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So I've been working on recall with my almost 8 month pup. Some days it goes well but others it doesn't. For instance I was just outside with him throwing toy of his and having him fetch. When he would start on his way back to me I yell "Toby, come." When he gets back to me I spend about 45 seconds and sit and tug around with him trying to make it fu. Once in a while he will come straight back to me but other times he will come close and circle around before bringing it directly to me. I came back inside right now because he kept coming within about ten feet of me and then he would run off and go play on his own. I have him on a long lease that isn't attached to anything so I can catch him if I need to. I came back inside because he wouldnl't bring the toy back to me and I didn't want him to think that I will just stand there and wait for him to bring it when he is ready.

 

I really want him to run straight back to me in case anything happens that I need to get him away from danger. Does anyone have any advice for me? Kristen I always love hearing your posts. Ipsy as well.

 

My girlfriend and I have also played "hide and seek" with him in the house where Toby will go to one of us and the other person hides. Then the hiding person yells "toby, come" and he has done a great job with that. I truly think he knows what "Toby, come" means but he seems to be listening well only inside and not out.

 

Thank you all,

 

Ben

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Well IMO you are working on two different things, one is fetch and the other is recall.

 

I would work on the recall separate from a game of fetch

 

When I am outside and my dog will not come in I think walking the dog down is very effective in teaching them that blowing off my "come" is not acceptable.

 

Then I like to teach the dog that coming when I say its name is the best thing in the world this is how I teach it:

 

I like to teach a the whiplash turn to the dogs name in the house, I use a clicker and small tasty treats or a game of tug (I want to have value in both treat and in play reward). When the dog is mildly distracted I call the dogs name and the second his head starts to turn my way I click and the dog comes to me for a treat. Eventually I am looking for the dog to immediately whip its head around when it hears its name (or if you choose another word that is fine also). Then you start proofing it with more and more distractions.

 

For a dog that blows off fetching it is usually easier to "backchain" the behavior, start with teaching a command for the dog to drop the ball at your feet or in your hand, then slowly build distance.

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One thing that I do with all of my dogs as a part of recall training is the clicker recall game. You do need two people to play this, each one armed with clickers and treats. If you don't use a clicker, you can substitute a distinct marker word like "X".

 

You actually start this without using your dog's name, or any recall word at all. You can clap, pat your knees with your hands, etc. to get your dog to start running to you. The second the dog starts to run to you, you click (or say your distinct marker word), and then place a treat at your feet. As the dog is eating the treat, the other person begins to clap, pat his or her knees, etc. The second the dog turns to the other person, that person clicks, and puts a treat at his or her feet.

 

After doing this for a bit, the dog should "get" the idea of the game and begin to ping pong back and forth without either of you needing to make any sounds, etc.

 

At this point, start to add in the dog's name and/or recall word. I play the game with both. The time to use the recall is as the dog is eating the other person's treat, but before the dog starts to turn toward you. After using the recall, click as the dog turns to you, and place the treats at your feet.

 

This is not the only thing that I do to train a recall, but it is one particular piece that I find helps solidify the recall word. This is actually the only bit of dog training I can actually get my husband to participate in! It eventually gets him the opportunity to hike with the dog off leash in the woods, so he's willing to put in some time and effort.

 

If you absolutely don't have anyone to work with you, you can play the game by tossing a treat away from you onto the floor, and then clicking as the dog starts to turn toward you. I do this also, but there is something about the game with two people that seems to bring the dog's understanding of the word to a new level.

 

I hope that helps.

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I agree about separating the "fetch" and "come" ideas, esp. for the dog's brain!

"Come" should be rewarded by the tasty small bites of whatever is REALLY REALLY yummy - small bits of roast beef, chicken or turkey, string cheese, even a dollop of (shudder) liverwurst - whatever your dogs finds absolutely irresistable. If they can't resist...they'll come! The other thing you can do is let the dog roam around the yard at will, when the dog is headed your way, say "Come!" with great enthusiasm. The dog will not likely figure out he's been "set up" - yeah, he was doing it anyway; but if he gets rewarded, he'll soon figure out the word and the rewards are worth leaving whatever he thought was more interesting a moment before.

