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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Harry is now 15 months old, and generally doing well. However, as seems common with labs he loves other dogs, in all their shapes and forms!
Now, we have good recall with him when there are no dogs nearby. When there is, we really have to battle to keep his attention, and even then on a number of occasions he has just bolted after them. He particularly likes joining in on other people's ball games, despite us having his ball with us!

It is all very friendly as all he wants to do is play, but we obviously want to have him under better control than this!
We have spent a long time with him on a long line to try to help with this, which has only worked to a limited extent. It seems his excitement overides any ability to obey commands if he gets to fixed on the other dog. He has recently got better at returning to us after a little play, which is progress.

What we would really like to acheive is for Harry to check in with us as to whether he can play with the dog he sees. Any ideas as to how to manage this?

Any advice appreciated!

Katherine and Harry
 

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Sounds like you are doing well as it is! Bracken likes to hive off to have a good old play with other dogs too.

She does check in now and I release her to 'go play' and then expect her to come back as soon as I call her. She didn't always do this though. She used to take off and be a real sod to recall in these situations.

So.... what I did was really crank up the treats. Boring kibble was no use, needs cheese or sausage!

I practiced with 'watch me' and 'leave' with cyclists, joggers, and passers-by. Then I started to gradually do the same with dog walkers. Went to the park and sat on a bench out of the way and let her watch people walking their dogs in the distance. Mega praise when she was watching me and responding to leave. Did the same with rolling footballs etc past her (she would take off after kiddies playing footie given half a chance).

Then I started releasing her. So as soon as she'd responded to 'watch me' I'd say go play. Even if it was just a quick backward glance.

I can't quite remember how long it took, but I seem to think that once the penny dropped and she 'got it' all was well. She quickly learned that if I called her back to me first and she sat and waited, that good stuff would happen, ie getting to go off to play!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your kind advice.
We are going to take him back to our trainer for a couple of sessions - high value treats still seem to mean nothing in the face of the excitement of running after another dog, although it was certainly worth a try! The other day he managed to bolt right the other side of the field, so he is now on a long line until we see more progress!
 

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I have a similar problem with Cadbury, everything is well until there is another dog on the scene. Like you I would prefer him to wait until I said it was ok to play.

I'm afraid my only solution at the moment is a long line and working on recall. I also attend classes where we get to practice off lead recalls away from other dogs.

Cadbury is 18 months and I hope eventually he will be more interested in me than other dogs. I have glimmers of hope, like at agility when sometimes he will just completely focus on me - but then other times he reverts back to being Cadbury.

Never mind, long lining isn't so bad.
 

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Don't worry you are not on your own as I have a similar problem with Bovril. His recall is great when there are no other dogs around, 3 pips on the whistle and he is back. However he used to just shoot over to the other dog but he is getting better now finally at the age of 2! I have manged to stop him now before he approaches another dog but it is still hit and miss.

I can now recall him away from dogs after he has had a play whereas before I would have to go and get him as he'd be off in the other direction. I would like him to check in with me first before he goes and plays as although most dog owners are fine with it you do get the odd mouthfull, which I can understand sometimes.

I tried a long line but this had no effect as he knew he was on it and would recall on it even with another dog. I have tried jumping around, running away and several toys all with no success. What has improved his recall is by changing training clubs and upping the treat value. The previous club would do recall with other dogs out of the room which he is good at whereas the new club will do it away from distractions and I have really seen an improvement since attending. He actually got fed up with playing with one dog the other day and came back to me on his own will which I nearly fainted at and the other dog followed us :D

You will get there after hard work :D
 

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We've faced this problem with Bisto, she was a terror for doing that, I also found that treats didn't work, but just recently things have improved. we though we tried everything at the time to what we felt was no avail, I'll reassure you, as they get older they calm down!

We thought that Bisto would always always prefer to play with dogs, but just recently (she's coming up for 2) she is more interested in the ball if there are a lot of dogs around! it's wierd! After her op, she wasn't able to socialise properly, so we felt like we were going back to square one, but the promise of "biscuit" is sometimes more tempting.

We still keep an eye out for dogs, and for people who she might run at barking, and we pre-empt her running off by trying to distract her in the few seconds that she stands alert as a warning that she's had her attention caught! once she's running, it's often too late to get her back, so to encourage the "check-in" that people have mentioned, we try to pull her out of the trance that she seems to get in by using a trigger word for a treat (eg biscuit, or What's this?) so that she looks at us, praise for looking at us, quick check to see who she wants to play with, and then a release command if it's ok. if it's a dog she can't play with then she gets the treat and we play with her instead. I'm not sure if what I've said helps, but it's what we've experienced!
 

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Luna is a nightmare for running off to play with other dogs rather than respond to commands or checking in with me. It's not something that was a mega problem in Belgium cos we walked on paths in the woods in the main so we'd cross paths with other dogs, say hello, then continue onwards. However, since moving back to the field and playing fields of the UK it has become a real problem.

Thankfully, the dogs and owners and children around here that Luna has 'rhino charged' across a field have so far been friendly. And after saying hello she will come back when I call but it's the fixation and deafness that really concerns me.

I am beginning to recognise the step just before she is fixated and gone so will then say NO, OFF and do some training with treats or distract with a toy, if she isn't distracted then turning to walk/run in the opposite direction can work, failing that the lead goes on. I find she is making progress and if she is tired or needing the loo and the dog really is on the other side of a big field she seems to want to but chooses not to charge them. I like the idea of her asking permission to play. Will figure out how to train this as am in the ideal situation of having the dog friendly neighbourhood kids play just on the other side of the garden fence. Hmmmm!! Long line could need dusting off!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Its very reassuring hearing that Harry is not alone in his selective deafness and 'rhino charges'!
We don't meet many labs on our walks - seems to be mainly terriers and spaniels our way for some reason.
Anyway, we are going back to the trainer tomorrow so if we find anything that works I'll let you know. He is a lovely gundog trainer who gives 1 to 1 training, who helped us when Harry was a pup
 
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