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Ok seriously I can deal with one person telling me I'm a horrible person for letting my dog off lead, but everyone piling on certainly sucks big time - I get the point already. (Z is indeed my dog, Pepper is not.)

 

I get the concern, but honestly my one off lead dog could not catch a deer nor would she even get close to it; Z's 25lbs and while fast is too dang small to keep up. My friend's dog, Pepper, might, but that's her responsibility. Deer around here are a nuisance so sorry if I'm not too concerned about them being chased for all of two mins. The deer surprised all of us and I will be truthful - I did not attempt to call Z off.

 

A bee sting can happen anywhere, as can a scratched knee, on lead or off, biting a tongue not as common, but still not exclusive to deer chasing.

 

A clarification: Z is generally within my sight, except for brief forays. Her forays can last up to 5 mins, but most are a minute or two, and she is not speeding away, rather she's meandering. Yes she could get far, but she never has to date and I'm not concerned at all about her behavior with other dogs, people, or horses as she is appropriate in all the situations we've encounter thus far, plus the trail we usually take heads onto private property that we have permission to be on off leash and there's only one other trail in the area that the dogs could come across w/in a few mins run. I have put some thought into this after all.

 

Once my DH gets a job we'll likely be restarting stockwork for both girls. From all the helpful input, that really does seem like our best bet for proofing and simulating a prey type situation in addition to being a heck of a lot of fun. I'd really like a solid down from motion. :rolleyes:

 

I propose we get away from chastising me and get back to a discussion about how to train since I've already said that's my plan now for Maggie. I'd really love to hear from those of you that have dogs that will call off mid-chase, but other tips are welcome.

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- many of you talk about how reliable your dog's recalls are, but how did you get them there? Sheer repetition? Shock collars? Raised in safe off lead areas from puppyhood? Nelson's Really Reliable Recall? How would you recall train a dog if you had to use longlines vs. having secure fenced areas?

 

LOL on Nelson's Reliable Recall. :rolleyes:

 

You know, I do believe my dog could pass that Boulder test. I take him all over the place, off leash, and I never have any trouble at all getting him back to me when I need to. A big part of my dog's nature is his fear of encountering things that scare him, and I believe that works in my favor for behavior in the big world. If I say a firm "Wait," Buddy will freeze in his tracks and start sniffing for whatever dog or human or horse we're about to encounter - he trusts my word that much, and is willing to let me take control of the situation.

 

So, I think timidity is why Buddy listens so well. But as for the specifics on how he got so solid... I remember doing the "Wait" at every street we crossed in our very first days together. Buddy came home with "Sit," so I would say, "Wait. Sit," before we crossed roads. (This was all on leash in the early days.) That's how he got to know what "wait" meant. Later, when I worked with a trainer on more advanced stuff, the trainer told me to do lots of practice sits/downs, then "stay," off leash. We would be walking in the woods, and I would down Buddy and tell him "Stay." Then I'd walk increasing distances from him, correcting him with an "aah" if he started to move, and rewarding him with a big "Good job! Come here now!" when he stayed down. Later, after he was really solid with this stuff, I'd catch him walking ahead of me, and do the "Wait" command. Or "Wait. Lie down." When he listened, he got good happy talk and treats. Nowadays he just listens because I usually "wait" him when another dog or a dog-scared-looking human is coming. We keep on practicing at random times. Buddy's happy to do a down/stay for a cookie.

 

Honestly, as I read the "method" I used, it sounds way more serious and official than it ever was. Most of my friends take their dogs off leash at the local park, and just call them over when necessary. Once in a while, there's someone whose dog is a pest, but the majority of the time everything is fine and peaceful. In my experience, dogs' being off leash is more or less the standard when we're not in dangerous or heavily populated areas.

 

Let me be politically incorrect, and say that I don't think a dog being outside his owner's line of sight while off-leash is a crime. I can walk for an hour in my local wooded park without encountering another human being. I sometimes (gasp!) turn a corner while Buddy is still sniffing pee behind me. Sometimes Buddy will run into the brush to roll in something dead, and I (eeek!) move on before I notice he's not with me. In his younger days, Buddy was even known to occasionally (shudder!) chase a squirrel, which I also do not believe is a crime.

 

I do understand that we don't want our dogs running ragged, killing deer and biting strangers... but I think there's so much hysteria in the outside world about dogs that even some dog people are buying into it: the notion that dogs must be prevented at all times from being loose, goofy, and doglike.

 

Mary

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You know what, the fact that anyone here thinks just chasing the deer doesn't hurt it make me livid. That sounds like the crud people tell me when their dogs get in my sheep. Oh, she's just "playing" - "she didn't even bite them". Sure she didn't, she just cost them all the days weight gain, just missed breaking that ewe's neck from the tree she hit, wow how lucky can we get.... never mind the ones that abort later, or have muscle injuries.

 

Running deer here is a shooting offense. It's considered almost worse than chasing livestock.

 

I do understand that we don't want our dogs running ragged, killing deer and biting strangers... but I think there's so much hysteria in the outside world about dogs that even some dog people are buying into it: the notion that dogs must be prevented at all times from being loose, goofy, and doglike.

 

The deer would probably appreciate being able to be deer too, and not being run into the road or out of their hiding/grazing places. Other park users would also appreciate being able to use the park without the sudden appearence of dogs they don't know - who may or may not be aggressive or a danger to them or their own dogs. They would be well in their right to object - physically to the dog, and verbally to the owner of the property. Other animals lovers would probably appeciate not having to deal with the emotional mess of hitting your dog on the street when during the "1-2 minutes" you can't see it. (And don't tell me they can't, even the net resources will say a dog can run at least 19 miles an hour, and I've clocked some of mine lure coursing at over 35mph. And that road is a 1/2 a mile away in your case.)