 

Another note on that 8 month age - think teenager!!! I did EVERYTHING I could read about, research and talk with folks about regarding recalls with the only pup I got at 8 weeks. We did it daily for months, and I really thought he "had it." Until he was about....7 or 8 months old. For a month or two, I really thought I had failed him, and wondered if I would ever be able to let him off leash where he could take off. So, for awhile, he had a little less freedom. But then, that last set of brain cells clicked in...and the conditioned response I'd spent so long developing came back. Just be patient at this age - but DON'T give up! You both will GET IT!

 

diane

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Again, great suggestions here for training a recall!

 

Somethings we do. For fetch, keep him on a long line if he doesn't bring the toy right back to you, use the long line as a guideline to bring him back to you. When he does come directly back, reward with a treat (alternate between food and game of tug with your toy).

 

As for a recall, I've used all kinds of methods to work on this to proof various situations, etc (most are noted above). One other method I use comes from my flyball training background. Your dog will obviously play tug? Well have a partner hold him, while he's being held tease him with your toy, not allowing him to have it, and then you run away from him with a tug toy and call his name. Don't run too far the first time, just a short distance (don't look back at him!). When he gets to you, if he doesn't immediately grab the tug toy, entice him with it, once he knows the game more than likely he will come right to you. This is just another fun method to teach him it's always fun to come to you.

 

Here's a video of how we do it at flyball just because perhaps my description doesn't make alot of sense! (My red boy, Moth is in the closest lane, and my hubby is running my crazy Chilli in the other lane - she crosses over in the back and I move her with my leg, looks like a kick, made a joke kicking her but not really a kick! LOL):

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You all really are awesome and i appreciate everything so very much. I don't have a clicker and I need to get one. I'm not exactly sure what kind of clicker i need to get but i'm sure the local pet expo probably has them. Thanks again and I will let all of you know when Toby is recalling like the champ I know he is.

 

BTW Amanda, Toby is identical looking to your Jack. Is he a blue heeler mix by chance?

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You all really are awesome and i appreciate everything so very much. I don't have a clicker and I need to get one. I'm not exactly sure what kind of clicker i need to get but i'm sure the local pet expo probably has them.

 

Petsmart and such places usually have them. I would expect that you should be able to find one at a pet expo.

 

Be sure to look up instructions on loading the clicker and do that before you start (it's extremely simple!). Whatever you do, make sure you click the clicker away from the dog's face when you first start. I always start with the clicker behind my back to avoid startling the dog. Once the dog knows what the click means, that typically becomes less important.

 

I wish you the best with it.

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BTW Amanda, Toby is identical looking to your Jack. Is he a blue heeler mix by chance?

 

No real idea what Jack is. I was first told by the home that signed him over to our rescue that he was a pure BC (came from Alberta), however when I contacted the rescue who had to remove him from his first home out that way they thought kelpie/BC mix. A local breeder here breeds kelpie/BC mixes and the litters look identical to Jack. So god only knows LOL!

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I actually train two recalls. Both I want basicly the same thing, for the dog tocome to me fast and reliably. And both are started out with a pup the same way. When starting with a pup you, as desrcribed by others, you want coming to you and you in general to be THE BEST THING EVER :rolleyes: Play with your pup, pet him spend time with him. You can start out by playing fun games as RB described, the "pass the puppy" game is great(you don't have to use a clicker, just treats/tug/praise whatever your pup values when he gets to the person). I also do restrained recalls, having someone else hold your pup while you run away, eventually walk away, get your pups attention when he is running to you say your "come" command, reward with treats/toy/praise. For shaping a competition recall I do a few more really fun games, #1 teaching your pup to run through your legs which will shape a front later on. I use the "come" command when teaching/shaping my competition recall.

