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Recall, again!

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Meg practises selective recall .However today she was a very bold dog. We were at the beach and when time came to go home she just refused to come and have her lead put on. Off she went for a paddle and then a chat with another dog and refused to respond to my call. She was just plain defiant!

Eventually I got her put on the lead at which time she was all waggy and happy. My query is , at that point how do I get across to her that her behaviour was not acceptable? Presumably she would have no idea why I was annoyed if I spoke crossly to her.

Usually if she refuses to come I just walk away and when she misses me comes galloping after me. I was unable to do that today as there was risk of her running on to a busy road.

Is it ever too late to teach recall , Meg is about 21/2 now.

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Your first mistake was that she was off leash to begin with. For a dog with an iffy recall, ANY OPPORTUNITY for that dog to blow off your recall is positive reinforcement for doing exactly what you do not want her to do. In her case, she has just learned that by ignoring you, she got to play for extra long, swim, and hang with her buddies. Who wouldn't be pleased with themselves??


No more off leash. Put her on a really long leash, the 20-30 ft ones. When you call her, and she ignores you, REEL her in. If she comes right away, have an incredibly great treat on hand for her. This may take months before she gets it into her head that if she doesn't come when you call, you're gonna make her do it anyway...but if she DOES come, well praise and treats and love are showered down upon her. From the leashed setting, you move up to a fenced in area (with no distractions) to prctice in, then you gradually up the distractions. Do not set her up for failure and ask for too much too soon. A solid recall takes time to build upon.


I also start working with whatever command I have for recall at home. Start when she comes up to you randomly, without incentive, and makes eye contact with you. I will say "Oh GOOOOD Here! What a good Here. Good Here." and provide a treat I have stowed in my pocket for just this reason. After she gets the idea that walking up to me and making eye contact gets her praise, I will wait until she is a little distracted several feet away. I utter "Rune, Here!" and shower treats and praise when she comes. If she does not come, or I have to say it twice, I go get her. Then praise. Once she has this down, you can start calling her from the other end of the house. Just remember...You want to instill in as many ways as possible that the word "Here" is NOT optional.

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I'm thinking of adding hide and seek to our games as a training for recall. Robin is pretty solid when he sees me and comes from other areas of the house, but I want him to find me outside too....he's been very good, but he hasn't been anyplace off lead where there's a great many tempting distractions. I'm not sure I could get him back, so he stays on lead for now.

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In addition to Sarah's routine, make sure that you call and release Meg many, many times daily. If every time you call her, the leash goes on and the fun stops, she's going to be really reluctant to come to you.


I went through this with Samantha when I'd had her a few months. I started over by calling her, going to get her if I needed to, (never chasing, just a quiet determined approach and taking her collar) praising, giving her a scratch on the head or chest, and releasing her immediately to play again. Doing this a few times at every outing taught her that coming when called is always a good thing, and not just about leaving the playground.


Good luck with Megs! And it's never too late to teach a border collie a new behavior. Oh, and train yourself to use a different word, that's helpful, too. It will be brand new to Megs, and you'll start with a clean slate. You can use "here" or "right now" or whatever word that is different from what you've been using. Just be consistent.



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Very helpful replies, thanks so much, it is a long leash for Meg.

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