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Discussion Starter #1
I don't post here much. I was hoping for some wise words please. :eek:

My toy poodle Oscar is 10 months old. He's been to puppy classes and had the most fantastic recall.....at first. However, I wasn't very confident (I'm a new dog owner) and have only been letting him off the lead for the past month or so. At first, he was great but every day, he seems to get worse. If we're walking through the fields and he gets distracted, I can mostly manage to get his attention and get him back to but if there's another dog - no chance! I tend to keep an eye out but he usually can clock a dog before me. Lately, he started to run half-way towards a dog, stop and look at me and then just runs towards the dog, despite me calling him. I try to keep my voice calm but I get frustrated. I tried a whistle instead but it had no affect.

I've tried a variety of tricks. I carry treats that I know he loves and I change them so he doesn't get bored. I tried taking his favourite squeaky ball but he was not coming back to me for love nor money. He loves that ball. At home, he goes mad for it! Also, I am consistent with my commands and I am firm.

When we're in the park, he doesn't want to play. I take a ball to throw to him but he ignores it. He just wants to sniff and run around. I suppose that's ok....? I try to keep him stimulated but he's not interested.

I found another dog training school, it's smaller classes and they're in the park, which will be perfect for Oscar! We start next week and I hope it will help but was wondering if anyone here had any pearls of wisdom to please share with me.

Thank you in advance.
 

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You have to try and make yourself more interesting than what your dog is interested in. I know that is not easy. Have you tried calling him and running in the opposite direction? I know retractable leashes are not very popular but this is one time when it allows your dog to have freedom to run and sniff but you still have control over him. He has learned that he does not have to come when you call if he does not want to and each time it just reinforces it for him.
 

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The first lesson for you is that dogs do not generalize behavior from one location to another without retraining in different locations. I have heard it takes 20 different locations to generalize a cue for a behavior you want. IOW's a dog will do a recall in the house, but not outside. Retrain outside. Dog will do a recall at home inside and outside but not in a field down the road. Retrain in the field down the road. Dog will do a recall except in the presence of other dogs. Retrain and retrain and retrain in the presence of other dogs..

and then do it somewhere else new. And somewhere else. And then another place. With dogs around and without dogs around... over and over....

As much as it is making YOU more interesting, often that does not work. You and your dog treats are just NOT better than playing with another dog or sniffing poop. Yes.. brings it down to that level.. when you realize you are not better than poop! :p

Considering this, do not work your dog off lead or long line ANYWHERE. Over train the recall everywhere and every day. Recalls are the most important thing for your dog to learn. Always reward the dog with food upon return in a new place. When he is doing it well, give treats randomly with a jack pot once in awhile.

I would also encourage you to train a really reliable recall (this is a different word). Use this book by Leslie Nelson (Really Reliable Recall) http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DTB813

Of you can go to the DVD for more money:
http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DTB810P
 

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The first lesson for you is that dogs do not generalize behavior from one location to another without retraining in different locations. I have heard it takes 20 different locations to generalize a cue for a behavior you want. IOW's a dog will do a recall in the house, but not outside. Retrain outside. Dog will do a recall at home inside and outside but not in a field down the road. Retrain in the field down the road. Dog will do a recall except in the presence of other dogs. Retrain and retrain and retrain in the presence of other dogs..

and then do it somewhere else new. And somewhere else. And then another place. With dogs around and without dogs around... over and over....

As much as it is making YOU more interesting, often that does not work. You and your dog treats are just NOT better than playing with another dog or sniffing poop. Yes.. brings it down to that level.. when you realize you are not better than poop! :p

Considering this, do not work your dog off lead or long line ANYWHERE. Over train the recall everywhere and every day. Recalls are the most important thing for your dog to learn. Always reward the dog with food upon return in a new place. When he is doing it well, give treats randomly with a jack pot once in awhile.

I would also encourage you to train a really reliable recall (this is a different word). Use this book by Leslie Nelson (Really Reliable Recall) http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DTB813

Of you can go to the DVD for more money:
http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DTB810P
Everything the above reply states is absolutely true. One thing, the 1st time your little dog was out running and you did the recall and the dog had something more interesting than you (the whole world) the dog started on an immune to you program. You call, he ignores, you call, he ignores, (you get the idea)then add to the equation that he is 10 months old (teen age yrs starting) and he is acting exactly as he should. 3-4-5-and sometimes 6 month old puppies you can't get them away from you, as you are their crutch and protector in that stage of life. Anytime after that is like a chinese fire drill anything can happen and usually does..
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you. Some useful info!

