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Leerburg Dog Training Q&A Archive Q&A on Recall and Come

Q&A on Recall and Come

Q&A on Recall and Come

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I try and answer every question I receive on dog training. I may often come across as a little on the blunt side, (some may call it brash). That is because I consider myself an advocate for dogs and not dog handlers. I am an advocate for common sense dog training and not the latest fad that appears on the horizon. Good dog training is not rocket science. It's common sense.


  1. I love to play frisbee with my dog, but it won’t bring it back to me. Should I do a forced retrieve?

  2. I have a serious problem with my dog coming when called.

  3. I am having a problem with recall on my young dog.

  4. My dog chases cars, bikes and doesn’t come when called. What can I do?

  5. My dog knows the basic obedience commands but still runs away. What should I do?

  6. I have a problem with the “come” command with my dog.

  7. My 9 month old American bloodline GSD just bit the mailman. What should I do?

  8. My dog minds when he has a prong collar on, but not when it is off. Do I need an electric collar?

  9. My 1 year old Great Pyrenees escapes from all attempts to chain her and then will not come when called. She just runs around barking. What can I do?

  10. How do I get my dog to respond to me and come back when I call her, especially outdoors?

  11. My dog will not come when I take the leash off. I think I have created this problem, but don’t know how to fix it...?

  12. My dog will not come when it does not have the long line or the prong collar on. She plays “keep away.” What should I do?

  13. My 1 year old dog comes slowly when I call her. What can I do to increase her speed on the recall?

  14. My dog will occasionally break a recall, maybe 1 in 10 times. What can I do?

  15. My dog is obedience trained but it will not come when it sees another dog. What can I do

  16. My 11 month GSD went after a deer and was gone for 15 minutes. What should I do?

  17. CLICK HERE TO READ OTHER QUESTIONS ON RECALL

PRONG COLLAR WARNING:

When you use your Prong Collar, we strongly suggest you use a Leerburg Dominant Dog Collar as a safety backup.

Prong Collars can come apart when not not put on properly. If a leash is clipped to a Leerburg Dominant Dog Collar along with the Prong Collar, you will have control of the dogs in the rare occurrence that the Prong Collar fails.

To learn how to correctly fit a Prong Collar, go to http://www.leerburg.com/fit-prong.htm or purchase our Basic Dog Obedience DVD.

Dog Training is NEVER without risk of injury. Do NOT attempt these training techniques yourself without consulting a professional. Leerburg Enterprises, Inc. can not be responsible for accidents or injuries to humans and/or animals.


Question:

I want to train my lab to retrieve Frisbees, tennis balls, etc. She loves retrieving, but likes playing games of not really giving it to me when she returns. Would the Forced Retrieve video that you sell be a good idea, or is it really intended for competition dogs?

Bob

Answer:

One of the things new trainers need to do is step back from a problem and analyze what is actually going on. Sometimes they confuse "what they want to have happen" with "what is actually happening." I think this is the case here. What you want to have happen is for the dog to retrieve the Frisbee and bring it back (with emphasis on bringing it back). Your thinking is that it is a forced retrieve situation, when in fact the dog is going out to get the Frisbee to retrieve it just fine. She is just not coming when you call.

Initially let her keep the Frisbee when she comes to you. She obviously likes it or she would not play. When you do take it away maybe you give her a treat or when she comes back you can have a second Frisbee and show it to her. Make her spit the first one out on the ground before throwing the second one. This works great with tennis balls also. I talk about it in my videos and call it the "2 ball game."

It does not take a dog long to learn that if they charge out to get the ball and run back they will be able to chase the second ball.

Once the dog learns this game you can add obedience to it by making it down after it spits the first ball out but before you toss the second ball. This is also called "training thru drive" and is always a better idea than using force as a first option.

If a dog will not play the 2 ball game (and very few will not) then you can look at a different approach.

You can look at this problem as a recall problem. It seems the distraction of the game is so strong the dog does not want to quit playing and come because she knows she is going to lose her toy - and that is no fun at all.

So you need to work on the recall under distraction. Go back to long line work (away from the Frisbee work see my - Basic Dog Obedience video). Take the dog to areas where there are other dogs and make her come every time. The emphasis needs to be placed on praise for the dog when she comes.

When the dog will do recalls under extreme distraction you can then go back to the Frisbee work. If she doesn't come, put a long line on and guide her back to you. If she drops the Frisbee and loses interest in it then you have another problem. But if you make a big enough deal about having her come back to you with the Frisbee this may help.

