We've been getting up very early (6:00ish) to take Dee (she's almost 2 y.o.) to the lake swimming most days.* Her hips aren't that great and swimming is the best thing to get and keep the muscles strong.* Problem - We STILL can't get her to come when she's called.* I've never had this issue with a dog before (certainly not at this age), and it is sooooo frustrating.* ** *It's also a shame because she obviously doesn't get the same exercise when she has to be on a leash or a long line constantly as she would off leash.* This morning we gave it a try being as it was 6:00 o'clock..... no cars, no people, no other dogs around etc.* First thing she did was find the ONLY piece of rubbish on the beach and took off with it.* Of course she wants us to chase her - NOT a good thing, but if we don't she lays down and proceeds to rip up what she's found.....and we worry she might swallow it.* We've tried everything and she just doesn't seem to be improving with this.* Anyway we finally caught her by tricking her with a piece of biscuit.* Back on the long line she goes.* * I'm feeling like we may NEVER resolve this issue.* She is VERY puppy-like still....very excitable.* We have religiously gone to training classes once (usually twice) a week since she was four months old....not to mention having a private trainer for awhile.* It's taken time, but she is fairly well behaved in class.....on leash anyway.* Her desire to please is quite low, and her desire to do what she want's is very very high.* :* She often doesn't respond to her name even in the house....unless she knows we've got cookies.* In fact I'd have more luck getting her to come by calling "cookie" rather than her name.* :*
I don't mean for this to sound totally negative.* We love her very much and she has made good improvement in some areas of training (on leash), but I have to say that if puppyhood EVER ends I sure won't miss it.* For whatever reason (and it's not leaving her mom and litter too young as she was 9 weeks old) she doesn't seem to be able to read/sense the difference between mad and playing.... whether it be with us or another dog.* Re the saying "A good Lab is a tired Lab"........I feel a little between a rock and a hard place with this one due to her less than great hips, but right now she is getting to swim each morning and generally a walk for about an hour sometime during the day.* We can't push her too hard or she goes lame.
I've read a ton of training books, taken advice from this site, go to training classes regularly etc.* I don't know what to do next in terms of getting her to come on recall.* It's so important to train this for so many different reasons, but honestly I'm not optimistic at this point.* It's frustrating for us and I'd so love her to be able to have a good run rather than always dragging a rope behind her.* We have great trails to walk here, but if she sees another dog or another person we can't see her for dust.* :* Of course everyone doesn't like dogs and every dog isn't friendly towards her, so this being the case we just continue with the long line.*
Anyway just venting after a not very relaxing morning at the lake.* I'm not sure that anyone could give me any more advice on this....though I'm certainly receptive if you have any.*
I'd say her recall word is "cookie" not "come". My fellow instructor tells the story about her friend's husband that was frustrated with their dog not doing the recall. He would yell come 2 or 3 times each time getting louder and louder and finally add NOW after the last one and the dog would come. She saw right away the recall word was NOW not come and after they used now for their recall the dog came reliably.She often doesn't respond to her name even in the house....unless she knows we've got cookies. In fact I'd have more luck getting her to come by calling "cookie" rather than her name.
I will only use "come" (my recall command) if I know I can enforce the command. I have used a long line (75') and I now use an e-collar (origginally for field work). I'll use other words to bring the dog into me........ie "here", "swim" "ride" etc.
"In moments of joy all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag." W. H. Auden
Linda, Kona and Bo
I'd keep her on a line for now ... but one thing I did want to ask is HOW are you calling her? One thing that can help is to NOT face the dog, but to turn and slowly run in the opposite direction while calling her name happily and clapping your hands excitedly.
Have you actually tried teaching her a formal recall yet? I couldn't quite gather that from your post. If you have just been keeping her on a long line now is the time to start.
Her excitability is normal Lab behavior. Many Labs don't calm down until old age. My 6 year old girl sounds a lot like yours in terms of stubbornness and she can also be puppy like. Maisy is 50/50...sometimes she is a miserable grump, other times she is as crazy as a puppy. :
You say your girl is food motivated so use it to your advantage. If food can overcome her stubbornness, excellent! one of the keys to successful recall training is finding something your dog will work for. Combine food with praise (lots of it!) and you are on to a winner.
