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What is your dog's motivation to perform foolproof recalls? As in, what is his motivation to stop and come to you instead of chasing that squirrel or cat? Or to come to you instead of ignoring you and eating that tasty piece of food on the ground?

I find that understanding the drive behind a dog's actions helps a lot with training. As of now, Bodie has about 50% reliable recall. But if there's a cat or squirrel in the vicinity, he's gone. I find that even the most enticing treats and happiest praise isn't enough to bring him back in these situations.
 

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I always start off with CLASSES and positive training. The classes are great with the progression of distractions balanced with fixing our generally poor timing in the training process.

Here's some sites with good info:

http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?id=dtb810p

http://www.clickersolutions.com/articles/2002/recall.htm

http://www.expertvillage.com/video-series/362_dog-training-basics-video-series.htm

And if that fails, have to say (only AFTER the dog classes and months of working thru the other methods) I also find a good trainer and resort to the e-collar.
 

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My 6 month old has a pretty reliable recall, even at this age..

I can honestly say, one of the things I have never really had a problem with my GSD's is a good recall.

Their motivation? Heck beats me,,I have been blessed with dogs who have always been totally "into me"..I always reward whether it be food,, a toy,,praise..

Diane
 

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For most of my dogs it's been a combination of training and relationship. I work hard to build a very solid relationship with my dogs and that really pays off. They have to like you to want to come back to you. And then months and months or even years of positive training - lots of reward for coming to me, with gradual increasing of distractions until I can call them off of moose or whatever.

Shock collar is a last resort, only for dogs who are overly prey-driven and have a hard time resisting. I've only had two dogs in 20 years that I felt the need to use a shock collar on, and the last one was in large part due to my illness and difficulty in handling a leash - and the first time I've ever needed a shock collar on a GSD. I'm with Diane on that - my GSDs have all been so bonded to me that recall was never really an issue, even with the large amount of wildlife we have up here. Trick hasn't needed to wear a leash in about ten years now.

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
 

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there is no 50% percent recall. your dog should be trained to come to you all of the time no matter what. you should only have to call their name once.

here's how we taught our dog to come. when he was 9 weeks old i would hold him and my GF would call him. i would turn him towards my GF who was only 3 feet away and she would call him. she would say "Loki, come". she had her hand held out with a treat. when he went to her she treated him and really praised him. then she would hold him and turn him towards me and i would call him. we did this 5 or 6 times a day. we did it indoors, outdoors, in the woods, in front of the super market doors (lots of distractions and it's a great place to socialize),etc. we did it all of the time and everywhere. gradually we lengthen the distance between us. indoors we started going into other rooms and calling him. outdoors istarted hiding behind my neighbors car, a tree or i would go to the rear of the house. if i were alone and training him i would put him on a lunge line. when i called him i would immediately start to pull him towards me. we practiced/trained his recall in many situations. some of the situations where just in front of us and alot of them i set up.

i don't know what my dogs motivation is to follow commands. we teach him and he listens. as far as eating things off the ground he was taught leave it. we're in the woods a lot. we're always coming upon joggers, bikers, hikers, horses and people. whenever we encounter these things we practice something.
 

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Originally Posted By: IliamnasQuest
Shock collar is a last resort, only for dogs who are overly prey-driven and have a hard time resisting.


There are many ways to teach a reliable recall an E-Collar is the training method with a 100% gaurantee, again in my opinion. There are some who will strongly disagree (see above quote with by the way is BS).

I can only tell you that from personal experience, that I currently have 3 GSD's and a Mal with 100% reliable recall. I never worry about them when they are off leash and playing, or just out for a walk with me.
 

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Mack's recall is excellent. I guess it's 100%, I've never really crunched the numbers.
Since day one I have never allowed him to disobey a call to come. The way I did it was when he was young was if he didn't come when I called I went to him, put the leash on, gave a good scolding correction, "NO, COME WHEN I CALL YOU!!."(very disapproving tone of voice) and we went back to wherever I was when I called him. Then he got a little praise. This has to be done without fail. It wasn't long that he learned that ignoring/disobeying me didn't help, he was going to end up there anyway and he ALWAYS got his feelings hurt when he refused. The hard part is you gotta give the correction and then let it go. No bitching and griping on the way back.
The best part about his recall is that he comes at full, paw pounding gallup.
I never used any treats for this. I always kind of thought that you're offering a choice. I want him to think he has no choice.

I also believe that it's only fair to the dog that you have his attention, or at least part of it. If he's after something really interesting he's not paying any attention to me. So when I call, if he doesn't look at me or react at all, I give him the benefit of the doubt that he didn't hear me. If he does look at me and goes back to what he was doing, then he is being disobedient and a correction is called for.
 

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I am lucky, maybe the luckiest person here. Kenya's recall has always been rock solid, and I've never really had to proof it. First of all, I got her at age 3.5 so she was mature and trained to the level of intermediate obedience (sit, down, long stays, great crate manners, totally reliable off leash, agility training). From day one we just had this bond and I *knew* she was reliable and didn't need a lead. Since I got her were only use a lead when required (at dog shows and on public walks). I think the main reason her recall is so good is that usually she never wanders far from me in the first place and is always circling back to check in. I just say her name and she stops what she's doing and comes back. If she's chasing something, I say her name like I mean it, and she comes back.