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Question:

I am hoping you can help me with a problem I am having with my female German Shepherd "Gracie." Gracie is now 14 month old, she knows the basic obedience commands, but refuses to obey on recall. The minute she hears the door she will try to bolt through the door and refuses to come back until she is ready. We will live in a rural community in Fairbanks, Alaska and so far this has not caused a problem, but it is extremely frustrating as well as posing a potential future problems. She does chase people and horses. I am quite concerned but do not know how to break her habit. I did go ahead and ordered a training collar in hopes this will break her, but I am not sure if this is the right thing to do. Any suggestions?

Answer:

There are a number of things that need to be considered to correct this problem. The electric shock collar is the last on the list and probably not needed.

Every single obedience command follows 3 simple steps. First we teach the dog the meaning of the command. Second, we teach the dog that once he knows a command and then refuses to do what's asked he gets corrected for it. Third, we teach the dog that he must perform the command under distraction or he is corrected.

A dog can never be corrected for not "coming" if it does not know the meaning of the word "come." So the first thing that needs to be determined is if she knows the word. I assume she does because you said that she has gone through basic obedience. So this dog needs to learn that it will be corrected for not coming.

This should not be done in the back yard. There are too many distractions for this dog out there. I would begin by putting a prong collar and a normal leash on the dog in the house. I would put here in a "Down Stay" in the living room and then have someone open the door like they were going outside. At that moment I would call her to me. If she goes to the door rather than to you (your assistant does not allow her to go outside), you calmly (without screaming or raising your voice) walk over pick up the leash and give her a level 10 (on a scale of 1 to 10) correction for not "coming." In these circumstances I correct several times as I back up to the point where I was when I called her. All the while saying, "Come!!!- You Come!!!!"

The key is to sound firm and not mad. There is a big difference here and novice trainers a have a problem not sounding mad.

When you get back to the point where you were when you called her, you stop (she should be considerably upset if the corrections were firm or hard enough). Wait a second or two and then praise her and show her that you do not hold a grudge.

This training continues until the dog minds under every distraction in the house. We want her to mind when the back door is wide open and she needs to run by it to get to you. When you get to that stage of training it is best to put a 30 foot line on her and not a leash. If the dog bolts outside it is always easier to catch her again if she is dragging a 30 foot line. They never know where the end of the line is. But again, when you catch her, the corrections are severe. I have one simple way to look at corrections: "ONE GOOD CORRECTION IS WORTH 100 NAGGING CORRECTIONS."

A point not to forget is that the correction is actually a series of corrections all the way back to the point where you originally were when you first called the dog. Also this process can take days to accomplish. Do not try and rush through this in one or two training sessions. Then when you get to the point where you are outside, you always have her drag the 30 foot line. When she is 100% with the line on, you can shorten it to 10 feet, then 3 feet, then a foot long line attached to the collar.

Very few dogs do not respond to this training. If you want to get then entire program I recommend you buy my video titled Basic Dog Obedience. This tape covers this program and a lot more. It is a no nonsense approach to dog training.

The following are a list of the biggest mistakes novice trainers make, don't let yourself fall into one of these traps:

  • They don't praise enough when a dog does the command properly. You really need to exaggerate the praise when you dog train (men have more of a problem with this than women - it’s an ego thing I think).
  • They start the correction phase too soon. In other words, they start to correct the dog before it understands what the command means. That's simply unfair to the dog. You need to be 100% sure the dog understands what you are asking him to do before you correct him for not doing it.
  • Novice trainers try and teach new commands in places where the distractions are too high. A perfect example of this is in an obedience class. You don't try and teach a new command in a obedience class with 20 other dogs near by. That's crazy, you will never see a professional trainer take his own personal dog into and obedience class and try and teach it a command. This is why I am not a proponent of these 8 week or 10 week obedience classes. Teach your dog at home in your kitchen or back yard. Then when the dog is through the learning and correction phases take him to class and use the class to teach your dog to mind under the extreme distraction of 20 other dogs.
  • Novice trainers forget to praise after a correct. When you correct your dog you are adding stress to the dog. When you praise your dog you are letting some of that added stress out of the dog. Its always necessary to show the dog that you are not mad at him after a correction, by praising a little and saying "OK, you screwed up but I still love you."