 

I use a "that'll do" for my "everywhere" come command. This basicly means to my dogs no matter where you are when I give you this command you need to come to me. The come command is a life saving command, it can save your dogs life. So I don't mess around. I use the same founation principals, whenever your pup or young dog gets to you prasie,praise,praise, a treat, play whatever. I pratice this around distractions, etc. building up the dogs reliability and confidence. As the pup gets older I put a long line on and practice the recall outside, eventually adding distrations. If I give him the "that'll do" command and he is distracted, not paying attention to you I give a little tug on the long line, which is usually all it takes to get them running to me. If they are REALLY distracted, maybe another dog, etc. I kinda reel m in with the long line, always treats, play, praise at the end.

 

It doesn't matter that your pup is 8 months, so is mine. They need to know that when you ask them to come, they must come, it can save your dogs life.

 

As for the fetch, I teach a competiton fetch but there are things you can do to get your little guy to fetch just as easy. With pups I actually sit in a hall way. Close the doors, it has to be a hallway with a dead end. I get the pup really into the toy or ball and toss it a short way down the hall, they will more than likely bring it back, having no where else to go, if they try to run past you just grab, praise get the ball out, get m jazzed up and throw it again. Always quit the game when the pup is still wanting to play! Quit before he looses interest, then he/she will be raring to play again next time.

 

Another thing you can do that is pretty simple if your pup drops the ball before getting to you is simply, run the other way after you throw the ball! Simple little thing like this really work :D

 

I also have used a handful of yummy treats, rewarding the pup for bringing the ball back. This only works if the pup is equally as interested in the ball as the treats, otherwise they will ignore the ball and only want the treats!!! LOL!

 

You can also teach a good "bring back" by sitting on the couch with a handful of treats and alot of patience. This come one the pup is already fetching a little, maybe just not brining the ball all the way back. Basicly to teach a pet pup to bring it all the way back....don't throw it till they bring it all the way back. It might take awhile for the pup to get it, and you need to praise there effort but the will get it. I got my young guy to start putting the ball in my hand by sitting in a chair for 5 monites and just not throwing it until he put it where I wanted it! LOL!!

 

I teach a "hold it", it takes ALOT of patience to teach a pup. Then once they learn the hold it I couple it with the recall between the legs to get a speedy, driving recall. I can describe this process more if someone is intersted but you get a lightning fast, reliable fetch!

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This could go in either of the current "recall" threads, but I'll put it here since there are a lot of things going on in the other one:

 

If the motivation for working hard on teaching the recall is the dog's safety, isn't a distance down perhaps a little more reliable?

 

Somewhere or other I read or heard that when training my first border collie, and since it made sense to me, I've always put lots of effort into the distance down. The idea is that if the dog is pursuing something it's a lot more likely to do an instant down where it can keep its eye on the object disappearing in the distance than it is to turn around and head back to you. Plus there's always the possibility that the dog might already be heading back to you, say with a frisbee in its mouth, when something potentially dangerous is coming in between (like a couple of downhill skiers) and you'd like to stop your dog in its tracks.

 

I primarily train the distance down with a Chuck-It, working gradually up to the point where my dogs will instantly flatten themselves to the ground and watch another dog grab the bouncing tennis ball. I try to remember to throw in "downs" in other contexts all the time. The release from the down seems to be sufficient reward.

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If the motivation for working hard on teaching the recall is the dog's safety, isn't a distance down perhaps a little more reliable?

 

Why not train both, so you can use whichever is most appropriate at any given time?

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Why not train both, so you can use whichever is most appropriate at any given time?

 

I don't believe I ever suggested not training the recall, and I myself certainly do. But in both the current threads on recalls the safety issue came up as a major motivation for training the recall, and I'm suggesting that your dog is a lot safer if it has both the recall and a distance down in its repertoire.. I think that if you have a dog running into danger--perhaps pursuing a ball rolling into the street--you're going to be better off calling for the "easier" down and then--after its momentum and focus are broken--recalling your dog.

 

I'm trying to think through this, and I think there's another reason why I put such an emphasis on the distance down. Once your dog gets the "concept," it's a lot easier to drill the down over and over again in a variety of contexts whenever it occurs to you. You call for the down, the dog does it, you release them (sometimes waiting a few beats or longer, often not at all). Easy as pie, and the dog goes on with what it's doing, as do you. Each recall on the other hand takes a few times longer than a down (if there's any distance involved) and results in lots of lost tennis balls. (I find I tend to practice recalls on hikes, and distance downs in most other activities, including fetch.)

