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Hi,
Bailey our 20month old GSD asn't had any problems recently on recall. She loves playing ball and comes back to high value treats.
This evenings event - even with high value treats - she was running around with another GSD we know, when he left us, she was fine - coming back for treats. Then all of a sudden - she didn't want to come back to me. She must of walked atleast 1 mile on her own, got out of sight from me. And as I was running back people were asking if I had lost a GSD. I was sprinting back to find her back sat at our front door. Luckily we live right next to the valley we walk on.

Does anyone have any advice on this sort of behaviour. We took her to puppy class but found that was just repeating stuff she was good at. I have reached out to some dog trainers - but they are wanting $300-$350 for a 1-1 2 hour session? I think that is a little pricey.
 

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Yeah. That is super expensive. I would use an e-collar to proof her recall but not sure they are legal there?
 

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Have you tried 'place', 'recall' I.E. you send the dog to a place (like a bath mat, rubber mat, piece of plywood, or dog bed) then recall them back? We do this a couple of times a day for a couple of reps before we leave the yard for a walk. It is a bit like not lunging through the door. Pup seems to have figured out that if he wants to go for a walk he needs to do a few 'place, recalls.'

After a while, it gets pretty fun as pup tears off for his place as soon as we get outside. It reminds me of a little kid trying to get their snow pants, jacket, mittens, hats, boots, and gloves on before they can play outside in winter

In the early stages, it was useful to me to have a helper distributing rewards on the remote place as you build up duration, distraction, and distance. Over time you can increase the distance out to the place or walk father way for the recall.

@Jax08 My collar arrived this afternoon. Looking forward to figuring it out. I was testing it on my hand. I had to turn up the level to 30 before I felt anything. Then I tried it on the inside of my wrist. BIG difference. Seems the dried out, calloused, old hand conducts less than soft skin on one's forearm.

I am going to ask my mom to try to use the e-collar to shape me into doing some behavior in the kitchen tonight. If I won't do it to myself, I won't do it to my dog.
 

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excellent idea using the e-collar with humans first. It does help get the timing down. If you feel it or your helper can explain it, it can help you figure out how to time it. I think you need to layer the signals of the e-collar on top of long line work Use the long line to teach and hopefully your dog will realize the signal from the collar means the same thing as the leash pressure, to come back to you.
I'm only repeating what I have heard, so make sure to double check with someone who uses an e-collar in a way you can respect.
 

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Examine your relationship with your dog. Out in the real world you are competing for your dogs attention against all the interesting sights and scents... you need to be more interesting than the environment. Increase your value through play and by doing so you can increase the reliability of your training. Playing tug or fetch while being exciting and animated can help with this, being a bit random at times helps too. Of course the games themselves have to have value, but this can generally be built up over time through short sessions.
 

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Are you in Scotland or NI? I think it's still legal as far as I know, get your collar quick! ? If you are in Wales or England then you are out of luck.

I understand the apprehension about shock collars, but all I can say is that they work. I used mine on myself first, put it round my neck and pressed the button. Wasn't so bad! Just made me jump, not painful. I would agree that using your skin to test and set the level of shock is a humane and decent thing to do. It's also not necessarily something you need to do more than a few times if done correctly.
 

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Distractions have to be added incrementally. It sounds like you went from no distractions to having another dog around during the recall and your dog gave you the finger. It takes hundreds or more repetitions with added distractions at the right time and to the right degree to get reliable obedience. An e-collar would help, but don't fry the dog or you will make the problem worse. Use just enough stim that the dog will want to turn it off by displaying the correct behavior.
 

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A trainer would seem helpful. $300 seems out of line to me. Keep getting referrals?

One way to look at it is your dog found something more reinforcing in the environment than what you had. You might want to pay close attention to try to figure out what that was. Rabbits? Birds? Autonomy? Freedom is a reinforcer.

But to bring it back a little, basically the situation is "too much, too soon." Just like sitting in a kitchen is much easier than sitting in a busy park with lots of yapping Yorkies, little kids, and hot dogs lying on the ground, recalling in a comparatively calm area is easier than when there's something enticing. The typical solution is to build up the lower levels until they're solid, slowly building up into higher levels of distraction. Then, hopefully, when your dog encounters the Big One, he is so accustomed to coming that it's automatic.

It's likely that a step was skipped.

Pippa Mattinson has a book called "Total Recall" that I'm using. What's fascinating is that the proofing part is, well, 90% or more of the work. She has a program laid out that includes a gradually escalating number of distractions, in different locations, too, all meant to instill the habit and also help the dog generalize, that is understand the command applies, not just at home but in all these other interesting places, too. Most people whose dogs have selective hearing just haven't gone through that long and exhaustive process.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi all, thanks for all the responses.
We have had Bailey since 7 weeks old. She has been well socialised since a puppy. We walk on this valley 3 times a day, always switching up our walks so they don't get tok boring. She loves to play ball so we always take a ball and fetch with us.

Bailey is always off the lead once we get on to the valley. She plays with all dogs. Usually always comes back to recall. The comment about having a dog around all of a sudden is nothing new. She plays on every walk and is usually great at coming back. We have met this dog a few times and she has played before. She came back to me straight away when I called her to put her on the lead when he was leaving.
I then treated a while and ubclipped her to walk back. She came back to heel for treats etc etc. Then all of a sudden she didnt want to come back. I called, tried to entice with a treat. Walked the other way and hid, called her. Then next minute she was out of sight. And I had to run home to find her outside our house sat at the front door.

I'm in England. I'm not a fan of an E-collar. I want to go down the positive reward and want her to come back rather than a shock to come back.
 
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