Jump to content
BC Boards

Recommended Posts

I was scanning the section about car chasing, and sprinkled in there were a couple of brief descriptions of "walking down" a dog - which would teach the dog to come on command. (Or is it just to stop the dog from running away? I'm not entirely clear.) Basically, the owner pursues the dog until the dog WANTS to come to the owner. Then the owner calls the dog.

 

I've been reading dog books and these forums for a couple years now, and have never heard this described. A few people say they get excellent results from this protocol. So... without hijacking the original thread, I'd love to hear more about this method: your experiences, important details, hints on how to do it well. Sounds like a great tool to add to my repertoire, though Buddy doesn't dodge me much... and sounds like it might help my friend with an adolescent ACD mix who just recently chased a jogger on the beach.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Mary

Link to post
Share on other sites

You just go to the dog (on sheep generally you are scolding and driving the dog away from the sheep). At that point, you are in a position to do one of several things.

 

You can leave the dog in disgust, then repeat the call. This works more with pups and soft dogs like Bitty Bet here who has a recall on the Flexible Plan. :D I call this the "horse whisperer method."

 

You can clip on the leash and return the dog to the spot you were standing when you called. I call this, "Well, That Was No Fun!"

 

You can walk a few steps away at random, then call the dog, and praise. This is, "Oh, Is that What You Meant?"

 

Remember this only works if you have something the dog wants to get TO - for normal Screw You moments, walking down will be seen as a fun chase game. :rolleyes: Then you get between the object of desire, and the dog. This would be seen as R- I believe in OC circles.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I "walked down" Kipp a few times. I use it for situations where he understands what I want, but is blowing me off.

 

For instance one afternoon he kept trying to go check out the cats. I told him "leave it" and "come". He came halfway and turned back around to find the cats. I repeated what I wanted, and he gave me the same response. So I just started walking purposely toward him. As soon as he realized I was was coming, his eyes started darting back and forth between me and the cat. As I got closer he quickly became more worried about the pressure I was putting on him through my body language (I was staring at him and walking quickly toward him), suddenly the cat didn't matter but I did and he was just backing away from me. I pushed him for about 10 feet that way - all through my body language, I didn't say or do anything else. When I felt I had the message across, I turned around, headed back to the house and told Kipp to come. He was by my side in a flash, stayed in a perfect heel all the way back and didn't even consider going back to check out the cats.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mary,

 

From the previous talk on the other thread my way of "walk him down" is;

 

I call pup to me, he doesn't acknowledge (he knows this command though) and he goes the other way. I then keep my mouth shut and start walking straight at the pup. He may see this as a game for a moment, I don't say anymore and continue walking at pup. Eventually, he sees that this is not fun and he's made the wrong choice, the moment I see this I will stop and allow pup to "come to me" at which point I will pat him and move on. I don't want the pup thinking that coming to me is a negative, it has to be a good thing and other choice is not. When I walk away the pup usually follows. I will go back to doing whatever I was when the infraction happened, and start over. Generally it only takes the one time, in that session, and pup realizes the right choice. Now, there are on occasions when I will pick the pup up by the scruff, take him back to where the infraction occurred, set him down and praise him. It's hard to tell you all the variables and each instance is different and each wrong choice may have a different reason. You really have to read the situation, know why pup is making the wrong choice and proceed from there accordingly. There are still times that my 2 year old will blow me off, calling off stock for instance - she'll come off "half way" I have to repeat her "here, that'll do" several times. I am not going to correct her for this. However, if in the yard playing and she disregards my call, I will walk out to her, scruff her back to where I called her and try again. It doesn't generally take more than once. What I see people fall victim to is "not following through" if the pup doesn't listen and "then" doesn't like the walk down and decided to come - you have to follow through with the correction. IOW, they can't change their mind when they realize they have made the wrong choice "after" you start the walk. Remember, this is what I do for pups that "know" the "here" command.