 

OP I'll stand by what I said. If you can't call them back, and definately if you can't keep them in site, your dogs are not under control and need to be on a leash. There is no shame in that, it's just good manners. You don't need to add a dog to the loose group, you need to leash them all.

 

Like it or not. You posted it. And we answered.

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I propose we get away from chastising me and get back to a discussion about how to train since I've already said that's my plan now for Maggie. I'd really love to hear from those of you that have dogs that will call off mid-chase, but other tips are welcome.

 

Dean will call off mid chase.

 

When we first adopted him, nothing would stop him when he took off.

 

How did I do it?

 

1. I played the recall game indoors.

 

Two people stand a distance apart. One calls the dog - either by name or by a word that will become the really-reliable-recall word. We used "Dean Dog". The second he whipped his head around to the person who called his name, that person clicked, and placed a treat on the floor.

 

As soon as the treat was consumed, the other called, "Dean Dog!" The second his head whipped around, that person clicked, and placed a treat on the ground.

 

We did this over and over and over. The idea is to condition that head turn so it's automatic.

 

Have you ever been in a room in the middle of summer and someone says, "It's snowing!" and before you even think, you're looking out the window? When I used to teach High School, this was a favorite thing for the kids to do in September when they were really hot! You don't look because you really think it's snowing when it's 90 degrees out - it's an automatic response that you do before you think.

 

That's the level to which we conditioned that head turn with Dean.

 

2. I played a lot of ball with him outdoors in our fenced yard and called him off Speedy (who he used to adore chasing). Again, this conditioned a response in him.

 

Let's see . . . what else?

 

3. Call offs from Agility equipment. If you don't have Agility equipment, you can improvise. The important thing is to call the dog off of something he or she LOVES. At first when I did this I had to literally go up to him, put food on his nose, say his name, and lead him away. Now he will call off an entry to a tunnel at full speed. That took a while and a lot of rewards, but, again, I conditioned it to the point where he doesn't think about it - he just does it.

 

I do take Dean on hikes and he does stay on the trail in sight of me. If he's getting too far ahead, or gets interested in something off the trail, I call him, "Dean Dog!" and he returns to me and then re-sets his walking. I never really trained him to do this per se, but the call-off's that he learned in the instances above gave him the skills he needed.

 

Hope some of that might help.

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I was trying to politely emphasize why a dog should not chase wildlife, but apparently that went over your head, never mind the part about going off trail. I'm sorry the deer are being a nuisance to you in their natural habitat. Loose dogs are a nuisance to me --I suppose I can let my dog chase them off, then? So are screaming kids for that matter...I guess that's ok, too. I do realize that deer are overpopulated in several areas, but I do not see how that gives you leave to let your dogs chase them. Because deer are overpopulated, it's all right to chase one off and deplete it's energy resources --might be one less deer, thank goodness. There are different venues to address nuisance deer in -hiking is not one of them.

 

Numerous people were trying to educate you on hiking etiquette of which you are unaware (or, after your last post, don't care). As it was pointed out --initially, at least, you are on *public* property. Everyone on that property follows some sort of etiquette according to their personal life -kids, dogs, or no dogs. All I read about the situation is you were new to hiking, had two dogs "tear" (your words) off sometimes, and you were wondering if you could let the last one off leash to possibly do the same.

 

I have not succumbed to public opinion and hysteria about dogs. My dog is not a robot. He splashes in streams we cross, poses for photos, gets down low over my head and teases me on hard climbs...and *gasp* sometimes fetches sticks. He laughs in my face, and we keep walking.

 

You also seem to be looking for a magic answer on the recall and auto-down, despite several people writing basically the same thing. I suggest you go back and re-read what Chesney wrote, it was good advice. As far as the down from a motion -having a dog on stock is just one way to train that. You have a dog on a leash. You're walking. Stop quickly. Ask for a down. Take a few steps. Give an ok, keep going. Progress to walking with her stopping and you still going forward, slowly, then more quickly. Practice recalls with downs halfway to you, then recall the rest of the way, on a long line or in a hallway. I taught mine an auto-down playing with a soccer ball. However, I haven't needed to use it --since I don't let my animals chase anything in the first place. It might be worth it to point out dogs working stock and downing are not chasing, either.

 

ETA: Thank you Lenajo, for being blunt and saying what I wanted to, but refrained.

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Once again, Lenajo's "blunt" response says it all. Some excellent suggestions for training a solid down and recall have been given and are definitely worth trying. The only reason I am still posting on this thread is that you don't seem to be getting the point at all. It doesn't matter that Z could never catch the deer--the idea that the deer is being chased at all is what is inappropriate. (The issue of overpopulation of deer in your area is a whole other matter and does NOT make it Ok for your dogs to chase them. Get a license and hunt them in season if you dislike them that much.) "Brief forays" are inappropriate. ANY fricking foray is inappropriate. Like capnree, I have not succumbed to hysteria about loose dogs. My dogs are off leash almost always because they behave appropriately. When they are young and not yet to be trusted, they are on leash or a long line. When they show they can be trusted, off leash they go. Loose, goofy, and very dog-like. On the trail, working stock, at the vet's or Petsmart, the issue is the same--we (my dogs and me) all realize that we are not the only beings on the planet and we conduct ourselves in such a way as to be respectful of others whose paths we may (or may not) cross. It's not rocket science.

 

A

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I just watched that Boulder video, and I agree: Mojo could pass that test easily, and he's a paranoid, hypervigilant, super-reactive freak, so if I could train him NOT to bark constantly at everyone, it most definitely can be done.

