Recall

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

Moderators: emmabeth, BoardHost

Post Reply
Joy101
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:52 pm

Recall

Post by Joy101 » Sun Apr 24, 2016 9:00 pm

Hey all,
So I've been reading up on recall and analyzing our situation and am wondering if anyone had any suggestions. Here's a run down on both dogs:
Chloe - Chloe is almost 4 and she is a very sweet dog. She is stubborn and she sniffs everything (we don't know what dog breeds she's mixed with, we think a she has some hound in her). It is difficult to call her off a scent and we usually have to go and leash her up to get her away from the scent. She is also very reactive and gets quite anxious.
Stella - Stella is 2 and she is half golden retriever and what we were told was that her dad was half black lab and half husky. We know she is golden and lab but it seems that the husky kind of got lost in there, lol. She usually very dog friendly but I cannot say that she is or isn't reactive. Stella loves to please and is pretty good about coming when we call her.

So a problem we have is recall and both of them coming. Stella usually comes and Chloe doesn't. Another problem is Chloe's reactivity (which feeds into the recall problem). The only place we would go and let the dogs off-leash in an area that isn't is fenced in is the beach (which doesn't happen very often but I'm using this as an example. this is a main problem area for this recall drama). So my family and I are on the beach and further down the beach I see another dog walking towards us. Chloe hasn't noticed it yet but I know what could happen if we don't get the leashes on them.
Stella might notice the dog before Chloe does but she might not go tearing down the beach towards it. Once Chloe sees the dog she most likely will go running down the beach barking and we can't call her back to us. Of course Stella takes off with her and we can't call her back either (she's usually not barking like Chloe is). Sometimes Chloe will stop short and just bark at the dog but Stella will usually go all the way and run up to the dog, which I know can be unsafe.

So I guess what I'm saying is that what could we do to help build up the recall and get then both to come back while running towards something that causes reactivity. For going to the beach I have thought about buying long lines so both dogs are on leash but have a large range in which they go away from us and explore a bit. But overall both of them having a more reliable recall is what I want. Just wondering thoughts and if there are any tip anyone has.
 
I also can't say for certain the Stella is reactive. My mom and I always walk the dogs together so if we walk by an fence with a dog on the other side barking they both react. So I don't know for sure what she would do without Chloe there.

Any ideas or suggestions for recall training is welcome! Sorry it was so long, but I wanted to kind of paint the whole picture.
Thanks!! :)

Fundog
Posts: 3874
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:31 am
Location: A little gambling town in the high desert

Re: Recall

Post by Fundog » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:06 am

The recall word you currently use has likely been ruined, so you will need to find a new one. It can be any word, even something silly and made up like gobbledygook, but there are some rules about how to use it, and you can learn that here. :)

Before you go trying out long lines, you need to start inside the house, then when recall is absolutely 100% reliable inside, you move outside to your very own enclosed backyard, with no distractions, then with distractions, such as an interesting scent or a cat on the fence or people walking by, etc. Do not attempt long line training away from home until backyard recall is 100%. Then you pick a time and place with no other people or dogs around, if at all possible.

Other people who have been successful and are super expert at training recall will have to help me with answering this (Nettle :wink: ), but I can help you with the first stage, inside the house and in the backyard. I happen to have a dog who I have never been able to train a reliable recall outside the yard-- I came really super close, but then something happened before she was fully trained and ruined it, not sure what exactly, but it is what it is. Instead, she becomes "deaf" when she's out running, so I don't ever let her off lead unless I am prepared to sit and wait a couple of hours for her to check back in. At least she ALWAYS DOES RETURN EVENTUALLY, to the place she saw me last. Long line training was unfortunately impossible, as I was/am in an area with a lot of sage brush and rock and stuff the line always got snagged on, so it was quite dangerous. Anyway, that is neither here nor there...

