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Hi There,

I have a 10 month old beardie Lab X called Leroy. He is a very friendly sweet dog, and 90% has fantastic recall and stay abilities. However there is one thing that I haven't quite mastered which is preventing him from running off to greet other dogs if we are at the park. As soon as he sees another dog he's gone, I don't exist and he runs off to meet a potential friend.

A bit of context first. I take him to an fairly large green space called the "Red Zone" we had a series of large earthquakes 10 years ago. this condemned whole suburbs. so the government cleared the houses and re lawned the area and it has become a mecca for dog owners and people who want to forage off the fruit trees that are still abundant there.
I take Leroy there for his daily walk and fetch games.

But as soon as he sees another dog, regardless of distance. Hes off at 1000mph to say hello.
I imagine I need to hone in more on his recall, But any advice on how to go about this?

Cheers
 

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Put him on a long line so that he can't run off, and work in an area with a much lower level of distractions.
 
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If he were my dog, I'd prevent it from happening at all by keeping him on a long line attached to a harness (because if he ever does hit the end of the long line at speed you don't want that kind of force on his neck). He's at that adolescent phase where you aren't as interesting anymore and he's both more interested in the world (and particularly other dogs) around him and experimenting with pushing boundaries. This is a case where I'd both want to prevent him from practicing unwanted behavior - especially in a way that's actively rewarding because he gets to interact with other dogs - and can be actively dangerous for him, if said other dog isn't a fan of enthusiastic teenagers charging up to say hello.
 

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I agree. When he runs off and you have no power to stop him, he's self-rewarding for ignoring your call. He gets the #1 best reward, and he didn't have to obey you for it. So keep him on a long lead and practice calling him. If he doesn't respond, guide him towards you and run/walk backwards. When he comes, (or you pull him to you, gently) reward by releasing him to the dog if you know the dog or are confident it's not aggressive. This will show him that recall doesn't mean he misses out, it means he can go play, while failing to recall means he gets nothing. (start this out when he's already at the end or almost at the end of the lead, this way he'll already know he can't self-reward. You can phase out the lead when he's more reliable, but you don't want your dog, say, running across the road to greet another dog, or greeting an aggressive dog, and getting hurt, so until he's reliable, keep a lead on him, even if it's just dragging so you can pick it up when necessary.

Every time you call him and he disobeys, but self-rewards by greeting a dog, his recall in that situation is weakening, and that may even weaken his recall in other situations as well. So if you're ever in a situation where he's not on the lead, don't give the command unless you're sure he'll obey. (You can try running away from him or even hiding behind a tree or other object to make recalls more fun, and therefore more rewarding)

One other thing I do with my dogs to teach them to recall off of something interesting is I start on a 20ft (any length, this is just an example of what I started with for my current dog) lead in a calm environment such as a hallway. I place a medium-value (such as a training treat) treat 21 feet away, and allow the dog to go after it. When she's around 15-18 feet away, I call her. If she ignores me, (which, generally, they do) I allow her to get to the end, and then I say something to encourage her to return. Not the "sacred" recall word, something like "here pup-pup-pup". I will then start to walk away. The dog ends up following, and when she recalls and sits at my heel, (that's my chosen end behavior for recall), even if I had to cox or lure her, I say "Yes!", repeat my recall cue, and give a high-value reward (such as chicken) before releasing her to the original treat. You can slowly progress to having her leave a high-value treat for a low value reward, then being released to the high value.
Once she's got the hang of that, I do the same thing as the previous drill, but this time, I throw a low to medium value treat just out of the reach of the lead. I allow her to go get it, but when she's almost there, I call her. If she turns and comes back, she gets a party and is released to the treat. If she doesn't, I guide her back to me after she reaches the end of the lead. She is then rewarded with a high value treat. Mix in some repetitions where she's allowed to just go get the treat, or she'll stop trying to go after it in the first place. As with the other drill, you slowly work up to a high-value distraction treat.
When the dog is understanding all that, you can slowly phase out the lead, starting with the original easy drill and working back up to the hard one. After that, you can add the lead back in, and try the same drills with a friend's dog just out of reach instead of a treat. It's always important to reinforce a good recall with a release if possible.

For calling the dog off of a distraction they already have, I start with a treat in a container, and throw that as if I'm doing the previous drill. However, I allow the dog to "catch" the container. At first, I wait for her to get bored and realize she can't get it, then I call, reward, and go open the container for her. I gradually work up to calling her before she gets bored, even to when she first catches it.