 

MaggieDog, I posted several tips in my original lengthy post--please refer to those. To answer your newest questions: I had neither Mojo nor Wolfee from puppyhood--Mojo arrived as an approximately 5-yo stray in Dec 2006, is naturally suspicious of everyone/everything but he is also naturally very cooperative--I'd say he has an omega-type personality (low self-esteem, low confidence levels, but isn't fearful). Wolfee is supremely friendly to everyone/everything and is full of confidence, but he came to me as a 3-yo who had been the victim of an outdoor hoarding situation for the first year of his life, and then spent the next two years alone in a shelter, so he didn't know how to learn, he couldn't care less about me, and was interested only in indulging his own wants/needs, which often did not coincide with mine. Two entirely different sets of challenges. Thus:

 

About Mojo's reliable recall:

 

I never used a shock collar (eek).

 

Mojo really likes being with me pretty much all of the time, which is an important first step.

 

I spend a LOT of time with Mojo and we work on all kinds of things (tricks, commands) every single day for cumulatively large portions of the day, and I think that cannot be discounted as being a significant part of why he enjoys working with me and being with me in general, as opposed to going off to do his own thing, as I always am interacting him and keeping him guessing.

 

He naturally follows me all around the house (bathroom, shower, office) and in the yard, and always wants to see what I am doing and where we are going, and thus it stands to reason he would do that when we are not on our property, either. Since he's almost always underfoot, I don't actually have to call him to me very much to begin with.

 

What I DID have to teach him was to come all the time on the *first* call no matter what, not a few seconds later or whenever it struck him. Thus, from the first day he set foot in my house, I started teaching him to "come" using one word only. I never taught him the habit of being allowed to come on a second/third/x number of repeated calls, which I think is important. If he even hesitated slightly on the first call, I looked grim, and physically went and collected him without saying anything, meaning that sometimes I would pick him up and carry him to where he was supposed to go, sometimes by the collar, and of course he would know he had done something wrong. Then I would set him maybe three feet away from me, and then ask him to "come." If he DID come when called, either the first time or after being "moved," as stated, for at least 2-3 months, I had 100% reinforcement and would surprise him with bits of bacon he didn't know I had, sushi, hamburger, his tug toy, chasing me all around the house, etc., and we would have an OMG-you-did-so-well-let's-have-a-party, where I would act like a complete and totally gleeful idiot, and I think he learned it was much more fun to comply than to not.

 

I should also add that even in our very early days, I still insisted on a "come front" (i.e., come and sit straight in front of me) just because it is useful, even before I had any inkling of wanting to try formal obedience, so I had always held Mojo to strict criteria. If he came, of course I would have the aforementioned party, but then while he was looking up at me with great focus, I would place him in the proper position and tell him to sit, and then have another party. I NEVER corrected him for an incorrect "front" IF he came to me at top speed...that would only ruin the recall. Eventually, after enough repetitions, he put 2+2 together and would come AND sit in front, and then we could have one big party!

 

Here's another tip: in the beginning, I never called him if I didn't think he was going to come! I.e., if he was busy barking at a passing dog through our front fence (i.e., doing something highly rewarding to him), and I DID NOT THINK he was going to come on the first call because he was otherwise engaged, I would go down to him and simply collect him (carry him or take him by the collar again) WITHOUT CALLING HIM, as that would only set him up for failure to blow off the recall, as he was obviously in no state of mind to "hear" me. As hard as it sometimes was, I held very strongly to NOT calling him more than once, as it really ruins the value of the word "come." I know some people have to teach a new "emergency" recall word because "come" has faded in importance to the dog, and I didn't want to have to do that.

 

Thus, over time and with additional training, I would gradually test him in more and more challenging situations (like at the dog park with NO ONE there, then with another dog in sight, then when the park was busier on weeknights, then on extremely busy weekend days with clueless owners and often outright aggressive dogs, then while he was playing with another dog, then when he was CHASING another dog, and even when A STRANGER was giving him treats (with my permission, of course)...yup, I can call him away from a treat-giving stranger with one word. :D Each time I did not advance until I was certain that he was going to come when called, so I would judiciously choose when to call him and when I should just go get him--and by setting him up as much as possible so that he COULD NOT MAKE A MISTAKE, and thus having a very high history of positive reinforcement for recalls, through force of habit, he would comply. That's how eventually I got so that I could call him away from wildlife, fence-barking, you name it.....baby steps. And in the end, hence, a 100% reliable recall.

 

I'm sure you know this, but I also NEVER call Mojo when I am going to do something unpleasant to him (toenail clipping, baths, etc.) That would be setting yourself up for failure...I just go and get him. "Come" should be reserved solely for positive associations without exception, so that when you need that recall to save your dog's life, it will be there, and there will be no question in her mind that a party will be waiting for her, not toenail clippers. :rolleyes:

 

Thus, even as obedient/cooperative as Mojo is, and even with his naturally strong desire to stay with me, make no mistake: I still spent a LOT OF TIME AND EFFORT teaching/enforcing Mojo to have a reliable recall. For example, even now, each and every single time of the 3-4 times we go to the dog park weekly, I must call him a dozen or more times, and similarly on a trail, for no actual reason, just to keep his tools sharp, per se. We practice figure-8 heeling in the park off-leash with a dozen other dogs playing fetch around him, I jump him over tree logs and work on front crosses and tell him to "go tunnel!" under park benches...and I really think that's a significant part of it, too--we work on everything so much. Even with commands he knows in his sleep, I still intermittently reward him with really high-value treats depending on the situation. A lot of times I hide treats in a sealed Ziploc bag so he has no clue that I have them, and then when we're out in the open, I suddenly call him--he runs to me, and then he is completely surprised by a treat when he didn't think I had any.

