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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My puppy Bob- 4 months old and a rotti mix- listens to several basic commands, gets regular exercise, and can walk on a leash.

BUT, there are 2 commands that I am so freaked about, mainly b/c they are important- 'come' and 'drop-it'. Today, he and my other puppy Sacha, same age but a Pitt mix, (both rescues) ran out the front gate when I opened it, and dashed off. It's a dangerous area- there are aggressive strays, aggressive neighboring dogs unsecured, and unvaccinated dogs very close to us, as well as lots of slow motorcycle traffic.

Bob found a tamale and growled and would not let me get close, and did not listen to 'drop-it' although he does at other times. (but the other dog was also approaching at the same time.) He ate some of it...but I don't know how much. This was really distressing to me.

Also, neither of them responded to 'come'- they were just on a joyful jail break. When we go to the enclosed park, I call them to me and treat about 20 times before we put the leash on and leave. But Bob also does not come as often to that.

Suggestions? I do feel scared sometimes- like when he was growling and a neighboring dog came charging out, or when we are at the enclosed park and he does not respond to 'come'- because of these huge, unvaccinated & unaltered strays lurking outside the park and who may be able to get it.
 

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I would suggest proofing him during training using all sorts of distractions. including food. ALWAYS make the reward better than what he gets from ignoring the command. Example... 'here' when pup returns to you PARTY!!!! Play, tug, whatever he loves! Add a sit as soon as he comes then party!!
I use a leave it command which means - do not touch it again! Drop it or 'out' for let go, but you can have it again. Place an item in front of the pup, prefer in a sit command, where you can control him not to take it, use leave it, when he does instantly reward. I use food reward here. Do not let him get the item after that. Remove it. Move up to better items, then food. Make the wait longer, then move to standing, lying down, walking by, distance, then move this to outdoors, at the park, inside pet stores, etc. Gradually reduce the reward, but include it sporadically.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you...I'll work with this. It's hard because what is out our front gate is darned exciting! They always find raw bones (our neighbors butcher their own cows, and put the bones out for 'the dogs') and these other dogs that are very exciting.

This sounds like a lot of work...but hopefully we can have fun with it.
 

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Does Bob growl at you when you feed him? Can you pet him when you feed him? I would suggest you might try to do some work with him during feeding time to break the aggressive behavior with the tamale. See how he responds. Put the food down, let him take a couple bites, casually grab the bowl and pick it back up (if you are afraid the dog will sense it so approach as if you forgot to give him a bit more food and are just going to add some to the bowl) then put it back down. Do you have him trained to wait for the bowl patiently for a release before he begins eating?
 

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4 months is rather young to expect a reliable recall. I think it's already been said but recall ("come" or "here") is something you work on throughout the life of your dog and every time your dog does it you party party party! Never call your dog to you and then punish it, that will push the training way back. That being said you can work on recall two ways. The first is by waiting until the dog is already running to you, give the command, and when he gets to you treat and reward like crazy. The second way is to put him on a long line, call him to you, and then pull him to you (then treat and reward). Make sure that the methods are fun and that coming to you means the best treats EVER.
 

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4 months is rather young to expect a reliable recall. I think it's already been said but recall ("come" or "here") is something you work on throughout the life of your dog and every time your dog does it you party party party! Never call your dog to you and then punish it, that will push the training way back. That being said you can work on recall two ways. The first is by waiting until the dog is already running to you, give the command, and when he gets to you treat and reward like crazy. The second way is to put him on a long line, call him to you, and then pull him to you (then treat and reward). Make sure that the methods are fun and that coming to you means the best treats EVER.
+1

Start on a short 6-foot leash with your recall sessions, and start doing this training in a controlled, distraction-free area (your back yard, if you have one, or even inside as a start)

I don't know what rewards you are using during your dog training. I personally recommend food rewards, at least as a start (depends on whether your dog has a decent food drive or not)
As other have said, you just can't expect a reliable recall at this age, let alone off leash. Make sure you try setting the puppy up for success when starting out. Praise the heck out of him when he comes.
 

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I second basically everything said above, but would also like to ask, does you dog enjoy fetch? My dog also enjoys galloping off into the wild yonder, but I quickly taught her to recall and drop items by playing fetch. I throw the toy and she runs and gets it. As shes returning to me I tell her "come here" (redundant, shes already returning, but that's ok). When she arrives at me I point to my feet and say "drop it". She already knows to drop it at my feet during fetch, but because I'm adding a que word, she'll respond to this que even when we're not fetching.

This, oh course, requires that your dog knows the game of fetch (or would have a desire to learn). Worked well for me :)
 
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