When should recall training start? 10 week progress update. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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Question When should recall training start? 10 week progress update.

Background: 10 week old female. Good temperament and confident pup with strong food drive, good toy drive.

Hello everybody! My puppy is doing great. She just surpassed 9 weeks. She's doing great with all aspects of training so far. She was a little slower then my previous shepherds with potty training but she's only had one accident in last 3 days so we are almost there. Bite inhibition is going well. She still has her moments but she seems to be reacting to me and understanding a bit better.

The current commands she knows:

Sit, Lay Down, Take it, Leave It, Drop It, Paw, Stay (when leaving crate, not out in the open yet), and will usually come when called.

My main question is when is appropriate to start "recall training" Yesterday I had her between us and we were just calling her back and forth between us, but other than that, I have no started any of this yet. I imagine she needs to learn to sit/lay and stay first. But do recalls fall more into an advanced skill that I should wait on or is it something I should start working on now or at least relatively soon?

Also, if anybody has any resources or videos for recall training, that would be great. I've youtubed some stuff but honestly, I haven't been impressed much with what I've seen so far. I feel like I should get something more specific to GSDs.

This is not my first Shepherd but my/my families prior training in recalls and off the leash training was mostly letting them age out to a few years old and work on it then when they've left their puppy days behind them. But I want to be more proactive with my new pup and hope to have her off leash and be able to do a recall on her in the middle of prey drive between her being 1 and 2, if not sooner. So recall training will be almost brand new to me.

I appreciate any feedback positive or negative.

Last edited by Dutchy; 07-19-2018 at 04:06 PM.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 04:40 PM
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Restrained recalls are a good start. Get your puppy conditioned to run to you when called. You puppy does not need to "know" any other commands.


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-20-2018, 08:13 AM
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I got my little girl late (16 weeks) but we did recall drills right from the get go. She can now recall when running toward another dog at the park/beach (keep in mind these are off leash areas, I'm not being a jerk and just going no leash all the time)

Leerburg is definitely a good source! Maybe Collared Scholar has something, too?

We did the name game first to make sure she knew her name (distract, then say their name so they look at you, "yes!" and treat) then, once she had her name down, I'd just call her name in a really excited voice and start running away. We tried a few restrained recalls but she kinda just stood there like "oh, dad has me so I shouldn't pull" (now I'm sure she'd pull his arm out of it's socket - total Velcro dog)

Now I can just stand back and call her (still doing the excited voice though) and she'll come running. I do sometimes run/walk quickly away just to keep interest in me if it looks like she might have some difficulties, but so far she's been solid.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-20-2018, 10:49 AM
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Recall is the most important one to me so I start the day a pup sets foot in my house. But of course on puppy level 101 and build it up from there. I start with the 'name game' and once the pup comes reliably to me then I name it as soon as he sits in front of me. No "Come" or "Here" until the behavior is what I want it to be. It's easiest when the pup is "in-between-things" and able to focus on you.
Good luck with your puppy.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-25-2018, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Dutchy View Post
Background: 10 week old female. Good temperament and confident pup with strong food drive, good toy drive.

My main question is when is appropriate to start "recall training"
As soon as they know their name well enough to look at you when you say it. Which can be anywhere from a few hours after bringing them home to a week or so. Then, it's just a matter of making coming to you a fun game and part of playtime, which you start by calling their name. After all, in an emergency situation, you're going to shout their name before you even think about saying the command. So, you want to prime their name to mean coming over to you for something fun and good. You can always add the command later when they're reliably running over to you.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 02:50 AM Thread Starter
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Just an update. Thanks for the advice. Recall training is going great so far. She's definitely picking up the basics already. It probably helped that she's already responsive to her name. Going to stay the course for a while with just easy restrained recalls and calling her back and forth with the wifey before moving on to more advanced recalls. Seems to be working great.

Thanks everybody!!!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2018, 06:39 PM
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I taught my puppy to come since day 1. The two ways I taught is to get him to sit/ stay then I say come and hold the treat low. The second way is when he’s out running around I’ll kneel and get real excited and say come come come and the puppy runs over for love. From there you can build off that
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2018, 11:05 PM
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Taught it in the 1st week I brought mine home. I make a special sound with my mouth, he comes 90% of the time. I always had treats whenever he comes to me and responding to the sound. He doesn't need it anymore, but from time to time I do give him treats just to remind him how much I like and appreciate this particular behaviour.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-07-2018, 11:27 AM
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My puppy is 11 weeks tomorrow and we have started doing it from the day we got him home
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-07-2018, 12:17 PM
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Are you pairing a collar grab with your recall? If not, that's a good thing to start doing. You want to desensitize her to collar grabs rather than shying away and playing the keep away game when you reach for her. You can also work on grabs separately at first whenever she's near you, marking it either verbally or with a clicker and then giving her a treat. The more of a foundation you can build up that collar grabs are good, the easier it will be to grab her collar for something she's not fond of, like pulling her away from something she's not supposed to have, or to give her meds or a bath or nail trim, etc.

I like to train a whiplash turn, where the head whips around immediately when you say her name. Toss a small treat a few feet away (I teach my dogs "find it", which means there's something yummy on the floor, or to go get a particular toy), and as soon as she gets to it, call her name. You mark the behavior the second her head starts to turn back towards you, and reward her with a higher value when she comes to you. Once she's playing the game consistently, toss the treat further and further away so she's running back to you a longer distance, like the length of a room rather than just a couple of feet. From there I like to toss a treat and then call my dog as I run away. If you want your recall word to mean come to me and sit in front, you need to turn around and cue a sit right before she gets to you. I wouldn't worry about that too much at first though, reinforcing the recall is the most important thing but feel free to add it and then mark and reward the sit in front as soon as you think you can.

I do short recalls on leash when I have my puppy out for walks. I quickly run backwards a few steps, calling her to me. I mark and reward the sit, then lure her back into heel position and we continue on. I try to do several of these each time we go out.

Restrained recalls are terrific. Keep in mind her age though, the distance should be very short for a young puppy. I do flyball, and that's one of the very first things we train. We want the dog to run to their handler with speed and enthusiasm, ideally for a tug reward. With a puppy I'd probably use food though, unless your girl prefers toy rewards. Whatever you use, it should be high value. My puppy is 8 months old and I took her to flyball practice last weekend to start restrained recalls. This was the first time she's been off leash at a public park, and you can see she ran right to me for her tug. We need this behavior to be very strong since a flyball tournament is an extremely distracting environment, with at least 15 people and 8 high drive off leash dogs in the ring, crating areas nearby with barking dogs, and sometimes spectators, so it's something we constantly work on in practice, even with seasoned dogs who have been racing for a long time.

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