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Question:

I have a question on the use of compulsion with my dog. He is now 7 months old, and I am working with him on his come. I wanted to start him in herding just for fun until he turns of age to compete in his SchH trials. The herding person wants his come to be solid as I would like also. He understands the command and will obey in the house and outside too. He can get distracted when playing with other dogs, as he is still a puppy, but when it is me and him on our walks he listens. I wanted to know if it was too early to use a prong collar on him with his long line when he gets stubborn and just gives me the finger, so to speak. I hope this message makes sense as to what I am asking. Thanks again for all your help.

Dan

Answer:

If you know that the dog understands the command its appropriate to use compulsion, even with a prong collar if that's what it takes to get his attention. The recall is a command that needs to be 100% because failure to comply could result in a dead dog.

What I do is have one command for a dog to come to me when we are outside, and a different command for him to come during an obedience recall exercise. This recall needs to be a dog coming in fast with a sit-front and a good finish.

Keep the 2 commands separate. It helps in the competition. The dogs quickly learn the difference.

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Question:

I have an 11 month old female shepherd named Tasha. I have never owned a dog before and I've been very surprised at how much work she has been the entire time. At this point Tasha is not very trained and is in her adolescent stage. I've gotten very frustrated with her and I'm looking for your advise because I'm at my wits end now.

First let me start by saying that I've not taken as much time with her as I'd imagine I should have. I am a mother of two girls and have only so much time to spend working the dog. Her behavior is as follows: She sits, stays and lays down briefly for treats or a toy. Beyond that she never comes when you call her, if she gets out of the yard she chases cars and bikes and whatever else is moving quickly, she barks aggressively at strangers and all other animals. She is defiant when I tell her to go outside, she runs around the furniture until I pick up a big pillow and swing it at her. She is constantly pesting us to play fetch (day or night) and never stops. Get the picture?

At this point I've tried dog training class but that is too expensive to continue on my budget. I've tried a Haltie because my hands were hurting from trying to walk her on the standard choke chain (she is always pulling and needs to be jerked). The last few times she bit the leash and growled at me and would not stop jumping and biting at it. She is very wild when she gets out in public. In addition... she never Comes when I need/demand her to! Nothing has worked so far...

I am looking for your advise because sometimes think I have a stupid dog. Everyone else's animal seems to not have the same problems as mine. We sometimes laugh and call her the "happy" dog. Life is too good for her. She is wonderful with me, my husband and daughters. She is never aggressive at them and I trust her with my precious children. This is why I need to know if I am working with a lost cause or if she will mature in combination with training and become the pet I dreamed of.

Sincerely,
Tamara

Answer:

It sounds like you need to find another home for this dog. Either that or make an effort to do the proper training.

If you choose to keep the dog you need to:

  1. Get a dog crate for inside the house. Every dog needs to be crate trained. No exceptions.
  2. Obedience train this dog, get a prong collar and work it. Read what I have to say about Basic Dog Obedience.

Obedience training is going to solve a whole range of problems. A prong collar is like power steering on dogs. Training does not have to take a lot of time.

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Question:

I think I have a "problem" dog. He is a 14 month old purebred beagle that was bred as a hunter. I got him when he was 8 weeks old and for the most part, he has been pretty good. Except, he has a nose that won't quit and that leads to more problems. He wont listen when called, pulls on his leash until he is choking, and will run away if let off his leash. He seems to be very protective also, almost vicious. Any advice? I have taught him basic commands which he follows most of the time.

Andrew & Cosmo

Answer:

Get a prong collar and my Basic Dog Obedience training video. You should read what I have to say. This dog has a handler problem. His handler does not understand the basic concepts of obedience training.

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Question:

I have a question for you. I have an almost 10 month old GSD from very good working lines in Germany. He has been working towards his HGH and SchH titles and progressing very well. I got him at about 4 1/2months of age and he never made the 16 week bond with an owner but rather was with dogs at that time, he was given back to the breeder due to personal problems not related to the dog, he originally went out at 8 weeks. Well needless to say he was very independent and slightly doggy when I got him. In the past months he has turned out to be an excellent dog and great worker and a real good bond has developed. Well here is my dilemma. When I first got him it took a lot of work to get a good recall. Then for the past 3 months I had not one problem. So this morning I took him out to track and he did an amazing job for his age and level of training, I actually modified some advice you gave me about putting a can of cat food at the end of the track and started to put some of the oil on the scent pad and some of the food well hidden on the track with his hose at the end.

