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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our 3 year old Toller has made remarkable progress, and I think we are almost there.
We walk off leash in a wooded area where we seldom see anyone else. But when we do, everyone leashes up their dogs. Last week Chloe warned me there was another dog, but since I didn't see one, I let it go. Apparently the other dog owner did the same. The result was good; they chased each other around for 3 or 4 minutes and everyone had a good time. Eventually they got tired and we just walked apart.
BUT... Chloe ignored my recall until she was tired, and the other dog did the same. (although it worked out well, Chloe has a mixed history with other dogs, and I wanted to keep them apart. I messed up in not believing her.)

How do you get a recall to work in a situation like that? The normal way is to use something of higher value, but I don't think there is anything of higher value. I expect she would have run after a ball, but so would the other dog.
Her recall is actually quite good; I have called her off a ground hog, and she comes promptly when she is deep in the woods searching for lacrosse balls. (she absolutely love them, we find a couple every walk.)

Any suggestions?
 

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If you called Chloe off a groundhog, you're already miles ahead of where most people ever get. I think all you can do is keep training her recall in hopes it gets to where it's such an automatic response, it happens every time like a reflex. If you call her in that first second of recognition before she starts the mad dash, your chances will be best. But you also have to be realistic - a lot of dogs never get there. You know the risk of letting a dog with a "mixed history with other dogs" off leash and know her recall will fail if things get to where she starts toward another dog, so you have to either stop letting her off leash or accept the risk and be more diligent.
 

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The best reward you can give a dog for recalling off socializing with another dog is to allow them to return to socializing.

With this in mind, I'd try to arrange meetups with dogs you KNOW she's okay with, probably in a safely fenced area at first (yard, empty dog park, etc.) and just hang out there, rewarding her for any kind of check-in with you first with food/attention/play/whatever she responds best to, then releasing her to go back to playing. This teaches a dog that play with another dog is not an extremely rare - and thus extremely valuable - resource, and that recall doesn't end fun time with another dog most of the time. In fact, a recall means you'll be told to go back and play more!

Going on group walks with other dogs that she interacts nicely with can also help desensitize her to the idea that interacting with another dog is a rare and exciting event, and is instead a routine occurrence, so when she's called off of a strange dog it's more of a "oh, well I can play another time" instead of treating it like a kid seeing a real live unicorn.

Of course, depending on what her mixed history is, you may need to be more cautious about this and keep her on a long line until you see her recall and attention on you around other dogs improving. I'm not sure if you mean she can just be rude and overbearing, as some young dogs are, or if she actively picks fights, or if she's nervous and a target for other dogs to bully if they're inclined that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The best reward you can give a dog for recalling off socializing with another dog is to allow them to return to socializing.

With this in mind, I'd try to arrange meetups with dogs you KNOW she's okay with, probably in a safely fenced area at first (yard, empty dog park, etc.) and just hang out there, rewarding her for any kind of check-in with you first with food/attention/play/whatever she responds best to, then releasing her to go back to playing. This teaches a dog that play with another dog is not an extremely rare - and thus extremely valuable - resource, and that recall doesn't end fun time with another dog most of the time. In fact, a recall means you'll be told to go back and play more!

Going on group walks with other dogs that she interacts nicely with can also help desensitize her to the idea that interacting with another dog is a rare and exciting event, and is instead a routine occurrence, so when she's called off of a strange dog it's more of a "oh, well I can play another time" instead of treating it like a kid seeing a real live unicorn.

Of course, depending on what her mixed history is, you may need to be more cautious about this and keep her on a long line until you see her recall and attention on you around other dogs improving. I'm not sure if you mean she can just be rude and overbearing, as some young dogs are, or if she actively picks fights, or if she's nervous and a target for other dogs to bully if they're inclined that way.
I'd love to do that. I am in a semi-rural area where people mainly want to be left alone, and their dogs are poorly socialized. Many of the people are only here on summer weekends. So that is tough. There is a cavalier mix on one side of me that Chloe plays with most Saturdays, but he is hardly a physical match for her, and I think he bores her a bit. On the other side there are two sociopathic dobermans; so far they haven't jumped the 4' fence and I really want to keep it that way.
I actually posted in Nextdoor looking for a playmate, but got no replies. That was a year ago, maybe I will try again.

There is a dog park in town, but I am not going to risk that!
 

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Yeah, I only use Thunderdome-style dog parks as training yards when no one else is there, lol. They can be useful for that if you don't have a big fenced yard, but you have to figure out when they're usually quiet first.

You can also try reaching out to any local-ish dog clubs, even if they're a distance away. People into dog sports and training are often willing to travel to get to a good club, so the clubs may have some members in your area even if they're not literally in your town.
 

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It sounds like you’re doing a great job with recall. You’re getting close on the reliable recall.
Have you ever heard of an Emergency Recall? This is using a different word to only be used during practice sessions, then in the case of an actual emergency.
Here’s a great explanation to follow and practice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
On the one hand that seems important and relatively easy to train. On the other, it is an awful lot of treats; 30 seconds of showers, 5 times a day?
I have a whistle I use to get her out at bedtime when she doesn't want to go. She responds immediately without treats; but I don't think being reliant on an object that might not be handy in an emergency is a good idea.
 
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