Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
704 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Warning. Wall of text below.

My dog is two years old and I've put A LOT of work into training him and overall he's very reliable with most everything he's been taught. Like most puppies, he struggled with recall when he was younger. Especially when being called in from the backyard. Using long training lines, high value treats and his favourite currency, fetch, we worked really hard and he's very very good now. I would say he comes enthusiastically running in on the first and only call more than 90% of the time.
Well last night we had a little issue. I put him outside (fully fenced yard) and heard him going ballistic barking which is not normal for him. I look outside and find him springing up 4+ feet jumping on the fence and freaking out. There was a big fat cat on the top of the fence that was too scared to run away from him and I'm pretty sure he wanted to murder it. Or at the very least chase it.
I tried to call him in to no avail. I'm always very careful to not repeat cues. He didn't even acknowledge my existence. I tried bribing him in with everything imaginable, something I'm usually totally against. Treats, toys, going for a walk, going for a car ride. I faked getting hurt. Nothing I could say or do would peel his attention away from that poor cat for even a moment.
Usually I would just go outside and get him but we've currently got 4 feet of snow. I tried to go out and only made it about 4 steps.
Eventually the cat left and within a minute or two I was finally able to get him to come in. I rewarded him for finally coming and made no mention of being upset with him.
I felt really bad for the cat. And I started thinking about all the wildlife we have around here in the summer. If that was a skunk or raccoon I would've had a huge problem on my hands. Actually even the cat was bigger than him and could've probably won the fight.
The fact that he's a terrier doesn't work in my favour in this situation. I know this is what he was bred to do. But I want to train through it.
He lives with 2 indoor cats that he is pretty good with. He would never hurt them but is very eager to play and will occasionally chase them or bark but it's rare and not difficult to interrupt him. I've trained him to Look At Me and sit/down stay when he has the desire to chase them.
I guess I can understand the benefit of a remote training collar in a situation like I experienced. But I'm 100% against them and will not use one under any circumstance. At least not the electric shock ones. I've considered the vibration one but the chances of him having it on at the right time is slim. And because it's a once in a blue moon thing to have an animal on the fence it's hard to control the environment for training.
Any advise on how to proof this would be much appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,194 Posts
I think one aspect of recalls that is often overlooked (or not mentioned) is impulse control. If a dog doesn't have impulse control around whatever distraction, they're not going to come to you. I would start with impulse control, on leash, around your own cats (since he is interested in them and likes to chase them, but isn't super duper distracted). When he can turn his focus from them to you, then make it a little more challenging, maybe when the cat is one the move. Work your way up to impulse control outside around critters, still on leash, then on a long leash. "Leave it" is a basic component of the recall really, because a dog with a strong "leave it" will be able to turn away from the distraction, and then coming back to you is the easy part.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
243 Posts
Suddenly noticing an animal on their 'turf' is a pretty huge distraction and I know that cats can be huge teases, just to make your day harder. (And let's get this out of the way... if the cat was truly scared, he would have ran. I can't tell you how taken our cats were with 'teasing' the neighborhood dogs from atop a fence. They're very slick little guys).

Leave it is a great command to incorporate with this and don't forget: sometimes when our dog has things down-pat, we don't really give them enough credit. It's not unheard of for people to have a reward for their dog every time they recall: either a treat, a play, or heavy heavy praise. I'm one of those people. People ask me what I will do the day I need my dog to come and I don't have a goodie on hand... easy: I stick my hand in my right pocket and they come charging over!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
704 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
thanks for the advice guys. i really appreciate it. his impulse control is actually quite good with my cats. if i tell him to leave it, he will. same when passing other dogs on walks. but it seems strange animals in "his yard" are a different story. I will certainly start practising leave it with squirrels and rabbits, etc on walks.
and yes, i too ALWAYS reward for a recall. treats, throwing a ball, a game of tug, a good ol' back scratch, whatever. but he always gets something awesome.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,362 Posts
This observation may help:
Once a dog starts barking or running, he gets amped up and no longer hears you. In human terms, he gets an adrenaline rush or an amygdala hijack. In any case, you need to distract him from the distraction, before he will listen. Sometimes an airhorn or shock collar will do the trick. Boiled chicken shoved under his nose might also work. As you've discovered, you want to train him with distractions, so that he doesn't reach that level of excitement.

While you are training him with squirrels and rabbits, note that a stationary animal is Very different from running prey.

Mainly, just a lot of words that mean "impulse control" ... :)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
243 Posts
Another handy trick you can try (that will work if you are there before he goes 'into the zone') is 'I saw it first'. If you catch your dog eyeing a kid/squirrel/dog/whatever, make a fuss and call him back for a treat. With enough practice you have a dog that runs over to bug you every time he sees something cool, which, although mildly annoying, is still a good behavior to have especially when you are at the park. Especially if he sees his quarry before you do.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top