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> I Don't Wanna Come To You, I Wanna Go Play!, tips to improve recall please
essexgirl
post 28th Jan 2017, 3:35 pm
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Bertie is growing up into a lovely dog, but one thing is driving me bananas. His recall is brilliant when it's just us two around, but as soon as he sees another dog, he goes selectively deaf. I've tried all the usuals, upping the stakes with a really good yummy to offer him, turning and going the other way, throwing a major party of sweet voiced happy Mummy who'd be a fabulous and welcoming person to run to. Nothing. Kevin the teenager (he's just under 18 months) turns and looks at me, considers the snacky and the party or my retreating back, metaphorically flips me the bird and off he goes.

So now he has to go back on the lead in the woods or anywhere where I can't see round the corner to see if anyone's coming. Don't get me wrong, he plays beautifully with other dogs, but that's not the point. Other dogs have the right to walk in peace without 18 months worth of enthusiastic German Shepherd barking at them to play and doing silly play bows and wiggles.

Any ideas would be most welcome. If I press on with what I'm doing, I'm sure we'll get there in the end, but anything that will speed things along and stop me from getting any more grey hairs would be lovely to hear.

Thanks.

Carol

p.s. here is the Blue Demon

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This post has been edited by essexgirl: 28th Jan 2017, 3:35 pm
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nikirushka
post 28th Jan 2017, 3:42 pm
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For this (and a lot of things) I favour the engage-disengage game. It's aimed primarily at reactive dogs, and does work well for them, but I started using it for recall back in 2010 when I got my current dobe, who had zero recall around other dogs. It worked beautifully and I've used it since then for this issue.

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It has a knock-on effect of turning the other dogs themselves into a cue to look at you so as sono as he spots them, you're already halfway to success as his attention is on you more than them!
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essexgirl
post 28th Jan 2017, 4:09 pm
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Thanks. My bad for not explaining myself better. Bertie has been taught to stand and wait when he's off lead and we see another dog to enable me to establish whether or not he should go forward. I put him on the lead if we don't know the other dog or it wouldn't welcome his attentions, then let the other dog approach him if the owners are happy for them to 'say hello'.

Until the hormones hit, this was working very well. Indeed, Bertie still stops dead if he sees another dog and he will often look round at me at this point. However, he often starts to creep forward before I reach him. I tell him to leave the other dog and to wait but temptation takes over and he bombs forward to go and see the other dog. It's so disappointing when his recall was so good.

I like the method you posted (except we don't do clicker training - he does have a clicky mouse toy which he goes berserk for but he's trained to praise and treat). My question is, what happens if the dog sees the trigger and bombs off straight away? Or am I being dim and you start using this method on the lead?

And are German Shepherds the only ones who think that on lead behaviour and off lead behaviour are whole different ball games? wub.gif
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Fever
post 28th Jan 2017, 4:25 pm
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You could also usefully think about which dogs he is allowed to play with and his playing style. If he always plays with friendly but exciteable, aroused dogs, then his behaviour will become the same. As an adolescent dog, I would be looking for much lower key social companionship with an older dog, preferably a bitch, and no barging, bumping or wrestling allowed.

Socialisation does not have to be a contact sport smile.gif . He's a big lad, and if he starts to think he can play rough with any dog, it could end in tears, so I'd be working on his social skills more than the recall. By teaching him to stop when he sees another dog, you have taught him to freeze,in terms of canine body language, which some dogs will be affronted by, and others will see as an invitation to play. He needs to have a much more natural way to approach other dogs, rather than the two current alternatives of either freeze on command, or bomb up.

He is completely gorgeous by the way!

This post has been edited by Fever: 28th Jan 2017, 4:26 pm
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essexgirl
post 28th Jan 2017, 4:57 pm
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OK, you've got me. You're absolutely right. He has, indeed, learned from a rambunctious, slightly older GSD with whom every meeting is a wrestling match, and a Pointer cross who just wants to ruuuuun! We're not spoiled for choice for companions in my village but I will try to limit him to more sensible pals for the time being.

I feel foolish now. You're spot on about 'freezing'. I should have known better. His preferred more natural method is to drag me forward while he walks on his hind feet (!) but we can work on that.

Thanks both. Food for thought, definitely.

Oh, and thanks, he is a stunner, isn't he...

