense, but she is bred to hunt and point birds. When she is "on point," it is really hard to get her attention-- as hard as it is to get the attention of a smaller dog who has his head down a rabbit hole! I've found in these cases that if I just walk up to her, wherever she is on point, I can then get her to follow me back to the door or the gate or the car, or wherever it is I want her to go. But there is one more problem I have with Dottie: given her mental retardation, she loses focus really easily. She can be on her way to see me as soon as she hears my whistle, but then halfway to me, something else will get her attention and she will forget and veer off course. So a lot of times I do have to keep whistling/calling the whole time she is coming to me, to help her remember what she is supposed to be doing.

Another example is this morning: the girls woke me up at 6:00 for their potty and breakfast. I took them out to the backyard, (which is not fenced, by the way) and let them potty and have some fun sniffing about. There were a lot of different game birds out this morning, and Dottie was captivated. After giving her some time to have fun, I finally called the girls to the back door. I couldn't get Dottie to break her point, whether I called, whistled, or waved. But Mr. Fundog got up while we were outside and got their breakfast ready. He then whistled out the kitchen window. Mr. Fundog has a whistle that is distinctly different from mine. Mr. Fundog did have to whistle twice (once for Dottie to go, "Hark! What was that?") and the second time she realized her Daddy was calling, at which point she came running as though she hadn't seen her daddy in a week!

I don't know if this helps you or not... :?
If an opportunity comes to you in life, say yes first, even if you don't know how to do it.

Sue1234
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Re: Recall

Post by Sue1234 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:56 pm

Fundog, I know very little about Layla's breeding background. I was told she was Golden/Bernese Mt. Dog, but I'm almost positive she is a Golden/Collie mix. She has a lot of Golden in her and that is what she most strongly resembles. I've had Goldens in the past and have known many others - my Layla is the first one that I have ever known (purebred or mix) that doesn't live and breathe for a tennis ball! :lol:
Anyway, when we adopted her I was told that she had originally lived with a lady who also had a husky that was dominant and bullied Layla a bit. When the lady was tired of feeding her (she's a big girl) she turned her over to a kill shelter and they contacted the rescue group that I got her from. Sadly that is all I know of her history and don't know if she hails from a hunting or show dog background. I can tell you she has a strong prey drive. I occasionally have rabbits and squirrels in my backyard and if I don't look thoroughly enough before letting her out, she gives them a good run before they scurry over or under the fence.

Fundog
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Re: Recall

Post by Fundog » Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:56 pm

Hmmm.... that desire to chase small tasty rodents does hint of hunting lines-- but then, it could be from her herding lines as well. Either way, you can use this to work for you if you are creative and have a relatively strong stomach. If you go to a sporting supply store, particularly one that caters to the sport of hunting, you may find some bottles of scent. Since Layla likes chasing rabbits, and apparently knows what they smell like already, I suggest that. Then you can either pick up a cleaned rabbit skin, or get a de-stuffed plush toy, and put a few drops of rabbit scent on it. Use this special toy only during recall drills, and throw it for Layla only as a reward for these special training sessions.

In addition.... again, only if you can stomach it, but see what you can do about obtaining some rabbit meat. That just may be the special treat that really gets her excited. Hint: I have been known to look for "roadkill" that was fresh and not too shredded, then clean it, skin it, and cook it for my dogs. They LOVED IT! And I believe it may have intensified their desire to hunt.
If an opportunity comes to you in life, say yes first, even if you don't know how to do it.

emmabeth
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Re: Recall

Post by emmabeth » Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:04 pm

GllntKnight - have you tried as Mattie suggests in the first post, recalling IN the house first?

If not, start there, change your recall word for a new one.

Teach your dog that this new word firstly means 'i have something good' when shes right by you (I would actually recommend a whistle as this will always sound the same and cannot give you away ifyou are tired/frustrated/annoyed/scared etc).

So peep on the whilst - give treat. Peep on the whistle - give treat.

Mix it up though quite early on, so sometimes the whistle means treat, sometimes it means fuss, sometimes it means a game, sometimes it means its her dinner bowl going down, sometimes it means you have a certain toy for her. Basically then shes guessing, she knows it means you have something good but HOW good, WHAT is it... its that element of guessing thats going to keep her interested, just as the element of luck and surprise and random, variable reward keeps people playing fruit machines - you never know when you will hit the jackpot.

When shes keen to know what you have when you blow the whistle and shes right by you, then you do it when shes not stood right there, when she can do that, then you do it when shes in another room or out of sight.

Practice this all over your house, from room to room, if you ahve stairs up and down the stairs.

At the SAME time as doing all this - NEVER EVER use the whistle or your old recall word, either to get her to come to you... or to get her to come to you because you are going to do something she doesnt like (ie pick her up) outside. ONLY use that whistle in training situations indoors to start out with.

Instead, leave a trailing line on her so that you can grab that from a distance without calling her - it is crucial that from now on she NEVER gets to practice ignoring a recall and you start that out by never giving her a recall she can ignore.

When she recalls to you all over your house, and shes had a while of NOT being recalled only to ignore outdoors - then try it outdoors when theres not much going on, when your other dog is put away inside so there are no distractions.

