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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I am looking for some advise on training for a successful recall.
We are in session 2 (11 weeks)!of Puppy Kindergarten and my boy has seemed to have completely forgotten or is being really stubborn about coming to me
during recall. Stryker just turned 5 months and at this point I can only do recalls inside the home or at the training facility, as I can’t trust him in yard off leash until our fence gets done.

Last week after class, we had an off leash play session and he would not come back to me. The same thing happened this week during the recall exercise. Everything else is coming along well in the training.

So we graduated this program (AKC STAR)once successfully and I decided to do it again because I started his at 11 weeks. I will be asking my trainer next week for suggestions.

Any suggestions would be appreciated, as I like to get multiple ideas.

Thanks!
 

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Start off with zero distractions.Add distractions slowly.Playing with other puppies or chasing a squirrel is much more rewarding to him than coming to you.If there is any chance whatsoever that he won't recall keep a long line on him and reel him in.Reward with whatever he really loves- steak,a game of tug,his favorite toy.He will learn with practice over time that he MUST come when called.
Try to never set him up to fail- if he's obviously focused on something and unlikely to recall go to him instead rather than calling him again and he ignores you.Patience and persistence:)
 

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also remember that you have a very young dog. Maturity helps bring more impulse control. Your dog will be entering adolescence. There will be times it seems that your buddy have forgotten everything. He might be testing his limits to see if you mean what you say, so as Dogma suggested, long lines and plenty of rewards are you go to tools. Sometimes my dogs won't come because we are playing a game and they don't want it to end. Their refusal to move is them telling me that they want to continue our fun! Since we are in a fenced yard, I turn and go into the house. I watch for awhile and my dogs come to the door. I praise and reward when they come in. (this won't work with all dogs. Some love being outside so much they don't mind being out alone).
 

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Start off with zero distractions.Add distractions slowly.Playing with other puppies or chasing a squirrel is much more rewarding to him than coming to you.If there is any chance whatsoever that he won't recall keep a long line on him and reel him in.Reward with whatever he really loves- steak,a game of tug,his favorite toy.He will learn with practice over time that he MUST come when called.
Try to never set him up to fail- if he's obviously focused on something and unlikely to recall go to him instead rather than calling him again and he ignores you.Patience and persistence:)
This! And also, if you do get him to leave play and come to you, immediately release him back to play more, DON'T make that the end of the play session. At the actual end of the play session I'd just walk up to him, offer him a really tasty treat, and clip on leash while saying nothing at all. Then it's over, but he didn't really realize what was going on, just got a yummy treat and got clipped. At this age I would never call out of play to end play--calling out of play means great treat then right back to it.
 

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This! And also, if you do get him to leave play and come to you, immediately release him back to play more, DON'T make that the end of the play session. At the actual end of the play session I'd just walk up to him, offer him a really tasty treat, and clip on leash while saying nothing at all. Then it's over, but he didn't really realize what was going on, just got a yummy treat and got clipped. At this age I would never call out of play to end play--calling out of play means great treat then right back to it.
100% agree.This also a strategy for practicing other obedience commands while a dog is excited.Play,SIT!release to play.I like to sneak one or two in during different activities:)
 

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Cowboygirl's advice is excellent. And...they will never be robots. There is always the chance they won't come, depending of what is going on that requires their attention more. We need to manage them in all situations, be one step ahead of them and making sure that they will be successful. Be patient, he is a very young dog. Adolescence can be a whole other can of worms, just around the corner.
 

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When Beau started learning recall as a puppy I made it a big party. Here here here!!! In happy excited tones, playful body language, treats or play when he got there. So he learned coming when called was FUN! I used the strategies mentioned above as well so coming to me very rarely meant the end of play, it meant more fun. I used other ways to cue that it was time to move on/go home/whatever. Even now at 3.5 he will respond to that kind of recall when he is super distracted or engaged in something interesting. The norm now is a simple Come, and he’s maybe 80% responsive to it, but if he’s too distracted, the recall party still works.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the excellent responses! I was leaning towards using a 25 foot training leash. We actually do pretty well in the house without lots of distractions, but out in public is a whole other story. That is why I want to get it right. I would hate to be “one of those GSD owners, with an out of control dog”.

So this affirms the right direction to go.

I was going to add a pic but I don’t think it will let me do that on mobile phone. But not sure. ?

