Just Labradors banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been working with Brandi on the recall and retrieve commands.

Right now, I can throw a tennis ball up to 100 yards away, and she'll bring it back, drop it and accept a treat.

I also taught her to recall using the dog whistle. No matter where she is, no matter how far, she'll stop what she's doing, and recall at the sound of the whistle.

Here's the problem......Brandi could be fetching her ball, and get distracted by something. She would stop fetching, snoop around, and decide not to get the ball. At that point, she's maybe yards away, I either would have to walk over to her, give her the ball, or use the whistle to recall her to return. That's where I made my mistake! I used the whistle!
Now she'll chase the ball to wherever I throw it, wait for the whistle, drop the ball, then come running back without the ball.

Sum it up:

If I throw the ball, and NOT blow the whistle, she'll return it. If I blow the whitle, she'll drop the ball and return.

I need her to NOT drop the ball.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,586 Posts
To me, it sounds like you are expecting an awful lot of a puppy as young as Brandi. You are trying to work too far away for a beginner. Cardinal rule of obedience training: If they are getting confused or distracted, you're moving too fast. Slow down. You need to be working at the point where she can be successful. Eventually you can try for the 100 yard retrieves with a lot of distractions.

I think I'd be focusing more on the recall at this point and not worrying so much about the whistle or bringing a ball back. You get a reliable recall with very high-value rewards. As our training director likes to say, "A recall is an invitation to a party." Throw a party whenever she comes back to you, every single time, complete with irresistible hors' d'oeouvres (high-value treats).

Reliable recalls are built brick by brick. It takes a very long time. Don't expect too much, too fast.

Have you enrolled in a puppy class?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,268 Posts
Kudos for the training, but as Connie said - maybe too much too soon. Start from the beginning again, just doing the one command at a time (repeat just the recall alone, then repeat retrieving, etc.)

I use the term "bring it" when I want the ball/toy. Mine will drop it mid run also, and they when they look at me like "so, throw it!" I'll point to it and say "bring it".

Good luck, sounds like she's a smart cookie!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,938 Posts
Sounds to me like she is doing GREAT for her age!!! Of course, all I have to compare to is Sally and my former lab, but according to those two, Brandi is doing just fine. Keep up the good work. I'm sure as smart as she is, she'll sort it all out and put it all together in good time! ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
To clarify...I don't always throw the ball 100 yards. ...sometimes I do ;)

The recall: I'm using the whistle because I feel that she wouldnt hear me if I called her, and I wouldn't want to shout her name every time I want her to come back.

I managed to get her to respond to "two short whistles" means bring the ball back for a "special treat" (her favorite jerky).
One long whistle means "drop whatever you're doing", and get your ass home!
I'll continue to enforce that command each day, she seems to like it that way.

I'm open to more suggestions on the recall.

This little pup is very bright. Her brain acts like a tape recorder.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,586 Posts
More advice:

Never give a command you can't enforce. If she is a hundred yards away and you say, "Retrieve! Come!" Or blow the whistle or whatever, and she doesn't do it, she has just learned that this command is optional. That's why you need to be working only at the level where she will be successful.

Mine are two years old and have been in classes non-stop; Angus since he was four months and Simon as soon as we got him at seven months. They are off-leash quite a bit, and do a lot of retrieving. But I am still very careful to evaluate whether they are really going to "Come" if I say so. I never, ever say the word unless I am 100% sure they will do it. I want them to be successful 100% of the time with recalls. It's the most important command a dog can learn.

Don't rush her. Train her to a level where she is 100% successful...then move to the next level. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,938 Posts
AngusFangus said:
More advice:

Never give a command you can't enforce. If she is a hundred yards away and you say, "Retrieve! Come!" Or blow the whistle or whatever, and she doesn't do it, she has just learned that this command is optional. That's why you need to be working only at the level where she will be successful.

Mine are two years old and have been in classes non-stop; Angus since he was four months and Simon as soon as we got him at seven months. They are off-leash quite a bit, and do a lot of retrieving. But I am still very careful to evaluate whether they are really going to "Come" if I say so. I never, ever say the word unless I am 100% sure they will do it. I want them to be successful 100% of the time with recalls. It's the most important command a dog can learn.

Don't rush her. Train her to a level where she is 100% successful...then move to the next level. ;)
This is one of the most difficult things for me. If Sally grabs a sock and runs off with it, my first instinct is to say, "Sally, come. Come here, girl," knowing full well she's not going to do that. She wants to play the keep-away game. I'm constantly reminding myself of exactly what you are saying in this post....don't give any command that you KNOW they won't respond to. Sally's trainer at her puppy obedience class was always telling us this same thing.

Good piece of advice!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Excellent advice.

What do I do IF she decides that she doesn't want to listen at that moment?

Let's say I throw her ball, she gets to it, then decides to leave it there and snoop. Do I call her? Do I walk over? Do I simply drop the issue?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,586 Posts
snowflake, believe me, I know - I still have to remind myself not to do that. It's reflex!

Anthony, let's separate recall and fetch. To me, recall is a command. Fetch is a game. So, recall is to be taken much more seriously. Fetch has a little more flexibility IMO :)

I would only work on recalls, as I said, at the level where she can be successful. Long line if you have to, but at this point I would only work close and be THE MOST EXCITING AND INTERESTING PERSON ON THE PLANET to ensure you get her back. The boys get "pezzed" (I am the human Pez dispenser of doggie treats) whenever they come back to me, especially if they are off-leash and left another distraction to do it. Oh boy, BIG rewards for that.