Inside: Got your word picked out? Okay, now go get something super tasty and preferably stinky that your dogs will absolutely drop everything for-- something extremely high value-- and cut it up into tiny pieces, to use as a treat. Put it into a pouch or plastic bag so it is in your hand. Lure your dogs to sit or stand in front of you, say the word and give a treat, say the word, give a treat, repeatedly several times. You are "conditioning" the new word. Then say the word and pause. The dogs should automatically look up at you expectantly. Praise and reward. Now you're ready. Release the dogs to go play or do whatever it is they do in the house when you're not actually doing something with them. Then, at random, when they are not expecting it, call them using your new recall word-- make sure you have those treats handy. Did it work? Awesome. Keep doing that at random times, and at necessary times, for a couple of days.

One of the rules is, do not allow the dogs to learn that they can ignore the word. This means, you only say it once, and then you wait. Do not repeat it over and over and over.


The part I'm fuzzy on, and Nettle will need to help with this, is whether or not you should go and get your dog if they are not responding to the recall word. I do, since in my yard, I recall because Dottie is barking and I don't want the neighbors to become annoyed, so I go and herd her back inside, or because I need to leave the house and I don't have time to wait for her royal highness to mosey back in. And when out on "adventures" where I have permitted Dottie to run amok, she will often come back very tired and thirsty, so she just plops down in the shade and won't move. I walk over to her and put the leash back on while letting her have a rest. (I don't call her, knowing she won't/can't come to me).

Another tool that I have found to be extremely helpful, I actually learned from watching Victoria on one of her episodes: a whistle. It is just a simple school yard whistle. I "primed" it the same way I just told you to condition your new recall word. I use it only for emergencies, like if there is a major distraction in the yard (kids playing in the street, neighbors walking past, a cat, etc). I blow that whistle, and they immediately forget all about what they are barking at and come running, lol. But I absolutely MUST reward them with a treat every time I use that whistle, or it will lose its magic. I've worn it on walks sometimes, and if I saw some cats or an off-lead dog or some such before they did, I would blow the whistle and they would immediately turn to sit in front of me expectantly (It works a lot like "watch me"). I would praise and give treats while the potential distraction moved out of sight. This kept them from getting excited and pulling me.

Anyway, I hope I gave you enough to get you started. Meanwhile, I will give Nettle a heads up to make sure she sees this, so she can help you further. :wink:
If an opportunity comes to you in life, say yes first, even if you don't know how to do it.

ScarletSci
Posts: 463
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:44 pm

Re: Recall

Post by ScarletSci » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:01 am

I'm lucky to have excellent recall with my two, but it was trained since puppyhood elasticity days, and neither are reactive, so there's that!

The reactivity is sort of a separate issue you'll need to work on a different way from the recall. I'm not even sure what you're describing actually isreactivity, since you made it sound as though they run towards what they find threatening?

In terms of recall, everything Fundog said about using a new cue word and practicing from the very beginning. You want to start from scratch, as if they were puppies. I personally would use the long lines outdoors until your recall is absolutely solid. Keep a positive, cheerful tone of voice. I'm amazed at the amount of people who expect their dog to come to them when they're yelling at them angrily! I understand that it's frustrating sometimes, but angry/frustrated yelling only makes things worse in both the short and long term.

Find the treats your dogs find most rewarding. For mine, it's stinky, home cooked liver and cheese. It's a messy treat to use, but it works! When they make that connection that 'cue word' means to come to you and they get something amazing, treat bomb! Spoil them with a good amount and lots of praise! (post again if you'd like to know more about phasing down the treats and treatbombs - intermittent reinforcement is actually stronger than constant reinforcement.)

When you're testing in the outdoors, on a long line and when they first go off lead again, don't only call them when they're about to go on the lead, or when you want them to leave something fun. This teaches them that coming back to you is boring, and means the end of fun. Call them at the odd random time, reward, then let them go to play again. I often call mine back for a short, two minute training session (mine find those fun) or a quick game, then let them go run and explore again.

