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Hello All

 

I am having a slight problem with my 4 month old pup. He seems to has selective hearing. Most of the time it takes a couple of "come" to get him over to me. I have tried clapping my hands or just making some noise in general to get his attention, Ive tried running away from him when he looks at me calling his name and saying come, as well as on a leash and rewarding him with some chicken or beef when he comes over... (He has very good name recognition, knows sit, wait leave it, almost knows down...) Even on the leash I find myself having no luck. Nothing seems to work. I dont want to get him to come by tugging on the leash and basically forcing him to come over to me. I am all about positive reinforcement training as well so I don't want to resort to any sort of correction collar or something along those lines. He is also unfixed, and I have heard that an un-neutered male dog will be more difficult to train as they are more independent... Im not sure if it is true, but compared to my other male, who is fixed, the pup is having more difficulties with this area of training. By the way, he does not seem to have a favorite toy either to try and entice him to come back to me. Anyone have any ideas?

 

 

Thanks!

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Dear Doggers,

 

Ms/Mr Bullet writes: "I dont want to get him to come by tugging on the leash and basically forcing him to come over to me. I am all about positive reinforcement training as well so I don't want to resort to any sort of correction collar or something along those lines. He is also unfixed, and I have heard that an un-neutered male dog will be more difficult to train as they are more independent..."

 

You'd cut his nuts off rather than tug his leash?

 

Donald McCaig

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Bullet,

You don't have to reel him all the way in with a tug on the leash. Let him drag a long line (something light, like parachute cord). When you call and he ignores you, give the line a tug to get him *started* in your direction. Continue to call him and reward (throw a party) when he gets to you. Let him go off again, and repeat. He may just be at a "rebellious" stage, but if you continue to reinforce now, he will eventually start to respond properly. And there's nothing wrong with rewarding him with a favorite food treat when he does come. You have to make yourself more attractive/interesting than anything else that attracting his attention out in the great wide world.

 

ETA: The use of a light line gives you the ability to *never* give him the option not to come when called. He needs to learn it's not a choice to come--he needs to respond every time you call. A tug on the line will remind him of that. Also try a higher pitched happy voice, if you're not doing that already. Pups respond really well to "puppy, puppy, puppy!" in a happy voice. I sometimes still use that with my adolescent (11 months now) when he's more interested in other stuff. So when my youngster igmores a recall, he gets a voice correction ("Hey you!") and when he acknowledges my existence, then I try calling again. If he fails to respond that time, I walk him down, give him another voice correction, and then walk away and call him to me. If he comes then, and generally he does, he gets lots of praise. This works two ways: he learns that there's a consequence to ignoring me (a voice correction and me coming after him) and that good things happen when he does respond (praise, treats, release to go play some more).

 

J.

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I've seen some really good trainers use a long line (or leash, for certain things) and a tug to accomplish some training. Done well, it's an excellent tool. As said, it's not to reel the dog in (although that can happen sometimes) but I view more as a "wake up call" or an "annoyance" (the dog is discomforted by the tugs and finds that heading towards the handler removes the irritation). For a dog that really knows better and is just blowing the handler off, a stronger tug may be appropriate but in the beginning stages, it's just a light tug.

 

I have a dear friend who teaches puppy classes - her motto is to never let the pup off the lead/long line (out of doors and/or able to escape your influence) until it is a year or older. It never learns that it can ignore you or play get-away. I've never had the patience to do this for this long (and I've not had pups that needed it) - but I wish I'd done it with Dan, who is rather an independent and stubborn sort of soul.

 

Best wishes!

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I've seen some really good trainers use a long line (or leash, for certain things) and a tug to accomplish some training. Done well, it's an excellent tool. As said, it's not to reel the dog in (although that can happen sometimes) but I view more as a "wake up call" or an "annoyance" (the dog is discomforted by the tugs and finds that heading towards the handler removes the irritation). For a dog that really knows better and is just blowing the handler off, a stronger tug may be appropriate but in the beginning stages, it's just a light tug.