 

This is a really personal thing, but when I don't have treats, what I do is throw my hands up in the air and squeal, "Yay!!!!!" and that makes Mojo jump up in the air off his two hind legs, as well, and he's grinning, I'm grinning, and for him, that's just about as good as getting a treat, so we do that a lot, too. You're going to have to find similar highly desirable rewards for Maggie and keep changing them up to keep her guessing so that YOU do not get BORING to her. Because Mojo is leash-reactive, his DEFAULT behavior is to scan the environment compulsively for something to bark at....THUS, we NEVER (well, we simply can't) just have an ordinary walk down the sidewalk when he is leashed--I am actively heeling him, doing about turns, suddenly stopping and testing his auto-sits, suddenly turning into him (left) and changing direction, starting to run and then suddenly telling him "down," suddenly walking super slowly, etc., in order to keep his focus on me. Thus, he has learned to pay attention to me constantly because, again, I keep surprising him, and now he thinks learning and walking with me is the most fun thing ever, and that paying attention to me is much more exciting and much less stressful than freaking out and growling/lunging/barking at a passing dog.

 

About the instant "down" and moving stand ("wait") command: as I started to say in the previous paragraph, you start in baby steps and then work it up, like with everything else. Mojo learned to "down" in the house right in front of me. Then from further away in the house with combined voice and hand signal. Then with just a hand signal. Then with just a voice signal. Then I put him at a distance, had him down, called him, and had him down again halfway before reaching me (drop on recall). Then I downed him in order for the front door to open. Then downed him on the front porch. Then down again before coming back in the house. Then in public: down him at a walk on leash when he doesn't expect it. Then downed him at a run on leash when he expects it even less--the forward impulsion actually PROPELS them into a beautiful down super quickly. I down him in the off-leash park when he is next to me, then at a distance, going through all the steps again--first voice+hand, then just hand, then just voice. I have him get up on a picnic table, down him, put him in a stay, walk 10 yards, then 20, then 50, then 100 yards away, called him, and THEN downed him halfway before he reaches me. I think you get the idea. "Wait" was the same. On leash, I stop at a curb (clear visual marker to the dog) and squeal, "WAIT!" He stops, I praise, put him in a sit. He just learned to auto-sit at a curb. Then on leash, I'm walking, and with no curb, I squeal "wait," plant both feet with a big show, and stop moving--he stops moving but is still standing, I praise, give him a treat, tell him to sit. He has now learned auto-sit without a curb when I stop moving. Off-leash when he is NOT next to me in heel position--I squeal "wait"--through force of habit, he stops momentarily and looks at me, I praise and GO to him--he has just learned moving stand. Keep repeating, amp up distractions....Mojo can "wait" from a dead run. As has been said earlier, you don't need stock to teach a dog obedience--you actually have to spend the time and patience and effort to teach a dog obedience...what would all the mutts/retrievers/pointers/froufrou dogs do otherwise?

 

I should say this, also: how well-exercised is Maggie? It's hard for a dog to concentrate if she's got a lot of pent-up anxiety, as when you release her it's much more of a "yahoo!" moment.

 

I'm going to be completely honest, though--I think you're going to have a hard time working on her recall with no yard and no safe fenced area, since you have nothing in between being inside your house and the great wide open!! While a lot of things can be accomplished and reinforced and perfected indoors, there still aren't very many distractions. You said that Maggie couldn't handle dog parks because they are too small: are you saying Maggie is aggressive with other dogs in close quarters, which is why you can't take her to the dog park where you live? Perhaps this needs to be addressed before you proceed with your off-leash plans, frankly...I wasn't clear from your post as to why she has trouble in a dog park but then will ignore dogs she encounters on a trail.

 

About Wolfee's reliable recall when prey are not around:

 

I have already spent way too much time replying to this thread, but for everyone out there who is now in despair that their dogs "can never do this" because of whatever "x" personality reasons, I will briefly mention foster dog Wolfee again because he presented a unique challenge to me. As I stated earlier, training Wolfee was a lot harder because my relationship with him is not the same as mine and Mojo's from the start, plus I didn't expend nearly the effort and time to train Wolfee as I had with Mojo, plus Wolfee has a whole lot more natural prey drive and a much more terrier-like independent streak...plus he had the unformed mind of a young puppy but the 65-lb body of a dog who could do a LOT of damage and move VERY quickly...plus he didn't actually know HOW to learn when he first came--he had no concept that doing things I asked got him a reward, and I had to teach him ALL of that.

 

Wolfee pretty much ignored me completely for nearly an entire week when he was first here, and paced the house looking for his rescue representative (awww). Because he wasn't housebroken, however, I insisted on his coming with me to every single room as I walked around, or else he had to be in a crate, which he didn't like very much, so I capitalized on his dislike of being alone and at first leashed him and toted him around with me, and eventually let him drag the leash as I kept patting my leg, cooing encouragingly as I went from room to room, and he would come rather than be left alone. ALL my dogs (Godiva included, and she is nearly blind and deaf now) follow me from room to room and Wolfee fell in the pattern. Once he realized that meals came from me, Wolfee eventually also realized he was motivated by food, and so I would dole out kibble for following me, etc. Once Wolfee learned of the existence of hamburger meat, our relationship got a lot better. :D Teaching him to "sit" was the big breakthrough when the light bulb went on--he made the connection of doing something _I_ want = getting something _he_ wants. After that it wasn't too hard to teach him to lie down, shake hands, sit up (beg), etc., and even to ride a skateboard!