I'd also do some general obedience training with them both. Reinforcing one cue isn't that helpful on it's own, if there's a breakdown in general communication between you and your dogs. Working on your training skills with them in other areas can be useful in terms of other commands to use outdoors (such as 'leave it', 'drop', 'give', 'this way', 'stay') but also opens communication and bonding between you and your dog. They learn to listen to you, to want to please you (usually) and to communicate with you as well. Pay attention to body language and facial expressions, and respect what your dog is saying; if they're letting you know they're tired, or they've had enough, or they want to play rather than train right now. Being able to read what the dog is 'saying' is invaluable in real life experiences, and great for your bond.

Joy101
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:52 pm

Re: Recall

Post by Joy101 » Sat May 07, 2016 4:28 pm

I so sorry I forgot to reply!

In reply to Fundog:
I am thinking about using the word "here" instead of "come" or "come here." I think that would work unless that has been ruined with the cue "come here..." Thoughts? I also want to include a hand signal as well since I know dogs usually respond better to hand signals than vocal cues. Of course that would only work if they were looking at me. :wink:

Thanks for the information on starting to teach the new word. I will definitely use it!! I'll have to teach myself to only say the word once, I have a bad habit of saying "come" more than once...
I totally get what you are saying about going and retrieving your dog when she is barking. Chloe does that as well.

I do like the idea of using a whistle as an emergency recall tool. I have read that's what someone used a whistle for and I found that very interesting. The only thing that could be a problem is that my dad will whistle to get the dogs to come to him. It is more high pitch then using an actual whistle would be, so I don't know for sure that would work, but I think it would.
Thanks for the advice! I really appreciate it!! :D

In reply to ScarletSci:
In regards to the reactivity, I am planning on working on it this summer when I am not busy with school.
Well Chloe will start barking and take off with Stella not far behind her. Sometimes Chloe will stop half way and just bark but Stella will occasionally go all the way to the thing that caused Chloe to bark. Maybe Chloe is just doing it as a watch dog? She always barks out in the backyard (which I know is normal) at people walking by, cats, etc. Maybe she isn't reacting... maybe she's just signaling us to someone/something approaching? I'll have to do more reading up on that kind of thing.

I do want to use long lines as part of the recall training. I feel that would work well with my dogs. Yes I have gotten frustrated with them and called them with an angry toned voice. Again, another thing I need to work on.

For sure I will use the training tips when working outside on a long line and off leash. I do know what intermittent reinforcement is and do use it, although I need to use it more often. Always like to keep the dog on their toes and keep them guessing when it comes to rewards. :wink:

For the past couple of months I have been doing obedience training with both dogs. I love doing it and it is lots of fun for the both of us. I just need to come up with new things to teach them and keep training fun. :)
One thing I am going to be learning more about is dog behavior. I know some, but I would love to know more.
Thanks for the advice and information!!

jacksdad
Posts: 4885
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:48 pm

Re: Recall

Post by jacksdad » Sat May 07, 2016 11:29 pm

Fundog wrote:The part I'm fuzzy on, and Nettle will need to help with this, is whether or not you should go and get your dog if they are not responding to the recall word.
I personally advise if you have a recall failure, go get your dog. if you don't think your dog will respond to your recall...don't even try the recall, just go get your dog.

Now, there is a second part to this....

if you have a recall failure and you had to go get your dog. this means your dog was either not ready or wasn't trained for that particular situation. so back up the training a few steps work back up taking into account the new factor that caused your dog to not respond.

recall isn't just about returning to you. it's about ignoring distractions and coming back to you. turning away from something super cool/fun, coming back to you.

that your dog can perform 100% in the house is great. that absolutely is the right starting place. But coming when called in the house isn't the same level of skill as coming when called in the back yard, or the park, or the beach. Or at the park when there are squirrels out. or at the beach with other dogs running around. each of these different locations and distractions has to be factored in when training a rock solid recall.

going and getting your dog on a recall failure is in my opinion the lesser of evils. and if you work the training right, it won't teach your dog to ignore you. why? because you won't put your dog into that situation again until you have trained for it :wink:

Fundog
Posts: 3874
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:31 am
Location: A little gambling town in the high desert

Re: Recall

Post by Fundog » Sun May 08, 2016 10:08 am

In regards to two different types of whistles, I use a whistle because I can't whistle with my teeth. However, Mr. Fundog can and does, and The girls know the difference between Mommy's whistle and Daddy's, and there has never been an issue.
If an opportunity comes to you in life, say yes first, even if you don't know how to do it.