 

I have a dear friend who teaches puppy classes - her motto is to never let the pup off the lead/long line (out of doors and/or able to escape your influence) until it is a year or older. It never learns that it can ignore you or play get-away. I've never had the patience to do this for this long (and I've not had pups that needed it) - but I wish I'd done it with Dan, who is rather an independent and stubborn sort of soul.

 

Best wishes!

 

 

juliepoudrier and Sue R Thanks for the great advice. I have been trying the light long line with him, but sometimes it seems to cause more of a problem then anything. We live on a ranch and anytime we go for a walk or even try some training he ends up getting tangled around a fence. He knows that if he gets himself stuck then he gets to get off the leash for a bit and run away. Sigh puppies! LOL! I will continue to try the leash idea though. Sounds like it is my best option seeing how we dont have a fence area he cannot get out of to work in. :rolleyes: Thanks again!!!!

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He knows that if he gets himself stuck then he gets to get off the leash for a bit and run away.

Change this to "...if he gets himself stuck, then he has to wait for me to untangle him before he can go anywhere..."

 

I am a lazy person, always looking for the shortcut or easy way to do something - I find that I have to be committed to making the effort to do something right for sufficient time in order for it to turn out right. And I'm still trying to drum this into my head and into what I do.

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Are you confident that he understands that he is to come and allow you to touch his collar? I know that sounds basic but sometimes when people have difficulty with a recall their dog may not be as well trained as they thought. If you are indoors and you call, does he always come?

 

Next question, what do you do when he does come...is he always leashed and taken inside? If coming to you ALWAYS equals end-of-fun, then he will quickly learn to not come. Try calling him to you and rewarding him, then letting him go again. Use big rewards, and the best being that he can run off again.

 

If he normally has a good recall, and this is a sudden decision on his part to avoid coming because the choice to run off is too great, I'd say he is not yet mature enough to be trusted off lead in that place.

 

I was once taught the "bank analogy" for recalls. Every time a dog comes when he is called and something good happens, its like making a deposit in a bank account. Every time he comes with no reward, its like you make a small withdrawal. Every time he comes and gets punished (and in his mind, being taken away from the fun is being punished) or ignored, its a big withdrawal.

 

If you have a big enough balance (ie a long history of being rewarded) you can make some with drawls without significantly changing the balance.

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Hi Star ~

 

You've gotten some good advice here. I'll second or third or whatever the bit about the longline. You aren't pulling the dog to you or reeling him in, you're just giving him a tug to get him started. If he comes, you let him come up the slack. If he tries to dash away or avoid you, well, you've got the little stinker already caught. :rolleyes:

 

I'll also second about calling him *just* to give him treats. If he's food motivated, work on that. Call him randomly at all different times and all different places. Give him a treat - chopped hot dogs in a ziploc bag work wonders - and let him go on about his business. (I'm including recall in the house and yard, here.)

 

See, the thing to remember is this. A good recall is not just a convenience, it may save his life. He can run fifty yards in the wink of an eye and end up under a set of wheels, or in some other bad situation.

 

You don't want to use anything but positive enforcement and that's good. But some sternness and firmness may occasionally be called for. That's not cruelty, that's not breaking his spirit. That's just establishing YOU as his pack leader. (Forgive me for quoting Cesar Milan, lol.)

 

Lastly, for what it's worth, I don't think being intact or not will dictate how biddable a male dog is. My 2 yr old intact guy is totally Mama's boy, and so is the intact male belonging to a good friend of mine. However, my little 11 month old spayed girl is by far the hardhead of my family! So, I think it's more about their native temperament and less about whether they are intact or not.

 

Don't be afraid to be firm and insistent, as you'll end up with a better, safer dog. Reward his compliance with praise, love and treats and he'll be your pal forever. :D

 

Good luck!