Coke is the total opposite. He has a great recall when he's already on a tether, when he's comfortable in his own yard, when we have treats....but the times he escapes, it is hopeless. He is so fast and the more we call the farther he runs. Last time we gave up because he was running farther and farther towards the busy street. We went home and waited for him to come sniff on the porch and then tackled him. We have tried long lines, games, toys, treats, going to different fields and parks.... I am putting him through another round of obedience and for the recall I'm probably going to use an e-collar. For us it has become a safety issue, considering where we live and how fast he is. He bolts out the door and runs over a mile before he even stops to look back. I think part of it is his breed. Unlike Kenya who is totally velcro, he acts a lot like a livestock guardian dog. He doesn't mind being outside all day without the other dogs, he always checks and paces along the edges of the property or fence. He loves people but is not super attached to any one person. He marches to the beat of his own drum.
 

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Originally Posted By: lish91883
Originally Posted By: IliamnasQuest
Shock collar is a last resort, only for dogs who are overly prey-driven and have a hard time resisting.


There are many ways to teach a reliable recall an E-Collar is the training method with a 100% gaurantee, again in my opinion. There are some who will strongly disagree (see above quote with by the way is BS).

I can only tell you that from personal experience, that I currently have 3 GSD's and a Mal with 100% reliable recall. I never worry about them when they are off leash and playing, or just out for a walk with me.
Is that a 100% reliable recall without wearing the shock collar? I think you were one of those who has previously said that your dogs always wear a shock collar when off-leash. If you have to have the shock collar on the dog, then you basically have an invisible tether because the dog knows perfectly well you have the ability to cause them a great deal of discomfort if they don't respond.

I've gotten 100% reliable recalls in GSDs without using a shock collar at all - to the point of being able to go outside knowing that there are moose 20 feet from the door.

In my experience, the shock collar is unnecessary for most dogs. But then, I've only taught several hundreds (maybe thousands by now) over the years and only had to resort to the insistence of a shock collar on a few. I encourage my students to work with the dog, understanding why/how they think and perform, instead of merely forcing them to comply. The shock collar forces them to comply in order to avoid the consequence of the shock (even used at a low level, the REASON it works is that the dog doesn't want to be shocked). Some people are willing to use this for all training. Others are not. I'm one of those that is not.

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
 

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My Golden had a very reliable recall. I really don't know her motivation except that I gave her lots of praise and sometimes treats when she came to me. I used very mild leash correction when I first trained her with a long line but obviously there are no corrections once we got off leash and she was very reliable off leash. I've called her off possums in close proximity, squirrels when she was in mid-chase, and so on...
As far as not eating food off the ground, I use "leave it" for that, not a recall-- or "drop it" if they already had something and I wanted them to stop. I have had her grab something from the ground when I was not looking but a "drop it" would get her to spit whatever it was out immediately. I did not use any corrections for training "drop it" except a stern voice.
 

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My dogs will recall with or without the collar.
 

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Quote: What is your dog's motivation to perform foolproof recalls? As in, what is his motivation to stop and come to you instead of chasing that squirrel or cat? Or to come to you instead of ignoring you and eating that tasty piece of food on the ground?
Respect. Don't know what else to call it. And they learn it at a very young age. Come means come whether there is a squirrel, a cat or a deer. Lots of praise and treats when they are right. While I have used an e-collar for other areas of training I have never used one for this.
 

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When Molly was still a puppy, our first GSD, and we hadn't finished our first obedience class, we had to leave for Colorado sooner than expected. The next lesson was going to be recall. Our house in Colorado is surrounded by miles of free land and no fenced enclosure.

Our instructor said, "You've got to get an e-collar overnight, and I've got to teach you how to use it." So we did all that. I don't regret it. She has superb recall. We still use the collar on long hikes because we're waiting for that first bear encounter, and I used it this past week when we encountered a large running elk herd crossing the road in front of us.

When Molly's outside in Colorado, she's always in sight of the house. In fact in the morning sometimes I see her running the perimeter in that classic GSD way.

Knowing her as I do now, she probably didn't need it but what were we to do in those early days when we knew so little? I tried it on my wrist, and it wasn't much, but my husband jumped on the same setting, so obviously it's a subjective experience.

There's a trainer in L.A. who gets paid big bucks to train puppies in his home and starts every one on an e collar which seems crazy to me. I know there are other trainers who think the same thing, but would like to get the $ he gets. Used to see him at the dog park. with his clients and puppies.
 

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Training, proofing (in many MANY different situations), relationship and respect.

With my GSDs it was much more of a relationship thing.

My Cocker has VERY high prey drive. If he sees a small animal running away he will bolt.

This is where the respect comes in. I always start with a LEAVE IT!! I use my Tough Mom voice to get through the prey-haze that is fogging his mind. I may need to repeat myself once in a somewhat louder voice but I've never had him NOT stop. Once he has stopped the chasing I will give him the recall command and LOTS of praise as soon as he starts towards me.

I think that the vast majority of dogs would not NEED an electric collar in order to have a good recall. But sometimes people either don't have the time to train or don't WANT to spend the time training.

I prefer not to rely on any equipment for controling my dogs.
 
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