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Hello,

I am an owner of a year and a half year old mini goldendoodle. I have been training him for over a week now to come on command. I do it for about 30 min in the morning and throughout the day intermittently.

In my morning sessions I take him for a walk, then I initiate him to come while on the the leash as I back peddle slowly. He responds very well to this and then I snap my finger (instead of a clicker) and give him a treat. Then I take him off leash and do the same, he comes when I call. I even use the treats as a distractor when I throw then on the ground and he does not go for them but instead comes to me. This is all within 6ft of each other and he knows I have treats.

The issue I am having is once he is 10ft+ away he does not respond the same. I call him to come, he looks at me then decides to follow a scent or chase a bird. This happens on several occasions. I even had to chase him down the neighborhood. I came closer to him then asked him to come (like the 6ft) and he does. So it has something to do with distance. I really try not to get angry and still positively reward him when he does follow directions.

I am not sure what to do here. Any advice for this?

Thank you!
 

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Get a long line. Going from 6' to infinity is too big a jump. A long line can simply be a cotton clothesline tied to a leash clip. I find leash clips at hardware stores. Carabiners work fine too. Just be sure the rope is strong enough. You can tie the leash around your waist or tie knots in it and step on it to stop the dog from running off.
 

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Dogs don't generalize well. "Come" might not mean the same thing to him at 10ft as it does at 6ft. Practice in your house first before you take it out on the road. Use really high value treats, like cheese and deli meat. Slowly work up distance in a boring location so he begins to understand that "come" means "come" at any distance. Then try taking it outside, but you want to do it in a secure location like your yard. Long lines are great aides.

And know that some dogs are never reliable off leash.
 

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E collar. Train him using the e collar and the leash pressure at first so he learns it means the same thing. When he begins to respond reliably, you can start letting him "beat" the collar, by delaying the stim. After he is doing this reliably, take the leash off and only use the e collar like the leash, to remind him what he should be doing. Start in distraction free areas and as he gets better start proofing him with higher distraction levels.
Seriously ???

Even the e-collar fans here would suggest to TRAIN the dog first, using positive reinforcement and gradual increases in distance. And then use the collar for proofing, which for the record, I personally don't agree with at all.

You're suggesting to use the e-collar and compulsion for initial / foundation work. Great way to potentially ruin a recall, right from the get-go.
 

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I called my 15 month old teenaged puppy off full out pursuit of a rabbit, 300+ yards away from me with a single recall cue.

And I've never used an e-collar.

Lots and lots of food, toys, play, and praise.

Always pair the cue with something the dog likes and is fun.

Never, ever, pair it with something the dog doesn't like (so don't ask for the recall to leash the dog up, give it a bath, whatever).

If you need to start from scratch with a different cue/word. Make it a game, make it fun, see where you are in 6 months. If you're still having trouble and you decide the e-collar is a path you need to pursue (and I doubt you will, to be honest), see a professional and ask their advice because it's real easy to create massive issues using one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtfBHBCFpLI
Held the stay until released, recalled off the bird as soon as I bothered to get it out of my mouth. Not the incident I mentioned with the bunny clearly, but a clip I remembered existed.

Cookies are good.
 

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Well, given e-collars are banned in the country I'm living in (with a TINY exception for livestock aversion training, done only by a handful of approved trainers), I can say with pretty decent certainty that there are plenty of police, service, hunting, and sundry other working dogs out there trained to recall at a very high level of competence without the use of e-collar stims. Not to mention performance/sports dogs. And while I can't make the same general assumptions about countries where the collars aren't banned, I know that there are plenty of working and sports dogs trained without e-collars, and some without physical corrections at all worldwide.

Which is good. Frankly, if the choice were between "terrible recall" and "use pain to instill fear in my dog so he'll comply," I would choose to leash my dog and never let him off outside of a securely fenced area. Off-leash reliability isn't so important to me that I'm willing to put my pet through that when there's other ways to manage his movements and keep him safe. I also prefer my relationship with my dog to be based on mutual understanding, communication, and enjoyment of each other's company, not pain and fear. But I'm lucky - our current understanding of learning theory and training means that we have lots of options for making recalls (and other obedience cues) reliable with rewards, management, and consistency.

SoFloJo, I agree with the long-line advice. This will allow you to teach your pup that your recall cue means the same at increasingly far distances, and as he improves you can switch to a lighter line to increase his feeling of freedom without sacrificing safety. This means that if he ignores you, you can encourage him to come back with gentle pressure, or walk up the line and try again at a shorter distance. I would also make his rewards more exciting. Have a party! Give him 5-7 treats in rapid succession, or run away from him as he comes towards you to turn it into a fun chase game. If he's into toys, you could make a quick game of tug his reward too. Make sure the treats you're using are awesome, too - little bites of cheese, cooked shredded chicken, whatever he finds irresistible. Also watch your timing - don't reach for the treats or toy until he's already responded to the cue and is coming towards you. The order should be cue - response - THEN grab the reward to give to him, this way the dog doesn't start thinking that you reaching for a treat or having it in your hand is part of your cue. And, as CptJack said, never use his recall cue if you're going to end his fun or ask him to do something uncomfortable. Otherwise you will erode the cue.

In the end, it won't be one treat vs. a cat running across the road. It will be the entire history of awesome rewards and the muscle memory of responding to that cue vs. a cat (or bunny, or other dog, or moose corpse, or whatever). The more intense and excited you can get your dog when responding to his recall, the more power it's going to have when you have to use it in an emergency.

Something that also helps in general, is rewarding him when he chooses to pay attention on you - we call this "checking in." So if you're walking and he turns to look up at you, reward with a treat, excited praise, a quick game of running or tugging, or whatever else he enjoys. Same if he does this in the house, or yard, or anywhere really. This will basically encourage him to naturally keep a closer eye on you, and check in frequently whether he's off-leash or on.
 
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