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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I worked lots in different ways - didnt do a lead tug as I aint always gonna have a lead on her

 

Recals in house - or feeding to a whistle is good - whistle means dinner

 

On walks I just ignored my girl until she was heading to me then I chucked a treat and sent her to go play again. A few times of this and she started seeing coming to me as a good thing

Then I would call her when she was already running to me and reward with some fun games and yummy treats then send her away to play

 

Random noises is good too - when I really need her I let out a huge HOWL (think wearwolf in London - AAARRROOOOOHHHHH) and they come a running

Then I slowly wotk on building up distractions - until she is trained I dont call her back when I dont think she will come back so - runing towards me, then looking at me, facing the other way but not distractd, looking at something but not majorly focused, having a little sniff, moving away from me, focused on something, running away from me, chasing something - take one step at a time and if they aint running back to you every time totaly happy they you aint ready for the next step so dont call then

 

HTH

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Just a couple thing to add to the advice already given - He is a 4 month old puppy. I would consider no behavior solid/reliable in a 4 month old pup. And also at 4 months old it makes no difference whatsoever if a pup is a male or female, neutered or intact. It's all puppy behavior, puppy antics and puppy attention span and individual personality.

 

I am a lazy person, always looking for the shortcut or easy way to do something - I find that I have to be committed to making the effort to do something right for sufficient time in order for it to turn out right. And I'm still trying to drum this into my head and into what I do.

 

You and me both, Sue! I keep reminding myself that training and relationship building takes work and dedication on my part.

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Oh, good heavens, I am a bad reader! :rolleyes:

 

I totally missed the bit about him being 4 months old. Goodness, I'd expect all sorts of mischief from a pup that age. My Gael went through a phase of completely ignoring me and even running away, at that age. I just kept working with her until she finally gave up and out-grew it. Plus I worked hard to never let her get away in situations where I could not win.

 

So, yeah. Long line, firm kindness and persistence. He'll come around. Any behaviors to do with his being intact won't show up until much later. :D Good luck!

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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  • 2 weeks later...

Star seemed to take awhile on this, and we still have work to do in the face of distractions. At first (4 months) she was all about playing and goofing around when it suited her; she didn't really seem to care about pleasing me. Now, she and I are bonded and connected and this has helped a lot with all training we do. Maybe some of it, in addition to other comments here, is about developing that even stronger connection?

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Dear Doggers,

Ms. Star wrote:

. Now, she and I are bonded and connected and this has helped a lot with all training we do. Maybe some of it, in addition to other comments here, is about developing that even stronger connection?

 

Depends what that bond is and the demands of the work. Having a puppy come more or less reliably is easy. Ours come - mostly - by six or seven weeks. The fact that a four month old Border Collie doesn't come suggests that the owner is not the pack leader which is an absolute must for dog training.

 

Too often novices believe that if they luv their dog enough the dog will luv them in return: "See I give you treats!". "I let you sleep on the pillow!", "I'm really good to you. Won't you do as I say?"

 

Gratitude is an even less productive motivator in dogs than in humans.

 

If the bond is "I luv you, won't you luv me?" then, at best, the dog has become a successful manipulator and at worst, it'll try to make sense out of the chaos he sees by taking control. Bad.

 

As a foundation, a basic bond is everything. If the dog knows you're in charge, wise and resourceful, it'll try to please you.

 

Without that foundation, whatever bond you think you have with your dog will depend on misreading the dog and excusing him and yourself.

 

Leadership is the foundation. At a very high level of performance, when the handler/dog team are working at their limits and perhaps a little beyond, their bond is fluid and magical - in my view, the closet connection one imperfect human can have with a willing but also imperfect dog.

 

Achieving that connection requires patience, savvy, and hours and days of training.

 

Love has nothing to do with it.

 

Donald McCaig

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Although I agree with a lot of what Donald says in his post, I think that when my dog and I are working at the top levels and at our limits, sometimes it is indeed love that keeps us going. I also realize that the love I'm talking about is a love born out of close partnership and not a love bought with treats or the like, but I do think there are many times when it's the bond we have with our dogs that makes them keep on trying despite all the things that might make them want to stop. For example, one day some of my sheep--lambs--went through the neighbor's high tensile electric fence and into their horse pasture. It was a summer morning and already hot and humid. Being typical lambs, they couldn't manage to come back through. Twist could go under the electric fence, but I could not--at least without getting shocked. We worked for 45 minutes to get those lambs back through that electric fence (because they were behaving like typical lambs, scattering, etc.). It took so long that I began to wonder if I was risking killing my dog in the heat and humidity. I know she was tired and exasperated and wanted to stop, but because I was asking her to, she continued on. I can't think of any other reason for her to do that except for her bond with me.