What a difference he keeps his head down and really works for it and is very high in drive about tracking. Well after the track we were playing hose in the back yard and the neighbors dog from 2 houses away comes flying up to our property line just as I through the hose in that direction and starts to bark and run around. Well needless to say after my dog got his toy he thought the dog would make a much better toy and took off after him. They ran into the neighbors yard and up onto the deck. Well the recall finally failed. My pup did not even acknowledge me. I attribute this to a couple of things, his drive at the time of chase, and a lack of respect/ immaturity. So finally my question is, should I put him on a long line again and really work the recall because that is an essential command or does it sound like more of a respect issue where a greater bond and pecking order needs to be established?

Dan

Answer:

Your dog sounds normal this has nothing to do with being doggy. In fact its nice to see that he is not fighting.

This is a distraction problem and nothing more than that. It would be a lot to expect any dog to come back from this situation.

I recommend people have a sport recall where they use one command (ie HERE) and another command where you expect the dog to come to you (ie COME). You use COME when the dog is just expected to GET BACK HERE.

I would focus on the COME command and not the recall. If you focus on the recall you will cause problems and a loss of drive.

I would also be inclined to get an electric collar and learn to use it in this situation.

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Question:

I have a big problem with my 9 month old shepherd. I have two pups, one 4 months old from your bloodlines and the 9 month old from mainly American lines. The problem is with the older one, he is not neutered yet and he appears to be developing some territorial aggression. Last week he bit the mail lady, he has never been this way before! Today, he chased a young boy across the school yard that we live next to his hackles were raised and he would circle the boy and bark!! I had one hell of a time catching him, he would not listen to me!!! We have worked hard to socialize both dogs and I don't know what to do. I do have several of your training tapes and everything else is working great, but this problem is not covered in any of the tapes I have. Is this a temperament problem that cannot be solved? He does not usually act this way, but I cannot take any chances with him biting somebody! If you could please give me some advice I would greatly appreciate it!

P.S. I do not want my younger pup to pick up on these bad habits! The little german boy does seem to have a better temperament when it comes to people.

Thanks,
Matt

Answer:

This sounds like a handler problem as much as a dog problem.

1. This dog should not be off leash where he can have the opportunity to bite someone. A dog only gets one chance. He bit the mail lady that was strike one. Get a muzzle and make the dog wear it when he is loose. We sell the inexpensive Jafco muzzles, they work fine. He should have one on whenever you let him off leash (at least until you have full control.)

2. One of the tapes you should have is Basic Dog Obedience. Get a prong collar on this dog. He is not fully obedience trained. He can not handle the distractions of the school yard. This requires a level 10 correction in a prong collar to get his attention. He must understand that COME means COME!!

3. Make him drag a long line when he is in muzzle and on a prong when you take him out. This gives you the opportunity to get to him if he plays keep away.

4. If it were my dog I would put an electric collar on the dog and use it. He is old enough to take the stimulation and this gives you an opportunity to reach out and touch him. There are several different collars, depending on how serious you want to get either the Tri Tronics Companion or Sportsman to real serious with the Tri Tronics Pro 100. The Innotek collars work well too.

But when you look at these points - yes - your dog has a nerve problem. He is not 100% stable and is a little sharp. He would not be doing this at this age if he had solid nerves. So with this in mind you have to get on the band wagon and do some serious obedience training or get rid of the dog. You are the only one who knows if you have the temperament to do this work - many people are too soft and can not get down on a dog like this the way they should - those people need to get another dog.

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Question:

I would like to start by thanking you. I purchased your video Basic Dog Obedience and it was wonderful. I did what you said on the tape and my dog really responded will to it. I have to say that when my pup was little he was very good at home, but just awful on a leash in public. Now, after your video and a pinch collar, he is very good out in public and on a leash, but just awful at home. He is now eight months old and my problem is that he will be well behaved as long as you have his leash in hand, because he knows he will get a correction. I let him drag a leash and he will misbehave until I pick up the leash. As soon as he knows that I have his leash in hand he stops the unwanted behavior. He does everything that I ask when he is wearing the pinch collar. Take the collar off of him and he does as he pleases. He is smart and does things when he knows that he my get away with it. I have turned off the vacuum and the lawn mower to give him a correction, but the biggest problem is that unless he is in pinch and on lead, he will not come when he is called. I am wondering if the next step should be a shock collar, so that he learns that will get a correction no matter what. I have a great respect for your opinion and will not use a shock collar if you think it is wrong or will not work.

