I am sure this has been asked before, but I would like some advice as to what to do with Misty, now 15 weeks, regarding her "recall." She was doing pretty well with the "come" command, but seems to have regressed lately. It seems like she has learned that "you know what? I don't really HAVE to come, when I don't want to..." When we are walking off-leash, she is pretty good about returning to me if I call her -- AS LONG AS something has not really, really piqued her interest. I would like this to be closer to 100%. But, the bigger problem is in our yard. She used to remain confined to the yard, and was a bit too apprehensive to venture far. If she tried, a simple "come" command would motivate her to return to me. Now, however, when she is in the yard playing, she seems to have developed enough confidence with her surroundings that if she decides she wants to leave the yard and visit the neighbor's house, she will; when I call her, she basically acts as if she is completely deaf -- doesn't even flinch when I call. She just goes about her business. Some of the problem is, I have obviously permitted her to walk with me over to the neighbor's house at times, to visit, and so she seems to be "expanding" what she sees as the area she is comfortable venturing into as a result. Yes, I could obviously put up a fence, etc. -- but that's not the point. The point for me is her RECALL. I obviously would not expect her to stay completely confined to the yard, at least at this point, unless I do put up a fence -- I do not leave her in the yard unattended. However, when I AM outside, and she chooses to venture off a ways (which I obviously expect that she will do at times), I want her to respond to my command to have her return. So, basically, I am wondering what is the best way to handle teaching her a more solid recall. Obviously, I COULD put her on a long lead, and work with treats -- calling her back and then treating her when she comes; "nudging" her back to me, with the leash, when she does not respond to the voice command. But, I would like to avoid this "going all the way back to square one" if I could (I will if that's the best solution). Also, I know some folks will say that I should not even use the "pull on the lead" at all -- but, I just simply have a hard time with that. My attitude is, if you issue a command, you need to be ready to do two things -- either A. reward proper response to the command, or else B. COMPEL response to that command (using the lead or whatever) -- followed by reward. To me, if you are going to issue a command, response is a must -- either THEIR choice, or with your help. I know this is controversial here, but that's just my perspective. But I'm open to all input, regarding the "recall" issue. Thoughts?
See the thread in this section/child board called something like "Rebellious puppy".
I strongly recommend that you give the NILIF training/feeding schedule a try before resorting to other methods.
In this, you feed a few kibbles at a time of a pup's usual meal from your hand in response to obeying a command, such as "Sit" "Down" "Stand" "Stay" "Come" The whole meal is fed this way.
While you have to create a little distance from your pup to use the "Come" command (which means you have to move) it also gives you a chance to practice the "Stay" command.
(Hint: vary the places in which you practice this and where you go for practicing "Come" command. That's because dogs are usually very poor generalizers so if you do all the NILIF training in the same place and always go to the same spot to say "Come", you pup may learn to do it there but not outside or in a different setting or context. Varying places helps the pup learn to generalize.)
Also, it wouldn't hurt to help your pup win the jackpot a few times outside. E.g., sprinkle some coin sized hot dog slices with a little powdered garlic and nuke them in the microwave. These have extremely high value for most dogs. Seal them in something like a Ziplock bag to reduce the distracting odor as much as possible. Then sometimes, when your pup obeys the "Come" command, substitute a hot dog slice (or any other food desirable to your pup, like beef jerky, fresh banana slice, etc.).
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":
Some interesting ideas. I have never used the "NILIF" method, though I have seen it mentioned here before. I DO require Misty to sit/stay before she can "dive in" to her food bowl. I require a sit-stay before she can go out to play; often I require it before I pet her (especially if she is in "hyper" mode and needs to settle down first), etc. etc., so to some degree I do these things. I would like to think about the NILIF idea a bit.
Varying the placeds in which I practice commands is a good point. I DO do this, but sometimes forget that commands may mean different things in different places.
Finally, your "jackpot" idea is a good one. I have considered it, but haven't followed through on it. If I am walking her, I take pieces of kibble to use as treats (when she is in a proper heel or is paying attention to me, or when I call and she comes). However, if I take a more "important" treat, and gave that when she performed a particularly-challenging "come" (for example, she took off to chase a squirrel, but came back when I called), seems like a great idea. I'll try it.
Any other ideas, everyone?
Bob's given you great advice. I do the NILIF deal with Buck as well.
I think it's just Misty's age. When puppies are young they are dependent on you so it's easier to get them back to you. As they get older they begin to explore more and more away from you and that's when it gets harder to get them back to you in a snap.
I saw this happen with Buck around Misty's age and then again when he hit around 7-8 months ("teenage"phase).
Each time I just went back to recall 101. It's a pain but that's what worked for us. Since, he knows what "come here" means it didn't take long to get the idea back in his head.
Oh while training also make sure you use the recall command when you KNOW she will be able to come to you. Do not take her to a really really distracting area to train this before she is ready. Always set it up so she succeeds. Otherwise she will just learn to ignore you.
<3 01/01/2006-03/18/2017 <3
More good points, Buckyball, and thanks for sharing your similar experience. I think you are right on track about the age -- it does seem exactly like she is developing her "own mind," less dependent on me, and more eager to explore her world.
Also, something to think about, you've only been working on the come command for what 7 weeks maybe? Getting a reliable come command takes months and months and months of repetitive work. You have puppy youth working against you now since you are now competing with everything else that is more interesting/fun in the puppy's environment. Read about how to teach a reliable come in the "our best advice" thread.
Yeah, you are right -- everything else is becoming more interesting than listening to me give commands : !! Good points about the limited time we have been working on this. I probably need to get more consistent, while also not expected great results just yet.
I'll re-read the "best advice" thread. I did as a new board member, but that was a couple months ago. I'll check out the "recall" info there.
Sorry if I am asking a sily question. what is the NIFIL.
wow you are working well.Misty is going to be an awesome dog with the care and training you are giving her.
Hang in there. you are doing a great job.
Yes you do have to be consistent. I was having the same problem as you.
My neighbour told me when Kassa was a pup that you have to keep retraining them. I asked a trainer about this as it appeared to be true. the trainer said you have to be consistent. You can't train and then leave it. Having a dog is life long training. As they get older it is not as hard.
Yes, sometimes the old lessons need to be reinforced. It won't take as long as the first time. He's getting bigger and more confident now so he exploring more.
In my opinion, your recall expectations for a 14 week old puppy are unrealistic. As rottnlabs said, it can takes MONTHS, even YEARS, to get a reliable recall. You are working against your pups age. Unless there is some kind of physical barrier in place (regular fencing, electric fencing, etc.) dogs have very little concept of boundaries. This breed is very scent oriented so lets face it, what is more intereting, you or that glorious smell beyond your yard? the smell of course. You CAN make yourself more interesting (and of course, the more fun you are, the more your dog will want to stick with you) but we are dealing with a young pup...right now her attention span is very slim. Her focus will improve with age.
You can train and train and train for the recall but the age of the dog needs to be on your side. I found that my dogs had a reasonable recall at 18-24 months of age. They still have their fair share of relapses but hey, they are dogs not robots so I can't expect perfection. I don't demand perfection, either.