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Discussion Starter #1
Indy has gone from having decent recall, to having OK recall, to having no recall whatsoever!!

Aside from being really frustrated about this, I've decided to take action. Today she hasn't been allowed to go into the garden off the lead. She's not been too impressed, but yesterday took me to the brink of having enough of chasing her around the garden. Yes, great game for her, annoying for me :roll:

On the beach her first few trips were fine, she'd come back when shouted/squeaked at but arrogance has come with age and you'd think she's totally deaf :roll:
I know I'd be peeved if a puppy came hurtling up to my dog and wouldn't leave it alone, so Indy will no longer be allowed off the lead until she can be trusted to come back!!

My partner got a whistle for Xmas, I've ordered a 30ft long line which will arrive tomorrow and I have hotdog treats all prepared.

Now, I'd appreciate some tips if possible please? I was intending on letting her into the garden tomorrow but on the long line instead of her usual short lead. I was then intending on getting her to come back to me by reeling her in then praising her and giving her a hotdog treat. We'll do this several times over the next few days, then I'm going to take her to the beach, again on the long line and see how her recall is doing, reeling her in if necessary. Is this the correct way to go about it?
When is the best time to introduce the whistle? Do I blow it and then reel her in? Do I need to use her name as well? Or just the whistle?

Also - she's not too well at the moment. I'm putting it down to teething, so she's grumpy and sleepy and all the rest of it. Will I fail with this training if I start it now, given that she's probably 'not in the mood'?

Sorry for all the questions, just I appreciate the value of recall and she doesn't have any now! I want to get her into a coming when I call her routine ASAP. Thanks for reading.
 

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When we whistle trained our two we started by whistling them for their dinner for a week or two then took them out with treats and always rewarded a recall to a whistle every time.
 

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I am not trying to make you feel bad but you have made the very very worse of all mistakes by chasing. Too late now but never never never never chase your dog. It is the best game that anyone ever invented for your dog, not for you obviously.

I appreciate that you want to try to sort this out for yourself but my very best advice would be to either go to some classes or a couple of 1 to 1 training sessions so that you can be shown exactly what you should be doing to correct things. Once you have been shown you do not have to continue with them if you do not want too, but you really do need to be shown exactly what to do. A long line in the hands of someone who does not know what they are doing will probably not sort the problem out at all.
 

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I'll second Jill on classes, the problem with only training alone is successfully building up the distractions in a situation where they will not and cannot fail.
You end up practicing in a quiet park and all is well and then failing at the first sight of another dog with some lab pups.

In a training class you practice with other dogs around and so it's not such a huge leap to then take your training to your nearest park.

Also one of the things you must never ever teach your dog is that you cannot catch it! Distance control disappears fast once they realise that.
But i'm sure one chase won't have ruined it forever :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Like I already said, we're going to start in the garden and then continue on the beach where there are always other dogs around. We will be doing some recall training at puppy classes, but it's taken me this long to find this class and if I'm honest, I'm not overly impressed with the lady who is taking them.
I can't afford to pay for one-to-one, I'm the only one working in the household at present so 'unecessary' expenses are not going to be taken on board. I was really hoping for some tips from someone who has either done it before, or knows the best technique.

I've read around this forum quite a lot and what I mentioned above is what I've dug out from those who are trying to teach recall. If all else fails, I'll end up with a dog who doesn't come back walked on a long line for the rest of her life.

