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Old 01-23-2013, 11:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default I need your opinions!

So I would like some opinions!

I have always concidered recall the MOST important command to teach a dog. My first GSD had amazing recall, never once not listened to her recall command. She was always used to a fully fenced backyard, and then I moved in with my mother to help her out but she does not have a fenced backyard although it is a very large one. Diesel did great like she always did, but the first and only time she decided not to listen to her recall it got her killed

I dont believe in chaining dogs unless its absolutely necessary. But after going through what I did with Diesel, watching her get hit by a truck and losing her like that and knowing how much trust and faith I had in her to listen to me, Im afraid it will happen again.

So now that I have gotten another GSD puppy and have (again) been focusing on recall as the number one command, I am scared. Should I make sure I tie her up in fear of a repeat of what happened to Diesel even though I dont want to do so OR should I let the matter go, focus on Penny and believe in her 100%? I also like taking my dogs everywhere with me, including to the beach and going camping and its no fun to have a dog constantly on the end of a leash, so should I focus on recall and just take her out on her leash to go "potty" and only allow her off leash at say the park, the beach, in the woods? Or would that even make a difference?

So what are your opinions?
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I am so sorry about Diesel. I can definitely understand your fears. I think it is important to let go of your irrational fears, but you'll have to determine what is rational and what isn't.

I think recall is important even if you did absolutely never plan to have your dog off leash. You never know if you'll accidentally drop the leash while fumbling with other things, the dog will think it is coming outside with you and dart out without a leash on, or any of a million other circumstances. Heck, I've had collars and leashes that seemed to be in good repair break on me! So training a solid recall is important for every dog.

I also think we have to be realistic and realize that they're dogs, and sometimes even highly trained and reliable dogs aren't going to be perfect. My dogs have as close to a perfect recall as you can get, but I still don't let them off leash in busy traffic areas because all it would take is a second of me not paying attention (so not actually calling them back), or a one-time lapse in the dog's focus or response, and disaster could happen, as you unfortunately know.

So, if I were you, whether I would let my dog off leash in the yard would probably depend a great deal on the actual circumstances. If you're close to a busy road or one with a high speed limit and/or low visibility, then I would say it isn't worth the risk. Your dog will be out in that yard a lot in the course of her life, and the chances of her running off at some point are pretty high. Now, the chances of her running off and getting hit by a car are actually probably pretty low unless the road is extremely busy, but it's not a risk I would take and it doesn't sound like one you're comfortable with either.

So, I would probably either fence all or part of the yard (you can do it cheaply and easily with livestock fencing), or keep her on a leash. I'm not a fan of tie-outs either, but I think that as long as you're just using them to let the dog relieve itself and not making the dog sit out in the yard forever, they're not a big deal. I prefer to take mine out on a leash when I've had to do that, because to me tie-outs are a bigger hassle than having to walk around the yard for 5-10 minutes. It's good exercise if you have to do it several times throughout the day.

Then for safer areas where you're not right by a road, like when you're camping or at the beach? Train your dog, test the behavior, then trust her.
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Sorry for your loss. It does not get any easier no matter how many dogs I know, trained and loved have passed. It is always that same awful feeling of losing your best friend.
As for your concerns about that "One time" the dog does not listen and the feeling that you need a safety net "Just in case" I would recommend an e-collar. I would not change the way you train if you are having success with your methods. Adding an e-collar as a "Safety net" might not be a bad idea if you are concerned about that one time and history possibly repeating itself.
If you do decide to go that route, I advise that you take an e-collar class from a professional trainer to be instructed on the proper use of the device if you are unfamiliar with the proper use of the equipment.
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I never thought about using an E-Collar; I will speak to my vet and see if she can recommend a trainer who is familiar with this tool and get some classes on how to use it! I will only ever use it in the event that I need too; Ive seen people who trainer regularly with it but have never needed it because my training methods have always worked (save for the one time )
Thanks!

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Originally Posted by SFGSSD View Post
Sorry for your loss. It does not get any easier no matter how many dogs I know, trained and loved have passed. It is always that same awful feeling of losing your best friend.
As for your concerns about that "One time" the dog does not listen and the feeling that you need a safety net "Just in case" I would recommend an e-collar. I would not change the way you train if you are having success with your methods. Adding an e-collar as a "Safety net" might not be a bad idea if you are concerned about that one time and history possibly repeating itself.
If you do decide to go that route, I advise that you take an e-collar class from a professional trainer to be instructed on the proper use of the device if you are unfamiliar with the proper use of the equipment.
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Each dog is unique. Our previous dog seldom needed a leash nor ran far from us. I really did not need to teach her recall. With our current dog, "recall" is her worst command. What really works with her is "down". A great down command has worked wonderfully for us. A very curious dog may need to learn, "leave it" as it's priority. Hopefully you can feel out your pup's personality to see which command you feel is most important. But of course teach your dog all commands!
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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A solid "down" can be even more of a lifesaver than a recall. Imagine your dog runs across a road - a car is coming, if you call the dog it could get hit. But if you can instantly down the dog, it can stay in a safe area until you can retrieve it.

I've actually found that "down" is more effective than a recall (especially with my JRT's). I can instantly down them from any distance - and I practice that regularly - but they might blow off a recall. I didn't have to use an e-collar - I just practiced regularly and gradually increased the distance and level of distraction.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phgsd View Post
A solid "down" can be even more of a lifesaver than a recall. Imagine your dog runs across a road - a car is coming, if you call the dog it could get hit. But if you can instantly down the dog, it can stay in a safe area until you can retrieve it.

I've actually found that "down" is more effective than a recall (especially with my JRT's). I can instantly down them from any distance - and I practice that regularly - but they might blow off a recall. I didn't have to use an e-collar - I just practiced regularly and gradually increased the distance and level of distraction.
My search team actually trains an "emergency stop" just for this reason. If a dog is on a scent, you really don't want to call her off, and frankly she may or may not listen to you if you do, since you never call her off in training. However, you need to be able to stop her if she's running across a road with a car coming or something like that.

With this in mind, we train an emergency down for that exact reason. With my previous search dog, I'd accidentally trained it just with tone of voice...if I say "down" in my normal command tone, he'll lay down, but if I shout it in a harsh, mean voice, he'll immediately drop flat--even if he's chasing a herd of deer or a jackrabbit or another dog (done all 3 LOL). But I'd taught him that before I really thought about it. With Abi, my new prospect, I'll probably use an entirely different command for the emergency down.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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sorry about Diesel. what was Diesel chasing? depending on what Diesel
was chasing you might want to train and socialize around it. as part of your recall training you want to train/practice in all types of situations,
inside and outside. dogs think independly. with the best training and the
best dog from the best breeder things can happen. keep your dog leashed
untill you feel that the dog is ready to be off lead. teaching "stop"
is a usefull command.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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So sorry for your loss!
I have used "invisable fencing" with great results. It is an area "fenced" with a hotwire (electric) and the dog wears a collar with a reciever/electric combo. The packages come with training info which is important to follow!
Good luck!
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Old 01-24-2013, 02:53 AM   #10 (permalink)
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If I yell "NO PLATZ!" my dogs hit the deck like yelling "incoming!" to a Marine I can do it from any distance but nothing is ever 100% when dealing with an animal. I agree with teaching a good down in motion and from a distance and send away. Whatever you choose as a safety net will help as long as it is just as reliable if not more than your original command.
Good Luck and let us know how things are going
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