Stephanie
Lake Geneva, WI

Answer:

You do not need an electric collar - you need to learn what an "automatic correction" is.

When the dog has a drag line on and does not perform a command that you know he understands (its important he must know it) then you calmly go over and pick up the leash and automatically correct him - even if he tries to mind once you pick up the leash.

This problem is a handler problem and not a dog problem. You have trained him that he must only mind when the leash is in your hand and the collar is on. Now you must teach him that he will be corrected for not minding - even if you do not have the leash.

The key is to be calm. Calmly walk over to the dog when he will not come - don't chase - just walk to him and pick up the "LONG LINE" (if you can not get it - make the line longer next time) then reel him in and correct the snot out of him. Even if he comes when he sees that you have the leash give him some very very strong "pops" line along with the "come command."

He must learn that he has to mind all of the time and if he disobeys he will be corrected.

Automatic corrections are a very important part of obedience training. Maybe I should have stressed them more.

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Question:

We have a year old Great Pyrenees bitch that I have been looking forward to breeding. She is incredibly obedient even to the subtlest commands when she is in your immediate care. However, we live in a hilly rural area and when she is allowed to be unrestrained she completely rebels against any command and runs all over tyrannically barking and disappearing into the hollows. She has somehow escaped every method of restraint no matter how I've chained her. We have yet to complete a farm fence around the yard, but it seems that nothing short of prison fence would contain her. She's jumped several barricades also. Would some method of subduing her barking possibly discourage this over vigilant behavior? I just don't get it. When she has some sort of restraint she has the most pleasant demeanor. I would greatly appreciate your input. I put a lot of stock in what I've followed of your articles.

Sincerely
J.D.

Answer:

To begin with this dog is only partially trained. You are missing the most important part of dog training and that's the correction/distraction phase. If you would like to learn something about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.

Once you understand the principles of obedience training, you then need to determine what method of correction to use (either a prong collar or an electric collar). Which one you use will depend on your training skills.

Training the recall is not a difficult exercise, but you are going beyond this. You are trying to do this in addition to problem-solve a situation. You are asking about containment, barking and coming. These are three different issues.

Chaining a dog is never a good option as a permanent method of confinement. It's OK for an hour or two but that's all. Normal permanent containment can be a normal dog kennel with a top or an in-ground Innotek fence that we sell and use at my kennel.

Barking can be solved with a No-bark collar. You can find information on the Tri Tronics No-Bark Collar on my web site. I use 15 of them in my kennel almost every day. We put them on at night and take them off in the morning. I could not run my kennel without them.

The Recall needs to be taught under distraction. This is covered in my tape. You ability to accomplish this will depend on you and not the dog. It depends on your consistency and ability to administer effective corrections (a lot of people cannot do this).

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Question:

One of the dogs that I have, a German Shepherd/Husky breed named Tera (approximatly 2 yrs old), is always looking for an opportunity to get loose and take off. I have taken her to obedience school. She does respond, inside and when on a leash, to the command "come." However, when she is off of the leash she takes off. Eventually she does come home. I thought, at first, that it was because she knew there where cats that lived at a neighbor’s house, which is true. When she does take off that is usually where I can find her. However, at the park the other day, I tested that theory. She took off and I had to go running after her. Luckily I finally caught up to her. My question is, how do I get her to respond to me and come back when I call her, especially when outdoors? I have another dog, a Pit Bull/Australian Shepherd breed named Molly (approximatly 4 yrs old), that does respond to my voice and listens when I call her to "come" commands indoors, on a leash, and outdoors. She has been a joy to train and have around. I know that each dog is different and I assume that some require different techniques in training.

Is there something I can do?

Sincerely,
Korey

Answer:

Your dog is not trained. This is not an unusual problem.

If you would like to learn something about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.

I suggest that you read the training articles and Q&A sections on my website. This situation is 100% a problem with an inexperienced handler.

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Question:

I have written to you before, taken your advice and bought your Basic Obedience video. My 9-month-old GSD bitch is great in most respects (temperament & basic commands) however she has developed a serious habit of refusing to come when called. The situation is that we live on a beachfront where lots of people walk their dogs - there are also many parks nearby. Most of the time she minds (especially if I have a toy - she does not seem to respond to food) but sometimes she decides to keep her distance and refuses to come back at all. In fact, when I call her she runs off in the opposite direction and treats it like a game. The longest time has been 4 hours!!!