My worry is that Oscar will run up to a dog who may not be friendly and they'll end up in a dog fight or he'll get into a situation I cannot get him away from.
 

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If you dog ends up in a fight, grab the dogs HIND LEGS (either dog) and whellbaroow them back out of the fight. This keeps you away from the business end of the dog fight. Just in case.

Teach the recall. It is much easier than breaking up a dog fight!
 

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Thanks again for the advice. :)

A trainer from a local dog training school is coming over tomorrow to advise what classes may be suitable for Oscar. It's expensive but the only place that did classes on a weekend.

I'm going to keep trying with the recall and just have to bear dog owners rolling their eyes at me and I attempt to stop Oscar running in the direction of a dog and ignoring me. :eek:
 

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You want to set your dog up for success... That means you want to minimise the number of situations in which you call him and he doesn't come to you. And that, in turn, means that you don't let him off leash when you're not 99% sure he's going to respond. Keep him on a long leash for now and practice, practice, practice.

Shouting "Oscar, come!" and letting him ignore you while you run after him trying to herd him in your direction doesn't teach him anything. If anything, it undoes the training he's already had. Instead, keep him on a long leash and give the command. If he ignores you, use the leash to remind him you're there. There's no need to jerk him sharply or reel him in towards you. Usually a gentle shake of the leash is enough to make him look up at you. When he does, crouch down, pat your knees, wave a treat, squeak a toy, make funny noises or do WHATEVER you can think of to entice him in your direction.

If you're in an area that's very distracting, or Oscar is too far away and you don't think he's going to come if you call, even if you have the leash on, then don't call him at all. Remember, only call him when you're 99% sure he's going to come.
 

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Thank you. Some useful info!

My worry is that Oscar will run up to a dog who may not be friendly and they'll end up in a dog fight or he'll get into a situation I cannot get him away from.

Yes, and that is a very very real possibility. I have had a few dogs that were extremely friendly and well socialized but if a dog would come flying up to them when they were on leash it would NOT have been good.
One of my current males has been accosted by dogs off leash who's owners were screaming behind them "he is friendly" only to have the dog nip my dog. After a few times of that happening my dog is becoming more and more defensive. He doesn't want to "wait and see" if the dog is going to bite him, he wants to take action before it happens. Noting the size of dog, your dog wouldn't do well if he did all of a sudden decided to take action.

There is also the issue of cars and other dangers with a dog that doesn't have a solid recall. It is not the easiest to teach but well worth the effort. I am so glad you are taking it seriously and doing what it takes to get there. Good for you. I hope you get some good help with this issue. :)
 

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Now just some additions to ninja's advice, I like a lead at least 20 ft long, and as your dog is cruising around on this lead there are times the dog will just start back in your direction(he has to since you are holding on to lead) when this happens give your recall command since he's already started in your direction and then add to the intensity and run away from him. (dogs love to chase so give him something to chase) as he catches up to you, there are many things you can do but I like to get down low and have a a "to die for" treat. Something he can't refuse. You are in essence trying to build a habit. This is all done on/holding lead work. 3 weeks a month (whatever you need) the next step is the same stuff but now you are dropping lead while walking in a distraction free place. The dog can cruise further away from you but with no distractions(or as close as you can get to distraction free area) if all works as planned the dog will also cruise towards you as he is investigating everything he can, when he does guess what you run away from him and you still have your "to die for" treats. You are continuing the recall habit but now from a further distance from you. Next step after another month is no lead on dog work in distraction free area. Will this crazy stuff work with your dog, I don't have a clue but it does work with some dogs. When I run away from dogs I do silly stuff(squeal like a pig)the idea is to make dog think there is some real exciting stuff going on by you.
 

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Will this crazy stuff work with your dog, I don't have a clue but it does work with some dogs. When I run away from dogs I do silly stuff(squeal like a pig)the idea is to make dog think there is some real exciting stuff going on by you.
I have used this for an emergency recall when a dog slipped a lead. (wasn't my dog) but at shows or where ever when a dog gets loose and you see that look of panic on the owners face. Then you see them all begin chasing the dog and the dog runs faster and faster in the opposite direction. If you can get them to calm down and make crazy noises and run in the other direction or make crazy noises and lay on the ground will sometimes work as well.

What ever you do with recall, never ever yell or slap or correct a dog in anyway for COMING TO YOU. Even if you had to chase it for 3 days before it came to you.
 
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