 

Notably, we DID have a big 35-minute showdown when my agility trainer (I had been taking Wolfee to Mojo's lessons) asked me to teach him to put his front paws up on a pot (for balance reasons). We were alone at home and when I gave him the cue, and instead, Wolfee lay down and literally barked at me for 35 full minutes at the top of his lungs....but I held firm (with fingers in my ears). Finally, grudgingly, Wolfee put his two front paws up on that pot, and from then on, life with Wolfee became a WHOLE lot easier. We discovered he actually LIKES working for food, he is very tenacious (doesn't give up), actually had quite a long attention span (i.e., willing to work for as long as I cared to keep giving him food), and he is not nearly as sensitive with corrections as Mojo is--i.e., you can yell at Wolfee and he just grins at you (much like Godiva, my Bichon), whereas Mojo runs for cover if I just frown in his general direction.

 

When we first started going to the dog park, you'd better believe that Wolfee turned out to be one of those dogs who would much rather keep running around the dog park than go home with me, much to my chagrin. So, IMHO, teaching him a recall was a combination of OUR WORKING RELATIONSHIP getting better over time (i.e., he actually liked being around me and interacting with me and had increased respect for me), AND making recalls fun, as Wolfee is very playful. Also don't forget that he doesn't like to be left alone!! So, I would often walk behind a tree out of sight, and wait. Sometimes ten, fifteen minutes would pass before he would start to look around as to where I had gone and perhaps even start trotting around, actually looking. When I would burst out of my hiding place, he would eagerly bounce up to me. Walking to the gate to go home and waving his leash in the air AT THE APPROPRIATE MOMENT (i.e., when he was looking bored and had no one to play with) also would produce the same effect....I never tried that when he looked as if he wanted to keep playing, of course. Then, once Wolfee really knew his name, I did the click/treat name game I mentioned in my original post. Then, I noticed that Wolfee really enjoyed racing from one end of the park to the other (zoomies). So, I would start taking him to the park near dusk when there wasn't anyone there (because the last thing I wanted to do was start running around in a park full of dogs and get myself bitten), and then I would start to run excitedly (like a fool) and call his name. Wolfee immediately and gleefully complied, and so we would be running back and forth together for the full length of the park...I would suddenly stop and change direction, and he would tear after me, and we would repeat and repeat (what a workout!!). After enough reps he learned that "Are you ready?" meant that we were about to run, and he would get very excited. Then I chained it: he would be far away from me doing something else, I was slightly out sight (hunkered down in a squat), and then I would call out, "Wolfee....are you ready??" He would visually scan the field looking for me, find me, and when I had his full attention, and he had already started to run, I would then also yell out, "COME!!!" As he was running towards me at SUPER top speed, then I would leap up from my squat and run AWAY from him....when he eventually caught up, I would happily tell him, "Yay...Wolfee, sit!" and thus, I had a come front, and then excitedly repeat the "come" game in the other direction. Eventually I stopped running away from him and simply called out "Wolfee...are you ready....COME!" I felt that the attention-getting "Wolfee" and "Are you ready?" gave him enough opportunity to start paying attention before I actually uttered the recall command, again, to protect the value of the word, and then eventually I faded the other words. Again, I worked up the distractions to include other dogs in the park, while he was playing with other dogs, while he was chasing other dogs, etc.

 

I mention all of this solely to illustrate that I think I was creative in my methods for each individual dog, in that I had to come up with what THEY thought was fun in order to accomplish my training goals. If you get boring and the dog gets bored of you, and/or has no respect for you, OR you challenge the dog before he/she is ready, you are going to set yourself up for failure.

 

I really hope that all of what I have written will be helpful to you as you train Maggie to reach your goals and goals that both you and she can accomplish. As I stated previously, because of Wolfee's significant prey drive, and my apparent current inability to trump the enticements of squirrels, Wolfee never got to be off leash on a wilderness trail, and while I never STOPPED trying to train him to leave squirrels alone, in the meantime, IT DOES NOT BOTHER ME, NOR WOLFEE, ONE LITTLE BIT to keep him on-leash while hiking, as I know that is the responsible thing to do. I am not coming down on you, but I think you already know that you may have to redefine your goals to suit your dog, or you may have to better train your dog to reach your goals--and there's really no magic or easy way about it. Eighteen months I've spent trying to get Mojo to a point where he doesn't go ballistic in public, and I've worked on it every single day from the first day I learned he was leash-reactive, and borne all the nasty comments of people who see him flipping out in the street....I had little choice about it, and so I just sucked it up and did it, because it was important to me. I was certainly open to the possibility that Mojo may NEVER be reliable on-leash in public, but I also never planned on giving up on trying, so we kept at it. Mojo still can't handle himself on-leash in very specific situations, AND if I stop paying attention to him, but we certainly have also come a long way to be welcomed at an obedience club practice with other leashed dogs and group agility lesosns with other leashed dogs. Maggie is not reactive, but she has prey drive, so that will be your own unique challenge.

 

Just remember: no matter what you do, above all, you have to keep your dog safe, and others safe from your dog--that's your responsibility as a dog owner.

 

**ETA: just thought of one more tip I didn't actually write out: when you call your dog repeatedly to you in a park, or whatever, in the beginning, immediately release him/her as soon as she comes--that way, he/she learns that not only does she get a reward for performing a great recall, but you will immediately release her to go back and play with other dogs, sniff, whatever it is she wanted to do to begin with--in her mind, she gets the best of both worlds. That also helps build the positive recall history and creates positive associations in her mind. Just as with a dog who won't come when it's time to go home: you call him, put on his leash, and then immediately take the leash off and release him--do that enough times to keep him guessing.