This post has been edited by essexgirl: 28th Jan 2017, 4:58 pm
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essexgirl
post 28th Jan 2017, 5:00 pm
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Nikirushka, we do the watch me command and I can sometimes get him past a woofing dog or a hissy cat using this. Is this the same thing as your game?
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ceri1
post 29th Jan 2017, 9:51 am
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I would say it is not the same. With watch me, you are stopping him interacting with the other animal, with engage disengage, looking at the other dog and choosing to then look away is their decision.
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nikirushka
post 29th Jan 2017, 3:06 pm
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Ceri is correct. They are similar, but with E-D they are allowed and even encouraged to look at other dogs which for some, makes a big difference in reducing the temptation to then go to them (and reducing the chances of him appearing as a threat if it's a reactive dog, thus making it easier for the other dog as well).

Watch Me is still very useful - I would use it for the sort of situations you describe, when you need to get him past a dog or other animal at close quarters and looking at it will ramp up the temptation too much. E-D should be started at a distance and gradually moved closer. It does not have to end in contact but it does instill more control when dogs appear!

It was the best thing I did when I got Linc - his recall around dogs was non-existant, even though he had excellent social skills and often wouldn't actually go up to them if he saw the slightest hint of anxiety. But being a tall (27"), black, confident dog, his social skills sometimes paled into insignificance next to his imposing figure so I needed a solid recall on him and that's what turned things in my favour.
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mokee
post 30th Jan 2017, 4:31 pm
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QUOTE(Fever @ 28th Jan 2017, 4:25 pm) *

You could also usefully think about which dogs he is allowed to play with and his playing style. If he always plays with friendly but exciteable, aroused dogs, then his behaviour will become the same. As an adolescent dog, I would be looking for much lower key social companionship with an older dog, preferably a bitch, and no barging, bumping or wrestling allowed.

Socialisation does not have to be a contact sport smile.gif . He's a big lad, and if he starts to think he can play rough with any dog, it could end in tears, so I'd be working on his social skills more than the recall. By teaching him to stop when he sees another dog, you have taught him to freeze,in terms of canine body language, which some dogs will be affronted by, and others will see as an invitation to play. He needs to have a much more natural way to approach other dogs, rather than the two current alternatives of either freeze on command, or bomb up.

He is completely gorgeous by the way!


Although I agree that it is extremely important to teach him an acceptable way to greet other dogs, that wouldn't be solving the problem of him approaching dogs that the OP doesn't want him to approach. It isn't always acceptable for a dog to approach another dog at all, so in my opinion (and I will say that I am not a trainer here, just an owner) it is equally important to teach both.

I say this as the owner of two reactive dogs, one of which would be very upset by the approach of any offlead dog, no matter how benign that approach. From my perspective, I would far rather other owners taught their dog a reliable recall than an appropriate approach, for the simple reason that no approach to my reactive dog would ever be considered appropriate by him.

In the reactive dog facebook group I belong to they call what Bertie is doing the "it's okay, he's friendly" brigade and it really is the bugbear of most reactive dog owners lives - so I thoroughly applaud you for keeping him on a lead until this is sorted out. He's also 'at that age' at the moment isn't he, so hopefully with a really good, strong strategy in place now coupled with the hope that he'll grow out of the teenage period soon it shouldn't be a problem for long.



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Fever
post 30th Jan 2017, 4:50 pm
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Oh I agree about approaching other dogs- that's why I say socialisation is not a contact sport.

None of my three ever approach another dog, on or off lead, but that doesn't mean they don't communicate and socialise with other dogs. All dogs have very subtle communication at their disposal - dropping the head, body curving, sitting down or turning their backs. I've watched my dogs do all of those and more to communicate with unfamiliar dogs - usually communicating either 'we're ok but we don't want to meet you ' or 'you are rude please b*gg*r off'!

We've met our fair share of the 'don't worry, he's friendly' brigade too, and that's why I tend to walk in quiet places. So-called 'friendly' dogs are met by me, not my dogs smile.gif
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pangolin
post 30th Jan 2017, 5:42 pm
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Just to say, whatever method you decide to try, remember it's not necessarily a chase of lead or offlead - you can use tools like a trailing longline to retain control while giving some freedom too smile.gif Though obviously with a dog of his size, exercise caution - you don't want him bombing over to another dog with you 5 metres behind about to bear the brunt of the impact, you want to be scanning the horizon, stepping on the line when you spot another dog, reeling it in so he can't bolt of with lots of slack etc.

