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  • Results 1 to 8 of 8
    1. #1
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      Ozzy's Avatar
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      Black lab nearly 3 wont recall

      New here, looking for some advice please..

      We have a black lab who's nearly 3yo. we've had him since he was 8 weeks and after an initially promising start he now just wont recall when off leash.

      We now dont let him off leash as a result as he just runs off looking for more exciting thing like other dogs to sniff and play with.

      He's not treat motivated, if theres another dog within eyesight, sniffing distance he's away. I've held chicken, cheese, bacon and even steak under his nose and he just looks round it at the other dog.

      He's not toy motivated either. In the house he'll play all day with his ball or toys, as soon as we are outside he loses interest and wants to go off.

      I asked the vet about this and he said you just need to persevere and find his motivator.. Getting to the end of my tether with it though as we want him to be able to run and play like he should be doing.

      Any advise on what we can do? We've been to two separate obediance courses and while he's in them he gets on fine.. When we are out alone with him he's back to his usual self.

      Help!

    2. #2
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      Sounds just like Charlie when he was younger. Nothing motivated him so I had to learn how to be his motivator and teach him that I motivated him. I had to learn to be the best thing around for him. Eventually we found that the chuck it was his toy of choice but it's still important to be in charge and be your dogs' motivation. Here are some tips. Also an E collar might be an option for you, I have never used one though.

      Training a Reliable Recall


      If you are having trouble with your recall, whether you are just teaching this or you are revisiting it, here are some tips to help reinforce the command.


      First, take ten minutes a day to go for a strict training walk. Put your dog on leash, use this to focus on heeling, sitting at stops, and throw in some random obedience drills. For example, walk a bit, do a down stay, walk to the end of your leash and say 'heel' to get your dog back up to the heel position and continue moving. Stop in a parking lot and use each line marker to stop and do some puppy pushups (down-sit-stand in whatever order you choose). Continue your walk and intermittently, without warning, quickly start to walk backwards (continue to face the direction you were walking in). As you step back, call your dog, get eye contact, say 'come'. You want your end result to be your dog sitting nicely right in front you at your feet, looking up at you. Reward with praise and/or treats. Do this maybe 5 or 6 times throughout your training walk. Do this every day no matter how comfortable you might be with your dog's recall.


      Secondly, twice a day, take ten treats or pieces of kibble. Stand next to your dog or in front of your dog, anywhere near your dog, and say his/her name. Once you get eye contact, say good and reward with a treat. You want to get that eye contact on the name. Increase the duration that your dog keeps eye contact with you. As soon as you get eye contact, tell them how good they are, keep the eye contact and treat/reward after 2 seconds, 3, seconds, 5 seconds, etc. Do this every day, no matter the age of your dog. It really works wonders.


      Once you have a solid recall on leash, continue to work off leash in your home or yard. Start practicing on leash with stays in public/busy places to proof your stay and your recall. Once you have mastered this, get yourself a long line (30 feet is good) and start practicing with this. With the line you are able to make corrections much easier/faster than without. You can even use this while you are out for a hike/off leash walk and stop for a short training session using the long line. Once you have mastered this you can move off the leash and work the recall as much as possible. Be sure to ALWAYS praise the dog regardless of how long it took them or how difficult it was to get them to do what you wanted. As soon as they do the command you have asked, tell them they are good!


      Remember to offer life rewards when training a recall. If you are practicing in a safe area, you can do your recall then release to let your dog play again. Otherwise, you can get into the habit of leashing up your dog and taking away all the fun, which will create a dog that won't want to come and get leashed up when he is called because he knows it means play time is over. You want your recall to mean really great things, great rewards etc. It's good to leash them up randomly, then unleash and release them again to keep them guessing.


      Another good tool to have is a solid stay. If you can get your dog to do distance sits, downs and stands and ask them to stay you won't always need to rely on a recall to back them off of a distraction. Put them in a solid stay (I prefer the sit stay so that they aren't vulnerable should another dog approach them in a down and the stand is usually the easiest to break) and that will give you time to come to your dog rather than always calling them to you.


