This is my first post here.
My wife and I have a one year old female Chocolate named Ryder. She’s a great “puppy”, but has a few quirks that are really starting to get frustrating. Personally I believe we have a little problem with her thinking she runs the show in the house! But here are the two main problems we have with her: not responding to the “come” command, and jumping up on people. Honestly, I think we could live with the jumping up on people for the time being, if we could just get the “come” command first.
We had her in basic obedience classes when she was about 5 months old, but we had to stop going as she developed a “fear” of the instructor (she would avoid him at all cost with her tail between her legs, and not go to him when he would use her for class demonstrations). We’ve been trying to train her at home ever since and I’m assuming that by reading this, you have all figured out that we aren’t doing so well with that!
We take her to the off-leash dog park (with no leash except for a 30 foot rope that drags behind her), and when there are no distractions she comes almost every time we call her, but if there is so much as a leaf rustling in the bushes or heaven forbid another couple walking in the distance with a dog, she is gone! And calling her back from those situations is impossible. We just can’t seem to get her attention, and this is where I think the respect issue comes into play (please correct me if I’m wrong). We try using treats, calling her name, whistling, but we get no reaction from her, unless of course there is nothing else drawing her attention.
- Is this “normal” puppy behaviour?
- Is it a respect issue?
- How long should we expect it to take to have her recall properly?
- Does this mean we shouldn’t be letting her off-leash until she is properly trained, or, on the contrary, should we be letting her off-leash more in order to train her?
- Is there something else we should do before moving up to the dog park?
Also, how much exercise time does a one year old lab need in a day? Currently Ryder gets a 30-45 minute walk or run in the morning and a 30 minute walk or run in the park in the evening.
Thanks for any and all help. Ryder will really appreciate it…but I think we may appreciate it a little more!
Hi there. Welcome to the forum!In my opinion? yes, it is normal for an adolestant dog to behave in the way you describe. There are very, very few who have NOT had recall problems with their Lab at some point. Labs are naturally friendly and inquisitive. Combine that bundles of confidence and energy and it is easy to see how they can be so distracted in the presence of people and other dogs. Meeting new people and other dogs is THE most exciting thing in the world for a young Lab. Partially, this behaviour will rectify itself as Ryder matures. When dogs move out of adolescence and into adulthood with years of experience behind them, they become less obsessed with introducing themselves to anything and everything that moves.- Is this “normal” puppy behaviour?Not in my opinion.Is it a respect issue?With further training? you can have a pretty decent recall on a dog by 18 months. My dogs were once like Ryder and with a lot of work, they had decent recalls at around 18 months.How long should we expect it to take to have her recall properly?That depends on who you talk to. If she has zero recall, she should be kept on a leash for her safety first and foremost. I can see that you are using a long line so you are already heading in the right direction.Does this mean we shouldn't be letting her off-leash until she is properly trained, or, on the contrary, should we be letting her off-leash more in order to train her?
Here is what I would do.
First, sign up for another training class. If Ryder is a little nervy around strange men (don't worry -- even very confident dogs can be 'spooked' by certain people!), find a class taught by a female instructor. There are plenty of them around. This will allow you to work on Ryder's recall with the added distraction of people and other dogs in a controlled environment. The more exposure she gets to strange people and dogs the less of a novelty they will become. You want to get her mixing with other people and dogs for this reason as much as possible and classes are the IDEAL way to do this. It will also help boost your confidence in your handling abilities.
Second, you are already using the long line -- great! if you can, plan a walk/training session in a quiet area, preferably early in the morning when there will not be many people around. Remember, for the recall to be successful, YOU need to be more interesting then the object/dog/person. What does Ryder like most in the world? a particular toy, maybe a particular foodstuff that she only gets on an extra special occasion? whatever it is you need to utilize it. It must be something that she wants to work for. You need to be absolutely consistant in your rewarding -- EVERY time she complies, she gets the reward without question. If she does not comply, you reel her in and attempt to have her focus on you as you get past the distraction.
Training the recall is pretty standard. It just takes a lot of time and patience and it certainly doesn't come overnight.
Is the dog park that you speak of a fenced in dog park? have you tried taking her there at off peak hours? if you can find a time when there are just a few dogs there, this is an excellent opportunity for her to safely socialize and get rid of some of her energy. Like with the classes, long periods of contact with other dogs will help reduce her intial excitement when meeting strange dogs on her regular walks.Your exercise routine sounds great.lso, how much exercise time does a one year old lab need in a day? Currently Ryder gets a 30-45 minute walk or run in the morning and a 30 minute walk or run in the park in the evening.
Good luck. You will get there in the end. I know the feeling of thinking that it will never get better but it does -- honest.
Welcome. Funny, I have a 5 year old male named Rider.
Trickster is dead on in her assessment of Ryder. But I do disagree with the amount of exercise. A walk to my Rider and Rookie is like a warm up. They need a good session of fetch or swimming to really curtail their energy, so I would recommend adding something in there besides a walk or two a day.
I would not allow her to be off-leash for a bit until you can get her thoughts to be back on you. Or put her on a 50 ft. check chord and work with her everyday. Come, *no response*, NO! COME! and guide her back with the leash. Don't ever issue a command that you are unable to enforce. If you are 50 ft away, obviously, you can't enforce a command. Make coming to you the best thing ever...even over that more enticing goose poop .
