I've decided that a reliable recall is needed after a few scares.
First, thanks to Chip18 who PM'd me about this thread.
I think that EVERY DOG needs two bombproof commands, the recall and the sit or down. The recall calls the dog away from danger and the sit or down stop the dog if the danger is between you and the dog. "Bombproof" means that the dog will obey the command no matter what distraction is present, with a single command and no matter how far he is from you (of course he has to be able to hear or feel the command).
I've researched lots and lurk on here daily, it seems the LouCastle protocol is the best and most bombproof.
I could not agree more! lol
I have read the protocal back and forth and took a few weeks to let my self fully understand it. I bought a dogtra e collar and a flexi-leash, found my dogs working level(19) and went to work..
Now I'm having some confusion, what are you supposed to get done in one session?
The first session is going to be the longest one and it's far longer than most people suggest for just about any dog training session. You have to work long enough so the dog has a light bulb
moment. That is, he understands the concept that moving towards you makes the stim stop. Most dogs get this in well under 45 minutes. The instructions describe how the dog will tell you it's time to stop.
I suggest that before using the dog, that you practice the movement until you're good at it. You're doing two things at the same instant, starting the pull and pressing the button. AND it means that when the pull stops, when your arm is fully extended after the pull, that you stop the stim. If you're having trouble with this, try exaggerating the movement of your finger or thumb pressing the button and have someone watch you. If you have an assistant, you can also find his working level and have him hold the receiver, while you make the movement of giving the leash pull as you first press the button as the pull starts and then as you shut off the stim when the pull is over.
We've done three 20-30 minute sessions already and we're not even to the ''walkaways'',
That's not unheard of. One of the more common errors is holding the button down for too long. The protocol says
I suggest that you hold the Flexi in your right hand, the transmitter in your left hand, and that you have your left shoulder pointed towards the dog when you start the pull. Extend your right arm across your chest before you start the pull. This allows you to have 4’-6’ of pull (depending on the length of your arms) in one continuous motion. You can also face the dog and extend your arm straight in front of you. When you pull on the Flexi, extend your arm out the back. This is a bit harder than putting your left side towards the dog, because the muscles that move your arm in that situation are stronger. Another advantage of the first method is that the dog is pulled towards your left side (the heeling side).
we're stuck at the very beginning phase. I know he feels the stim and he's understanding that the ''stim and pull'' means come in my direction, and he's doing that great. But he's just not getting to the point where he's paying close attention to me and not going to the end of the flexi anymore.
I've had several people have a problem with one of the recalls and invariably, they're not doing something that the protocol says to do, or they're adding something that is causing confusion. It's very difficult to diagnosis these kinds of issues so I suggest that you shoot a few minutes of video and post it here. Video from a cell phone is fine, but PLEASE hold your phone horizontally! If you're the shy type, send it to me privately (at the email address in my signature line) and I'll take a look at it. Don't worry about the quality, I'm just looking to see what you're doing.
Most the time he'll pull the flexi 3/4th's out and sit there all gloomy, so I'll ''sneak'' to the end of the flexi to stim/pull and he turns around and comes immediately and sits by me for a few minutes, and either he'll go back 3/4ths to the end of the leash and sit there or I'll sneak away or even make it APPARENT that I'm walking away and he doesn't care, he just waits until the stim and than he comes.
The word that you use to describe his attitude "gloomy"
is usually a sign of confusion. He's trying to make the stim stop but he's not yet figure out how to do it.
I feel like he's sad/mad at me while training, I feel bad, he's being good and I'm just shocking him and making no real progress.
Don't get too worried about it. First, dogs don't "get sad/mad at their owners. Second, I know people who have abandoned Ecollar training because of it. I'm told that there's a study out of Mexico that used cortisol levels to measure stress and that there was less stress with the Ecollar than with either a pinch collar or negative reinforcement with treat training.
I'm afraid I'm dragging this step out too long, but I don't want to move to the next phase when the first isn't even completed.
That's good. If you tried to move to the walkaways, you'd cause more confusion, with most dogs.
We'll come in and take a break and when we go back out in a few hours or the next day he seems to have forgotten everything and he runs right back out to the end of the flexi and the process repeats it's self. I feel like I'm getting nowhere.
Send in that video. I bet the problem will be easy to diagnosis.
Should I force him through longer sessions and get this done? Should I make the ''safe circle'' smaller? Should I progress to the next step already? Or is this protocol maybe not ''one size fits all'' and I should find something else entirely?..
I've put Ecollars on over 4,000 dogs and never found one that did not respond to it. It's not "one−size−fits−all"
since you're tailoring the stim to fit each dog's needs.
Also, what are we allowed to do in between sessions? I'm not sure if I should go out and play fetch and let him run around free or if I need to keep it strictly training for a bit. Will it be confusing to him? since our training area is just in the backyard/driveway, same as his play area.
One of the basic rules of training a dog is to NOT give a command that you can't enforce. Until the recall is proofed with the HOT (Hierarchy of Toys) do not give a recall when you can't pull him in with the Flexi or a long line if he doesn't comply. You'll teach him that OB is permissive, that if he's not in the mood, he doesn't have to obey.
If you need him to come to you coax him, bribe him with a toy or a treat, bang his food bowl, or the like, or pull him in.
Sorry this was long! I could really use some pointers, Thanks!
If you think this was long, you've not seen some of my novels! Lol
While we're on the subject of Flexi leashes, my site says this about them,
There are two types of retractable leashes available. One uses a string and the other uses a flat nylon strap as the leash. I recommend the latter, as the first one can cause injuries, including rope burns and some even more serious. Be sure not to grab the line with either type. If the dog takes off, you can get some burns on your hand. Use only the mechanism provided to stop and start the leash. If you wear shorts while you're training, be sure not to let the leash rub against your leg. If the dog decides to take off running, you can get rope burns.
I recommend that you rig a loop of rope through the handle of the mechanism that will go around your wrist. This will keep the dog from pulling it out of your hand if he gives a very hard pull since it's still attached to your wrist, just like a standard leash. Having this loop will also keep you from dropping the Flexi. If you do drop it, and your dog runs away, it will probably scare your dog because it will seem to be "chasing" after him. This can make him fear the Flexi and may even cause him to panic as he flees.