 

I am sure this is as clear as mud. Different dogs, different situations, different responses from me.

 

Karen

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm so glad this came up again, and I think how it highlights how valuable the veteran posters are to new folks. When I first joined the board I read Rebecca's description of this and as a new border collie owner, I took the lesson to heart.

 

When I'm playing and walking with Polly and I stop to ask her to come, she does, happily, because after all we're playing. But. If I'm standing on the porch in my jammies and slippers and it's snowing, she will sometimes blow me off. This is where I have to have the discipline to do what's right for my dog. It's so tempting to dart back in and grab a squeaky toy--a sure way to coax her in, and also the way I use to handle this situation with my first dog. I KNOW Polly would come if I did that, but instead I come inside, grab my boots and coat, slip and slide down the hill toward her, and sure enough, it's like the others describe, she gets an "oh, crap!, I blew it!" look and comes to me. It's easy to be lazy, or busy, or whatever, in these situations......

 

Charlene

Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool. Thanks to the previous posters for descriptions of how they use this, and other posters feel free to add - I'm generalizing from your examples, and enjoy reading how each specific person tailors it to her specific needs.

 

So... the walking down is simply a strong way of holding the dog accountable to do what you ask (leave something or come to you), when you're sure the dog knows what you're asking and is blowing you off, right? You just walk towards him and use the pressure of your approach to motivate the dog to make the right choice?

 

Happily, my dog is pretty compliant, but there are the occasional stinky piles of fox poop to roll in, and decaying skulls to chaw on. Sounds like a good plan to use in those situations.

 

Mary

Link to post
Share on other sites

this is what I do with my JRT, Rusty. most of the time his answer is "screw you" because he would much rather bark at the naighbores non stop. when i call him, he will pause, look at me, then prodede to ignore me. so I put on shoes, march outside striaght toward him, at first he would back away from me a while, but now if I set one foot outside the door when he behaves that way and *boom* he is sitting quietly inside the house. sometimes all I have to do is threaten to walk him down and he will stop what he is doing and "poof" he comes flying into the house lol.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, this is very effective! I've done it with shelter dogs that were being silly in a play yard and wouldn't come and you basically just walk at them or follow them around sternly and when they look like "ohhhhh.... you's angry" I'll call them over and pet pet pet and we're on our way.

 

I also didn't know it was an "official technique" until a trainer mentioned it to me recently and I felt validated. :rolleyes:

 

"So... the walking down is simply a strong way of holding the dog accountable to do what you ask (leave something or come to you), when you're sure the dog knows what you're asking and is blowing you off, right? You just walk towards him and use the pressure of your approach to motivate the dog to make the right choice? "

 

That's exactly what I do. I just walk in a very direct manner, usually with a stern look on my face and I just walk after the dog until they feel that pressure and start to get the idea. Some dogs get it quick... and some don't.

 

I would imagine it would be harder to do in an unenclosed or very open area...but then, I'm super lazy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It is very effective, I've always done it with our dogs too but never knew to call it walking down; it's the reason why our dogs have always listened to and obeyed me and not my husband who won't do it. It falls in the category of what's more trouble in the short-run is less in the long.

 

I never say anything when I've gotten to them nor do I snatch their collar, I think it's enough that they've felt the earth shake as I stomp towards them :rolleyes:

 

Suzanne

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a quick "thank you" to all who described this procedure for me. I've used it several times on my dog when he has picked up pieces of coyote kill and refused to move along during our walks, and it works like a charm! It's so much fun to learn a new trick after 44 years! :rolleyes:

 

Mary

Link to post
Share on other sites

After not having a dog with a reliable off-leash recall for the past 20 years (my last working dog, an ACD/Dingo mix, everyone else since then has been a pig headed. nose-thumbing JR or Bull terrier, and one stubborn Shar-pei), I am determined that Taj will have a rock solid recall and not run off. Between 5-6 months he started questioning my ability to 'make' him come when he was off leash, so we spent a bit of time doing the walking down technique whenever he chose not to come when called (I've used it for years with my terriers and our Shar-Pei as well...they had/have a different attitude though, 'you want me, you come get me', so being leashed was always needed).