 

So if I'm honest about it, I may stress the down because it's so easy to drill. Still, a potentially life-saving technique that's easy and convenient to drill might have an advantage.

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I find that when I train my dogs to do a "distance down" while playing fetch, working stock, etc. they are still in "working mode", focused on the task at hand. The potential I feel is much greater for them to pop outta the down and keep working, or in a less experienced person trying to use this command as a control from chasing something, pop outta the down and continue to chase.

 

For instance when teaching a young pup on stock if you have a down on stock already they are inclined to pop right outta that real quick, they are still in work mode and a down no matter what the distance doesn't mean down and stay there. A "that'll do" means stop you work and is much more black and white to the dog.

 

where as my dog "that'll do, here" command, is taught and means, BREAK your focus, for the moment the job is done and I want you to come to me. I feel this is a much more safe, and reliable command. And very easy for novices to teach and enforce.

 

I am not saying you shouldn't teach a down at a distance, I do, or other "control" commands, but nothing replaces a well taught recall, meaning break your focus on what you are doing and return to me.

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I am not saying you shouldn't teach a down at a distance, I do, or other "control" commands, but nothing replaces a well taught recall, meaning break your focus on what you are doing and return to me.

 

I agree. I do believe that both distance downs and recalls are beneficial depending on the situation. Recalls though are such an important part in so many situations.

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I also believe you NEED a command, especially with dogs who ARE reactive, where you are able to actually get your dog in your hands and leash them. In order to do this with a down at a distance you would need to teach the dog not only to down but to STAY in that position. until you can get to them. With the dog in a down, facing and still focusing on the "thing" "ball" "distraction", etc. the pressure of you walking toward them is VERY HIGHLY likely to cause them to break there position. And for people teaching a recall, a stay at a distance with distractions is MUCH more difficult to teach.......just some thoughts....

 

I happen to have an extrememly reactive, dog agressive dog. She, thank god, has a ROCK solid recall, which helps me manage her "issues". I can let my dogs frolick in a field un-leashed, spot a dog or person coming and recall her to me no problem. Then leash her, and have her "watch me" until the dog passes or what not. OR have her down stay near me. It's not that I don't believe I COULD get her to down or sit stay at a distance but the likely-hood of her focusing on the object of her desire or in the case, the dog she wants to go maul there is a HIGHER probability that it will be to much for her and she will break her stay. And I am not going to risk that.

 

SO, recall is the safest option and much easier to teach and enforce.

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I don't believe I ever suggested not training the recall, and I myself certainly do.

 

Of course you didn't! :rolleyes:

 

Another good thing is a simple "wait" at a distance. I don't really train a distance down in that context (although I do train it for sports), but I do train a "wait". So, if the dog ran into a situation where coming back to me might be dangerous, I use the "wait" so the dog knows to wait until I get to him. Similar, but distinct. Also useful.

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And for people teaching a recall, a stay at a distance with distractions is MUCH more difficult to teach.......just some thoughts....

 

I can think of a lot of very enjoyable games to teach this through. A very worthy challenge! :rolleyes: Dean would love it - a down stay at a huge distance! We just might play with this one once the frozen wasteland in my yard disappears.

 

Thanks for the cool training idea!

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This is something I wrote on a thread long ago, and I'm gonna throw it in here because reading this thread I remembered that a couple of people suggested I put it in the FAQ and I never got around to doing it:

 

>

 

Obviously, you don't start out training a recall when the dog is on sheep. Even a dog with a solid recall will probably ignore you when you try to call him off sheep in his early exposures to them. I'll tell you how I usually train the recall, with the disclaimer that as sheepdoggers go I'm a very mediocre trainer.

 

I never use a lead or a line in training a recall, I guess mainly because it eliminates the pesky transition from on-lead to off-lead. Puppies will generally follow you when they're little. I encourage that. I will go on little walks with the pup, calling him to me when his attention wanders as I move away from him. He will usually come running, and I will sometimes give him a little treat (a kibble or Charlee Bear) at this very early stage, when his mouth is pretty much his main connection to the world. But just moving forward in concert with someone is reinforcing to the pup, so gradually he comes to like moving forward with me.