 

I also think that when pups reach adolesence some of them lose their brains. My own Phoebe has a stellar recall now, but she went through a period around 4-5 months when she decided that she didn't have to come when called. Invariably, I'd be loading everyone in the van and I'd call them. You could see Phoebe start to come and then decide "Nah, I think I'll run to the pond instead." I ran her down on numerous occasions with murder in my heart (don't worry I didn't do anything bad to her, though I'm sure she knew I wasn't happy when I caught up with her). Anyway, that lasted for about a month and then she straightened right back out. I don't think my leadership somehow changed over that time period--she just decided to test the limits, so to speak, and once she realized that doing so just ended up in her being walked down--no fun for her--she decided that she may as well do what I asked the first time.

 

J.

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Dear Doggers,

Julie wrote:

," I think that when my dog and I are working at the top levels and at our limits, sometimes it is indeed love that keeps us going. I also realize that the love I'm talking about is a love born out of close partnership and not a love bought with treats or the like, but I do think there are many times when it's the bond we have with our dogs that makes them keep on trying despite all the things that might make them want to stop."

 

I think these are different circumstances. Working beyond the limits is an astonishing intimacy w/o time for reflection, ego or love.

 

Asking a dog to do what it really doesn't want to do: facing down a rank old ram etc, depends on the dog's valuing our bond and is reflective and dutiful or not. They don't face what they fear because they love me, they face it because I have accepted my role and done my part and have asked them to do so as well.

 

If dogs love as we humans understand love - some do, some don't - they love conditionally.

 

Donald McCaig

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One think I didn't see in the discussion of recall work (I could have missed it) was when you get a prompt, happy recall the best strategy for me has been to praise, treat and release quickly. Too many dogs get the lead snapped on when they come when called and then the party's over. So the risk of a cranky owner is outweighed by the threat of the fun of charging around being stopped. I see it at the dog park all the time. No one calls their dog until it's time to leave. Then they are mystified at why a dog who "always comes at home" takes off on a recall.

 

One other thing... This worked fabulously with one dog for me. I had a rough Collie about 5 1/2 months old that had been flawless in his recalls from the time I started him in the house. We has done a few off-lead recalls outside. One day we were at the park and he saw some dogs about 50 yards away chasing ducks. There was a lot of barking, quacking and general chaos. Sensei was avid to get in on it and was about 15 ft. from me. I gave him a recall and he turned back his head and looked at me. You could see him thinking it over. He looked back at the ruckus, threw me a glance over his shoulder and started to trot away toward the ducks. I didn't say anything, but I pegged him in the butt with a retrieving dummy I was holding.

 

The look on his face as he skidded to a halt was priceless. You could hear him thinking, "Wow! Mom has really long arms! I never knew that!" and he trotted back to me and sat. He never refused a recall again.

 

Of course this was just dumb luck. It was the first time he had ever refused a recall, and the first time he ever got a physical correction for anything.

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, "Wow! Mom has really long arms! I never knew that!"

 

Of course this was just dumb luck.

 

Well, luck and great aim!

 

FYI for those seeking guidance on where to get started at step one with recall training (any age dog), building up to distractions like wildlife, you may be interested in the blog posts and video instruction on the following link. Not everyone has a live in-person trainer to help them, and the upcoming e-course looks to be an intriguing alternative. http://susangarrettdogagility.com/

 

Barbara

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Thank you to everyone for the great advice. I have been really working with Nitro and have been able to successfully teach him to come when called. (Although if there are gophers popping out of their holes, they are way more interesting then me still) :rolleyes: But at least he is learning!!! Thanks!!!

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Just a thought following on Donald's commentary ...

 

I wonder if what some of us refer to as a dog's love isn't simply trust. Hey, I'm stupidly fond of my dogs and would walk through a fire to save them, but I think beyond love is the necessity of trust. A dog may love us as dogs do, but if we ask something of them and they fail to think our judgment is sound, well, I know my old Jesse, whom I got as a rescue, used to slink off when his doubts rose too large in his mind.

