Every day, twice a day, I walk Harvey. My MIL and her lab (Harveys brother) Set, come with us. The first walk is throught some wheat and maize fields. The boys are kept on the leash for the most part to prevent the damaging the crops.
Harvey has been leash restricted for the last 6 months following the diagnose and and for bilateral ED, over the last few weeks, he has been allowed short intervals of being of the lead.
The evening walk is in our 'dog park'. a farmers field that he doesnt use and just lets all the dog owners in the village have use of it. Harvey and Seth meet up with all thier friends every evening and have a good run. There are some houses that back on to the fileds and many of homeowners have created a direct access into the filed from thier back garden. The other night Harvey and Seth were off the lead and decided to run of through one of these openings. No amount of calling them brought them back. They got through the perosns garden (no gates front or back) and disappeared, a search party was launched by all our doggie friends and they were found 30 mins latter by my DH, they had found a lab puppy to play with by the side of the main road. The owners of the puppy had grabbed them and where about to call us when DH showed up.
If we walk the boys on our own (without the other dog) the recall is excellent, in fact when they are off the lead they barely stray more than a few feet from us. But when they are together it all goes out the window and they pay no attention to us at all.
I dont want to start walking Harvey on his own all the time, but then again i dont want to keep him lead restricted all the time either. Any advise?
BTW, both boys are intact, 2 yr old males. Harveys will be getting done in the next couple of months. MIL still hasnt decided whether to get Seth done, she wont be breeding from him but is worried it will 'change' him.
My first reaction to the story is that Harvey and Seth heard a puppy's whimper... or sensed its presence nearby and went "to the rescue".
Tudor and I witnessed Paddy at a pretty young age (18 months, 2 years?) go stone deaf to our commands when he heard KITTENS in distress, 1/4 mile away! It happened twice and that good lab retrieved each kitten, each incident, in the best soft mouth fashion right to our hands.
Remarkable, our labs. Remarkable!
Seamus and Flynn
Once when we had Angus and Simon off leash together they decided to take off into the woods, completely blowing off the recall. I was fuming mad, and it took everything I had to be cheerful and appreciative when they finally did return.
We don't often have them off leash together anymore, but I can imagine that this problem would crop up in a "group" from time to time. I have always been fortunate (except for that one time) to be able to get one or the other of them to heed the call, and if you can get one to come back the other usually follows.
Have you been working formally on recalls? Maybe it's time for a refresher course, complete with huge parties and tons of treats for coming promptly.
Recall is Angus' absolute favorite command. He comes like he's been shot out of a cannon, and it is rare for him to ignore it. It is one of a couple of commands that consistently has a very high payoff for him. Simon doesn't just love the recall the way Angus does, but he is overall more obedient and so will come even if he doesn't necessarily want to. Angus has to want to (hence the high payoff).
Are they both pretty food or toy motivated? I would try always bringing something super yummy with you and praising the heck out of both of them when they return... and I would practice it a lot. A solid recall can be life-saving, but it's not easy at all when there are other dogs who are like "Hey... come play, don't listen to your momma!"
I second super-yummy treats. Even though mine both have decent recalls, I don't trust either of them any further than I can throw them. If I let them off-leash, you can bet I'm packing a can of squeeze cheese.
I don´t let my dogs off leash anymore, but they were pretty good most of the time. The problem was them eating everything they found on the way.
A friend has the same problem you have with his lab. He takes him with us mountain biking. Whenever he´s the only dog, he´s very good and well behaved, but whenever another friend brings his rescued mutt, they love each other and the mutt is an expert on going to investigate and dissappearing, and there goes Sam (the lab) behind him and getting lost...
Thank you all for the responses, i am glad i am not alone!!
PaddysMum - I hadnt even considered that they may have heard the puppy, that could be it! On the other hand, the house next door to the one they got through is a back yard breeder (of labs....dont get me started on that one, he wants Harvey and Seth as studs, he got a firm NO!!). One of his bitches is now in heat (i just found out) so i wonder if they got a whiff of that. If that was the case, i would have expected them to hang around that house though.
AngusFangus - yes, i do work formally with Harvey on recall, ever day. I did take Harvey out on his own this afternoon, with a little bit of chicken in my pocket. He was excellent and came back every time (althought he never went further than 10 meters or so), came back at such speed i thought he was going to bowl me over LOL!
Justine - Harvey is food and toy motivated. Also, if i pat my chest and make a "Ah ah" noise, he always comes running, not sure why??? Seth, he is a funny one, complete opposite to Harvey, somedays he is food/toy motivated, other days, he isnt bothered at all.
Hearing all your stories, i am thinking it is just the whole pack mentality thing. When they are off the lead together, they are bolder. Looks like the lead will saty on for the foreseeable future.
Last edited by HarveysMum; 01-15-2011 at 03:16 PM.
My two are always off lead but I'm lucky that we have a fenced valley to walk through ! If Dylan runs after a rabbit, you can be sure that JAsper is only ten paces behind him !
I walk them along the lane towards the valley off leash and they are normally very good, but only tonight Jasper invited himself into somebody's house before I could stop him.
Fortunately they thought it was amusing but they also said that their friend's puppy had been there the day before ! Their sense of smell as with all dogs is incredible.!