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I've been training my one year old cairn terrier for like a few months now on learning the "come" command. Every night after dinner I take him out off leash and let him run around. I have his food, and so I train him like that...

However, when he gets away from me (ex. today I was watering someone else's plants in their backyard, Echo squeezed under a fence and was out the other side. Thank goodness that the other side was pretty much blocked off)...
He doesn't respond to commands when he gets away like that...

My question is: Will this go away in time or should I start training Echo differently? Will he come back if I don't panic?
 

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What method of training for recall are you using? Have you worked up to training under heavy distraction and distances? Recall doesn't come with age (though maturity and bonding with the owner helps) it requires gradually building up distance, distractions and generalized as much as possible.
More info would be helpful.
 

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My dad Cairn loves to run away, not very far but if there's a way to squeeze out of a fence he will. Paradoxically, he has a great recall when we're walking him in the forest, park and the like.
 

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I would not let the dog run around off leash if you know his recall is questionable. It's just irresponsible. Buy a 20 ft training lead. The dog can still run around, but you can still work on training at the same time.
 

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I agree. NO off-leash time until you're sure the dog comes back to you 100% of the time in any scenario.
 

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The only time any dog should be off leash is when they are in a totally secure fenced in area. Otherwise a long leash is better. A 20' leash and the dog would feel like they are off leash with the freedom but still secure. The person walking the dog on a 20 foot leash would feel like there dog is off leash as well.
 

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It sounds to me like no one ever gave you this little bit of advice when training dogs (it was an epipohany for me). Dogs do not generalize command cues to new locations.

This means that while you are training a recall in your back yard, and you go to your neighbor's back yard.. you have to retrain the recall in the neighbors back yard. You need to go to about 20 new locations and get the command cue you are training reliable in all 20 locations and about then, your dog will begin to generalize the cue and be obedient everywhere.

Level of distraction (new smells, new sights, new noises, more noises, new dog, new dogs) is also something that needs to have command cue's generalized for.

There is a Booklet and/or DVD called "Really Reliable Recall" you can get from www.dogwise.com that I recommend. This gives you a "come here no matter what" recall for specialized situations. It is pretty inexpensive and VEY easy to follow and dog.

I would also recommned the long training lead (as mentioned here by others) and taking your dog to all kinds of different places and training the recall. Use food. do not use dog treats from the store. Cut up Spam or hot dogs into very small pieces.. 1/2 dime size works well... and try differnt things your dog likes. It is not the quantitiy of the treat that gets their attention.. its the quality. For the highest levels of distraction, I use cooked beef shoulder steak. Other people find String cheese to be best. Depends on the dog.

When you call your dog, and he looks at you but does not come, do no go to him. Run the OPPOSITE direction. Most dogs will chase. When he gets to you, give him about 30 seconds of praise (use a watch.. 30 seconds is a long time). While praising dole out 5-6 of those tiny treats you made.

Never call the dog to you and do anything the dog does not like. Never punish the dog on recall work, no matter how tempted or frustrated you are. Recall has to be the best thing since dinner Time to your dog.

Do not let your dog off leash or off training lead, or off leash in a poorly fenced area, until you have the recall down.
 

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The age does not help recall is not exactly correct as proper work as pup is going through different stages of life, puppy, teen-age puppy etc. Will all come together when pup matures if work is continued.

One thing I could never understand is people with young dogs when turning pups/dogs loose in big fenced in yard do not have a nylon lead 20 ft (to 60 ft if needed) and pup just dragging loose lead around yard. Let's just think about it for a while. you go out and get to the end of the dragging lead before you call pup. Then when you call pup you are in control and if necessary bring pup to you gently with lead and give reward when he gets to you. You are now starting a pattern of being in control and pup getting a reward for coming to you. Let's just think about the opposite, no lead and pup/dog running around yard and you attempt recall, if pup doesn't come you have no control and pup is starting another pattern of not having to listen to recall. What usually happens is owner chasing pup around yard screaming at pup and the pup is having a gay old time and very important the pup is becoming immune to your recall program. This is just kindergarten stuff and not to be confused with formal recall work. All you're trying to do is start a habit This is buckle or martingale collar work only not choke/prong chain collars.

Bad thing is if there is hole in fence and you're not supervising pup he could get out run away and get tangled up in something and die if not found.
1. That should never happen as he should be supervised.
2. Without lead and he gets out there are many things that could cause his early demise.

This is just the method that I use when I started my personal pups and it made things much easier when I did work on formal recalls and as a negative reinforcement type trainer will go no further on recall subject.
 

