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training not to chase

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Have just moved this here, as it seems to be a better place than the BC Companions area that it was in before. I'll copy the 1 reply I had too....




I'm new to the forum, so please feel free to direct me somewhere else if this question has already been discussed to death :D And apologies for how long it is, but I know from other forums, that it's helpful to get a good picture of an issue. Give up now if you're short of time :D


I have a border collie cross (she's 1/4 akita!) who I'm training to be a Search & Rescue dog. She's an interesting mix of BC and akita traits - the energy of a BC, but generally quite chilled out like an akita. She's not a 'needy' or cuddly dog - she's very independent and often chooses to be on her own rather than with me or my husband. But she loves people, generally.


She learns pretty quick but only if the steps are small.... otherwise her 'chilled out' and independent side takes over and she decides it's not worth trying to work out what I want and she may as well go somewhere else and chew something or have a rest :D


She has always been interested in other animals - we don't have any other pets. She isn't obsessed like I know some BCs can be... if she can't get to them, no problem, she doesn't get wound up. But if she's off-lead, she will chase things that move..... to date, this has only happpened a handful of times - twice with sheep (on the same day) and a few times with birds.

With other distractions, her training is pretty good. Unless right up close to other dogs, I can call her back when she's heading off to meet another dog and she'll come. But I have not mastered a 100% recall on bigger distractions (let's be honest, I have a 0% recall at some times!)


She's almost 1 year old and quite mature..... she has never been much of a 'silly puppy' except for the odd mad burst now and again, but generally she's quite a sensible dog (e.g. didn't jump off a 2metre cliff when I threw her toy over it by accident :eek: )


I continue to work on her recall, and am taking her through fields of sheep and to the local parks with ducks etc. regularly to try to 'densitise' her. Other animals/birds she mainly checks out, then realises she can't get to them so isn't too bothered. Same with sheep, except that the minute we get into a sheep field, even before she can see them, she begins to slink along BC-style...... she did this from day1..... genetics, huh? :rolleyes:


I would be eternally grateful if anyone has any other ideas that have worked with other BCs.

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This really helpful reply was from Alaska - I've just copied it here.


Two suggestions:


Keep working on being able to recall your dog away from playing with other dogs. Just build up slowly (i.e. starting with a fairly boring other dog, and really good rewards for leaving the other dog). Find other situations where your recall is not what you would like, and work on the easiest ones first. The recall should improve incrementally. There's no such thing as a perfect recall that always works in all settings IMHO. Some people just put more time into training their dogs to a higher standard than others (and some dogs are easier to recall than others).


For animals that trigger the dog's chase reaction, I have a different approach, or at least a complementary one. It can be pretty tough to get a recall once that reaction kicks in. Alternatively, you can concentrate on teaching the dog to ask permission before taking off. For a SAR dog, there are lots of situations where you want the dog to "ask permission" before doing something, i.e. not just taking off after wildlife, but eating (could be eating an important piece of evidence) and drinking (could be drinking from a tainted source) too.


Find something the dog likes to chase -- squirrels are handy for this. Have dog on leash. Teach dog to signal you that it wants to give chase (some people teach the dog to tap them on the foot, or nudge them in a certain way). Reward by releasing to the squirrel. Go get dog (don't try a recall -- you're not training that right now), put back on leash, repeat. Eventually, the dog will just wait for permission and forget about giving chase unless you say so. This is not all that different from teaching the dog to ask politely for dinner to be put down, etc. It just takes a little more work if the chase reaction is strong.

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