 

With Taj, I also use the word 'wrong' (as in 'that is not what I am asking you to do') in a very neutral voice for lots of things, but especially in training new tricks/behaviours and have found this triples the speed in which Taj learns things, compared to just using the clicker to mark the correct movement/behaviour. Just out of curiosity, I used this a few times when Taj didn't come when called immediately and his reaction was amazing. For example, he would be laying outside, I would go to the door and say 'come' in a happy voice and he would continue laying there just looking at me. So I would quickly say in a very neutral voice 'wrong' (meaning laying there not moving is not what I have asked for) pause a second then say 'come' in a happy voice and he would just about bolt towards me all wriggly and happy at doing the 'right' thing - thats an assumption based on his body language because Taj is my first BC and my first super willing to please dog, but he truly looks happy to do the right thing (even though he had that opportunity the first time as understands the 'come' command).

 

This worked without fail every time (maybe needed half dozen times in total over 2 weeks), and he is now back to having an extremely good recall - and much faster than previously. He's nearly 6.5 months now though, so I am sure my teenager will again push the boundaries!

 

Even though we had success with using the word 'wrong', I wonder if it is the same as saying 'come' three times or if Taj's understanding of the word 'wrong' really makes a difference? It was very convenient as it did save me having to go back inside and get shoes and a torch in the middle of the night, but I also don't want him to think that his cue for a recall is 'come, wrong, come', in which case should I only walk him down if he dosn't come when called? Taj is generally very willing to please and a stern look is often enough to make him change his mind, so training him really is a new experience for me!

 

Michelle

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am working with a behaviorist trainer right now to help Cody choose to make the right decisions. That includes not being aggressive toward other dogs.

 

The trainer's recommendation was to right now not give him ANY opportunity to make the wrong decision, including ALWAYS being onleash anytime we are outside.

 

I made the mistake last evening letting him out into the yard to go potty without a leash. He started tearing around, and I tried the walkdown approach. As soon as I got within three or four feet, he playbowed and ran. It was a fun game! I tried the walkdown again, he ran. Walkdown, run. Run around the house twice. Pick up a stick and run. The walkdown didn't work at all. After about three to four minutes of this game, he finally came to me. But it was on HIS terms and timing.

 

That's why we are working with this trainer. It needs to be on MY terms and MY timing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a recall problem with Scout in the backyard. I thought I was being incorrect in walking after her, but maybe I'm not. I've been concerned that it's teaching her another fun hide 'n chase game in the big backyard.

 

She escaped last year and I chased her for a mile in my pajamas and slippers. The maintenance guys in the park were highly amused.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Walking down works because the dog will realize that it isn't a game and that it isn't on his/her terms but it may take time and patience on your part. I know a person who walked down a young dog for two hours. That dog never did that again. Being in an enclosed area helps.

 

The dog will eventually tire of the game, particularly when it realizes that you are not amused and you are more determined than he/she is.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I dont know about all this walking down a dog. If a dog doesnt come, you just go get it. Dont say a word, just walk straight to it like you mean bussiness, take it by the collar, bring it back to where you were when you called it, and explain to it the "THIS" is where I called you and "THIS" is where I want you to be when I do. Release the dog, and repete. It doesnt seem to take mine but once to say "Oops," and not repete the offence again. They already know why Im coming after them, as they know they blew off the recall. Why chase them around? You only have about 3 seconds after you give a command before you can "do " anything about it, after that, they dont understand or remember why your walking them down, they just think your crazy and it scares them. Just seems like a lot of wasted energy to me, and confuses the dog.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I have done the 'if it dosn't come, walk up to dog and take it by the collar and walk it back to where you called it from' routine, but the problem I have always experienced with this, is that the dogs realise that I can only make them come to me if I have contact with their collar. So they have great recall in the house/backyard but not in unfenced areas where it really counts.

