I have a gorgeous and fairly well behaved chocolate labrador (who is brilliant in the home e.g. never chewed, toileted within the house but a nightmare outside the home) and he gets overexcited when he sees other dogs and fails to recalled.
Harvey is 2 years and 3 months and I genuinely love this dog and spent a great deal of time and money training him. Used positive reinforcement using toys treats etc. I have also -
I Increased his excercising and socialising him with other days e.g. 2 -3 hours per day, however he gets 4 hours on sunday.
2. Reduced his meals to 2 meals from previous 3
3. No longer give him varied meals 9purely dog meat and mix) although his favourite chicken for recall.
4. I dont repeatedly keep calling him, but maybe 2 or 3 times within 3 hours.
5. Changed the tone used to call him e.g. very enthusiastic tone to call him.
6. Tried to train him in the garden and he is great as there are NO distractions, but he fails to come back in park.
7. Read various books which all seems to contracdict one another - dogs behaving badly, the dog whisperer etc.
8. Rewarded him with treats using a whistle, so that he does not pick up on an anxious voice etc
I see other people with their dogs and they dont seem to put in half the effort and yet have well behaved dogs that come when called, yet he fails nearly everytime.
I genuinely feel as though I have tried everything and to be honest my patience is running out chasing him around the park, that after another nightmare morning walk/run, I do not feel that I can give him any more time, love, support or understanding and despite everyone saying that he will calm down, I'm not sure if I can take any more. Does anyone please have any words of wisdom or advice??
Sounds like your dog is well trained in low distraction situations but not high distraction (when another dog is there). YOu can definately improve this. If he knows commands in a quiet environment, slowly incraese distractions during yoru training sessions. An obedience class is a great place to start this.
Some dogs naturally have better recall than others, but training is key.
HOw did you train the recall?
The best way to train is to use a long line/check cord. Give the command (happy voice) and if the dog does nto immeditate come, gently real them in until they start coming on their own. When they get to you, reward! (break the treats into smaller pieces so they get LOTS of treats). Start in a low distraction adn close proximity and slowly increase ONE of them at a time (if you go farther away do NOT increase disctractions. If you increase distractions, do not go farther away). do not increase either until your dog is VERY reliable at the level you are at.
I did a course where on top of the above, we introduce a new word tot he dog. the word ment HUGE HUGE HUGE reward. First we just said it and when they look at us we rewarded. Then we did it from abit of a distance. once they got it, we did it from antoher room. then we would "hide" when we said it. Then we would put a blockada between us and the dog (but one the dog could work around). That words has to mean to the dog "OMG - JACKPOT! GOTTA GET TO MOM!"
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
One of the many subjects that we were taught was the stop command.
This has been a bonus on so many occassions with Dylan and with practice it should work with any dog.
As with retrievals it should start from small distances at first - calling the dog to you ( indoors at first ) and then shouting stop. Return the dog to the position if they overshoot and reinforce the stop command just the same as you would in a stay situation. It's a fine line not to upset the recall indoors so I would recommend that you go back to training classes for this.
This will not be a popular response, but it has worked for me.
Recall was critical for me. Everything that I wanted to do with HK outside was so dependent on having a good recall. Inside went well, but outside was a battle. Worked with long lead, and very long lead. She was great as long as the lead was attached to her. I didn't have to hold it, she would return for her reward everytime. But when I worked without the lead, it was like her ears stopped working. I swear there was a switch in her collar that turned off her ears if a lead was not attached to it.
After a lot of research and talking to several trainers, I bought an eCollar. The good news was that it worked like a charm. I only had to nick her at a very low level a few times. Then a page, tone, would remind her what 'Come' meant and she would run straight to me. That is the good news.
The bad news is that she now needs to be wearing her collar in order for her ears to work. The collar does not even need to be turned on, just has to be wearing it. It must be two years since I have taken the transmitter out with me, I can't remember the last time I turned the collar on. She is 4 now. It appears I will always have to have a collar on her, but will never have to use it. Good thing since I don't put it on the charger.
Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.
"come" is one of the hardest commands to master.
the above poster used the method, (long lead) i was going to suggest.
I second the recommendation of Ed ("H's K") on the use of an e-collar.
We use a Dogtra which has 3 options: 1.- "(P)ager," a vibrating buzz; 2. - ("N") a momentary "nick" (shock); a ("C") "Continuous" (5 seconds max) shock.
Our Dogtra allows adjusting the stimulus level of the "N" and "C" from "0" (can't feel it) variably up to "100" ("ouch!" definitely feel it). "Puff" and I use the level "20" at which point my bare fingers just barely feel a tingle--which is also the level at which Puff responds.
I use my usual verbal commands. WHEN Puff does not respond, 99% of the time, I use the "P"
99% of the time, Puff responds quickly to that BUT, on those rare occasions she does not respond, I try to quickly send her a "N."
It's probably years since I've sent a "C".
I DO STRONGLY suggest you DO NOT use one of these until you've read and understood learning principles such as in the TriTronics book on use of e-collars or other sources. (You will also be helped by reading the chapters on "learning" in college, basic intro to psychology, text books.)
It is absolutely inhumane and destructive to buy an e-collar, strap it on, and then start blitzing any behavior you don't want.
First of all, you need to go through "collar conditioning" -- 2 weeks of putting the collar on daily WITHOUT EVER using the e-stim controls.
THEN you need to start from the level below your dog's awareness to determine that level at which they just notice it.
And then follow the rest of the recommended training procedures.
Last edited by Bob Pr.; 06-20-2011 at 04:04 AM.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
I have to say that until you have gotten into a group obedience class and used a trainer and NOT been successful with those things, you should not go down the road of trying an e-collar. You need to work in more traditional avenues before going that route IMO. The e-collar is for reinforcing a WELL TRAINED dog, which you don't have yet.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
Hi, from another Harvey's Mum
You have been gioven some good advice (long lead, stop, additional training, etc). I can't speak for the e-collars as i have zero experience with them. Don't give up, you have both worked so hard.
Could you get a trainer to do some one on one training in the enviroment that causes the issue? For instance, have them come on a walk with you and see what happens.
MILs dog Seth (who is my Harveys brother) was a little git in these situations He would run off and no amount of calling him, whistling etc would bring him back. She was getting to the end of her tether. In the end, she decided not to stress about it anymore. Strangely, that seems to have worked. Now, if he looks like he is about to 'bolt' she just says, 'this way' and changes direction, he then follows. She is so much more relaxed about it all, and so is Seth.
Harvey and Seth are both 3 yrs and 2 months (and intact).
Thank you so much for youe email and your words of wisdom
I have trained Harvey with basic recal in the garden, however I will buy another much longer lead and try what you have advised.
ps. your dogs look lovely
Thank you for your response.
I have never heard of this method of training before, however I have just booked Harvey in with a professional dog trainer (£65 per hour - I'm clearly in the wrong job and dont know many professions that get paid that sort of hourly rate) and will speak to him about the method you have mentioned.