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Juno is a year and one month old now and she has become a real pleasure to walk off leash on the trails behind our house. I've been using a long line for several months, but recently I've eliminated the long line. We've been working at three basic commands. The first is a recall using a verbal/hand signal, the second is a recall with a whistle (thanks CMP), and the third is a By Me with a verbal/hand signal. The By Me command has almost come naturally as I pat my hand on my hip and she just seems to come near. The whistle command I have built up over the last couple of months using it once or twice a day when I am confident she will come. Recently I have been using it more because it has been working so well. The basic Come command has also worked well, especially when preceded by her name.

 

Given the above, and the fact that my last dog, a beautiful Husky, never got to this point, I am very happy with our progress, but I am a little lost with the next step. Now that Juno is off leash a lot I find that when I call her she usually comes right up to me and sits for a treat, but sometimes she will start coming and only come near or she will stop where she is but not come right away. This happens when she is focused on something else. It is almost like she is saying, " I'll come after I've dealt with this other matter." So now that she is not on the long line I don't know how to get her to come right away all the time. My gut feeling is that if I keep on the path I am going and with her maturing more daily, this will all fall into place but I am also worried that if she gets away with a sloppy recall that this will become the norm.

 

Any suggestions

 

Thanks

Bill

 

 

 

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You really need to keep her on the long line so you can reenforce or what you're reenforcing is that come to you means 'come in my own time'. Y es, to some degree it will get better with maturity. Unfortunately, every time she dawdles or stops part way what's getting better is the idea that she has the option not to come.


If you don't want to carry on with the drag line then I would suggest turning and LEAVING HER when she pulls that (or walking to her and calmly leashing up). Game over, do not pass go, do not collect 200%, fun time has ended.

 

But either way, you can't really let it go and expect it to resolve on its own. It won't.

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I would say put her back on the long line until you solidify the recall more. If it is not working then you need to go back a step. And I would also up the ante of the reward by treating with something she is crazy about every single time she does come.

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Dear Mr. Ourwully,

 

It sounds like you're doing things correctly. Juno isn't responding because she literally isn't hearing you - she's focused, she's on Planet Collie. One problem with treat training is that treats aren't always tops on the Border Collie's list - they'll turn down a fresh bone to work sheep or chase a car or protect the house from the UPS man.

 

What you need to do is break her focus so she can hear your command: HEY! or HEY! and wave your arms or march toward her and as soon as she looks at you, recall sweetly and much praise.

 

I wouldn't go back to the long line and more reps unless she is actually defying you (looks up, hears you, says ho-hum, refocuses on previous enthusiasm.)

 

A strong eyed dog needs to learn that Bill's requests over-ride everything else in the world. That isn't always easy when its Doggy Free Time on a walk and Juno feels its okay to focus on that fascinating mole hill or the track of a visiting cat.

 

Donald McCaig

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You can't beat being able to recognise the very subtle signs that your dog is thinking about something that may be more interesting than you. A twitch of the nose or ear, a slight stiffening or glazing of the eyes. That's the time to try and redirect your dog's attention, not when she is already away with the fairies.

 

Also you need to identify the sort things that are likely to grab her attention.

 

Initially you will need to watch her like a hawk but eventually it should become second nature and you will get a feel for her intentions without thinking about it.

 

Don't let her think that she can ignore you but equally don't flog a dead horse by calling her when you know she won't comply unless it is a dangerous situation.

 

I like an easy life. If I miss the signs I just recognise that I wasn't on the ball that time and wait until I see the signs that my dog is disengaging its attention and then call.

 

I've used this approach successfully with a lurcher, a rabbit hunting mongrel, a terrier, a hound and a collie. I very rarely have to go and fetch any of them nowadays.

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My internet was down this morning so I am just reading the responses after finishing our morning walk. I am always appreciative of the detailed and thoughtful suggestions. I am amazed that so many people will take the time to help . It is great to get so many suggestions because it gives you a range of things to try. The only person that really knows Juno well is me so with so many suggestions I can pick the ones that make the most sense.

 

Today, Juno's recall was perfect four times with the whistle and several times with the normal recall. Her by me was also perfect. What I did was some of the things that have been suggested (looks like I am learning as well as Juno). Firstly, I watched her carefully and I called her only when I was almost sure she would come. As soon as she came I gave her a treat and released her. As has been repeated on this forum many times I tried to insure that the command would be successful. Later today when we go out again I will try some of the other suggestions. The first one will be to try and break her focus before calling her. I will also try to make the treats really good

 

I am a little reluctant to go back to the long line yet but I will if I have to. The last thing I want to do is reinforce an optional recall , while hoping that the issue will resolve itself .

 

Thank you once again for the excellent advice!!

Bill

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Praise and treats both work for mine. So I give HIGH praise and off and on with the treat. That way she doesn't expect a treat every time she comes back. As a lot of the time I don't have any with me.

I also teach leave it. If she doesn't listen then I may walk to her give her a verbal correction or touch her say leave it again, when I have her attention then praise.

If she stops part way back you may squat down and call again, clap you hands, smooch to her make coming back to you the greatest thing. Then treat/praise like all get out.

Or turn an walk away. If she comes running after you I would tell her good girl but you didn't come the first time so no treat, no petting.Doesn't take them long to figure it out, or at least it didn't mine.

I have a tendency to explain things to mine. Like that was a good try but not good enough so if you do it the first time next time you get your reward.

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Thanks Kian's Mum for the additional suggestions. I also like to explain things to Juno. I am sure she doesn't understand much of what I am saying but I think the tone of the voice has an effect. Maybe it just makes her reflect.

 

Thanks again Donald, I always enjoy and value your posts. Could you please elaborate a bit on your suggestion to not break her focus unless she isn't responding? Juno's recall was perfect again this afternoon, but again I waited until I knew she would respond. In situations where I see her staring down the trail, or sniffing at something, I haven't been trying the recall but my intention was to do as you suggested and yell Hey Hey or something like that to break her focus and then call her. It's not that she isn't responding in these situations so much as I am anticipating a slow response based on previous experience. My thought here is to try and avoid any non responses. What do you think?

 

Thanks

Bill

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Dear Our Wully,

 

Dogs have a right to be dogs. To sniff, to discover, to search, to enjoy the doggy world. From your latest descriptions, it sounds like Juno is recalling just fine and like us, dogs learn from successes not failures. Twenty successful "she's likely to come" recalls followed by appropriate praise make the command more likely to be obeyed in future.

 

If you're getting a perfect off-lead recall, accept it gratefully.

 

The HEY is a correction STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING/PAY ATTENTION TO ME. It's appropriate when the dog isn't listening/can't hear you.

 

First case: Juno has found a wonderful scent while taking her best-time-of-the-day dog walk. You summon her. In some part of her brain she hears you but the scent is just so WONDERFUL.

 

"HEY" you say. "That'll DO!" you say. She thinks, oops. He called me, I didn't come. My bad, I better come quick.

 

Second case: Juno is sniffing wonderful scent. "HEY!"you say. She thinks "What's that about? What does he want now?"

 

"That'll do," you say. She thinks, "Why didn't he ask me in the first place?"

 

Donald McCaig

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