 

I would rather have Taj make the choice to 'come' without physical restraint because I think in the end it will make a stronger recall. I think the whole point of 'walking the dog down' is to allow the dog the mental/emotional freedom of choice, rather than be forced by physical means, as the former will create a much stronger behviour in the end. Don't get me wrong, not coming when called is not an option - the recall has to be enforced (and has to be done in a safe area, or the dog should be leashed). The other thing is that tension/anger/frustration is not transmitted to the dog by physically touching them, which probably makes a big difference for some dogs.

 

I don't believe that there is a cookie cutter solution to every problem for every dog, and its good to have a variety of 'tricks' up your sleave just in case you need them. I'll let you know how well this solution works for me and Taj in about 12 months time;)

 

Michelle

Link to post
Share on other sites

I dont use fenced in area's to train my dogs in, rarely, will I even put a leash on them. I guess thats one of the advantages to living in the country. The only thing that have fences around my place are the pastures, and I wouldnt have them, but sheep and horses just dont have the capacity to learn a recall. Maybe I should try walking them down. :rolleyes:

As far as them learning that the only time I have control over them is when I have hold to their collars, that doesnt make sence to me. If they have a great recall, then they should have a great recall where ever they are, not just in a fenced in areas or inside the house. A dog that only has a great recall inside some place , doesnt really have a great recall, or any kind of a recall to speak of to start with.

You miss my point, when all you can think of is that I "force" my dogs to do anything. I didnt force my dog to ignore my recall, that was his choice. He made the wrong choice when given the opportunity to choose freely, and I am correcting that wrong choice by showing him where the right choice should have been.

Mentle and emotionl freedom of choice is a lovely ideal, but its not going to help my dog once it finds itself under the wheel of a car and then comes to the realization that it has made the wrong mental and emotionally free choice. How many times have you read or heard that a door got left opened or a dog ran out after some thing, and didnt heed a recall? No time to snap a leash on them then. A recall to me, is a very serious command, it can be the difference between life and death and the dog should understand that it is the one command they have that has no room for blowing me off, no room to make a wrong choice and I want them to understand that right from the start. Im not angry with a dog that it didnt come when I called, disapointed perhaps, and when I go get them, Im not filled with anger that trasnsfers through to them. Taking them by the collar doesnt give them any emotional scars. It only takes a minuet to go get a dog and put them right. I am serious however when I go get them, and they understand that, alot better I think than chasing them around for 10 minuets. I surly wouldnt say its the right way, or the only way, but I do know it works for me, and Ive yet to have a dog suffer for it. I just think it makes more sence to the dog.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps there is a bit of misunderstanding here.

 

A walk down doesn't mean you just go aimlessly walking around after a dog and don't take it by the collar and return to the place where you called it. The walk down is for a dog that doesn't recall and then won't let you walk up and put your hand/leash on it. The dog that plays keep-away or keeps avoiding your contact.

 

At some point in time, very quickly for some and after some minutes for others, the dog will realize that it isn't fun, you aren't playing, and will be ready for you to take the collar. As you won't ever punish the dog at this point of making contact, there won't be any fear in your taking hold.

 

Anger doesn't play a part in this. Determination does. You by your posture, stride, and expression show that you mean business and are not playing, but you don't yell, flail about, or chase.

 

A dog that has been properly taught a good recall won't need this exercise. For many basically obedient and willing dogs, it only takes a step or two and they are prepared to come to you, seeing there is a consequence that is unpleasant and puts pressure on them. It can be done in a very large area but is most effective as a training tool in a smaller area.

 

All my own opinions, of course. What works for one person and dog may not work for another. What works and is humane is what you chose to do.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah... my take on the walk-down isn't that the dog necessarily relates it to the original command, but that the dog learns playing the "get-away" game doesn't work. Not that I'm an expert - I started this thread asking about how to do it - but it feels like you can't get the dog to refocus and "do" the original command until the dog stops thinking he's playing chase with you.