I have tried putting her on a long line and shortening it gradually and this has worked to some extent. However, when I remove it completely, 2 or 3 walks later, the game begins again. I have also tried sitting down, ignoring her, walking away, going out of sight but she will wait just level with the house and not come back.

How do I solve this problem, which I know I must have inadvertently created? At the moment I take a toy with me every time we go out and we also attend dog training classes (outdoors, on/off leash). Is it possible for you to tell me what I am doing wrong?

Thank you in advance,
Lorna

Answer:

You are correct, this is 100% your fault.

A young dog must learn that there is NEVER a situation where it can get away without coming. This means that if a dog is called (when off leash) and buggers off, you must calmly follow the dog until you can walk up to him and get a hold of him. At that point it gets very, very hard corrections all the way back to the location where you were when you had first called the dog.

This must happen EVERY SINGLE TIME. Their can NEVER be a case where the dog does not get corrected for not coming.

Now with this said, I must say that it is always harder to correct a problem than to do proper training the first time around. You have created a problem so fixing it is not going to be this simple. Your dog has learned that it can avoid you. It has learned when the long line is not on. The solution for a dog like this is an electric collar.

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Question:

Dear Mr. Frawley,

I was wondering if you could help us with a problem we are having with our 9-month-old GSD. We watched your obedience tape and have been working with her on the here command. We have put her on a long line and have treats and praise for her when she returns. One problem is, she knows when the line comes off, that she is free and will dash off, so we've been keeping it on. Another problem is... she has been running out through our front door and when I call her she looks at me and stands there or keeps running. If I go after her, she plays with me (wanting me to chase her) I stop and start to walk away from her and when she gets the idea that I'm not going to chase her, she comes back. I'm very worried she is going to get hit by a car. We have a prong collar, but like the long line, she knows when it's on or off. I have never yelled or disciplined her when she has came back. I really don't know how to handle this. We have children running in and out of our house all the time, giving her many opportunities to run through the door. What am I doing wrong here?

Thank you.
Ann

Answer:

Your mistake is in not correcting the dog when you catch her.

When she does not mind, you calmly walk to the dog - not screaming - nothing - very calmly put the collar on her (or the leash) and correct the living hell out of her all the way back to the point where you were when you called her. This needs to happen every time she does not come. The dog must learn that is no option to coming - it either comes or it gets corrected. The correction will either come right at the time it does not mind or it happens when it is caught - no matter how much chasing around it does - it ALWAYS gets corrected for not coming.

Once the dog understands this - it will come every time. If you can not get it to work - then the problem is with you because EVERY DOG will respond to this method of training.

So bottom line is that this is a handler problem and not a dog problem.

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Question:

Ed,

I bought a female from you back in Sept. 99. She is 1 yr. old and I just read an article that said I should not lie on the floor and pat my dog or let her lie at my feet and lay on my feet that she may see that as dominance. She does not seem dominate to me but I wonder if these little things are slowing her recall training. She is a very beautiful female at year a very substantial bitch a lot of prey drive and a very hard bitch. Thank you very much for the time you put into breeding your line and maintain a very good working line.

Answer:

I don't worry about these kinds of things with a female.

Slow recalls are a matter of not enough motivation after the dog arrives. You need to give a dog a lot of reason to want to come to you. Go back and use food, toys or anything that the dog loves (run away from the dog as it starts to come). If the recall is really slow because of handler errors and corrections after the recall in earlier training then start to use a totally different command (ie HERE) with the new training.

I don't know if this helps but I hope it gives you some ideas. When faced with problems - always back up to the basics.

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Question:

Mr. Frawley,

I can't imagine how many emails you receive so I will keep mine short and simple. My dog is 5 now and is very obedient. I have two questions for you, the first one is on the recall I just got done reading your q&a and saw similar questions but not the exact one. When I walk my dog in the afternoon we play with his ball or his tug and he is very good. If he can see another dog he will only sometimes break a recall( 1out of every 10). I have put him on the long lead and set it up so a friend with a dog will approach, but my dog has been on the long lead before and will not even try to break a recall. After that I let him drag the long lead around for a week with no corrections to get comfortable with it so he will react the way he would with it off, same set up, same result. I am about to order the two part video about the electric collar that you have in your catalog. Do you think that is the correct thing to do our should I try to be a little bit more creative. The other question is if I get an electric collar is it ok to use it to firm his obedience up? Thanks for the help.