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Like it or not. You posted it. And we answered.

 

Just for point of clarification: Some responses to my most recent post are being addressed to Maggiedog - or at least that's how it feels to me. What I typed is what I believe; I stand by it, and I'm not upset or flustered by contrasting opinions. To be fair, though, Maggiedog should only have to debate her words, not mine. :rolleyes:

 

Mary

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Mojo - Thank you! Your posts have been very very very helpful - it's one thing for someone to say "do x" and quite another for them to say "here's how you do x in these steps in these situations". :rolleyes: I'm going to have to print them out and reread them to get all the info out I think!

 

You are correct that Maggie doesn't do well in tight situations with other dogs. On walks with at least 2 feet of space, or in an area where she can move away from them she is quite good, it's only when there is a lot of movement/interaction in a limited space that she gets reactive. We've worked on this and I'm comfortable with the levels she's at now (actively avoiding other dogs as needed and using appropriate corrections when they get too close). She has dog friends and does very well with them as well as any fosters I've had - greetings are the tensest interaction for her to handle.

 

Maggie has gone to dog parks in the past and has done fine with appropriate management and space, but the ones around here are not well run and are waaay too small (think about 100x100 vs. the 1/3 mi by 200ft park we frequented in DC), so we don't bother with them.

 

Maggie is 9 yo and is very calm for a BC mix - she gets about 2-5 miles of walking each day and that's all she needs to settle nicely in the house. She shows no signs of excess energy (sleeps all day) and is naturally a little anxious (confinement anxiety, some separation issues in new settings), but is fine generally. She's very soft in most training situations, but as mentioned before she does give chase readily and then she's much tougher.

 

If I had a safe, fenced, large area to work in this whole thing wouldn't have even surfaced, but I don't and it makes training in situations where she has troubles near impossible.

 

To all who have read/responded: I guess that the bottom line really is that I'm jealous that I'm the only dog owner on the trail we use that leashes her dog and I do it because I *don't* want her getting hurt, but I also know how much happier and relaxed my dog is when she has off leash opportunities - we live in an apartment with no off leash areas so she hasn't been off leash for over a year and that just seems horrible to me. It's all well and good to talk about recalls on dogs who think nothing of being off leash, who can go to dog parks, who have access to stock, etc. and quite another when you are facing at least another 3-6 months without a yard, without the ability to give your dog what she truly loves and what makes her obviously more relaxed in her own skin.

 

I'm sorry if I've come off as uncaring, dismissive, etc. but this is an issue I've been wrestling with for years (since the accident) and it sucks to get jumped on and basically told that I'm an irresponsible, unethical, lazy dog owner. I just want to have a dog that can surmount this final hurdle - not debate the ethics surrounding wildlife and off leash dogs. Dunno if that's even possible now.

 

Guess we're going back into recall bootcamp...we've already done the recall and release to play, rewarding the head turn, restrained recalls, running recalls, walking down the dog, never calling w/o being able to enforce, repetitions anywhere, anytime, hiding, NILIF, agility training and trialling in open fields and at a facility with rabbit scents traversing the course (she's fine when she's working), etc. but I've slacked off some and it looks like I just need to buck up and do the work all over again.

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I just want to have a dog that can surmount this final hurdle - not debate the ethics surrounding wildlife and off leash dogs. Dunno if that's even possible now.

 

Do you think it's at all possible that your absolute refusal to see a connection between those two things might have something to do with your inability to teach your dog a reliable recall?

 

Because let's face it - if you think it's OK for your dogs to run deer because they're just being dogs, and you LET them run deer, how do you expect them to understand that it's NOT okay to give into their prey drive and, oh say, run deer? You are basically giving your dogs permission to behave in a way that is completely antithetical to what you are purporting to want to teach them. Much like rewarding your dog by "letting" her chase squirrels - except you don't want her to chase squirrels, you want her to leave squirrels alone. So what is it you want? I bet your dog doesn't know either.

 

Can you see where I am going with this? If you change how you think about your dog harassing wildlife, perhaps it will positively affect your actual commitment (or even ability) to teaching your dog a reliable recall. The fact is, for dogs who REALLY REALLY like to chase those things, it's more fun than you are or will ever be. And the more you let your dog do it, the better it's going to get. A year from now you'll be complaining that you have *two* dogs who won't come when called and are out running deer unless you do something different. I don't think you got jumped on so much as you shocked a lot of people with your cavalier attitude about the deer and your refusal to take any sort of responsibility for your dog in that situation.

 

You aren't the only person who lives in an apartment near no good off leash areas and has a reactive dog. I did it for TEN YEARS. Yeah it sucks. *shrug* But you deal with it in many ways - I would not count harassing wildlife as one of those ways.

 

I do believe as well that people who let their dogs chase deer and other large game in public parks / preserves (or horses in the Endowment Lands, or what have you) really f*ck it up for the rest of us who want to hike there responsibly with our obedient, non-game-chasing dogs. So in addition to how it may affect you, keep in mind how your actions affect other people. How they affect the deer has already been pretty well covered.

 

I hope you sort it out, but I think that years of you letting her / encouraging her to chase animals are going to work against you. You may find that she is never reliable off leash. I expect that there's a lot more hope for Z - but I really think that you have to stop letting her run deer and the like to ensure that.

 

Just two more cents from someone who just finds it easier to put a leash on Mr. Woo, because she's a lazy trainer.

 

RDM

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Invest in a long training lead. Then you can do all the "off leash" training you need while legally still being on leash and able to correct her if needed.

