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Someone on the general discussion page mentioned those of us who wanted advice on real training to post here. (I am incredibly impressed with well trained dogs and am working towards that goal.)


My dog, Scout, is 1/2 border collie rescued from the local pound at 4 months. He is very intelligent, has been to one set of obedience classes and has learned sit, down, come, stay, easy (on leash), off and is well crate trained. (I am so proud of my little fellow)


Our house is situated in a forest (~100 acres) and we go for lots of walks on the trails. When Scout is taken off leash he will stick around and obey commands very well . . . unless there is a live distraction. With deer he is the worst. He will chase, not respond to my command and come home in his own time (I only call him once so as not to 'waste' the command). He does not go to the road (cattle fence but with holes) or bother the neighbors, but I don't like that I can't recall him for many reasons, including his safety.


He is only 9 months old (neutered) and I want to break this habit before he starts wandering further.


So far I have tried him on a longer leash, on which he is obedient and doesn't pull even when deer or rabbits are close. He has learned well when he is on leash vs off. I think some of this may have to do with respect.


We practise coming on command daily, but haven't found anything, including lavish praise or treats that work with the distraction. Also, he gets lots of exercise, with two 1/2 hr walks daily and either a bike ride or rollerblade pretty much daily to wear down that wonderful border collie energy.


Any advise is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.


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Guest PrairieFire

Hi Jenny -


I actually meant the "training discussion" part of the boards - my personal belief is that you will get a lot of treat training, clicker training, etc. on this section of the board - if that's what you're looking for, this is the right place to post...



Bill Gary

Kensmuir, Working Stockdog Center

River Falls, WI



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Guest rtphokie

You are correct in not wanting to "waste the command", but if you know he's not going to respond at all in certain situations, don't give it at all, not even once. Never give a command you cannot follow through on or the dog will quickly learn that all commands are optional.

Instead of trying to transistion from on lead to off leash, add an intermediate step of dragging the leash. Find a long, light line to attach to the dog's collar. One light enough he forgets he's wearing it. Nylon line at Walmart is a good one to try. Tie knots every few feet so when you step on it, it won't slide under your foot (don't try to pick it up).

Don't let your dog wander any longer than the line is and be ready to react to whatever distracts him. As soon as he looks like he's going to bolt, call his name and your recall command, if he doesn't listen, step on the line, and then go get him and show him what you wanted. Praise, praise, praise. As he gets better, you can shorten the line.

When I've got my dogs walking through the woods, I'll occassionally hide behind a tree or run the other way, inviting them to chase. This keeps my pups on their toes as to where I am and encourages them to check on me every so often. I'll also occassionally carry treats to reinforce good behavior.


Good luck,


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The first thing we taught Brie, even before recall, was the down command. When she's excited and chasing something, she doesn't want to turn away, like the first couple times on sheep, and though her recall is very good, there's been a couple of times where she wouldn't turn, BUT when we said down, she went into the down position. That way she's still watching what she wanted, but we've got her attention and then we use the recall. Work on the downs along with the recall, it's a good backup.

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