 

When I begin to get serious about the recall (often prompted by noticing that he's hesitating before coming when I call him, as he gets more independent and absorbed in the world around him), I'll work with him in a fenced area, usually a yard which is more than 1 acre but less than 2 acres, although it could be much smaller (and will be, if I run into trouble). The key to this method is watching him VERY CLOSELY plus instantaneous timing. I'll call him when he's about 20 or 30 yards away, mildly distracted, but not in hot pursuit of a squirrel or something. If he comes, I ruffle his fur and tell him he's a good boy and let him go, and walk around with him for awhile, waiting for another opportunity. If he continues what he's doing or heads in another direction, I look right at him and say "Ahhp" in a reminding sort of tone. (By then he's used to hearing "Ahhp" as a correction. I'm doing other things with him too in his daily life that tend to make him look to me for cues as to whether he's doing right or not.) If he starts toward me but then stops or veers away, I give him an "Ahhp" the instant I see he's going to, then as soon as he responds to that (as he usually will) by starting toward me again (or at least looking uncertain), I say "Good boy, that'll do" ("That'll do" is my recall command) or the like. If he doesn't start toward me after the "Ahhp," I take two or three heavy steps toward him while I say a firmer "Ahhp" (enough to startle), then immediately back up and call him coaxingly. Ideally, you can feel the communication back and forth as you do this -- he reacts to you, you react to him -- and develop a feel for what is essentially a conversation between you and him. (In fact, the reason I like this method is because in order to be successful I do have to watch him very closely and do have to try to get my timing exactly right, both of which are good for me as a trainer, since I tend to be a slow, mind-wandering, easily distracted person.) If he just plain doesn't come, which sometimes happens but not that often, I will stalk him slowly and silently, which usually makes him uneasy over time, and when I see signs of that I'll turn away from him and call him cheerfully and he will nearly always be relieved and come to me, happy that I'm looking normal again. But whatever it takes, I will not let him fail to come. He will find out he cannot escape me. If he crawls under the deck, for example, I will crawl under after him, take him by the collar, lead him out and back to where I originally called him from. Whatever happens, whether he comes willingly or has to be walked down, the exercise ends with him next to me, whereupon I stroke him and talk kindly to him for a moment and then turn him loose. Wait awhile, and do it again (maybe in a smaller area, if it appears necessary). Over time I increase the distance, and the intensity of the distractions, but I'm not very systematic or programmed. I try to develop a feel for how far along he is -- to read when he is likely to come and when he isn't -- so when I take him for a run in my biggest field (20 acres?) with the sheep put away, I won't call him unless I'm pretty sure he'll come. If older dogs are with us, he'll see them come when I call "That'll do" and be swept along, so I can risk calling him from a greater distance then. I call him often when we're out and about, and just pat him and let him go when he comes. I'm sure I call him and let him go ten times as often as I call him to put him up. He'll have quite a good recall before I ever take him to sheep, and when I first do take him to sheep, I'll maneuver the sheep into a corner or against a fence before I call him off, so I can block him off from them long enough for him to remember what "That'll do" means. Also, he'll likely be trailing a line for his first sessions, so that he can't blow me off altogether in his excitement before his habit of deference reasserts itself.

 

That's basically it. I'm not very organized about it -- in fact I'm so low-key and casual as to be lackadaisical. In the end I usually have the feeling they've trained themselves.

 

Ultimately, I think the dog comes back to you for two reasons. First, because it's been ingrained in him that when the recall command is given the result is that he comes back to you -- a sense of inevitability that becomes a habit. Second and more important -- and I realize that this is what's hard to believe -- I think that border collies are dogs who have a desire to work with people bred into them, and who have the intellectual curiosity to want to understand what you're asking and the pride to want to show off that understanding. It just plain feels good to them to be working for you. For example, my first border collie was a great ball retriever on land or water. She would retrieve like a machine as long as you would throw. But occasionally she would stop halfway back to me, with the ball in her mouth, looking at me intensely, wanting the sheer pleasure of hearing me say "bring your ball!" and doing it.

