Recall

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#1
So Fable took off on me today after a rabbit, and ended up almost getting hit by a car. We were at the dog park, and she has never done that there before. The thing is is her prey drive is so strong that if she does see a squirrel/cat/mouse/rabbit, she's just gone. If no small animal is in sight, she would never take off like that. And if she is focused on something, whether it is another animal, a person, or some food, she just won't call off of it.

I realize I rambled on a little bit, but I just want to know how you guys proofed your dogs' recalls to the point where they will call off almost anything, and will come back 99% of the time (no dog is perfect :p). I have a long line and I guess I just want some tools on how to proof her recall. I'd love to get to the point where if we're at the dog park and I need to call her back to me in the middle of a game of chase, she'll actually come back. Any tips/tricks/advice is welcome!
 

Slick

Kristina
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#2
Leo's recall certainly isn't perfect, and I have posted my own Recall Help thread, so I am certainly not at expert by any means.

But I will share what someone suggested for me which has really helped:

- Work on a distance sit/down with stay.

This has been awesome for Leo. He doesn't have as much of a prey drive as Fable seems to, but being a herder, he does fixate and it is really really hard for him to turn away from whatever he has fixated on.

I worked on and proofed a great sit/stay from a distance, which I use in situations where I think he won't recall (for him, mostly when he has spotted an approaching dog). This allows him to keep staring at what he wants to, but it gives me some time in order to collect him without him bolting off. It's been a nice middle ground for us, giving him something that he can actually be successful at while super stimulated.
 

Maxy24

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#3
I agree, try to have other commands to get him to slow/stop that don't require him to actually turn around and run away from what he wants. Sit, down, leave it, etc. Once he's stopped or slowed enough then try recalling him or just go get him.
 

teacuptiger

floor dancer
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#4
Third for the slowing/stopping. Roxie will never be off a longline, but when she's on some sort of prey, even a 40ft longline can be useless lol (seeing as how I don't hold onto it all the time). However, she has always slowed or stopped on command, even if she won't recall. That gives me time to step on the line, and get her back. Stopping seems to be a lot more preferable to outright coming back or in her mind, giving up on prey.
 

smkie

pointer/labrador/terrier
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#5
WE use the cue stop and we practice it daily. I use it when we are walking and I hear a car before it approaches. We use this cue every time a car approaches and we stop every single time. After the car passes, I give the cue ok and we move on. Obviously we can't do this in high traffic, but we seldom if ever walk near high traffic.
 

Elrohwen

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#6
Honestly, I wasn't able to fix it. Watson has high prey drive for anything he sees, but he is also very driven to follow his nose. An hour old deer trail is as distracting as actually seeing deer (I don't think he's seen a deer in over a year) and harder for me to predict because unless there is snow and the track is fresh, I can't tell when he's going to pick up on something and redirect in time. At least with live deer I pretty much always see them before he does. Once he is on a track he is unstoppable even if he was recalling and listening perfectly moments before.

So I've started training with an ecollar. It's early stages but he seems to be getting the idea, though it's all foundations still.

Not that I'm recommending the ecollar or anything, but I got to the point where it was clear that all of the recall work I had done was not going to be enough. I could either 1) keep him on a long line forever; 2) cross my fingers that with time and maturity (and additional practice) his recall might improve; or 3) give the ecollar a shot.
 

amberdyan

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#7
I agree with the down or freeze command. I use that when Hugo is fixated on another dog. We've also done flirt pole impulse control exercises (he is NUTS for the flirt pole) and games where I started off throwing low value food/toys and calling them off and giving high value food/toys when he comes back. Eventually I got to where I could call him off of a skinnee that my friend was pulling attaching to a string hiding behind a bush (the closest thing I could think of to prey- and it's his fav toy ever). When he recalled off of the skinnee I gave him a bunch of wet food, liver and a different skinee. He was in heaven and it has really helped his recall. The only annoying thing is that I actually carry gross wet food around when he's off leash where I know there could be small animals. Which is a lot. I frequently smell slightly like wet dog food and there is often a skinee in my pocket.
 

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