      Lastly, I like to also teach an emergency recall. This is for those times when you just don't trust that your recall is going to be rock solid and you desperately need your dog to come back to you. This recall is taught to be light and fun. No formal sit required, no immediate leashing up, a collar grab is permitted. I have learned to train this two ways, one way you use the same, unique treats every time you use the command, the other is just that you jackpot with whatever you want. You can chose to do either as long as there is major reward for this every time you use it.


      Emergency Recall:
      Grab a handful of treats. While your dog is distracted or playing or in another room, you shout out a word unique to you. We use 'cha-ching' because it sounds like winning a jackpot. You can say the word once or you can repeat the word over and over, whichever you'd like. As soon as your dog gets to you, you reward with your jackpot treats. You can do a collar grab and say 'gotcha' while you reward. Practice this 3x in the morning and 3x at night. Eventually you can just do this once a day, then once a week.


      You can proof this several ways. You can train it in public places. You can train it at home with a 'helper' (spouse, friend, child, etc). Have the helper hold treats while you yell your unique word. You want your dog to know the helper has treats but still come to you anyway, so at first you should also have the same treats and offer them as soon as your pup arrives to you. Once this is proofed you can have only the helper have treats, and once your pup heads toward you, have the helper rush to you and offer the treats to the pup.


      This is something where I think dog parks can be helpful. You can bring your dog in to proof your recall. The area is fenced and there are lots of distractions. It's even better if you have a controlled play group with people/dogs that you know so you can allow your pup to play either before or afterward. If you are leery of dog parks you can just utilize this place for your training purposes and avoid the dogs altogether.


      Remember the three D's. Distance, duration and distractions. Once you've mastered a recall at a certain distance, add some more time or distractions before you add more distance again. And repeat.


      Good luck, I hope this was helpful to you!
      Last edited by charliebbarkin; 08-05-2014 at 07:59 PM.
      Charlie and Burton


    3. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to charliebbarkin For This Useful Post:

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    4. #3
      Senior Dog
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      Same here. Absolutely fantabulous recall till 18 months old, then pzzzzt, out the window. Long story short, I discovered a ball thrown as hard and as fast and as far as I possibly could throw it was a terrific motivator. It gave him just what he most wanted, permission to run away from me as fast as he could. North/South fetching got him to come back so he could do it again. Something, by the way, that I discovered on a UK gundog site. Then I morphed this into a whistle recall and now it works on COME or hand signals too. I've sort of glossed over this, if you find a ball thrown really hard, fast and far is something your boy likes then I'll expand a bit, if you like.

      Welcome to the board from me and my boy, Dubhgall Oban. I've never been to Scotland but my OH was born in Edinburgh.

    5. #4
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      Loads of top tips there..

      We'll be starting in the morning. He's really good with "sit, down, " etc.. Although we have been negligent in walking to heel (a catch 22 caused by him not getting off the lead, we have a flexi-lead which gives him the freedom to wander however destroys the heel training..).

      We know its a marathon, not a sprint, but want him to be the happpiest dog he can be and that means getting off lead for a good run and a bit of freedom.

      I'll post progress (when he makes it!!)

      Cheers

    6. #5
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      He chases a ball for two, maybe three throws but then detours off and loses interest completely.

    7. #6
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      Are you throwing them north south? Throw one south, wait till he gets it and you catch his eye, throw the other one exactly north. He has to run by you to get the second ball. Quit before he loses interest. Oban got this in 10 throws. Oban will also lose interest if I only throw it in the same direction all the time. Hide the ball when you aren't using if for this, for a while.

      A dog in one of our classes, Lab mix, would only work for a game of tug. Tug is really good for lots of dogs. Another dog in the same class would only work for tummy rubs. That poor owner, she spent all her time in class working him up to getting his tummy rubs in a standing position. At first he had to lie down on his back.

      This might help you too: How to Create a Motivating Toy

    8. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by Ozzy View Post
      He chases a ball for two, maybe three throws but then detours off and loses interest completely.
      IMO, you haven't yet found what motivates your dog. Find that motivator and then use it to your advantage. You mention it isn't food, toys, ball. Be creative. Sometimes it's something as stupid as an empty plastic bottle. You may be surprised how many dogs go ballistic to get to one of those bottles, however, you cannot just hand it to them. They must work for it.

    9. #8
      Senior Dog
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      An empty plastic bottle INSIDE an old work sock. Or you can buy covers for them. See lots of them at Rally trials.

      Or no cover.

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