I don't know why she is this way, but on recall she will come but it is with a really beaten down look and posture. She comes very slowly - very submissive like she is in trouble. My instructor said that next week she wants me to turn and take off running, but not entirely sure that will work with Sky. I thought about taking her ball, but she is used to waiting for it to be thrown vs coming to get it. I may try working with a stuffed squeaky toy and see if that doesn't perk her up more. She is just really frustrating and we have been working on this for some time - she should be better at this.
Has anyone had a dog that was extremely timid like this and turned it around? Even in heel she tends to lag unless I have the treat right there for her to get (maybe over time that will change). Otherwise she responds pretty well to my movements and she is actually starting to get the right finish - you just have to wait a long time for her to come aroun
I just really think she could be really good in obedience if I can get over this. I have her in agility as well - but will have to wait and see how she responds to it. When we did do jumps in class she did perk up much more than normal.
Sharon, loved by Moose & Sky
I would try the toy, lots of food, have her jump up on you. Something really fun. Turning and running can help but I would also try some of the other ideas, too. You can actually show her the toy after you call and throw it between your legs behind you to get her up and moving and then add the front much later. I would do a lot of play recall games to get attitude back up.
UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE
FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN
Maybe you could rename the command and start completely over. It sounds like, for whatever reason, she associates the "come" with nothing really exciting or particularly good. So maybe you start calling her recall command "here." Start with her just inches from you, hold out a really super yummy treat (or toy, or something else she loves) and as soon as she comes toward you, click (or use a marker word like "yes") and reward profusely. Gradually work in longer distances and your command and always throw a big party when she gets to you. It would essentially be just like teaching a puppy recall.
I used this technique for reteaching Jake weave polls from the offside. He was getting so stressed out (and so was I) that he would just bark at me when asked to weave off my right side. So we went down to two polls, a click and treat every time he entered them correctly - and over the course of a few weeks I gradually added more polls and gradually added a command (I use "in-out" for weaving from my left, so I changed it to "weave" from my right). I added the command gradually because I felt like the command was stressing him out, it was easier for me to communicate what I wanted with clicks, treats, and praise.
Hopefully you can find something that will help Sky - good luck!
Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy
Some great ideas - especially about changing the command. This morning I got her to sit and then would call her using the word "here" with her ball. As soon as she got to me I would get all excited and then throw her ball. She still doesn't break any world records for speed, but at least she came with a happy walk.
Sharon, loved by Moose & Sky
Throwing the food/toys between your legs is a good one. I use that with Murray when he starts anticipating the drop on recall.
Also, when you leave her for the recall, mix it up. For example as you are walking away weave all over the place (from left to right one side of the ring to the other, speed up, slow down, crawl...anything different) as you are going to the other side. Also occasionally as you walk away, stop, crouch down in a runners stance still facing away from the dog, release the dog, then take off running or engage the dog in play. These things really make them watch you and it makes the recall very exciting because they never know what to expect.
Food always works for me Remington comes flying when I say "here" no matter where he is or what he's doing (he's developing a pretty decent recall I might add... even when out playing in the field with other dogs). The trick is... I give the food randomly. Sometimes he gets the treat, sometimes he gets a "good boy!!!" and scritches on his head.
Have you tried "jack-potting" her with treats? Libby has one of the fastest recalls that I know, and that is how we worked on it. I would put her in a sit-wait and then walk away, turn toward her, pause (for varying amounts of time) and then give her the command. After she came flying up and sat in front of me, I would give her about 20-30 tiny bits of exceptionally smelly (like the salmon ones) treats in rapid succession. She thinks she hits the lottery anytime I practice recalls. LOL
I haven't had to work with anyone else but Monty, and he likes this method, too. We haven't gotten too much into obedience with him, yet.
The other suggestions sound like they'll be fun to try in an effort to mix it up a bit!
~Julie, Rogue, Monty, and Eddy~
"The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue." -Anon
Scout and I continue to work on the recall as well. At the last trial we entered, she looked a little better but it's not there yet. As I told you, something soured Scout with formal recalls as well. Any other time she runs to me like the wind. In the yard, at the cottage - no hesitation, lots of speed, tail wagging happy. Formal recalls in training - slumped shoulders, head hanging, coasts in so slow and often stops not close enough. She looks like she's going to the principals office to get a spanking! I can't figure out what happened.
My trainer asked me what her favorite toy is - it's a bumper. Scout carries the bumper in her mouth when we go to the park at the end of our street each night for a few tosses before bed. She anticipates this, it's really a hilight of her day. So we're using the bumper at class in recalls now instead of food. It's in my hand when I call her. She's running in fast, yea! At this point we're not worrying about a sit or finish - just reshaping her attitude about the exercise to "hey, they changed this - it's actually fun now". We won't do a formal recall for maybe even a couple of months - that was the suggestion by some at the trial and that's what my instructor has suggested too. I think using the bumper is the trick for us. That never fails to get her excited. She responds to other toys, but a bumper is the pot at the end of the rainbow for Scout!
At home I do that exercise where you throw food in front and then behind - get them to go through your legs, and I'm also hiding on her and then calling her to find me. She likes that too - it's new and I think it appeals to her sense of fun.
A lady working at the last trial - she's also an instructor - she reminded me to not over train. "Leave Scout wanting more." I was overtraining on the recalls because it had broken down. Patience. It must have been written on my face - that was good advice for me to get.
Hope training is going well for you - I'll watch for updates and let you know how we're doing too!
Judith and Scout
Judith - sorry I didn't see your reply until now. Thanks for the update on what you and Scout are doing. I enrolled Sky in agility about 4 weeks ago and as part of getting her ramped up for agility the instructor is helping me with getting her fired up. It is very similar to what you have done with Scout, and I've been using her ball as much as possible vs treats because she too seems to respond it with much more interest. She loves food - but like Scout even the recall doesn't seem to matter.
The other night at obedience we were doing recalls with the jump. I thought it was funny because she would do the usual head hanging slow approach to the jump, but once she jumped she would trott right up to me at a good pace. The jump seemed to make her happy!
Right now I'm really struggling whether to continue with the agiliy or continue with the obedience. I just can't do both, but the agility really does seem to perk her interest much more.
Anyway - good luck with your recall - sounds like you are on your way to getting it back.
Sharon, loved by Moose & Sky
Everybody has already given all my suggestions, but I'll tell you what is working for Emilu and me (we're still a work in progress) She has also had a hard time with the recall and coming in "enthusiastically". The best I could do was to get her to walk slowly in. If anything made her nervous she would stop completely. I finally changed the name of the command to "vamos" ( an english variation of the spanish -"let's go") That actually helped quite a bit for some reason. We also did the "throw a treat between the legs" thing, starting with her closer to me to get her used to going between my legs, and then moving it out (this also helps a dog who doesn't want to sit very close to you in a front). She is much better now, but tends to slow down if she is nervous or if she comes in before I call her and I go and sit her back down. Our instructor also uses the "run away from the dog" method. Stand closer to her, give your command and then turn and run - look back and say your command again so she knows she's supposed to come with you - worth a try. (must admit I didn't use this method much either - but it works for some dogs)