Sorry this is so long. I have a minor obsession with recall and off-leash distraction obedience. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If he were my dog, I'd prevent it from happening at all by keeping him on a long line attached to a harness (because if he ever does hit the end of the long line at speed you don't want that kind of force on his neck). He's at that adolescent phase where you aren't as interesting anymore and he's both more interested in the world (and particularly other dogs) around him and experimenting with pushing boundaries. This is a case where I'd both want to prevent him from practicing unwanted behavior - especially in a way that's actively rewarding because he gets to interact with other dogs - and can be actively dangerous for him, if said other dog isn't a fan of enthusiastic teenagers charging up to say hello.
Yes thanks for the info. I have had him use a harness since I first got him but the long line is something I have ever considered before. yes he has had one experience with a more veteran dog. no physical altercation, just the senior dog expressing his distaste for Leroy's buoyant behavior. I will give the Long line suggestion ago .

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I agree. When he runs off and you have no power to stop him, he's self-rewarding for ignoring your call. He gets the #1 best reward, and he didn't have to obey you for it. So keep him on a long lead and practice calling him. If he doesn't respond, guide him towards you and run/walk backwards. When he comes, (or you pull him to you, gently) reward by releasing him to the dog if you know the dog or are confident it's not aggressive. This will show him that recall doesn't mean he misses out, it means he can go play, while failing to recall means he gets nothing. (start this out when he's already at the end or almost at the end of the lead, this way he'll already know he can't self-reward. You can phase out the lead when he's more reliable, but you don't want your dog, say, running across the road to greet another dog, or greeting an aggressive dog, and getting hurt, so until he's reliable, keep a lead on him, even if it's just dragging so you can pick it up when necessary.

Every time you call him and he disobeys, but self-rewards by greeting a dog, his recall in that situation is weakening, and that may even weaken his recall in other situations as well. So if you're ever in a situation where he's not on the lead, don't give the command unless you're sure he'll obey. (You can try running away from him or even hiding behind a tree or other object to make recalls more fun, and therefore more rewarding)

One other thing I do with my dogs to teach them to recall off of something interesting is I start on a 20ft (any length, this is just an example of what I started with for my current dog) lead in a calm environment such as a hallway. I place a medium-value (such as a training treat) treat 21 feet away, and allow the dog to go after it. When she's around 15-18 feet away, I call her. If she ignores me, (which, generally, they do) I allow her to get to the end, and then I say something to encourage her to return. Not the "sacred" recall word, something like "here pup-pup-pup". I will then start to walk away. The dog ends up following, and when she recalls and sits at my heel, (that's my chosen end behavior for recall), even if I had to cox or lure her, I say "Yes!", repeat my recall cue, and give a high-value reward (such as chicken) before releasing her to the original treat. You can slowly progress to having her leave a high-value treat for a low value reward, then being released to the high value.
Once she's got the hang of that, I do the same thing as the previous drill, but this time, I throw a low to medium value treat just out of the reach of the lead. I allow her to go get it, but when she's almost there, I call her. If she turns and comes back, she gets a party and is released to the treat. If she doesn't, I guide her back to me after she reaches the end of the lead. She is then rewarded with a high value treat. Mix in some repetitions where she's allowed to just go get the treat, or she'll stop trying to go after it in the first place. As with the other drill, you slowly work up to a high-value distraction treat.
When the dog is understanding all that, you can slowly phase out the lead, starting with the original easy drill and working back up to the hard one. After that, you can add the lead back in, and try the same drills with a friend's dog just out of reach instead of a treat. It's always important to reinforce a good recall with a release if possible.

For calling the dog off of a distraction they already have, I start with a treat in a container, and throw that as if I'm doing the previous drill. However, I allow the dog to "catch" the container. At first, I wait for her to get bored and realize she can't get it, then I call, reward, and go open the container for her. I gradually work up to calling her before she gets bored, even to when she first catches it.

Sorry this is so long. I have a minor obsession with recall and off-leash distraction obedience. :)
Hi, No thanks for the length of the post, any information I'm glad to receive, I have had the suggestion of the long line before. but the training drills are an excellent Idea. Leroy loves learning things (and is extremely food oriented) so I will give this idea a crack for sure. he's the first dog I have bought up on my own. Had them when I was a kid but the parents did most of the work so it's been a cool experience to train him myself. Any information I get is greatly appreciated.


cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Put him on a long line so that he can't run off, and work in an area with a much lower level of distractions.
Hi Thanks for the info. I will definitely go long line shopping this evening to give this a crack.


