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Recall off of game scent

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Hi - Previous BC owner. Waited a few years after his death before wading back into dog ownership. I now have for about a month a rescue, estimated 2 yrs, that is a BC mix. Vet thought there was some setter, perhaps English based on tick marks and muzzle, but otherwise looks the part of a b&w BC.

 

the short: he's sniffing out game and has taken off into the woods. I'm not familar with borders doing this so not sure whether to correct/train from a BC or an english setter perspective.

 

the long: Our snow pack in the north east is starting to go bringing the critters out and, unlike my previous BC who didn't have a nose for much of anything (other than grilled chicken), this guy is in every paw and hoof print he can find. Until a few days ago, his recall in the yard while playing/running seemed good. Then he took off into the woods, minutes after some deer had passed through.

 

Though he did not go too far, he was out of sight. After a couple of minutes he came back into the area and I was able to grab his long lead. I was forced to let go to navigate a downed tree in wet snow and he bolted again, though not out of sight. All the while he was clearly seeking out and following the scent of deer and other game. When I was able to, I got down low and clapped. He did break it off and came tearing back to me.

 

A few days before he showed some interest in grey squirrels while on lead in a non-rural setting. My area has few of those and with so many trees on the property, treeing one would be a matter of feet, not yards so I did not give too much concern to the behavior.

 

Disposition wise, no OCD traits - he'll fetch a ball and give it back but does not initiate any type of play with humans (though is a self starter with toys in the yard). Very affectionate and does keep close, far more than my true BC and at times seems sensitive. I have no background on his prior situation other than he came from north TX/OK area.

 

He has run in some very wide circles while with other dogs but no indication of viewing them as something to be herded as my last did. Rather he is quite social and does not drive events.

 

Of course, I now know he needs additional recall work (and more than a 15 foot lead) but I'm a little uncertain on whether I should be following advice for training a BC or a setter?

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You might try teaching him to track. If he's that into it, putting under your control would be helpful.

 

Google tracking classes, see if you can find one in your area. Tracking does not have the popularity of agility or nosework, so you might have to drive a bit.

 

There might also be help on line.

 

If you could find a nosework class in your area, that might help, too. Though they similar, nosework is easier than tracking. Might be enough use of his nose to suit your boy.

 

And keep training him to do other things ~ tricks, obedience, even helpful things such as bringing in a gym bag from the car. That sort of thing.

 

Good luck!

 

Ruth & Gibbs

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Doesn't really matter what breed he is - they're all individuals, and also all dogs. End of the day, the more you teach him and the more he learns, period, the more responsive he's going to be. There are young BC who track like crazy and excel at nose work and tracking (seriously, tons) and have no recall before it's worked hard, and I know bird dogs of various breeds who stick close.


Bottom line, train him. That's all. Just train him. Lots of recall practice, long line, work all KINDS of commands and behaviors and tricks. Put his strengths to use (ie: yeah, teach tracking or nosework). But don't worry about breed too much. Too much 'specializing' in the training and you're just going to think yourself into a standstill, and it only matters if you want him to work stock or hunt with.

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Yep, train him.

To me, if the dog doesn't recall properly, no matter what the circumstances are, that dog should never be off leash until he or she does recall properly.

 

My favorite way to teach recall is to teach the dog that there will always be a good treat for him when he comes back. Enough reward history on that, and the dog won't lose the training on the occasion when I don't have the treat.

 

Now, this might not work if the dog is on scent, especially if a scenting dog. So the scent/tracking classes are a great idea.

 

But, my method worked on one of my dogs who is a real nose-dog. I taught my dogs not to leave the property in the unfenced area unless I was with them. One time he took off in hot pursuit of a rabbit and pulled up short exactly at the property line.

 

The first time he did that he was new and I hadn't trained him yet (I know, shouldn't have had him off leash out front...my bad completely), and he zoomed off into the unknown with me galloping along behind him through the cactus, calling "Boo! Boo!"

 

My neighbor later told me he had thought it was some strange bird call until he saw me. :D

 

As Cpt. Kack says, do lots of training. Train all the time. Train to do whatever you want, it doesn't really matter what you teach the dog so much as that you do the teaching.

I incorporate training into my daily activity, so that I am doing some kind of training or reinforcement of previous training several times a day and it just becomes a habit.

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Agree with the above posts. Train a recall - really well. Don't expect to have a recall in a week or even 3 or 4 weeks. It may take months. Lots of positive reinforcement with whatever is his favorite - toys or treats or tug or all of them. And additional training will also add to the bonding and focus.

 

Curious as to how training a recall on a border collie differs from training a recall on a setter? from your perspective.

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Doesn't really matter what breed he is - they're all individuals, and also all dogs....But don't worry about breed too much. Too much 'specializing' in the training and you're just going to think yourself into a standstill, and it only matters if you want him to work stock or hunt with.

 

 

Curious as to how training a recall on a border collie differs from training a recall on a setter? from your perspective.

 

You've gotten good advice above.

 

I too am curious how training recall would be different for different breeds?

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I have a recent experience with a good recall saving my dog's life in a split second of my inattention. It is something I will always, always teach any dog from now on.

 

Ruth & Gibbs

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Thank you all very much for the replies and suggestions on nosework/tracking in addition to regular work. I'll be looking into all of those for sure.