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Ultimately, I think the dog comes back to you for two reasons. First, because it's been ingrained in him that when the recall command is given the result is that he comes back to you -- a sense of inevitability that becomes a habit. Second and more important -- and I realize that this is what's hard to believe -- I think that border collies are dogs who have a desire to work with people bred into them, and who have the intellectual curiosity to want to understand what you're asking and the pride to want to show off that understanding. It just plain feels good to them to be working for you. For example, my first border collie was a great ball retriever on land or water. She would retrieve like a machine as long as you would throw. But occasionally she would stop halfway back to me, with the ball in her mouth, looking at me intensely, wanting the sheer pleasure of hearing me say "bring your ball!" and doing it.

 

You might find this hard to believe, but I'd say the same thing. My dog and I would get there by a different path than you might choose, but ultimately, that's where it leads. :rolleyes:

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I know RB, love teaching the stays to!!! It comes in handy!!!

 

It's just not something that I would encourage someone who is having trouble training a reliable recall as a different means of control, for the reasons I stated above.

 

A dog struggling with impulse control is going to have a harder time learning a stay ESPECIALLY at a distance rather than a recall!

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A dog struggling with impulse control is going to have a harder time learning a stay ESPECIALLY at a distance rather than a recall!

 

True. I would definitely choose to train the solid recall first, and then get into the distance stays with any dog. And with a dog with impulse control issues, I would make the distance stay as simple as possible - just a "wait" rather than a down. But I would get that recall solid before I got into that.

 

When working with a dog with impulse control issues, I spend a lot of time on what is necessary. With a dog who does not have impulse control issues, I teach everything possible just for the pure enjoyment of working with my dog. :rolleyes: I do the same with the impulse control dog, but of course "necessary" must come first with him.

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I know RB, love teaching the stays to!!! It comes in handy!!!

 

It's just not something that I would encourage someone who is having trouble training a reliable recall as a different means of control, for the reasons I stated above.

 

A dog struggling with impulse control is going to have a harder time learning a stay ESPECIALLY at a distance rather than a recall!

 

I thought about this when first considering whether to answer this thread, and decided not to, because you need at least a moderately good stay and a good recall already. But one of the ways I've consistently drilled and proofed my downstays, I also worked into drive for a rocket recall. I think this may be just one of my hairbrained schemes, though - YMMV.

 

Once I taught a stay, I started proofing it in all sorts of contexts. One of the levels was increasing distance. Because I had always encouraged my dog to stay close to me, particularly in urban environments, possibly also because he llikes me and likes doing stuff with and for me, AND because a stay is rather boring compared to being "at ease", I noticed that just increasing distance while he was in a stay was putting pressure on my dog. He wanted to follow me, but could not, due to the stay. So, I started ending some of my urban area stay drills as a recall. I found that when he's waiting in a stay while I walk away, the recall itself (and hence the chance to run full out on the way back to me) is a powerful reward! And my dog is not what I'd consider velcro - he's just used to keeping me within sight, and in urban areas, staying close. Also, he may get less chances to run full out than some of your dogs, because we have never had access to a big yard.

 

I did this a lot when working on our off-leash in unfenced urban areas training.

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So, I started ending some of my urban area stay drills as a recall. I found that when he's waiting in a stay while I walk away, the recall itself (and hence the chance to run full out on the way back to me) is a powerful reward!

 

That's actually how I got a rock-solid recall on my first border collie! I found myself teaching stays and recalls at more or less the same stage on off-leash walks. Without really intending it, I somehow got her doing solid stays before she had good recall. I kept extending the stays so that I'd get out of sight--and then when I called her she'd come like a rocket. She extended this pretty quickly to recalls in other contexts, but that might just have been her.

 

This was the dog that would hold a stay forever. I found this out after I stopped to get some photos on a hike with a few friends and their dogs. We walked on and after quite a while we heard a distant whine of distress. I ran back and realized I'd left Zia in a stay. Bad dog owner. Best dog ever.

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