 

http://www.arcatapet.com/item.cfm?cat=3517

 

They make 50' leads like these but I find them very difficult to handle.

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I'm sorry if I've come off as uncaring, dismissive, etc. but this is an issue I've been wrestling with for years (since the accident) and it sucks to get jumped on and basically told that I'm an irresponsible, unethical, lazy dog owner. I just want to have a dog that can surmount this final hurdle - not debate the ethics surrounding wildlife and off leash dogs. Dunno if that's even possible now.

 

Guess we're going back into recall bootcamp...we've already done the recall and release to play, rewarding the head turn, restrained recalls, running recalls, walking down the dog, never calling w/o being able to enforce, repetitions anywhere, anytime, hiding, NILIF, agility training and trialling in open fields and at a facility with rabbit scents traversing the course (she's fine when she's working), etc. but I've slacked off some and it looks like I just need to buck up and do the work all over again.

 

Would it be possible for you to go to this area with just Maggie a few times - no boss, no other dogs - and have her on a long line - to see how she does with recalls in that setting on the long line?

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We have a 50ft line we've used in numerous wild areas and she's good about recalling to me while on it, but she also knows she's on a lead so it has limited use. It's been used on both trails we use with just me and my girls and with others - same response. On the line she also has a nice solid "wait" cue.

 

I do think I might enlist DH's help to do some restrained recalls in various places as her speed could be improved (she turns immediately, but does not race to me, just trots).

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Erin,

 

I have two BCs who were both turned over to shelters/rescues at ~8 months because they were too much dog for their original owners. Based on what I know about BCs, I would venture to guess that these dogs are way out there on the "poor" end of the impulse control spectrum, and like you, I have been overwhelmed by how much work and low long it has taken me to ease them back toward the middle. I also have no access to livestock, so the option of using that environment to teach impulse control is not open to me. I feel your pain.

 

It has helped me to remember that there are plenty of other dogs and breeds that will never be reliable off-leash in the woods, regardless of how much training they get and how skilled the trainer. Think sighthound, for instance. Instead of wishing I had Anna's well-mannered dogs, who are presumably well-bred and regularly work stock under a competent handler, I try to focus on the cast-off dogs I have - and love - and the incremental progress we make, given the tools at my disposal. At the same time, I count my lucky stars that I at least have dogs who do respond to my training efforts, however gradually.

 

In the meantime -and again it took me a while to come to terms with this - they stay on leash when they're in an environment they can't yet handle responsibly. If I do slip up, and it happens, I do not come to this board to talk about it. I know when I've made a mistake, I know I need to learn from that mistake so I don't make the same one again, and I most definitely do not need a giant BC Board pileup on top of me to make me any more miserable than I already am when I fail my dogs and the rest of the creatures we share our world with.

 

I'm sorry I don't have any training advice for you that you haven't already heard. I've used RRR, strengthening my relationship with my dogs through agility teamwork, satisfying their urge to chase using alternate targets such as balls and frisbees, practicing the right behavior over and over while on leash, learning to recall away from exciting things other than deer (e.g. a squirrel safely ensconced in a tree, a ball game, playing with other dogs), and the maturity of the dogs themselves as they gradually take more responsibity for their own behavior. All the cumulative value of these things goes right out the window any time they manage to get in one good chase, be it five minutes or five hours, which is why my original advice to you was to keep Maggie on leash in the woods unless you are 100% sure she won't stray.

 

Dogs accept the limits we place on their lives pretty well. Sometimes, I think it's almost harder for us to accept them than it is for the dog. Witness all the people who won't use a crate because they think it's cruel....

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I have a dog like Maggie. She's too smart and a bit independant. She knows whether I have control over her or not, and if she's "free" will do whatever she wants (whether it be chase something she finds, run out into the road to try and stop a car that sounds like my parents van, or wander off and eat grass and ignore me), she will not come to me. She may turn her head and look at me, and then go back to what she was doing. On a flexi leash or long line dragging, she will come. I tried all sorts of things, but no matter what my rewards were, the thrill of chasing whatever, was more rewarding to her. I finally accepted the fact that I could not have her off leash on walks. Sometimes I would have a long line dragging like if I was at the beach...but always something on her. The odd time I would tie the long line to Hannah's collar because Hannah wont' run away and she weighs more than Jetta. Last year I tried letting Jetta off leash...I figured she's 13 and has been good for a while and is slowing down....well, there happened to be a service truck going the opposite way down the trail and she was staring at it a bit. I put her on the leash when I saw it comming and we walked another few hundred feet up the trail. She seemed to have forgotten about the truck so I let her off. Instantly she turns around and takes off chasing it. So there I am running down the path as fast as I can calling to her (and her totally ignoring me). Finally I guess the truck figured they should stop once I turned a corner and got in their view so I was able to grab Jetta as she happily circled it. Now Jetta is deaf so there is no way ever that she will be off a leash again!!

 

Hannah is pretty reliable....we see deer all the time on our walks and she looks interested but if I tell her to leave it, she won't chase them. She's always had an interest in chasing fast moving objects - like cats that are running outside etc, but I've always always made her leave it and not chase unless I say ok. Now, when we do see something she wants to chase, she looks at me to see if I will let her or not. Pretty much the only time she gets to chase anything is if there is a cat in the backyard that is not one of our own.

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I'm in the early stages of off-lead training, so really appreciating all the information. In unfenced areas, my dog is only off lead if: we are on a trail a good distance from any road, there are no other people, dogs, or critters around, and if my boyfriend is with us. Under these circumstances, what we do is have one of us hold Allie, and the other jog ahead a ways. If her attention is firmly on the jogger, she gets released and allowed to run towards him/me. We alternate. It probably isn't ideal, but it's more fun that having to stay home.