Rafe

Answer:

You have made the right decision. I will never train a dog without a collar again. You also sound like you understand the principles of dog training pretty well – so these tapes will work for you. I would stick with Tri Tronic collars. I use the Pro 100 but you may get a cheaper one too.

If you want to try it without a collar – the solution is an automatic correction. This means that when the line comes off and the dog breaks the recall because of any reason, you walk to the dog very calmly, no screaming or ranting and raving like you really want to do, try and keep the line out of sight, clip it on the prong collar – which the dog ALWAYS WEARS ON WALKS (for his entire life).

Then correct the living snot out of him all the way back to where you were when you called him the first time. This may mean 3 to 5 jerks says “COME - YOU COME - COME - YOU COME “ Then when you get to the point where you were – you praise the dog to show him you are not mad anymore and that you still love him.

Part of the key here is to not sound mad but rather to sound firm when you are correcting him. Sounding mad may scare the dog, or in the case with some of my males, it may make them mad and then I have to fight them – that’s always a pain in the rear.

Good Luck

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Question:

I have a one-year old German Shepard. He is well trained to sit, down, come, etc. I can work with him at a strange location on a 30 ft leash and he still obeys. The only problem I have with him is a come when he is off leash and he sees another dog that he wants to play with. At that point I lose control and he won't come. I have tried a throw chain to get closer to him, but he could care less about that. He is also quite dominant in his play so I can't allow him to play with a smaller dog. I have never seen a dog quite so interested in other dogs. I am wondering if an electric collar would be the answer, and if so can you recommend which one I should purchase?

Thanks
Bonnie

Answer:

Then your dog is only partially trained.

If you would like to learn more about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. I think if you read the testimonials on that tape you will see that my customers feel the same way.

You need to learn to train under distraction. Once the dog has learned that he can escape – which your dog has already learned you are faced with additional problems as a result of poor training (no insult intended but it is simply a fact –you did not know better). You may be forced to go to an electric collar.

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QUESTION on Dog Taking Off:

Hello Ed,

I am training my puppy - an 11 month old GSD - in SAR, and I am a beginner at this. A few days ago she did something very bad - she ran after a deer and was gone for 15 minutes. I know that this can only get worse, and I want to nip it in the bud ASAP. Do you have an article or a video that addresses this? I have received conflicting information from other trainers and the internet, ie:

1. Get an e-collar and correct her. (Sounds good, but how do I get a deer to cooperate? Since repetition seems to be one key to learning, if I can only get a deer to come by once a week or once a month, how would this work?

2. Get deer breaking scent, put it out in yard or park, etc., and correct her when she shows an interest in it. Again, how do I know that she will generalize from the inanimate scent to the moving, running deer?

3. Get deer breaking scent and out it on a pad on her collar, or squirt it up her nose (!?) until she is sick and tired of it. Given the sensitive nature of a dog's nose, this seems cruel; and if she has deer scent up her nose, won't that interfere with the air scent training I'm working on?

I'd like to do things correctly the first time, and to end this behavior ASAP. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Eva

ANSWER:

Deer braking scent is about as effective as putting non-breeding scent on a 20 year old college student.

Get an e-collar and learn how to use it. I use Dogtra. Get a DOGTRA 1700 NCP.

Train the dog the recall with the collar - not associated with tracking training.

I would do what I say below as far as conditioning the dog to the collar going on and coming off. Then I would take the dog for a walk in areas where there are deer. I would not teach it on a training track.

Make a mistake here and use too much power and you have a pet and not a working dog.

Here is a pre written text I send people:

This is the collar I use on my personal dog. Electric collars are not difficult to work. The most important thing is to introduce them properly to the dog. The key is to do the training correctly so the dog does not see the collar going on as a trigger to mind. We want the trigger to mind to be our voice command. This is done over a period of 2 weeks. The protocol is to put the collar on and take it off 4 to 5 times a day – switch collars around – take the prong off and put the electric collar on – etc etc etc After doing this for two weeks the collar going on will mean nothing to the dog.

Then try and put the collar on 30 minutes before going out and take it off 30 minutes after coming back in.

Once this is done the next step is to determine the shock level. I ALWAYS use the NICK button and not continuous. In 20 years I can probably count the number of times I have used CONTINUOUS on one hand. A lot of trainers use it – I don’t. I look at a collar like I look at a leash correction.

