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waynep

Recall & Leslie Nelson's Reliable recall??

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My 11 mo old female is a great dog. But her recall is spot at best and pretty much stinks when outside.

 

We have been through beginning and intermediate obedience classes. She did well there. On a leash she does things really well. Recall (come), sit, down stay etc all working really good on the leash. Off the leash in the house as long as I have treats she also does really well.

 

I have got in the habit of taking her outside in the backyard (fenced in) and playing fetch with a ball or frisbee. She loves being out there and doesn't want to stop. So calling her doesn't work like it does when she's on the leash. I did start letting her trail a long line to I can get a hold of it and when I do, she will come very well. So she knows when there is a leash or a line involved. No line and I sometime have to outsmart her to get a hold of her and get her inside. I know this gets harder as each time I do that, she learns how she got caught and adapts. So I now make sure I put the line on her. If I pick up the end of the line and walk towards the house, she comes along without me saying anything or applying any sort of cue to the line. It's trailing behind her but I have the end in my hand. That's all the cue she needs to know were heading inside the house.

 

I did buy Leslie Nelson's Reliable recall book and am going to start that this week. Hopefully that will help. It sounds like she suggests choosing with a new recall word but she does say to continue using the same signal I have been using all along.

 

I have noticed that while I have been using the long line outside, her inside recall is improving.

 

Part of me is thinking it's just a really young dog yet and things will improve. Another part of me knows she's incredibly smart and knows what come means and should do it. This is where I think I have done something wrong.

 

Any advice is appreciated.

 

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You're right ~ part of it is that she's a really young dog. Another part of it is that every time you call her, the FUN stops. So you're correct, she knows what it means. But it means recall "no more fun, boring stuff instead" to her, and to you, it just means 'return to me'.

 

So, call her to you frequently, reinforce, (give her a treat or a good pat) and release her back to what she was doing, fetch or just hanging out. You might want to start this indoors where she's doing the best at recalls. Then when she's used to 'catch & release', take into the back yard.

 

If there's another person in your household who can help, you can also do a round or 5 of the two of you calling her back and forth between you. Reinforce Every Single Time. If she likes to find stuff, one of you can call her while the other hides, then the human in hiding can call her so that she gets to find her friend! What fun!!!

 

Make recall a fun thing, she never knows whether it's another game or time for fun to end. And she's likely in adolescence, where sometimes brains seem to drain out of doggy heads. Just keep training.

 

Ruth & Gibbs

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Excellent answer from urge to herd. Ruth covered everything that I was going to say -- adolescent dog, don't let the fun stop when you call her, hide-and-seek games, monkey in the middle games, run away from her when you call her to set up her chase instinct, etc.

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You're right ~ part of it is that she's a really young dog. Another part of it is that every time you call her, the FUN stops. So you're correct, she knows what it means. But it means recall "no more fun, boring stuff instead" to her, and to you, it just means 'return to me'.

 

So, call her to you frequently, reinforce, (give her a treat or a good pat) and release her back to what she was doing, fetch or just hanging out. You might want to start this indoors where she's doing the best at recalls. Then when she's used to 'catch & release', take into the back yard.

 

If there's another person in your household who can help, you can also do a round or 5 of the two of you calling her back and forth between you. Reinforce Every Single Time. If she likes to find stuff, one of you can call her while the other hides, then the human in hiding can call her so that she gets to find her friend! What fun!!!

 

Make recall a fun thing, she never knows whether it's another game or time for fun to end. And she's likely in adolescence, where sometimes brains seem to drain out of doggy heads. Just keep training.

 

Ruth & Gibbs

 

Big thumbs up!

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I third or fourth the above! :) I have two 4-and-a-half month old pups and when we are outside, I often call them just to give them a treat or a pat, then let them go play again. I also work on calling them to me so we can go to another location, such as out a gate or to another part of the yard or field. That way I'm not the kill-joy all the time, and coming when called just means we're doing stuff. It's not infallible by any means, but it does help.

Also, I have a separate command for when we're done and they need to go back on leash. I just tell them, "Come get your leash." They get a treat when they come, I hook them up, but again, that doesn't always mean the fun is over. Sometimes it just means we're going to walk somewhere else together.

Best of luck!

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All great advice, I will reiterate that the more fun you make coming back, the more they want to come back. with my 8 year old I still call him back on walks just for fun ... and then I let him go back to what ever fun he was having. We have all heard the increasingly desperate calls, turning to frustration then to anger "fluffy come, Fluffy Come, FLUFFY COME" by this point you can only wonder why fluffy will ever come back!!!

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Then there's the person we've all seen who tells their dog, once it does come back, that it's a bad dog, and puts it on the leash with a jerk...so, why come back at all?

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This evening I had her outside with the long line on. I called her, had to slightly nudge with the line and she came. Pet, good girl, free go play some more. Rinse & repeat about 10 times but no nudge needed on the line after first 2 or 3 times. So finally time to go in and she's already hanging near me. I say "Let's go" which I have used since she was a puppy for walks, meaning ok we're moving this way. She followed me up the steps of the deck and to the door without me touching the line! So I think we'll get there, but it's just gonna take some more time.

 

Thanks for the advice!

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This evening I had her outside with the long line on. I called her, had to slightly nudge with the line and she came. Pet, good girl, free go play some more. Rinse & repeat about 10 times but no nudge needed on the line after first 2 or 3 times. So finally time to go in and she's already hanging near me. I say "Let's go" which I have used since she was a puppy for walks, meaning ok we're moving this way. She followed me up the steps of the deck and to the door without me touching the line! So I think we'll get there, but it's just gonna take some more time.

 

Thanks for the advice!

Great! It works super well for many dogs and I'm glad it's working well for you already.

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Great! It works super well for many dogs and I'm glad it's working well for you already.

It never fails. It seems I post a question and somehow my dog figures it out and makes me wonder why I asked LOL . . . BC's are smart but she's telepathic I think LOL

 

Again this evening went out . . Took frisbee this time to play. In between throws, I call her and have her sit or down next to me. Also pet her, grasp her collar etc. Then throw frisbee for another run. At the end, I say "Let's go" and head towards the door and she's right with me all the way in without me touching the line. I think we'll keep at this for a few weeks then see if it makes sense to try without the line.

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Really good signs, Wayne - I assume that's your name. And yes, they do seem telepathic at times.

 

She might be really the needing/enjoying the extra mental stimulation of the change-up. Try teaching her a few basic tricks in between ball tosses: shake, back up, put her front paws up on something like a lounge. Work on one at a time, but give her something else to do WITH you.

 

Border collies are what I think of as team-and-task oriented. Anything that you can train her to do WITH you is being part of a team.

 

You seem to have a lovely pup there, glad things are changing for the both of you.

 

Ruth & Gibbs

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