 

I believe a dog who trusts his handler/owner is a dog who is much less likely to question or refuse our commands. They'll work for us doing things that don't make logical sense simply because they trust that we're in control, we'll make sure this all turns out right. People can get extraordinary feats out of a dog who trust them, and I think this is the sort of bond to which Mr. McCaig speaks.

 

Granted, this may have little to do with a puppy's recall! :rolleyes: Sometimes they simply go through a phase of, "Hm, I wonder if I can outrun Mom and get to the pond before she catches me?" But trust can factor directly into the situation where a pup refuses to come to be caught. If as Gionni says, every time a pup comes when called he's caught, leashed and put up, it's little wonder if he stops trusting his human on a recall, because recall is no longer a Good Thing.

 

So, going back to our original poster, I'd say make sure you are doing recalls for fun, as well as to control. Call, treat, let him go play, lather, rinse, repeat.

 

Sorry this got so long. I have a whole day to be home and on the computer, and it makes me dangerous. :D

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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Gloria - I think you make a lot of good points concerning trust and I think we often underestimate it's importance in our relationships with our dogs. With regards to my recent post about Celt, I don't think the "love" has changed one bit over time, but I do think his level of "trust" in me (with regards to stockdog work together) has grown, and is reflected in how much better he is working, and in reduced anxiety levels on his part. After all, how can he be thinking, calm, and confident in working with me if trust isn't there? And vice-versa.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I think that a dog's love is unconditional, but the trust is not.

 

I've had only four dogs so far a mix, a Bernese, and two BC. My youngest dog - BC pup I taught recall based on this article:

http://www.littlehats.net/kennedy03.html

 

I started out with the young puppy in a completely stressless manner: when she was running to me anyhow, I'd clap my hands and call her name. I carefully selected the times to use her name, to ensure success. Then, I called her in situations with few distractions to ensure obedience and to see that she actually figured out the recall. I did that until I felt she was mature enough to take correction. Then I started to call her when she was doing something else, if she came she got praised and petted. If she didn't I'd walk towards her making disapproving noises, and as soon as she turned towards me I'd change to nice encouraging/happy tone. I never used a long line, and never used treats. I called her relatively seldom. E.g. in comparison with the usual repetitions in clicker training I did recall only occasionally.

 

This is the result at the age of five months with distractions:

 

At present she is 9 months, her recall is still very good, although with the sheep it's not as reliable since she sometimes decides we should not leave the sheep behind and she brings them with her. However, one easy exercise with 'that'll do" that pretty much taken care of this problem.

 

Maja

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I have a dear friend who teaches puppy classes - her motto is to never let the pup off the lead/long line (out of doors and/or able to escape your influence) until it is a year or older. It never learns that it can ignore you or play get-away. I've never had the patience to do this for this long (and I've not had pups that needed it) - but I wish I'd done it with Dan, who is rather an independent and stubborn sort of soul.

 

Best wishes!

I tell my puppy class students the exact opposite. I don't like training dogs to feel like they only get freedom when they "escape". There's no greater detriment to a recall than a dog that feels like coming to you means he's going to get leashed up and given no freedom. I've seen too many dogs who have learned that the fun ends as soon as they return to the handler.

 

I let pups off leash as much as possible from the very beginning, and always make a point to give them some attention every time they look at or come to me. This requires greater attention on the handler's part, and a controllable setting in the beginning of course, but builds far more trust, imo.

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I tell my puppy class students the exact opposite. I don't like training dogs to feel like they only get freedom when they "escape". There's no greater detriment to a recall than a dog that feels like coming to you means he's going to get leashed up and given no freedom. I've seen too many dogs who have learned that the fun ends as soon as they return to the handler.

 

I let pups off leash as much as possible from the very beginning, and always make a point to give them some attention every time they look at or come to me. This requires greater attention on the handler's part, and a controllable setting in the beginning of course, but builds far more trust, imo.

 

+1

 

The "leash" that connects me to my dog is almost always a figurative one. Thats more work on my part than just snapping a lead on but it pays off.

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