Cheers
 

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I know if I was somewhere and your young dog ran up to me with no recall I would get between him and my dog and very likely kick him if he would not back down or, if I had it in hand, zap him with my Stock Prod. The result might be that he runs off instead of back to you and then good luck finding him or catching him. Trust me on this: I would not care.

I would then give you a far greater piece of my mind than you would like to have!

Allowing this in your dog is RUDE. Your dog is being rude and you are being rude by allowing it.

Get a collar (no harness.. harness offers no control AND your dog can slip it and still get in another dog's face) and a long piece of rope. You stay attached to that rope snd enforce the recall.

When your dog gets to you make it worth his while with high value treats, toy, game.. whatever you need to that makes your dog prefer your company to that of the other dog.

It will be a lot of work as you have allowed the dog to self reward several times.

Do NOT let your dog run up to other dogs, on leash OR off leash. It is not safe for your dog and, if you run into someone like me it may be a bit unsafe for you.
 

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A dog can hit the end of a 20 or 30ft line with far more force than they can the end of a 4 or 6ft regular lead, and I will never be convinced it's safe to allow all that force to be transferred into even a large dog's neck when they abruptly hit the end of the line. It may be a non-issue with an experienced handler and a well-trained dog who both understand how to work on a long line, but that's not the case here. A well-fitted harness shouldn't be any easier to escape than a well-fitted flat collar, but if there's a concern that the dog will slip the harness due to escape artist behavior or anatomy, there are always the options with three straps, like the Ruffwear Webmaster. Just like you'd use a martingale on a dog prone to getting out of a flat collar.

I agree with much of the rest of 3GSD's points, but I will never suggest an inexperienced handler with an adolescent dog who already is in the habit of charging off use a long line + collar combo. That's just asking for a serious injury.
 

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I should have also suggested the line not be more than 15 feet long.

I stand by the collar recommend. The dog self correcting might actually help with the recall.. but that is another issue. I would do some various choices VERY different for this dog away from that park setting that would result in reliable recall, but that was not the question. One of my choices/solutions might not be well received.... or available.. in that country.
 

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Current research suggests that pulling, lunging, or jerking on a collar using a regular leash applies enough force on a dog's neck to be of potential medical concern, especially given how many delicate structures are in a canine neck. While this would be the biggest risk for dogs that either have pre-existing issues or who are extreme, chronic pullers, I personally wouldn't be comfortable using my dog to experiment with whether 15 feet is short enough to avoid acute injury if the dog hits the end at maximum possible speed (and dogs accelerate pretty darn quickly when they want to).

@Leroythepup can make their own decision as to whether they're comfortable enough with that risk to attach a long line to a collar, though I don't see why they'd need to when they're successfully working on a harness without having mentioned issues with escaping.
 

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I have seen some posts in training forums about dogs escaping harnesses and I am one of those who worry about anything other than a collar like a martingale that a dog can't slip out of. So when I've use anything other than a martingale, I use a coupler. That way if one thing fails, the other branch of the coupler, which is always attached to the collar, keeps the dog safe. Yet I have only one leash to hold.

Yesterday I almost posted something along the lines of what 3GSD4IPO did - if a loose dog runs up to me and my leashed dog, I get just plain nasty about it. I'm an older woman and have already had some orthopedic injuries that required surgery. Nowadays, getting knocked down by a couple of dogs, whether they're taking issue with each other or bouncing around making friends could be devastating.

I didn't post yesterday because it occurred to me I'd never be in the kind of park the OP described. After years of fighting it, including using bear spray on loose dogs that came at me and mine, I've lost the battle with my selfish neighbors and given up walking my dogs on leash around my own neighborhood. I'd never venture into a park with lots of dogs because there's always some percentage of people who think their dog needs to be loose and that's more important than leash laws or the needs of others.

So today I am posting in hopes that some here will think about how those of us who join dog forums tend to have a dog-centric view of the world. Sometimes we should stop and think about things from the view of other people - I have a neighbor with a special needs son. She worries about how a loose dog might react to the jerky movements of her boy, and I think it's a valid concern. Older people and people with some conditions can have bones that break easily. Children can be knocked down and frightened by the friendliest dog. I've often thought if I had a small dog, I'd carry it's crate around with me so I could pop it inside at the sight of a large dog charging toward us.
 
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