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I've got a 1 year old female Heeler/Basenji (looks exactly like the dog on the banner at the top of the website) who alway comes when she is called, and will follow 'sit', 'down', 'leave it', and 'shake' commands 90% of the time, but only when she's inside. In the back yard, that drops to 50%. And even worse, when I take her out for a walk, that drops to 5% response rate.

When I take her outside, she is so engulfed by all the distractions that she wont respond to anything I say or do, until she sees me 50 yards away, walking away from her and calling her name. She won't even respond to her favorite treats outside, even when I hold an open palm of a variety of goodies right in front of her nose!!


I'm assuming I need to practice first with just getting her to respond to her name, and possibly find some irresistible treats to take on walks, but does anyone have any ideas of games or techniques to help train her to be more responsive?
 

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There's really no substitute for practice. I've got kabota up to about 75% outside- unless there are bunnies.

Using the clicker did help a lot.
 

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First you train inside. Then your backyard. Then your front yard. Then around the block... You gradually increase the distractions and proofing as your dog becomes successful. What you are describing is perfectly normal. It isn't about the treats, it's about your dog's proofing.

Almost anyone can train. The real success/brilliance is in the proofing.

Set your dog up to succeed. If you are going for an exercise-type walk, have control. You don't need a recall on a long walk if your dog is on a leash.

This is an area where you slowly build success. There really aren't any good shortcuts.
 

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If she doesn't take the food even if it's right in front of her nose then you do need better food. You are competing against high level distractions so kibble and biscuits won't cut it. You need a nice and smelly piece of food that she can't possibly resist. If she's not interested in food training can be a major hassle.
 

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I agree with trainingjunkie, start practicing in a place with no distractions, like inside, then gradually move to places that have more and more distractions. Maybe your garage, then maybe the backyard, then the front, then a park, then a parking lot (lots of coming and going), etc.
:)
 

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I hear ya. My mistake which I just discovered, is you have to be a TREAT DEMOCRAT. I mean, you gotta be so liberal with the treats, you make Kennedy look like Reagan.

Not just quantity, but size. It takes a big tasty treat to access the brain in the face of the worst distractions.

Chicken is the best for my dogs, I just boil it and tear it into bite-sized pieces, but lately I've discovered another weapon -- purina bacon flavored beggin strips. Not as healthy, but quite effective.

Yesterday I hit upon yet another attention-getter -- the big hound tore the squeaker out of their newest kong toy, I put that in my pocket........he turns his head every time he hears it. I don't recommend that for terriers though, the westie just gets more wound up at that sound.
 

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For 'techniques' to use .. I'd probably start by employing NILIF, consistently, at every opportunity. Try to always retain an element of fun.

That should help greatly.
 

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I hear ya. My mistake which I just discovered, is you have to be a TREAT DEMOCRAT. I mean, you gotta be so liberal with the treats, you make Kennedy look like Reagan.

Not just quantity, but size. It takes a big tasty treat to access the brain in the face of the worst distractions.
Exactly, I often see people give up on the dog thinking he's dumb or something but in fact they just need better food, bigger chunks and shorter sessions.
 
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