Thank you though, I appreciate your input Jill/Sarah. Regarding the whistle, OH has changed his mind about that one :roll:

P.S. It was one chase yesterday. Usually I don't chase her but I was in a terrible mood and I just flipped. We do play chase, but it's not as a part of recall, it's one of the games we play. And I can catch her, she knows that :wink:
 

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Aw M_C you sound blimmin' fed up. How are things now and what age is your pup? I found that mine went through a phase of being a little madam and taking her time about coming back, but it seems to be passing (I've just touched wood!) and she's 8 months now. I just kept as calm as I could and consistent throughout this time. Some of the things I purposefully started doing was changing directions when out on walks rather than going in a straight line all the time. Dunno if this helped, but I definitely noticed Bracken keeping a closer eye on where I was. If she didn't come back because she was too busy nosing at something she'd found, I would wait a moment and then stroll up behind her (or clamber into the bushes!!) and get her. I had a long line which was bought to help stop her chasing my cats, but I found I just got all in a fankle and didn't get very far with it. So, I guess I'm saying I didn't really do anything in particular other than keep doing what I'd been doing, up the anti a bit with direction changes etc, tried not to give a command that I couldn't enforce, and things worked out ok (touch wood again) - but I'm a total beginner and have maybe just been lucky.

What is it about the training class you go to that you don't like? Have you been doing the good citizen stuff?

Good luck, keep us posted!
 

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I shan't offer advice after my mishap today, though I have to say Cadbury's recall improved greatly on the long line and then off the long line.

Remaining calm and in control when calling the dog is important - I found that the hard way! Oh and I don't know if it will work, but if she doesn't return when in the garden try shutting the door and ignoring her as its the complete opposite of what she gets if you chase her, etc.

Oh bother, I offered advice didn't I? :oops:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Mo. Indy is 17 weeks, so probably approaching 'that' age!
I'm not fed up as such, although we did have a bit of a crappy day yesterday so that didn't help. She tends to play up anyway when she's unwell (teething at present) so small hurdles end up being mountains.

Overall she's a smashing girl, extremely receptive to learning new things, friendly, funny, loving, all the usual Lab stuff. I taught her the 'come' command last night which we'd previously not been using as she'd been recalling to a squeaky toy. She got what I was trying to do almost instantly, with success (in the house) today. My OH used the long line with her today in the garden, mainly just to get her used to it being there and of course, wrapping herself up in it was a great game although he didn't stand for it and she was suitably reprimanded and unravelled without fuss :)

I've only been to two classes, but the lady who takes them had an Xmas party the week before last - it was purely a three hour free for all where the first hour was us all sat while she handed out raffle tickets, drew the raffle and then offered us buffet food - the dogs were expected to sit nicely and not interact...puppies...Indy...she won't sit like that for an hour! She pulled that hard and got so overexcited she collapsed in a heap at one point and then I took her home because it was of no value whatsoever and both of us were getting stressed. There's no structure to the classes at all, although the one we attend is titled 'Puppy Socialisation'. I'll see how it goes next year when we go back.

Thanks Sophie, I don't think your 'mishap' warrants you not being able to give advice, anything anyone has to say is very welcome! Regarding closing the door and ignoring her, that absolutely doesn't work. She loves being in the garden and I could quite literally shut her out there for an hour or more on her own and she'd be pleased!! If it were 100% safe and I knew there was nothing she could pick up and eat, then I would leave her out there!
 

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Oh dear! I am a naughty mum and turf Cadbury out and leave him to his own devices! I did that all summer - with the door open I hastily add, when the weather turned colder I would shut the door, which he didn't like so he taught himself how to open the door :roll:

So now if he wants to stay out in the garden, fine, but I'm shutting the door. In general I end up with him peering in the den window at me and then I point to the kitchen and he comes and meets me there.

Oh I'm mean.

As for recall, my trainer's best ever advice was to put Cadbury either back on a lead or shorten the line to normal lead length when he did anything other than a perfect recall. Perfect recalls meant he could stay off and enjoy his freedom, but an imperfect meant going back on the lead for a bit then being let off again (I only mean onlead for a few moments). It sounds odd, but honestly really works. Also lots of praise and treats.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'd love to be able to kick her out and leave her to it, but the way the garden is, I'm not able to. However, we've got some major work planned for next year, so hopefully when that's completed I'll be able to rethink it. Plus February will be when the kitty has recovered enough from her impending 'op' to allow her to finally go out! Yay!