Just go sit outside on the ground with her on a really long line - only recall her when shes heading towards you purposely, and is pretty close by anyway to start out with. Again keep the rewards varied but keep them on the high value side, as now you have taken the lessons outdoors, its a little harder for her. Keep up the work indoors too, and keep up the not calling her if shes not going to listen.

When you get to the point where shes on a long line and shes good at recalling from just a few feet away from you - then you may need to use some cunning tactics to get her lookign at you and distracted from what she was doing when shes further away.

If shes NOT looking at you and shes busy doing something else, firstly dont recall then. Wait for her to be done, or distract her. You can distract her in any number of ways. Squeal and run the other way. Make a big deal of playing with a toy yourself, make a bid deal of finding something on the ground (a treat but she wont know that till shes distracted), fall down 'dead' on the floor and howl - open a bag of chips, jump up and down going 'wahhooooo' asi fyou won the lottery. Whatever it takes that you distract her without using the new recall cue.

THEN when shes distracted, do you chance using the recall.

If you do this and start wayyyyyy back at teh beginnign IN the house and manage her so that she doesnt get to practice running off or ignoring you when you recall you CAN fix this. But only if you want to.
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

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GllntKnight
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Re: Recall

Post by GllntKnight » Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:44 pm

She recalls in the house just fine it's outside that she ignores or runs away.
The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue. ~Author Unknown

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive. ~Gilda Radner

emmabeth
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Re: Recall

Post by emmabeth » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:19 pm

So, teach her the new recall command in the house first anyway.

Currently that word INDOORS means 'come to me' and OUTDOORS it means 'carry on, do what you like, ignore me and avoid me i might do something you dont like'.

It has to mean the same thing in both locations, and since it doesnt you need to teach a new command, be it a new word or get a gundog whistle or similar and use that.

Dogs dont just learn a word, a hand signal, they also link those words/handsignals etc, to the environment and context that they are given.

So a word can mean one thing indoors, and another entirely outdoors because the context has changed, the environment has changed.

This is really common, the most common example being dogs trained at a training class in a hall - behave perfectly in the training class, top of the class, straight A students.

In the dog park, on the trails - training? what training! The dog ignores and does as he pleases - the reason why is that the commands and cues learned in class were NOT practiced and learned in the dog park or on the trails. Or, they have somehow come to mean something different there.

We can all learn that words have more than one meaning - I know that 'pavement' said to me by someone on my street, means the concrete flagged pedestrian path beside the road. Pavement said to me by someone in the US means the road, and that the word for 'pavement' as I understand it, is sidewalk. We all know that the word b itch can refer to a female dog, or be an insult - it is the context in which it is said that tells you the meaning, not just the word itself.

So context is as important to dogs as it is to us, and because your dog only understands your recall word to mean 'come to me immediately' within the context of 'indoors', you have to change it now.
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

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Mattie
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Re: Recall

Post by Mattie » Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:19 am

GllntKnight wrote:Mattie I've tried all that long line stuff the only way it works is I have reel her in like a fish otherwise she just stands there and looks at like Duh (dumb as a rock) or goes on sniffing elsewhere so I guess I should only recall once and reel her in like a fish all the time I don't think so.
She has learnt that she can ignore you outside, you need to start all over again at the beginning with a new word or a whistle, whistles are better for outside because the sound travels a lot further. If you can give us the answers to the questions we asked on another thread it will help.
They have 4 PLUS acres to run their litle hearts out and I set up a lure course on cool days for aditional exercise or the treadmil. He comes when called he is also a champion in racing flat and hurdles, heck he comes when I don't call she is the problem and will always be. So far you haven't given any advice that I haven't already used.
Does she always come when she knows she will be doing some lure coursing? This could be the key, a 1 or 2 minute lure coursing each time she comes back when you call ONCE, but change the word, it is easier to teach a new word than change the one they have learnt to ignore.

Why does you feel the need to use the treadmill when they have so much room to run round in? Treadmills are so boring, this could also have something to do with her not coming back, have you called her and put her on it?

Terriers love to hunt, a reward for coming back is a little hunting which you have set up. Someone has said you can get rabbit smells, this can be put on some fur fabric for her to hunt when she comes back. You can put this on a line and use it like a lassoo swinging it round your head, she needs to have a play with when she comes.

First you need to change your thinking, at the moment you thinking is she won't come, this will be reflected in your body language, it will be dull and uninteresting. By changing your thinking to positive, she will come if I am interesting enough, this will make your body language happier and much nicer for her to come back to. Laugh at her instead of feeling so down, the more you laugh the better it will be for you. You won't feel like laughing but make the effort, it gets easier. A smiling, laughing person is much nicer to come back to than one that stands with a scowl and look like they are depressed. I have seen dogs with owners who's body language was depressing, you could just see in the dogs faces "I am not going back to that". :lol:

I do understand that a dog that won't come back is depressing, been there myself in the past, my knowledge comes from my experiences with my dogs which is why it is sometimes a bit odd :lol:
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maddieh
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Re: Recall

Post by maddieh » Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:06 pm

Thank you soo much Mattie and emmabeth!
Your tips on recall have been so good and I'm going to start using them on my dogs tomorrow. They have plenty of farm fields to run in, but so much space provides them with many distractions so some recall work is really needed but haven't had any advice as good!
Thanks again!!!

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