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Old 08-18-2006, 12:46 PM
Bobsk8
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Default Sometimes I get put on "ignore"

When I take Smokey out for a walk in the park on the path, I practice getting her to come to me and sit and sometimes I give her a treat when she does it. For the most part, she does this with no problem. Sometimes,however, she ignores me when I call her. This usually happens when she is looking around at the scenery and apparently has found something interesting to look at or smell. I then have to call her repeatedly for 30 seconds or so until she finally reluctanly turns and comes to me. It's like she puts me on ignore until she is ready. Now is this normal for a dog to do this sometimes, and if not, is there a way I can get her to react everytime I call her?
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Old 08-18-2006, 02:26 PM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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Yes, it's normal for a dog to do what works best for them. They do not behave like dogs do in order to please their owner, a big fallacy. They do things to please themselves. (unless pleasing their owner has a big representation of pleasing themselves) But in a direct way, no....they do things which benefit them and the more directly we reward them, the better. ie: something the dog loves; (tiny hot dog pieces, steak, cheese, a highly covetted toy) If something in the environment is more interesting than what you have in store, they're not being stubborn or naughty or purposely ignoring you. They just do what dogs do.....go for the thing which is better, in this case, those things in the environment.

So, you need to never ever again call her to come when you can't enforce it. If she's off leash, you'll have to go to her or entice her by running the opposite way and making happy noises and try to get her to come to you. Don't use the word, "come" unless you are absolutely 100% sure she is indeed coming...when she's 2 feet from you. Repeating the command over and over only teaches her that it is a command which can be ignored, that it means nothing. In fact, it teaches her that whatever it is she's doing means come because you've associated that word with what she is doing. She doesn't understand English the way we do. But she makes associations between cues (commands) and what's going on at the time. I'd change your word from "come" to something else. ("here") You've "poisoned" the cue, "come" so that she doesn't know what it means. You might be able to fix it with a lot of controlled practice but it might be easier to start with a fresh cue word.

I recommend you keep her on a long line until she is much more reliable. In distractions, it is even more difficult to get a reliable recall, so start out in low distractions. Your motivator....something she reeeeeeeeellly loves, extra tasty, smelly treats or whatever she loves best will have to out perform the competition. This is how dogs learn. She will need many, many reinforcements for a long time to get reliable. You must never call her to come and have her not come again. Everytime she comes, give her a wonderful treat.

Never call her to come and abruptly end the fun. You can practice with a long line, call her to come, reward and send her back to play or do what she was doing. Don't call her to come and then do something awful to her like clip her nails. Go get her.

When she is 90% reliable, you can start varying the reward to every few times. Don't make a pattern out of it. Always make coming to you the best thing ever.

My puppies are never allowed much freedom at first in high distraction areas. It's too risky.
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Old 08-18-2006, 02:34 PM
Bobsk8
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Dober luv, thanks for the great advice......
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Old 08-18-2006, 03:39 PM
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You're welcome. Let us know how it goes with her. It definitely is the hardest trick to get reliable so it takes lots of practice and consistancy...until it becomes basically a habit. Good luck.
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Old 08-18-2006, 03:55 PM
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If all else fails, run the other way! LOL

If Roxy's into something, and I see another dog, (she doesn't notice them because she's so into the smell) I'll run, of course she runs to me, and she's on the leash before she even notices the other dog.

But you shouldn't use that as a tactic to train come. Just for emergencies

As Doberluv said, try only to use the command when you can enforce it, like on the leash.
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Old 08-18-2006, 07:39 PM
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I think it's a great tactic to start teaching the recall. It's fun, it's a game and it gets the dog ecstatic to come to you. You can shorten it up as you go....from running a longer distance to turning and running just a few feet and then turning to face him when he's just about there. Somehow, in dog body language, when you're not facing them squarely or bending toward them, they come better. That position (facing them, bending toward them) tends to stop them in their tracks. It means "stop and stay where you are" in dog. LOL. So, to get them the idea to come, why not make it a fun game with a yummy treat at the end of the run? Get them all excited so they come fast and furious, then turn and start working on the sit in front of you. Later you can eliiminate the turning and running away part.

That's basically what I did with Lyric. I started with the running away game, then was able to face him and he'd come just fine. At first, there were a few times when he ran right smack into me. LOL. I had to start backing up just as he was sliding into home plate. But that's OK...you want them to come fast, promptly and happily and every single time. Later you can work out the bugs.

Quote:
As Doberluv said, try only to use the command when you can enforce it, like on the leash.
Yes...if you're going to use the command. I prefer not to have to force the dog with the long line or leash if possible. I'd rather have the dog choose the correct resonse. The cue isn't that important at first. Get the behavior by some other means....like we were talking about, enticing, luring, making a chase game, whatever. Get it so he's coming to you almost every time for the reward of fun and a treat. THEN start adding the cue. Say it exciteably and upbeat, stacatto....really rev him up for a good time. But only say it when he's just about to crash into you and get his treat. Later, when you're sure he's connecting that cue word and the act of coming to you, after quite some time....AND he's reliable 90% of the time, then try giving the command before he comes. But for a while, I'd have him on the long line, just in case. You don't want him to lose a chance to succeed.

