Come called for wandering dogs

Share your favorite training tips, ideas and methods with other Positively members!

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Come called for wandering dogs

Post by Maddie'sMom » Wed May 14, 2008 10:03 am

My girls, Missy a German Shepherd and Maddie a cocker spaniel are wonderful offleash. I've worked with them, and continue to work with them on the come signal, as well as a few other (this way, by me, lets go...) because I love to let them offleash to run, and we also love to go hiking. I think Come is a very important signal to our lifestyle!

My parents have 3 miniature dacshunds. Doc a 2y/o red longhaired male, Reba a black and tan shorthair, and Toby their sable (?) shorthair puppy. Doc is a RUNNER. His favorite pastime is to slip his collar and take off, so of course we prevent this, he has to wear a harness. I've never let Reba or the puppy offleash other than in our fenced in back yard. Put simply, I don't trust any of them.
I've tried training them to come to the whistle... as an emergency recall, mainly because they think the work "come" is to run the opposite way, due to lack of training & misuse of the work. I taught Missy and Maddie this by blowing he whistle while walking backwards, and giving them treats for following me. I gradually waited until they were a couple feet away from me, blow the whistle, and reward like crazy for them coming... and finally, adding distance, then distraction to that.

The wieners are more challenging! Sometimes they do it, sometimes they don't. I've been stuck on phase "1" for several weeks now... They're not overly motivated by treats, and not motivated by praise or toys at all (the puppy is still slightly motivated by praise - love his age right now lol). They still don't associate the whistle noise with coming over to get a treat, yet. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong! I'm starting to think that some dogs just simply aren't meant to be off leash... which is sad because I would love to take one of them along with me and a friend to the dog park someday, but if I can't get them to come to me, they have no place in a dog park.
{I work with them 1 at a time, btw}

Me and my dogs
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Post by Me and my dogs » Wed May 14, 2008 10:45 am


You've got 3 tough little cases there!

I think the command of "come" is a very important command in ANY lifestyle. I always tell people that I don't care if they teach their dogs to sit or down. I care that they teach their dogs to come and wait because those are two commands that can save a dog's life!

I'm sure I would have done all the things you've already tried (sounds like we use all the same methods but different terms).

I'm guessing, due to your experience, that your parents aren't free feeding.

A few things I think I would try.

1) Working w/ each dog individually.

It's possible that w/ 3 dogs they may have a stronger bond w/ each other than they do w/ your parents. Can you take one for just a week (do you WANT one for a week? :lol: ) and work w/ it?

2) Talk to your parents about lavishing out attention or possible treats. If the dogs get a lot of attention or treats w/out having to work for it or earn it then rewarding w/ attention or your very presence is not really valued.

3) Considering that these dogs are dacshunds, when working w/ one of these guys in your backyard what if you used some furry thing on a rope and dragged it thru the grass towards you when you called/whistled for the dog? Hey! What if you could attach it to a fishing pole (without a hook, obviously) and could cast it out towards the dog then start reeling it in (suddenly I feel like a creative genius!)! Then the dog could be rewarded w/ a bit of tug (and remember, to keep this item as high value you would only be bringing this toy out when it was time to train).

Considering that these little guys were bred to go to ground they are pretty independent. That said, using abandonment theory of running away from the dog and calling might not work - but I wonder if running away and dragging some furry thing and using something that squeaks might get their attention.

Good luck w/ those little guys and keep us updated. Sometimes the challenging cases are the ones that help us learn and develop new techniques!
The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. ~Eleanore Roosevelt

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Post by Maddie'sMom » Wed May 14, 2008 11:52 am

Thanks for the reply! I needed fresh ideas - its easy to get discouraged when you're used to highly food or toy motivated dogs and then ones who really couldn't care less :P
No, they aren't free feeding... There was a potty training issue that I've been working on with them. With the meals and crating when they leave its pretty much under control. The puppy gets 3 meals a day, the other two get 2. Sometimes instead of a second meal I'll use a handful of their kibble as treats - they all like their food enough to do so. I only use it for things like 'sit', 'down', etc

1) Do I want one for a week.?.. Psh! LOL

Reba especially has a very strong bond with my Mom. Sometimes it takes some working with her for me to even get her to go outside, but all my Mom has to say is "go outside" and out she goes. At the same time, she plays my mom like a fiddle. She's one of those dog-mom's who thinks her little dog can't walk on a leash. Reba will balk, refuse to walk, and jump at her legs to be picked up. She doesn't do any of that with me, she'll walk eagerly! Spoiled! lol
The puppy is naturally bonded to Reba. But he's more social and responsive to me, probably due to his age. I think he will be the easiest, I'll just have to get him away from all other dogs (including my 2).
Doc is the pistol. He wants to do what he wants to do, when he wants to do it. I want him to be neutered ASAP, I think that will help. He's a generally well behaved boy, he's mellow, but has been territorial. Its hard convincing Dad to get it done... We'll see how that goes :roll: That's his buddy, he gets to go on car rides (if he can) when he wants too. . .

2) I see exactly what you mean! I'll try to convince them - that will probably be harder than the training aspect

3)... you creative genius you... lol...

I will definitely try this, and let you guys know how it goes!

I tried introducing them to the clicker - which may work well with your idea, but Reba is afraid of the noise. :( Too bad its raining, we'd go out back for a play / train session 8)

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Post by Ocelot0411 » Wed May 14, 2008 3:27 pm

Very interesting post guys. There's some really good tips on there that I might try myself to 'beef up' my dogs recall.I also totally agree with what you say about the importance of teaching a dog to come to you purely for safety reasons if nothing else. :D

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Post by katowaggytail » Thu May 15, 2008 3:29 am

Interesting. I had a ponder over this and thought, does it really matter that Kato isn't keen on sitting at the kerb? He will, but only after at least 5 attempts to move the tail into the correct postion!! :roll: ....
I use wait and usually he will.....
Recall is a different matter...
He is good at recall, (a person remarked the other day "he listens to you") - but he could be better, Will do more work on my wait and recall I think..... :lol:

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