It may also be useful to teach him to give in to lead pressure - practised frequently, it will become a default behaviour, so the pressure on his harness will be his cue to turn around and come back to you rather than you having to physically drag 35+kg of dog towards you!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4vEayrRyB0

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Fever
post 30th Jan 2017, 6:05 pm
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I can see the argument for the above, but I actually use a lead differently. I maintain a very gentle but constant tension on a long line for all my dogs (combined with a harness). The lead says to my dogs not 'you can't have freedom' but 'you are safe; I am here'. The key for me is that when the lead comes off, it looks no different - they carry on with what they are doing, because I've chosen a good time to remove the lead. They might, subsequently, move differently off lead (running, chasing, rolling etc) but this is a gradual process. Mine will actually return of their own accord if they want the lead back on, for example if they feel tired and don't want to deal with things alone. As Mokee points out, they also, importantly, have a good recall, though I rarely need it.

I think, if a dog pings off when the lead clip is undone, that dog probably isn't ready to go off lead, or it's the wrong time to remove the lead
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nikirushka
post 30th Jan 2017, 9:41 pm
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QUOTE(Fever @ 30th Jan 2017, 6:05 pm) *

I think, if a dog pings off when the lead clip is undone, that dog probably isn't ready to go off lead, or it's the wrong time to remove the lead


That very much depends on the dog, the circumstances, location and routine of the walk. My dogs usually all ping off when the lead comes off but that's just our routine - if I want them not to I can keep them with me and although they do ping off, they all have good recall from the moment they are off. When a dog zooms off as soon as the lead is undone and ignores the owner is when it's a problem.

I could keep them on lead a little longer but for some, that just ramps up frustration. They know the spot they are let off. Also, if they are put on lead during the walk (if we have to go near another dog, say) they generally don't ping off when let off again there. Well< Faolan does, but Fay pings everywhere lol.gif It's just at the start - part of the routine.
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Fever
post 30th Jan 2017, 10:03 pm
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It's great that that works for you. Where we differ, is that if you don't want them to ping off, you control them by keeping them by you (presumably using a trained cue of some kind). That's exactly the route I no longer take with my dogs, since I found it better that they think for themselves.

There's lots of experimental evidence showing that autonomy and self-determination are absolutely key to mental and physical health in many mammals, not just people. So for me, seeing my dogs capable both of regulating themselves, and also able to ask me for help when they need it, is always going to trump training cues. I'm not saying there's no need for training at all - I always teach recall and a couple of other things, like don't cross the road if there's a car coming - but on balance I think we teach far too much and don't do enough to allow dogs to exercise enough independence. I always prefer to watch dogs problem-solving than obeying cues. The latter holds no appeal for me, though it did in the past.

Still, this has all the signs of going into a long debate and I don't want to hijack another thread, so I'll pipe down now lol.gif
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nikirushka
post 31st Jan 2017, 9:44 am
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I'm getting rather fed up with the inference that dogs that are trained and have cues are unable to think for themselves and are somehow less than your conterparts, and that we have to all but abandon training to allow them to do it - and I'm particularly annoyed by the specific inference here that because I have a specific cue to keep my dogs near me when I take the lead off, if I don't want them to ping off, that they are unable to think for themselves, only obey whatever I have trained them to do.

My dogs are able to, and do, think for themselves; they can self-regulate; they have free will, at least as much as they are able to have within the confines of a mostly urban life. They problem-solve. They ping off because that is what they find fun, and that is what they want to do, not for any other reason. My walks, as far as I am concerned, are for them and I want them to run off and explore and spend a good deal of my time encouraging Ren to do exactly that because she is not so confident as the others - but that's exactly how I like the walks to be. Me just a thing that carries the leads, while the dogs go off and enjoy themselves. I don't allow them to bother anyone else, but that's about the limit of control that I impose on what they do (well, I do also try to stop them eating manky things too but I am less successful at that).

Now I will pipe down, because after remaining diplomatic on the other thread, I now find myself reaching the end of my tether with being told (albeit indirectly) that my way of living with my dogs, and what I teach other people to do, is unfair and damaging to them. It is not. If it were, I would stop doing it.

This post has been edited by nikirushka: 31st Jan 2017, 9:47 am
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