One other thing: most people assume that the cue word is what drives the behavior. It is not. It is simply a communication to tell the dog what to do after he's learned to associate the word with the behavior. What drives behavior, what causes the dog to repeat the behavior is reinforcement, a reward which is valued enough by the dog to raise the probability of his repeating the behavior. It's like this: your wife wakes you up and says, "go to work." You know what those words mean so you go to work. But if you never got a paycheck or any other type of reward, you probably wouldn't go to work. The paycheck is what drives the behavior. So, until the dog learns the cue, it makes no sense to make him think about two things at once; what this noise is you're making (the word) AND what am I suppose to be doing? Show him what you want...get that going really well, then boggle his mind with an English word. He'll get the association then. I hope I didn't forget to say, "reward, reward, reward" with something HE likes.

Now, all this time you've been practicing where there are first: NO distractions. Your living room, then yard maybe. Then: someplace where there may be a person or two walking by. Then, where there may be a dog and a person. Gradually add the distractions. Just because a dog is good at home does not mean he'll be worth beans somewhere else. They don't generalize well. If you want a reliable recall, set him up to succeed, to add as many reinforcements to his "bank account" as possible. And that means starting with low distractions and gradually adding them.

Hope that helps. My tendonitis is killing me. LOL.

Last edited by Doberluv; 08-18-2006 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 08-18-2006, 08:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doberluv
Don't use the word, "come" unless you are absolutely 100% sure she is indeed coming...when she's 2 feet from you. Repeating the command over and over only teaches her that it is a command which can be ignored, that it means nothing.
Oh yeah, don't I know it!!! Lol....

Teaching a reliable come is (IMO) the most important thing you can teach your dog in terms of `commands'.

I heard a trainer once tell a group of people NOT to keep repeating a command to a dog - for the reason Doberluv states, it just teaches the dog to obey you on the 10th command, not the first one, that's if it does at all. She said dogs are like children - tell them something 30 times and it just becomes noise and they shut off. Whilst not strictly true, I thought that was a great analogy - apparently dogs don't like being nagged either!!! LOL

The funny thing was, there was one guy who kept (after being told repeatedly not to) repeating the `drop' command to his dog, i.e `Suzie drop drop drop drop drop drop drop drop drop' - literally like that. The instructor seriously told him five times not to do it. Makes you wonder where Suzie gets her listening skills from, doesn't it??
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Old 08-18-2006, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
The funny thing was, there was one guy who kept (after being told repeatedly not to) repeating the `drop' command to his dog, i.e `Suzie drop drop drop drop drop drop drop drop drop' - literally like that. The instructor seriously told him five times not to do it. Makes you wonder where Suzie gets her listening skills from, doesn't it??
LOL. That is so common. I do it myself sometimes before I realize what I'm doing. I see other people doing it excessively. "sit, sit, sit, sit, sit." And the dog never sits. He started hearing it once, then twice, then 4 times, then 7 times, then 8, then 10. Now he's just holding out for 11. He figures, this thing is variable. I might be able to wait for 11. My hips kind of hurt anyhow. LOL. Not really....to complicated. He just doesn't know when he should sit or if he should sit, for sure.

You know why it's so hard for us humans not to do that...to not keep repeating ourselves? Because we're primates. LOL. Primates of all kinds do that. You hear chimps going, "yak, yak, yak, yak, yak! squeek, screech, squak!" Repetative, excitable, waving arms around like a bunch of lunatics. We do the same thing. Dogs don't do that. Dogs don't relate to that.

The only common thing that seems to be across the board is that higher pitched, repetative, short notes increase the intensity or speed of something in action. Slow, low, drawn out tones tend to slow down, calm down. So, there are times when quick, little stacatto notes are useful and one of them is for the recall. That's one place where some behaviorists will use in quick succession, "come, come, come, come." Or, "chk, chk, chk." anything quick, fast, stacatto....when the dog is beginning to come. If the dog is beginning to go away to go after a squirrel, and not come, those sounds will tend to make him hurry up and intensify what he's planning on doing. So, that's when you might say, "NOooooooooooo" or "nah-h-h-hhh..." Then the instant the dog slows and stops, turns and starts coming, then again, the quick repetative notes to keep him coming to you.

It was studied around the world in all kinds of countries using all kinds of languages that everyone seemed to use quick, stacatto, repatative notes to get their horses going. (clucking sounds etc) And slow, drawn out, low tones to get them to stop. "who-o-o-o-a." It seems to affect all mammals the same way.

But it is hard sometimes for us primates to do things the way dogs do. However, there's a lot of research that shows that domestic dogs do understand a lot of what we do (inherently) on account of being domesticated and having this strange bond with us. Just not everything, of course.
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