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Couple of months later, plenty of questions!


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Parachute cord makes a dandy long line - you purchase the snap and make your own.  It's ideal because it's very light, it doesn't absorb a lot of moisture, and it transmits the tug instantly to the dog as it doesn't have any stretch to it. 

Good luck with lovely Minnie!

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Another tip for recall: use a whistle.

My mother had some trouble teaching her Jack Russell terrier to come when called. All our other dogs weren’t that interested in hunting, so having a JRT was a steep learning curve. She would often try to disappear when she found a nice scent or saw birds. 
Her recall became better with high value treats, but no treat can match the appeal of birds and rabbits. The trick is to call them back before they decide to go after the scent/the sight of a bird. Timing is everything. At places where we know there is a lot of game we put her on her leash and let her off when we know she won’t be so tempted.

She is an adult now and sprints to my mum when she calls her. Every once in a while we do what we call a “reparation treat” when she comes, just to keep her interested, even though she really doesn’t need it - but she is such a good girl and we want her to know it!

Sometimes she does disappear into a field, when we humans are not paying attention. We use a whistle for those times and it works wonders. The piercing sound seems to snap her out of hunting mode. Obviously we have a little party when she responds to the whistle :P

I have noticed that most of my dogsitting dogs respond really well to my shepherd’s whistle - even though they are not used to it. They might not run to me like my own dog does, but they do look up and once they clock that there are treats to be had when that whistle sounds... they come running. Plus my whistle never means “come here so I can put you on your lead”. Whistle means treat or play.

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31 minutes ago, Flora & Molly said:

(...)

Hi Flora & Molly!

Thanks for the feedback.

Couple of questions. The most important one, about "wistle means treat or play, never a leash". But, if you need to put the leash on, do you need to wait a certain time or, what do you do to separate the idea of whistle and leash? Because I am often confronted with that. When she goes to far away, and I manage to recall her, I put her on a leash so she doesnt run away again. But that does create the link between coming back = leash. How can I separate the two?

 

When you speak about whistle, you mean a regular old style 1$ whistle? Because we bought one of those ultrasound dog whistle... ANd we dont know if its any better than a regular one? Also I use my fingers to whistle. it used to work very well, then came the birds :unsure:

About the hunting grounds, I did think about that part before. But I tought, if I only put her on a leash when we near the hunting ground, she will simply shift her hunting ground once she get it? From what I have seen of her... cunning :P

 

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6 hours ago, JayJay said:

Our flexi is 28 ft. I thought that was so short already, doesnt really allow her to run?

You have received excellent advice. I agree that you have not necessarily poisoned the cue, but starting over with a word different from "come" could be helpful. 

Now, about the flexi lead. If what you mean is one of those retractable leads, I want to warn you that their use is quite dangerous for both you and the dog and I always recommend not to use that kind of leash. Reason being, it is not flat, it is a thin strong round cord, which allows it to coil up inside the handle. This cord, when accidentally wrapped around a dog's leg can (and has) actually amputate the leg. If it's your finger, ditto. If your leg, it can cut deeply into the leg. Any of these things can happen if the dog suddenly takes off after something or gets spooked and move away suddenly. 

There are many documented cases of injury from these leads. I would never use one on a dog over 10 pounds, and honestly not even then. When I didn't know better I used one with a foster dog. The handle is not something you can loop around your wrist, and it slipped out of my hand. The dog ran, and then got spooked and ran harder because that plastic handle was crashing along behind him. 

parachute cord is just as dangerous. You can go years using something like that and have no problem. but if you do have an accident it can be severe. Why take the chance.

WHISTLES....I never have trusted those "silent" whistles. If I can't hear it, how can I know it even makes any sound? If you can make a good sound that is consistent with your fingers, great. Use the word to bring her to recall at first, not the whistle, when training. Once the dog is really good on recall you can use the whistle or your voice to call the dog. 

Those cheap whistles aren't good for this, nor are the "police" type whistles. I  use a slim metal one that is easy to carry in pocket or around my neck, and that emits a piercing high tone that can be heard for some distance.  One like This works fine, although I prefer the metal ones. 

 

 

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At the start I only use the whistle in places I know the dog will come to me, so not anywhere near prey animals. Whistle - treat/party- and release to play. Walk about a bit. Whistle- treat/party- release to play. Depends on the dog how long the session lasts, but keep it short in the beginning. When it’s time to leave I would call the dog (not whistle) play for a bit/walk keeping the dog close (with treats if necessary) and then put a leash on.
I use a shepherd’s whistle as I am planning on using it in stockwork training with my dog, although I first have to manage to get consistent sounds out of it to use it for different commands. Nearly there though. 
The whistle D’Elle shows would work too. I not a fan of the silent dog whistles either, I want to hear what I am doing.

We’ve always let our pups off leash from the start, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that for everyone, especially when you are having trouble with recall. 
We have always picked the pups with the right temperament for it, we live in a safe environment where nothing can happen if the dog runs away, we have a lot of experience with dogs, and most importantly: most of the time we already had an adult dog. 

About leashing near hunting grounds: the most important thing is not to feel bad for the dog that she is on a leash. She can still enjoy the environment, the smells around her and your company. If you feel bad, she’ll feel bad about it and will try to avoid it. 
It also helps not to leash her at the exact same spot all the time. But for the moment, I wouldn’t go to where she wants to chase birds. 

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Another way to reinforce a recall is to use the premack principle. Basically it means releasing the dog back to what it was doing, so it learns you are not trying to end its fun, the reward is to go back to their chosen fun. 
With my dogs, I would call them to me when they are not far from me, for example having a good sniff and immediately release them back to the sniff or what ever they were doing. It’s something that we practise all their lives. This is something I do when they already have decent recalls, and I want them to learn to come back no matter how much fun they are having, but I don’t want them thinking that it’s a punishment that the fun will end... so they return, in my case give me a fist bump with their noses and they can immediately to having dog fun. 
You can get lucky at 6 months my youngster never went far from us, my older dog was dodgy until 2. I wouldn’t say either was mature till around 2, but with my younger we still have our doubts and he is almost 5! 

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I agree to the above, and meant to include it in my post. I always spend some of the training time calling the dog to me, then giving a treat and praise, and immediately releasing him or her to go play again. That makes coming to me a win-win for the dog, something you always want to strive for in training.

I still do it with my older dogs who are fully trained, just to reinforce that coming when called is almost always a positive thing. And if my intention is the Dreaded Bath And Grooming, I go get them, not call them.

 

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