As for actually teaching the recall, take a look at the 'Our Best Advice' thread.
lcspt - Unfortunately the word "cookie" only works if there isn't something more distracting around. (and that's when you need the good recall the most) We've been doing the long line work for a year and a half now. Our trainer said to use your recall word (here or whatever it is) and if they don't respond use the word "NOW." If they don't respond to the word "NOW" within a couple of seconds you give a solid check and bring them back in to you. Partially the running away thing is a big game to her. She generally is able to find something she isn't supposed to have in a bid to get us to chase her. (which of course we avoid doing)The other part of it is just that she will spot another dog (major excitement) or even a person, and she just has to go and see them. She is very friendly, but her manners with both dogs and people still need some improvement. She doesn't grasp that EVERY dog doesn't want to play with her and also thinks she can bypass the introduction and get right into playing....something a lot of dogs don't appreciate. This has been a tough one too because it seems there are few in betweens (i.e. dogs that will tell her off without actually hurting her). Most dogs either seem very friendly or extremely snarly in their reactions.
ThatsMyGirl - Not much choice but to keep her on a long line/leash at this point. Re HOW we are calling her....We've tried it all. Sometimes running the other way and clapping partly works, but as soon as you stop and walk towards her it's back to the "catch me if you can" game. She just gets a glint in her eye and away she goes. : I honestly don't know if she would eventually follow us if we kept going after she takes off. I think she would, but then the biggest problem is that you don't want your dog running up to strange people who might be scared of dogs (even friendly ones) or running up to someone with an intolerant dog that might really go for her and do damage. Likewise I wouldn't want her to race up to someone with a small dog as she's a bit of a bull in a china shop.
I watch and enjoy Cesar Milan's show, but so far I've never seen him deal with the issue of running away or ignoring when being called. I'm sure he'd have it sorted in no time.....maybe. She's smart and she knows very well that we can't get her once her leash is off. : I'm not by any means new to dogs, but this is something I've never had a big problem with.....just initial puppy stuff. Most dogs want to please and take scolding badly. Dee could care less. It washes off like water off a ducks back.
Trickster - A lot of it I'm sure "is" just late puppy behavior. I do hope that she grows out of some of it before she hits 6 or we're going to be worn out. She is a far more rambunctious/excitable dog than my previous dogs....including my last Lab and my terriers. I don't mean higher energy, as my last Lab was 1/2 field and could have run circles around Dee, but she was far more layed back and sensitive at the same time. I guess they are all different, just like kids. I still have to watch her for jumping up on people.
Re her food motivation - She is food motivated to a point, but not enough to result in her coming when called if there is something more interesting going on. In the house....sure she'll come if I say "do you want a cookie." Sometimes when I work with her in the yard just before her breakfast or dinner (when she's really hungry) you would swear she was very well trained and terribly obedient....even off leash, but add a distraction and it all falls apart.
With all the discussions on here and on Cesar Milan's show about being viewed as Alpha I still can't say how I figure she views us. In terms of her food...she won't touch it until we give the okay, but in another instance I will call her (she'll glance back) and then continue on to where she wants to be....totally ignoring me. : She's very sweet in many ways and has a ton of personality, but boy does she have a mind of her own.
I'll review the recall advice, but we've been working at this for a year and half, so I doubt there will be anything there I haven't already tried. Thanks for replying.
I think there are some dogs that are just never going to be reliable off-leash (sight hounds come to mind). And while Sami is pretty reliable off leash -- and I've never had her not come -- I can't honestly say that she's 100%. I mean can anyone *really* say that their dog is 100% reliable no matter what the situation? I don't know. While I do take Sami off leash, I try to do so in as much of a "controlled" environment as possible -- in other words, not near roads, other people, etc.
Oh, do I know that look!! I will say using the e-collar (after he was conditioned to it) when he got the Zoomies in the field has made a world of difference in his recall obedience. When I say "come" there is very little hesitation in choosing me over anything else.She just gets a glint in her eye and away she goes.
The e-collar is not for every trainer or every dog but worked very well for us. A long line wasn't practical for the training we were doing.
"In moments of joy all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag." W. H. Auden
Linda, Kona and Bo
I don't know how old your dog is. I would never trust a dog off lead no matter how good I thought they were.
I got Kass as a pup and trained from the start. I let her off the lead too early. She was fine for a few weeks then wouldn't come. I put her back on a long lead and went back to basics and lots of encouragement and treats.
I could let her off the lead in the park or forest and she wasn't allowed to go further than a few feet ahead of me. I would encourage her to come back to me and everytime she did i made a fuss and gave her a treat. If she did she had the lead on again. Soon she learnt.
Ernie was off the lead to swim, then the race to catch him. A trainer told me I would never be able to let him off the lead. I have been trying for a year on a long lead and he is so much better. But then there is the glint.
I also save a special word for when I need the dog at my side now.. i.e. if I think they may be in danger. I only use this word for this occassion and with kassa it worked.
I read it is no use asking them to come if they have no intention of doing so. It is better to teach it when they are on their way to you.