 

From what I have read, the english setters tend to be a) very sensitive and B) easily bored. At least one resource suggested very short training sessions but increased frequency. I'm also going off the temperment and behavior of my border of 14 years and a few others from the local area, admittedly a small sample size!

 

(This guy is definitely on the sensitive end but he's not timid per se. One example, I tried to use a towel to wipe him off after coming in from the rain and he started to cower as it got close. Again, no idea his history so can't say if previous owners abused him or if he was prior to being picked up while on the loose)

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From what I have read, the english setters tend to be a) very sensitive and B) easily bored. At least one resource suggested very short training sessions but increased frequency.

Short training sessions and increased frequency --- is the formula I follow for EVERY DOG.

 

Admittedly, once some dogs are well along the path of training, you can increase duration, but even with a well-trained dog, any time I am teaching a new skill I will usually start with shorter training sessions. Frequency - well, that is another topic for this lazy trainer. ;) ;)

 

Border collies are individuals too. Some will be OK with longer sessions (particularly once they have gotten into 'training mode') because they do like to work, but there are many that also get very bored at having to repeat a task that they think they already know.

 

Train the dog, not the breed.

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Thank you all very much for the replies and suggestions on nosework/tracking in addition to regular work. I'll be looking into all of those for sure.

 

From what I have read, the english setters tend to be a) very sensitive and B) easily bored. At least one resource suggested very short training sessions but increased frequency. I'm also going off the temperment and behavior of my border of 14 years and a few others from the local area, admittedly a small sample size!

 

(This guy is definitely on the sensitive end but he's not timid per se. One example, I tried to use a towel to wipe him off after coming in from the rain and he started to cower as it got close. Again, no idea his history so can't say if previous owners abused him or if he was prior to being picked up while on the loose)

 

 

Border collies can also be sensitive and quirky, so it's not a breed-specific thing at all. As for the towel, again, border collies can be quirky and often exhibit behaviors that look cowering but have nothing to do with being abused. Some BCs just don't like certain things, like flappy stuff or scary hats or dark glasses or heavy coats or backpacks ... the list can go on! :P

 

Train the dog and not the breed - that's the best advice I've heard lately!

 

Also, I'd say keep him on a long line if he gets into hunt-mode. I have a 14 month old purebred BC who will take off after jackrabbits as if launched from Cape Canaveral. So she's on leash in jack rabbit country. ;)

 

 

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YES! to training the dog, not the breed. My departed Buzz loved, loved, loved meeting new best friends. As everyone was his best friend, this became a high value reward.

 

He'd spot a total stranger and start to whine to get them. It took me a while to understand I could use that desire to get something from him. Buzz had to sit, look at me, give me his paw, just some darn thing for me, his Human, and then he got his favorite thing in the world ~ making a new friend.

 

Another bc I had really had no interest in other people at all. A 3rd preferred food, but loved children, and considered a walk with a 6 yr old the best thing ever.

 

What works best for YOUR dog?

 

Ruth & Gibbs

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Just went back and read your OP. Please post a photo. We love looking a 'new' dogs', and if you think he is a mix, we also love to provide our opinions. ;)

 

And, as an aside, it is not unusual for a border collie to have tick marks on muzzle or feet. Once again, the wonderful variety that can make up the breed.

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And, as an aside, it is not unusual for a border collie to have tick marks on muzzle or feet. Once again, the wonderful variety that can make up the breed.

 

I was going to post this also, but then saw that part of your belief that he might be part setter is his muzzle.

 

Border collies can indeed -- often do -- have various amounts of ticking. Anywhere from a few spots to very heavily ticked dogs that some ppl mistake for merles.

 

If he's part setter I'd think it would show up in the ear set. I used to see a fair number of dogs that I thought might be border collies or border collie mixes that turned out to be spaniel, specifically springer, mixes. I finally learned to notice the ear set that was the giveaway between border collies, even those with drop ears, and springer mixes. The ears just sit on their heads differently. I would expect that of a setter mix as well.

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He looks lovely!

 

I am no expert, but I would not question if someone told me he was full BC. He does have low ears, so maybe some hound?

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He is lovely. He looks so thoughtful in the profile shot.

 

He definitely has BC in him. But I think he really looks like an English Shepherd. My friend has a dog, found as a stray, that she thinks is an English Shepherd. There is a couple in my area that have 2 English Shepherds that they run in agility. Your dog certainly could fit right in with them.

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He is lovely. He looks so thoughtful in the profile shot.

 

He definitely has BC in him. But I think he really looks like an English Shepherd. My friend has a dog, found as a stray, that she thinks is an English Shepherd. There is a couple in my area that have 2 English Shepherds that they run in agility. Your dog certainly could fit right in with them.

 

Yes! He reminds me a lot of Jake and Babe!

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Yeah, I could see English shepherd as well, especially if he's on the larger side. I know some ES are smaller, but most of the ones I've seen are 55+ lbs. and even the smaller ones are a little stockier than many border collies.

 

. . . or very possibly border collie mix.

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A couple more... he is very difficult to photo, he tends to run right up to the phone to try to lick it

 

face

snow

 

He is definitely big boned and the head more square. When the vet weighed him he was 53 lbs, I think he needs to drop about 5 which shouldn't be too hard as weather warms and we are outside more. So figure 48-50 lb to be more ideal

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