To determine the shock level for normal training (not for chasing a squirrel or a cat) I will start by shocking the dog for no reason at its lowest setting. Look for the point where the dogs head just jerks a little or he looks at the ground to find the land mine he just stepped on – an eye blink is not enough and a YELP is to high.

I always want my dog to know the shock came from me. So just like in normal training – if a dog screws up I say “NO” then repeat the command as I give a correction. With a collar it’s the same.
The sequence is:

Say NO
Then Shock

In the beginning you say “NO” – give a shock as you quickly give a leash correction. (all initial collar training is done on leash) The goal is to first be able to eliminate the leash correction, then eliminate the shock so you only have to use your voice. I “read the moment” to see if simply saying “NO” results in the dog minding. When you see this you are making headway – but you only wait for 1 second .

When you move your training with an e-collar to areas of higher distraction – seeing other dogs, cats or wild animals you will always have to bump up the level of shock so be prepared ahead of time. A dog that works on level 2 shock in your back yard will need a level 5 – 6 – or 7 shock when it sees something that really distracts it.

What I do is say “NO” and shock the dog the INSTANT it even looks at an animal. I don’t wait for the dog to go into high drive and want to chase – at that point you would probably have to use level 10 because your timing was bad. The dog will learn that just looking at an animal will result in a painful experience. I have seen PITT BULLS that will turn their head and quickly look away when another animal comes into view.

In the end – a good dog trainer who has a dog that requires this training will NEVER TAKE HIS DOG out without a collar on. Why test the moment? That’s foolish. Look at the collar as a tool for EMERGENCIES. To leave it home when you walk your dog would make no sense. The security of having it there will make you relax and enjoy your dog more.

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More Questions Listed on Training the Recall

Hi There,

I always read your articles, but for some reason can't find one on this. I have a problem with my dog doing his Heir. He comes in fast BUT always sits crooked. I have tried to use food and toys. And I have tried corrections but can't seem to get him to understand. Do you have any suggestions?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Jennifer

Ed's Answer on Correcting a Straight Sit After Recall:

Your problem is not a COME problem it’s a sit straight problem.

So don’t associate it with the recall.

Keep the dog on leash. Sit your dog - tell him to stay - step a foot or two away and turn to the side a little (not a lot at first).

Call the dog and when it comes and sits crooked, use your foot to nudge here as you step back to get the dog to follow and sit straight. You are not correcting the dog but rather guiding him into the correct position. When he sits crocked - tell him "NO" and then guide him.

With repetition the dog will learn to sit straight every time. You will be able to sit the dog. Step away and turn your back. He will come around front and sit straight. When you can do that then you put the exercise back with the RECALL.

How quick this happens depends on your dog and your skill. There is no rush.

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Question:

My mother has a 1 year old spayed dachshund. She is well behaved but has a problem that when she is hurt or scared by something (physically, like her latest, a spiral fracture) she will go hide and not come out when called. She will lay and look at you, thumping her tail, but has to be physically removed from her hiding place (crate, bushes, under the truck). My mother does allow she has good recall, but only when things like horse poop or playing with the cats are not more exciting. Then it becomes a game! My mother also allows that she is not a food motivated dog, and that minimal reprimands are all it takes normally to make an impression. I told her it was a respect issue that she will need to get control of the 'game' times and the rest should come around. What is your opinion?

My mother has trained her own dogs for years, and is very successful with well-behaved, responsive dogs. She currently has two dachshunds, and three dobermans. The only dogs she has trouble with are the two that she did not have from puppies. She recently got a rescue doberman that has responding issues, only when off long line or a lead. She's getting better slowly but still an issues. She has had the dachshund since about 4 months old.

Thanks so much.

Answer:

To me, this is simple. Don’t let the dog off leash or off of a long line. The more a dog practices a specific behavior, the more of a habit it becomes. You can let a dog practice good behaviors (like coming when called with the assistance of a long line) or bad behavior (let the dog run loose and let it realize that it can do whatever it wants).

For all my dogs, they eventually go to a remote collar anyway so I always have a way to guide them when they are away from me (either long line or ecollar or both)

I disagree that your mom’s dog has a good recall. If the recall was good, it would be good all the time-- not just when the dog feels like coming to her.

I think she needs to back up her training and practice controlling the dogs free time 100%.

http://leerburg.com/groundwork.htm

I hope this helps.

Cindy



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