Rewarding Recall with Toys? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Rewarding Recall with Toys?

I know there are already many, many threads discussing how to teach a reliable recall, so I apologize in advance for asking about this again, but I'm specifically interested in rewarding with toys.

Inside the house, my puppy comes when he's called almost 100% of the time. It's great. I say "Here" and he comes barreling around the corner pretty much instantly.

Outside the house, our success rate is significantly lower. He does not seem overly interested in food rewards - this might be because I've been using the same treats for a while - but he is very toy motivated. He loves frisbees and tennis balls and I can almost always count on having his attention when I have them. I saw in another recall thread that someone suggested using two ball as a way to train recall and I was hoping someone might explain exactly how that works. Should I just throw one frisbee, use the recall command when he is retrieving it, and then give him the other frisbee as a reward? How can I practice recall when he is on a regular 6 ft leash, but still use toys instead of food as a reward?

I should also mention there have been a few times when we have been playing fetch he has caught sight of another dog and dropped the toy entirely to try to run off to say hello to the dog. Luckily, he's on a long leash when we play fetch and when he hits the end of the leash he usually turns around and runs straight back to me. When that happens, I praise him and try to get him to ignore the other dog by playing more fetch.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 09:01 PM
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How old is he?

If young, I would not encourage frisbee as often the dogs joints are developing and jumping time and time again is not go for them.

This is how I trained recall. My dog has an EXCELLENT recall, but I wouldn't bet his life on it.

Get a long line on him, let him get far from you, call him, if he comes back great, if not pull him in slowly, he will naturally start to come to you. Treats are great, toys are better...mine loved squeaky toys, then did transition to tug toys. He has to want to be with you. He has to eventually chose to come to you instead of chase the bunny or whatever. As he gets older, I would introduce negative rewards if he doesn't make the right choice.

Good luck.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 10:23 PM
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Recall on a six foot leash?No matter how long the line/leash is just move backwards as you call him.Make yourself exciting.Carry a tug or toy with you and play with him for a few seconds for his reward.Try to never give him the opportunity to disobey.It can quickly become habitual.Chasing a rabbit is just way more fun than that toy you're holding.There will always be temptations that are more rewarding to the dog than what we have to offer.It's best if he never finds that out

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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He's 9 months old. I am very careful playing frisbee because I don't want him jumping for it. I have a stiff, rubber frisbee that I throw at the ground and it rolls on its edge. He loves to chase it!

I suppose it does sound silly to practice recall on a 6 ft leash! I guess what I was asking was how to reward without throwing the toy? He will tug, but only if he's really wound up and ready to play.

Thanks for the advice!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 04:46 AM
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You need to transition from a toy (ball, Frisbee) that is thrown away from you , to a toy(ball on a rope ) that has the same allure , but is still in your control.



The Collared Scholar has a YouTube video on how to play with a ball on a rope toy that is a great introduction.


If you haven't taught your dog to play tug (with a tug) then there are great videos from Leerburg and others explaining how to teach that skill.(Letting the dog win , often and "real" winning)



This has bearing as the ball on a rope , will also in a lesser way be used to play tug, with 5 or so secs of resistance as a reward, but you need the foundation of tug play and the clear goal of the interaction with you as the reward, not the toy itself.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 09:46 AM
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If he is on a longline and you see another dog before he does, call him to you. Chances are he will respond to the recall so you have already put that idea in his head before the idea of meeting and greeting entered. I think it will help with process.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 11:49 AM
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@brittanyS does your dog like squeaky toys?I have a couple of squeakers salvaged from chewed up toys that I keep in my pocket on walks.If I need to get my dog's attention quickly the *SQUEAK* is guaranteed to make their heads whip around to look at me.That gets me the focus and I immediately call them or put them in a stay.I also carry super high value treats just for walks,bits of chicken or hotdogs.
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Devo Yorkie Mix at the bridge
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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I have had my eye on the Michael Ellis video about teaching your dog to tug for a while, so I went ahead and bought it. I still have to watch the whole thing, but I think it'll be pretty useful in both teaching him to tug and showing me how to use tug as a reward.

Using a squeaker as an attention getter is a good idea! Squeakers do drive him a little nuts, so that should work to grab his attention.
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