What I would do when they were learning is call their name very excitedly. When they turned to look at me, if they didn't start heading my way, I would run backwards, excitedly calling their name and having my little party (but still not saying the word "Come"). When they were beelining towards me and I was 100% sure they were going to follow through, only then did I add the word "Come."

I'll bet you dollars to donuts that if you start running away from her, she will follow. This works with most dogs. The one sure-fire way to get Angus to come is to run in the opposite direction.

Now, as far as fetch: First of all, keep in mind that she is still a puppy. Puppies get distracted and explore. It's what they do best. Fetch is just a game, so I wouldn't sweat if she doesn't bring it back every time at this point. Unless you are training for a high-level obedience title, fetch is just for fun. Relax :)

What I might do if I had one that wasn't bringing it back is run towards the ball myself, and when I got it really whoop it up like I had just won the lottery. Hoping to build interest in the ball: Wow, that must really be great! Look how he is carrying on!

And again, I think you are setting her up for failure by throwing too far. You are getting her very far away from you, out there in the big wide world, and oh look, there's a piece of paper...what was I doing? Well I'll just sniff around over here until I remember. :) She's a puppy. Puppies are not well-known for their attention spans.

I know it is very tempting when you think you have a little genius on your hands to try to cram everything you can in very quickly. Really, I do know that feeling. I have often fretted that Angus doesn't have his CD yet, he doesn't drop on recall, yadda yadda. One of my favorite trainers at the club said to me, "What's your rush? You have the rest of his life to earn these titles. If you earn them all in the first two years, then what are you going to do?" :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,198 Posts
it sounds to me that you have left a whole series of steps out on the recall. I always start the recall with them on leash and after they have learned a sit stay. the first step is ona 6 ft leash. you leave them on a sit stay and then go to the end of the leash and face them and then call them and then reel them in to a striaght sit in front of you. you give praise when they take that first step toward you and then as they are coming in to you. then of course you can treat and release. then after the pup is pretty solid you introduce distractions. you can have a food or what ever between you and the dog and call them in and since they are onleash you can pop them into you if they get distracted. After about a week or so you move on to a 15 ft leash (longe line). this also will help build the sit stays. then you can have the dog on a release where you are just ambling along together and you come to a good distraction. you can then call her in and if she ignores you you can do a lleash pop and reel her in. if she turns and takes a step toward you you can just reel her in with praise. if you do enough of these with some really good distractions food, other dogs, different animals. really good scents, etc.. you will teach her to look more at you when there is a distraction becuase it might be a set-up. as you progress you then move to a 50 or 100ft light line (1/8" nylon cord) and you can then let her drag it around (only with your supervision) and then you can walk to an end of the cord and call her back if she ignores syou you can always pop her in with the line. Then as you progress you can start cutting off pieces of the line. If she fails to come at this point you have to go to the end of the line and reel her in back to the Original spot you called her from. If you do enough work with big distractions on leash and with the longe and lite line you will have very little trouble with any off leash work.
Some things others have pointed out is in the learning stage you never call the pup unless you can reinforce the comand. untill you have the recall trained you simple go and get the pup every time.
You might be thinking to yourself well she comes almost every time now... well yes but will she come if there is a hotdog laying on the ground between you and her?Or will she stop and eat the hotdog? A well trained dog will run past food or any other distracfion and come to you. So if you want a 100% recall you need to start with the basics and do all the baby steps and foundation work..

kelly and Amber
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,129 Posts
I agree with the others in this thread. You are doing a great job but are trying to do too much too soon, and as a result are leaving out steps. Work a lot with just recall on a longe line in low-distraction settings and without the ball. Play with the ball in a low-key setting and make sure to reward like crazy when she does drop the ball at your feet. Teaching a reliable retrieve, including a solid hold, however, is a whole different set of things. If she's like the majority of Labs, as she matures she naturally will be inclined to bring the ball back every time. Theo was a pretty mediocre ball-returner until about 18 months or so, when the light bulb just went on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,276 Posts
MyLabsMom said:
I use the term "bring it" when I want the ball/toy. Mine will drop it mid run also, and they when they look at me like "so, throw it!" I'll point to it and say "bring it".
We do the exact same thing :D Works very well for us also!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,258 Posts
All I have to add is... if you can throw a ball 100 yards... ****.. you need to be playing professional ball!!! Even with a Chuckit I can't throw it that far ;D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,586 Posts
well yes but will she come if there is a hotdog laying on the ground between you and her?Or will she stop and eat the hotdog?
Mine would definitely eat the hot dog. :D Definitely. Well, he's a work in progress. :p

Now I am going to have to try it with a hot dog...

Brief hijack: Kelly, I just noticed the "SW" at the end of Amber's titles. HAHA!
 
G

·
It is better for the dog (and of course you're self) that the dog understand 1 command exactly as you mean, for example: "sit" ... Then that the dog understand 10 commando's for the half part ;)

And keep in mind, if you start learning to dance, you learn it step by step ;D

But i gues, if you start the retrieving part more as a fun game for you're dog, then he or she see's it also as fun, and after that the learning start's 8)
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top