Anyway, I'll stick to my planned regime and see how we go. She's only a youngster anyway, so if all else fails I'll look into getting a 1-1 trainer later in the year when our financial circumstances improve :)
 

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Can I just add to the thread to suggest that from here on in, you make a new years resolution not to play any sort of chasing *games* in play. It really will balls up your tiny baby (because that is all your puppy is) in terms of when is play when is not. They aren't STUPID however they ALSO aren't human with our thought patterns of 'oh this is play/this is a REAL recall', so, although it might be a game you enjoy I absolutely am sure you can use others and I'd forthwith bin the chasing games, whether you can catch your puppy or not ;-) Believe me you soon won't be able to as she gets stronger and faster and you will have seriously damaged your recall chances if you happens to be in *play* mode (especially if *you* are not - grin).

Di
 

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Ok further help I hope. Just dug this post out I wrote to someone in a similar 'boat' as yourselves back in early 2007 about a dog with a radpidly declining recall. THEY had a problem with running up to other dogs, but you can prempt that one I hope....

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Hiya again - this is written for someone with an 11 month old pup so really its very relevent to you - but remember some might sound a bit odd because it WAS written for that person originally but applies here equally.

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From your note you don't go to training classes, not that this is a problem in itself, many don't, but a single dog, with only the occasional interaction with other dogs (and once or twice a day on a walk is occasional to a sociable confident 11 month old) can cause other dogs, especially dogs of their own breed to be a mindblowing experience She is not being a deliberate git but is absolutely ecsatic. Thrilled.

There are no magic wands to wave in raising a dog, set backs happen. You have found the recall you thought was there, actually isn't once she hits a certain elevel of excitmenet. I would think she shares that with maybe 50% of dogs of our breed from 11 weeks to 11 years!

now there is no one quick piece of advice anyone could give to stop this. You HAVE to reschool the dog if you want it to improve or what will happen is you will walk around nervous of other dogs appearing because you know you have no emergency brake.

The effort you put in now will pay dividends within a few short weeks. Leave this now and it will happen for years to come, and could happen across a busy road, that is always the way I try and ease people into the pain that is going back to playschool with their dog

Buy a longline. She will not need it for the rest of her days, just whilst you reschool and renforce that recall. This can be a horse lungeline, a washing line or some such thinish rope that you can tie or clip to her collar but gives her a lot of freerunning distance when you let it out.

Do NOT use one of the worlds most hidious devices ever invented, a plastic handled flexi lead, one of those things which zips in and out and causes hidious burns to owners, dogs and anyone the dog happens to become entangled with. They are dangerous, thin and easily breakable and make lots of noise as they whip in and out and really you want the dog to forget he is 'wearing' anything

Go out for a walk on the long line, let her romp about, but you have ultimate control. The BEST thing is if you can set her up with some dogs that she likes, friends or family dogs. Its hard doing this on strangers dogs but is possible as she never actually gets to jump all over them.

Now, I am assuming that you worked on your puppy as a youngster and taught, at classes, or at home and out and about a consistant recall. Does she REALLY know the word 'come!'. test this. Sit her up in another room, have OH hold her. Go out the room then call 'come!' and ONLY 'come! not her name not 'come here' not 'come to mummy!' just COME. If she comes test her outside, sit her up, leave her in a stay, walk away, stop. Keep your back to her and without moving your arms in any way, bending down or using any body language use 'come!'. Chances are most dogs stay where they are sat. They don't know the word they know their name or our body language... so its no wonder when we yell it at a fast dissapearing dog with its back to us it ignores it.

Work on general obedience for 2 minutes a couple of times a day at home. Do LOTS of stays and recalls. Lots. Use COME a LOT. Not her name, but COME. Always treat her when she does a particularly fast nice recall.