 

As I mentioned, I tried this when my dog found delicious bones out in the fields. He won't come or leave the food on my recall, though he generally will leave anything else he's doing and run to catch up with me. But when I walked him down, he seemed to immediately grasp that I was serious about his leaving the food, and he did leave it, and follow me afterwards.

 

As an aside, last week one of my eighth grade students was drumming on his desk. (Typical adolescent human developmental stage.) I signalled for him to stop, but he continued. I started to walk towards him, as I explained to the class the technique I had learned for walking down my dog. As I approached the kid, his drumming slowed and then halted completely as I came close to him. The class was giggling, to know that a dog-training technique would work so well on a human! :rolleyes:

 

(I did learn this same basic technique when I got my teaching degree: the closer the authority figure is to the person who might misbehave, the less likely the misbehavior.)

 

Mary

Link to post
Share on other sites

As an aside, last week one of my eighth grade students was drumming on his desk. (Typical adolescent human developmental stage.) I signalled for him to stop, but he continued. I started to walk towards him, as I explained to the class the technique I had learned for walking down my dog. As I approached the kid, his drumming slowed and then halted completely as I came close to him. The class was giggling, to know that a dog-training technique would work so well on a human!

 

This almost sounds like something my boy would do in class. Im gonna have to impart this bit of knowledge on his teacher! She

ll love it! :rolleyes:

 

Perhaps there is a bit of misunderstanding here.

 

A walk down doesn't mean you just go aimlessly walking around after a dog and don't take it by the collar and return to the place where you called it. The walk down is for a dog that doesn't recall and then won't let you walk up and put your hand/leash on it. The dog that plays keep-away or keeps avoiding your contact.

 

At some point in time, very quickly for some and after some minutes for others, the dog will realize that it isn't fun, you aren't playing, and will be ready for you to take the collar. As you won't ever punish the dog at this point of making contact, there won't be any fear in your taking hold.

 

 

Yes, I understand the reasoning better after this. Thanks Sue, it makes more sence to me now, as to what dogs this can/should be applied to rather than as a training aide for most, or any dog. I reckon Ive been lucky, as Ive not yet had one ( a BC) that wouldnt let me approach it, and would run off when it saw me coming. I do however have a Std. poodle, that would probably do that, as after Ive taken a few steps towards him, he will get that "Oh sh*t!" look on his face, and starts to run. But I just stop walking towards him, and change my tone and body language, and he comes round to my way of thinking. I think for a dog like him, that if I continued to walk him down, he'd just turn tail, and keep on running without looking back. But Im going to try it on him and see what he does, as Ive never followed through with it on him. Talk about sensitive. He's a basket case! Thanks for that additional explanation Sue. It definitly helped to put it in a better perspective for me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You're right, Darci, that some dogs like your poodle react that way and you just have to know how much is enough.

 

My first purebred Border Collie pup was a problem for me - he was smarter than I was and learned the wrong things too easily as I did things wrong in my ignorance! I wish I had had this exercise when I had him because, sure enough, I made him into a youngster that did not have a good recall for a while, until I learned how to train him better. But we went through some frustration where I did not know how to deal with it properly and therefore made the problem worse before it got better.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My husband did the walk down with Tempe. The first time she ignored him, he walked her down and she came to him easily. A couple minutes later, he called her, she looked at him, turned her back and continued what she was doing. My husband does not have the patience for stuff like that. He walked her down again and this time picked her up by the scruff and carried her back to where he called her. She has never ignored his recall since then. She does not normally blow off a recall but if you can't get her attention so you can call her - Tempe has learned that if I stomp my foot on the deck she better pat attention. I have to say, Tempe has the best recall. Any noise we make will have her hauling butt to get back to us.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...