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wvasko - you've stated something so important and so basic here that I wish, wish I had known when we first got our puppy. Putting a puppy on a training lead from day 1 so that it never learns a pattern of running away, combined with great rewards for recalls could have saved me a lot of grief. When she was young, we trained for recall at the same time we took her to a HUGE dog park where she ran wild. Then we - duh! - couldn't figure out why she wouldn't come when we called at the park. Holy cow, we were dumb. It ain't just dogs that can't generalize. ;)

If I had known then what you just said above, I would never have taken her to the park and let her off lead until her recall was solid. We trained our dog to not come by letting her run around at the park, the beach, and the tennis court before she was ready, thinking that it was just a process that we were working through and she would get it eventually with repetition. So every recall training session we did was totally undone by letting her run around wild. Oh well. So now I have an unstrustworthy dog who can never be off lead. We still work on recall, but I think her early wanderings were so reinforcing that she'll never really be reliable.

To the OP - consider me the poster child of how not to train a reliable recall. Get that recall solid before you let your dog run around off leash anywhere!
 

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The issue we ran into with a long lead is that it was too dangerous when you wanted to try it other places (ie with distractions etc). One incident with my dog running a quick circle around some old lady ...... well we avoided any broken hips but that was it for the long lead in public places. LOL.

An e-collar used properly is an alternative.
 

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wvasko - you've stated something so important and so basic here that I wish, wish I had known when we first got our puppy. Putting a puppy on a training lead from day 1 so that it never learns a pattern of running away, combined with great rewards for recalls could have saved me a lot of grief. When she was young, we trained for recall at the same time we took her to a HUGE dog park where she ran wild. Then we - duh! - couldn't figure out why she wouldn't come when we called at the park. Holy cow, we were dumb. It ain't just dogs that can't generalize. ;)

If I had known then what you just said above, I would never have taken her to the park and let her off lead until her recall was solid. We trained our dog to not come by letting her run around at the park, the beach, and the tennis court before she was ready, thinking that it was just a process that we were working through and she would get it eventually with repetition. So every recall training session we did was totally undone by letting her run around wild. Oh well. So now I have an unstrustworthy dog who can never be off lead. We still work on recall, but I think her early wanderings were so reinforcing that she'll never really be reliable.

To the OP - consider me the poster child of how not to train a reliable recall. Get that recall solid before you let your dog run around off leash anywhere!
It's not brain surgery and it's so simple to stop bad habits before they begin and I don't know how many posts are in DF about this problem of people that are not able to catch their dogs in the yard even. No jerking of lead is used, I don't mind pulling a pup to me slowly after my recall word while squealing happy sounds etc and then when there giving him/her a "To Die For Reward" The recall word is started in home anyway. One thing Winnie, nobody knows these things ahead of time, the first dog that people try to train most of the time manages to survive the mistakes owners make. It even takes skills to dig a ditch, the more ditches you dig the better ditch digger you become.

The issue we ran into with a long lead is that it was too dangerous when you wanted to try it other places (ie with distractions etc). One incident with my dog running a quick circle around some old lady ...... well we avoided any broken hips but that was it for the long lead in public places. LOL.
An e-collar used properly is an alternative.
Peppy
There are problems with a long lead used outside the yard. But you must crawl before you walk and if people at least start the correct program in yard and don't have a bad habit started before they take dogs out of yard it's got to be a better program. You have mentioned the next step in this type of work. My next step would be taking dog to an area with no other people. An hour ride and a lot of people are in the country and you take your dog for a walk with dragging 100 ft lead in a deserted field. Most 4 or 5 month old puppies in a field are not going to run too far. A recall word and you running away from pup as fast as you can usually has some good results and you are continuing the come habit. The common trend nowadays is that everybody is so interested in rushing to the dog park to turn loose their untrained pups and the pups are scooping in knowledge about how they don't have to come back. Very self rewarding when they have other pups/dogs to play with. I'm not going to get into e-collar use with a pup as I never needed it. This program is as I said above a kindergarten program and an e-collar is not used for kindergarten.
 

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Good info here. It's so simple to just expect your dog to learn things without putting some thought into it and then boom you have an issue you have to UNTRAIN.
This is why I recommend every single dog owner (puppy or adult) go to classes with a good trainer who will tell you not only how to teach the dog what you want them to learn but also to be there to tell you when you are doing something incorrectly. So much frustration avoided if you start off on the right foot.

Wvasko, thank you for reiterating that neg. reinforcement techniques are for advanced work and proofing, not for the wee kiddies. That's all I'll say about that. LOL.
 

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I totally agree re working with good trainers and attending puppy classes, which we did do. Unfortunately for us, we picked a trainer who was unable to identify the root of the problem as described so neatly by wvasko above.

With a little more experience, I can now see that she didn't have much of a repetoire beyond puppy 101 stuff. We learned a great deal from her that was useful but on this one issue we got bad advice. In the end, though, it was our dog and our responsibility to figure out and fix the issue. She's still a great dog and we're besotted with her, so it's all good! :D
 
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