Joy101
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:52 pm

Re: Recall

Post by Joy101 » Sun May 08, 2016 8:15 pm

Fundog wrote:In regards to two different types of whistles, I use a whistle because I can't whistle with my teeth. However, Mr. Fundog can and does, and The girls know the difference between Mommy's whistle and Daddy's, and there has never been an issue.
Yes, I would expect that they would know the difference between the two. :wink:
jacksdad wrote:I personally advise if you have a recall failure, go get your dog. if you don't think your dog will respond to your recall...don't even try the recall, just go get your dog.
Yeah, I agree with this. We've had to do this with Chloe before and I think it's ok. It's just a pain for us to do if she is far away. :wink:
jacksdad wrote:going and getting your dog on a recall failure is in my opinion the lesser of evils. and if you work the training right, it won't teach your dog to ignore you. why? because you won't put your dog into that situation again until you have trained for it
jacksdad wrote:that your dog can perform 100% in the house is great. that absolutely is the right starting place. But coming when called in the house isn't the same level of skill as coming when called in the back yard, or the park, or the beach. Or at the park when there are squirrels out. or at the beach with other dogs running around. each of these different locations and distractions has to be factored in when training a rock solid recall.
I'll have to be more strategic on how I go about this with the pups. This is something I'm not used to doing but I know I can't have a high standard on how they'll do outside versus inside, also adding distractions into the situation.
Thanks for the advice!! :D

jacksdad
Posts: 4885
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:48 pm

Re: Recall

Post by jacksdad » Sun May 08, 2016 8:22 pm

long leashes are your friend in these early days of training a recall. a 15 foot leash gives an amazing amount of freedom, yet keeps your dog near by.

User avatar
Nettle
Posts: 10753
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:40 pm

Re: Recall

Post by Nettle » Mon May 09, 2016 3:39 am

It will also help if you don't think of your dog as 'stubborn' but instead understand that the reward of doing what you wnat isn't yet enough compared to the reward of the dog doing what she wants. Everything a dog does is a cost/benefit analysis. They aren't being stubborn, but doing what gives the greatest result. If a scent-oriented dog is getting pleasure from a scent, and the environment is safe, let her finish her scent. It's boring to you (but not once you have learned to read your dog when she is scenting) but the equivalent of window-shopping in a high-end store for your dog. When she has finished the scent she will look at you - THEN call her, and offer a crazy valuable reward when she gets to you. Then, instead of being the Fun Police, you are her great place to be. :)

With very scent-oriented dogs, I put 'go sniff' on command. Start with when you know she wants to sniff, then offer her 'go sniff' at places that carry dog scent - trees, lamp-posts, you know the sort. When she has finished the scent, say something like 'let's go', reward, and go off together. Thus you become a team.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

Joy101
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:52 pm

Re: Recall

Post by Joy101 » Fri May 13, 2016 8:04 pm

Nettle wrote:It will also help if you don't think of your dog as 'stubborn' but instead understand that the reward of doing what you wnat isn't yet enough compared to the reward of the dog doing what she wants.
Hmm... Never thought of it like this. Interesting...

Thanks to everyone for their input!! I really appreciate it! Hopefully I'll be purchasing a couple of long lines soon and until then I will be starting from scratch with the recall. I'm excited to get started!
If anyone has anything else to add, feel free to!
Thanks again!! :D

Post Reply