 

It's important not to succumb peer pressure. I feel like I'm forever shrugging off people with a firm "my dog: my rules". Your first responsibility is to keep your dog safe; fun is secondary.

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Maggie doesnt sound like a dog I would let off leash...I am very paranoid about who I let off and under what circumstanced, and Maggie sound like the kind of dog that was have me extremly hesitant to allow off leash.

 

Happy-99% of the time she is off leash, this is her personality she is better behaved and eaiser to control when she is off leash. I dont worry about her because she refused to set foot on a road without permission(she kept trying to drag my dad onto the sidewalk and he was insisting on walking her on the road lol). she will not chase anything at all without permission, and a completly casual "leave it" will completly remove her attention from whatever catches her intrest.

 

Misty-any open feild is fine for Misty, she loves to chase, but wont leave the grass. for example someone was rding a bike acrross the street from a park, Misty went flying accross the park barking wildly..hit the end of the grass, and promptly turned around and ran back.

 

Electra-she is a bit more sketchy, she cannot be off leash around screaming kids. ever. it gets her too worked up. she comes pretty well and doesnt go far, but her nose tends to glue o the ground, and when her nose is glued, she aint goin nowhere. ..thats means she isnt taking off either, but I get completly paranoid of my dogs dont come the second they are called 100% of the time. she only gets to come off if i feel teh situation is safe for her, if I have to go retriever her, then she is leashed for the remainder of the trip.

 

Rusty-absolutly never, unless the area is completly fenced solid. such as an outdoor skating arena, if there is even a tiny gap, he doesnt come off.

 

as for how I determine? if the dog is reponding solidly on the long line, then I will attach them to Happy. Happy has a 100% recall, if I call, said dog is comming with Happy. I watch the dogs behavior, for example if I call and the other dogs starts trying to drag Happy AWAY from me..that is a sign that they are not ready yet. however if they are quite solid at turnning around and comming with Happy on their own, thats a great sign. if that is the case I will let them off in a safe area with no distractions and a whole lotta treats, which I make sure they know darn well I have lol, and I will let them drag a leash. basicly I slowly up it till they are solid. you will notice all my dogs are at a differnt level..they are in order of how long I have had them-Happy. Misty, Electra, Rusty. thats because I SLOWLY build up the levels.

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Maggiedog...

 

Reading these posts, I do remember my trainer making a strong point of not calling Buddy unless I knew I was going to be successful. So... when we were walking and he was busy sniffing at something interesting, I wouldn't call him, because he wouldn't come, and it would teach him that was OK. But if we were walking and he looked up with that, "Gosh, where's that lady? She's so cool! I just gotta say hi to her!" look about him, THEN I would call him, and he would do what he was probably going to do anyway, and I could make a big, happy fuss about how he listened.

 

In our early days, we did a lot of that - I'd pick up on body language that would tell me what Buddy was about to do, tell him to do it, then reward him for doing it. I think it taught him the common vocab. we use now.

 

Mary

 

Mary

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I have Mr Woo's evil twin sister Lucy

 

Despite the fact that I'd take most of my dogs off lead just about anywhere, Lucy cannot, and will not, be off leash in anything less than a 5 foot fenced area.

 

And until she got old and arthritic, I would have done that in only certain 6 foot or higher areas. If there was prey on the other side of the fence she could have made it over faster than I could have said Oh SH*T. She could also evaluate the size of a hole in a fence at 200 yards running full speed and negotiate it without slowing down.

 

I did a bad job of her early training, and on top of that there are some wires very crossed and fried out. She is what she is, and we love her. But off leash, anywhere public? Not on your life.

 

Somebody in my family mouthed off to me once that Lucy just needed training. I gave him the leash and full authority. A few days later he said "she just doesn't really wanted to be trained does she" :D

 

This is the dog when told she had to widen out on sheep who barked at me, turned around and ran 400 yards away to jump a 5 foot fence to gather cattle. By the time I got down there to straighten that out, she looked at me, barked, jumped 2 more fences and went back to get the sheep. She did this for 3 solid, hours. Yes 3, until she got distracted by something at the house. She wasn't even tired :rolleyes:

 

You have to know your limits. Many dogs can be off lead and trusted after reasonable training. Other's middle name should be Leashed! Finding out you have a problem on your own farm is bad enough, but to deliberate loose the same dog in public you will end up hurting the reputation of all.

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I have Mr Woo's evil twin sister Lucy

 

And until she got old and arthritic, I would have done that in only certain 6 foot or higher areas. If there was prey on the other side of the fence she could have made it over faster than I could have said Oh SH*T. She could also evaluate the size of a hole in a fence at 200 yards running full speed and negotiate it without slowing down.

 

HA! When we go visit Auntie Cheryl on her farm, Mr. Woo now has to stay in the car. Because he can find any gap / hole / opening in any fence (and if he can't find one, he'll just climb the sucker) and then he wants to chase the Woolies (with much accompanying barkscreaming )for endless hours of mind blowing entertainment.

 

The last time we were there and he squeezed through some non-existent hole in a fence, and it took 3 of us to catch him, Auntie Cheryl said very firmly: "MR. WOO IS BAD!"

 

Yup. That about sums that up.

 

This is the same dog who threw himself off the seawall at low tide to try and tangle with a raccoon. It's just not worth having him off leash where he can get into trouble!!

 

RDM

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I'll have to get you some picks of Lucy. She's a shade darker than Woo, with brown eyes, but the same er...expression :rolleyes:

 

She's an Aussie with a tail.

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