Then out on the longline, either set up someone walking dogs across a field, or wait for someone. Then have a pocket full of tasty treats. as you see the dogs appear and you see her stop and her head go up and her tail rise (adrenaline is starting to pump, ears are starting to close!) call her into you THEN. The first couple of times if she doesn't come that instant, tow her in with the long line even if she comes walking reluctantly backwards nearly falling over, then be real;ly pleased with her, clap your hands, be INTERESTING and treat her mightily. Then turn so the dogs are behind you and walk away. Try and do this a MAXIMUM of twice before you make a fuss and go home. You are never out of control and she will be shocked. Repeat this for several days in a row. Don't be tempted to allow a mess up by letting her off even if 'noone is about' as one failure right now is memorable. To her she needs to firstly be amazed you always have control even though SHE has freedom and secondly she needs to learn that come means a nice treat and even if she doesn't FANCY coming, there is NO option

Time will show you when to attempt this without the longline. If she fails, and a lot depends on you getting her attention BEFORE she is at the point of no retrun, that point when she has started forward motion towards the dogs, go back for a couple of days to the longline.

In the garden let her have her time and space. Don't nag, don't rush her, let her wander at will, don't turn your whole day into a puppy training longline nightmare or she will turn into a headache and thats the last thing you want. When she is in the garden attach a trailing piece of rope or a couple of leads to her collar, let her wander, then DON'T call her. Just quietly calmly walk up to her with a really nice treat when its 'coming in time' and stand on the trailing lead. If she comes to you for the treat terrific. If she buggers off you are standing on the lead.

You don't need more explanation right now, you need a longline and I'm sure you can make one if you don't fancy buying one.

Best! Ask anything you like if it is unclear.
Di


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The way I taught Bear is with food, hes 15 months tomorrow & he still gets treats when i recall him on walks.

I think sometimes its confidence in your dog, Even if it takes a while for him to come back :roll: i still reward him.

Hes pretty much there now, I always let him have a little play before I recall him if the other dog if off the lead.

Also I recall him now & then when no other dogs are around, put him on his lead for a few mins, then let him off again.

I don't want him to think if theres another dog it means hes not allowed to play, then he propally would run off.

I'm only a beginner & I haven't been to training classes, but it seems to work for us.

Good luck :D
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm not overly convinced the long line is going to work for us, it certainly did its job at the beach i.e. stopping her running off after other dogs but she gets wrapped up in it and spent a lot of time eating it :roll:

We did have success today though, she recalled each time she was asked to even though there were several distractions and she's now going out in the garden in daylight hours without a lead and she's coming when requested.

Considering she absolutely WOULD NOT come when called two days ago and now she is, I think (hope!) we'll be ok. I am going to keep on with the training, the same as we keep 'testing' her sit, stay, leave etc.
I will reserve the long line for days when we want to go somewhere and give her more freedom.

Also, thank you Di for that post. I've had a good read and will take the relevant parts into consideration. She was a little 'B' at times today, but I remained calm, and continued to reward good behaviour and be all pleased, despite me being a little annoyed at times! She's passed out now :lol:
 

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Whilst consistant and gradual training is essential even when very young NEVER expect consistant results when your puppy is only as young as yours. They arelly do not retain info all that well on things that are NOT pleasureable to them yet. They are very up and down adn they do not know 'what they should do' for really quite a long time yet with any consistantcy.

Your pup is very young indeed. Try not to expect too much. And don't do too much of anything, rome wasn't built in a day.

Di
 

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Thanks Di. I'm pleasantly surprised at her, she's been an absolute delight the past couple of days as she's "got" what I want her to. Where previously she'd ass about in the garden and refuse to come when called, she now has her playtime (I'll maybe chuck a ball or toy for her a few times) and then as soon as I walk back to the garage and ask her to come, she absolutely will. I don't let her play everytime of course, she gets told to come when she's literally just been out for a loo break so she doesn't associate 'come' with the end of play. I'll also randomly get her to come then let her out again for a bit during longer play sessions.

I appreciate she's young and I don't expect anything at all, which means anything she is able to do and retain is a bonus. I still maintain that she is exceptionally bright and teaching her new things and her getting a grip of them is both easy and pleasurable. She's great :D
 
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