Dani, Rider & Rookie
SHR Watson's Safari Rider, JH, WC, CL1-R, RA, CGC, TDI
SHR Endeavor Put Me In Coach, RN, WC, CGC
Member Since 6/2003
My golden retriever is about 95% trustworthy with recall sometimes he may not listen and if that happens he goes straight back on leash, I found this taught him he thinks if i don't come when called i get put back on lead. I've also found teaching them the ignore comand works really well if i say ignore to Einstein my golden he keeps walking sometimes he may not listen when that happens its back on lead for 5 minutes. This will only work if your dog loves being off lead,Which my guy does. I've also taught Einstein his only allowed to run up front so far then he has to stop and wait for me. So my dog also knows the wait comand same thing if he didn't wait he got put back on lead. I found this worked great with Einstein it might not work with every dog tho. Einstein didn't go any obedience club what so ever i trained him myself completely. It took a long time to teach Einstein all these comands in the long run it has done him and myself well. I've even taught Einstein to cross a road altho i don't leave his side but if he did get out and wander he would know how to cross a road. It takes time,patience & alot of wrk from your part and hers. Also don't make the training seasons to long when a puppy i only train for 5 minutes 3 times a day, For an adult 15 minutes 3 times a day, This way the dog doesn't get bored and walks away. The dog needs to be 100% focused on you this whole time, Take her into a quiet room and star there. Once shes being obedient in the quiet room start moving to a room that has little noise, gradualing more to a monoiser spot till eventually she will listen to you no matter whats going on. But remeber keep her on lead in the quiet room,when you move gradualing up the size of the lead till eventually its a long rope. Then once shes obedient on the long rope start letting her off lead and let her run so far and call her back, If she doesn't come back go and attach her lead back on her and say naughty girl leave her on lead for 5 minutes then try again, Do this when no one is around at first and gradualing do it when theres 1 or 2 people. Its going to take time but eventually she will get it.
I have not much more to add but our chocolate girl is 6 months old and your Ryder and our Milly sound so much alike!!! Nice to know we have a whole year to go until Milly's recall will be reliable...... :whatever: haha
Welcome to the forum!
yeah, recall is a toughie. Labs are kind of stubborn like that . One thing I do is I make it FUN. I make coming to mommy sound like the coolest, bestest, most awesomest thing in the world and when he does come he gets a small treat. Here is what I do:
I say his name first and then come- "Leo, COME!" in a happy voice. I only do this once.
Once I have his attention at least I do NOT say come again but I do babble like a loon with things like, Who's my big boy?! Who wants a treat?! Good boy! Good boy! I look like an idiot but it seems to have helped Leo understand that coming to Mommy is a good thing. It will take time however, being a puppy, just about anything will grab there attention. Consistency and patience is key.
Exercise sounds fine in my opinion, just make sure it isn't too much for a puppy. I do agree however that he needs some swimming, fetching or something to really get rid of his energy. Labs LOVE to play
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My pup is only 11 weeks old. Once you have his attention he is pretty good about this stuff. But it's hard to get his attention.
I need to work on getting him to recognize his name.
Good luck with Rider!
Keep saying the name to him in a happy voice and when he comes to it say dogs name good boy, Keep saying the dogs name everytime you see him, Even if your just walking past. In the morning say good morning dogs name. Also at feed time dogs name dinner or what ever word you use to let the dog now its feed time.Originally Posted by VTEnviro
WOW! Thanks everyone for the great help and ideas! I see we aren't alone in this and it's nice to know there is a great group of people that can offer insight into some of those problem areas that are so frustrating at times.
By reading your posts and I think we've realised that maybe we were expecting a little too much from Ryder too soon. Even though she just turned one on Tuesday, she needs a few more months before she's trustworthy! I have to admit, she's really good at the recall when there are no distractions! Last night we took her to the dog park and let her off leash in the back area (it's actually quite a huge park) where there are no people...and she came 100% of the time! It was great. She still won't be allowed off-leash if there is a chance she will not come when called though.
Instead of flooding the thread with a whole bunch of posts...I'll do this instead:
Trickster…thanks for the reassuring words. We were worried that we may have a problem dog on our hands! But I guess, we are lucky to have a healthy and normal lab puppy…stubborn and all!! Thanks for the great insight and tips!
Dani…we’ve actually changed Ryder’s daily physical activity with an extra swim thrown into the mix! She just started loving the water a couple weeks ago and now we can’t keep her out of it!! It cools her off and it tires her out! Best of both worlds!
Doglover12… we totally agree about the patience and time thing. I think we were hoping for too much and that this would be a much easier process, but it’s reassuring to know that others are/were in the same boat as us! Thanks for your suggestions.
Thanks for the welcome Sarah.
Turnipgirl…we’re waaaay past the point of worrying about looking like idiots with our enthusiasm when calling her back! Hahaha! We’ve started the swims and she REALLY enjoys that! One thing about Ryder though…she’s not crazy about playing catch! She’s all about the running after the ball, but getting her to drop it and do it all over again isn’t easy…she loses interest in catch quite quickly. But I did learn that if I cut a tennis ball almost in half, it made it easier for her to play with and she seems more into retrieving with that ball! Go figure! She is definitely a bundle of energy! Haha!
Dweck…thanks! Checked it out.
Again, thanks everyone for the help and the kind words...