If they do come through, one was from last night and the other was our “first graduation “.
 

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You can get 50' of thin line at the hardware store and tie a leash clip to it. If 50' is too long, just shorten the line. Don't call him to come unless he is on the long line so that he doesn't have the opportunity to disobey. Also, don't be afraid to give him a sharp pop on the line if he hesitates to come. When he starts coming towards you, squat and open your arms and use a silly, high pitch voiced to encourage him like, "Good come!" repeatedly. Then reward with food or toy, and praise and petting. Finally, have a release command so that he knows the expectation is over. You can do this informally by having him on the long line just walking around with him and letting him get the distance of the line from you. After a while when he is sniffing around or his attention is occupied with something other than you, give the come command with some assertiveness. If he doesn't come, pop the leash enough to get his attention and repeat come. But don't get into the habit of repeating commands over and over. If he absolutely refuses to come, reel him in assertively. Be consistent. I don't think people are often aware of how many repetitions of training a behavior is required for a dog to become reliable.
 

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You can get 50' of thin line at the hardware store and tie a leash clip to it. If 50' is too long, just shorten the line. Don't call him to come unless he is on the long line so that he doesn't have the opportunity to disobey. Also, don't be afraid to give him a sharp pop on the line if he hesitates to come. When he starts coming towards you, squat and open your arms and use a silly, high pitch voiced to encourage him like, "Good come!" repeatedly. Then reward with food or toy, and praise and petting. Finally, have a release command so that he knows the expectation is over. You can do this informally by having him on the long line just walking around with him and letting him get the distance of the line from you. After a while when he is sniffing around or his attention is occupied with something other than you, give the come command with some assertiveness. If he doesn't come, pop the leash enough to get his attention and repeat come. But don't get into the habit of repeating commands over and over. If he absolutely refuses to come, reel him in assertively. Be consistent. I don't think people are often aware of how many repetitions of training a behavior is required for a dog to become reliable.
How old is this puppy again? I never give corrections to do with recalls with young pups, and i think for the most part they are so unnecessary. Puppies love fun, and they love us, so if we are fun for them there won't be any conflict and why should there be? I never call for anything that sucks. I don't call them for play being over, I don't call to come inside (same thing), ear cleaning, being put up, what else?

I call them for going OUT to play, special amazing treats, meals, basically anything they love. restrained recalls with high value rewards.

I have found that far fewer corrections or force is needed in the long run if there is a strong positive association to begin with. I prefer to train with as little force and corrections as I can. It usually does become necessary at some point, but I wouldn't pop an untrained puppy.

If I need them for anything they aren't going to like, I just go get them and add in a tasty treat if needed so they don't resent me coming to get them. On the RARE occasion someone decides to run from me I let them know that will never be tolerated but they are only in trouble until they turn themselves in and as soon as they stop running I flip back into you're the best puppy in the world.

Look how hard they work for things that they want--I want them to WANT to do what I want them to do, and want it bad, so I have all their effort and enthusiasm on my side, not vise versa.

When I think they can succeed because they've trained that far, I do start calling out of fun things as a training exercise only, so I am prepared to follow through and prepared to release them back to the great thing as part of their reward. If I don't have anything higher value than what they were called off of, then they are released back to it as a training exercise.

As they grow up we gradually enter the real world where yes, i will call you for things that suck and you will have to come anyway and they will. If a bit of correction or follow thru is needed as we get into the world of "adult" recalls then they get that...but like I said I find way fewer corrections and less force if you do a strong positive foundation. If they refuse a recall it's because whatever else they are doing is more rewarding than you. That means you need to be more rewarding.
 

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How old is this puppy again? I never give corrections to do with recalls with young pups, and i think for the most part they are so unnecessary. Puppies love fun, and they love us, so if we are fun for them there won't be any conflict and why should there be? I never call for anything that sucks. I don't call them for play being over, I don't call to come inside (same thing), ear cleaning, being put up, what else?

I call them for going OUT to play, special amazing treats, meals, basically anything they love. restrained recalls with high value rewards.

I have found that far fewer corrections or force is needed in the long run if there is a strong positive association to begin with. I prefer to train with as little force and corrections as I can. It usually does become necessary at some point, but I wouldn't pop an untrained puppy.

If I need them for anything they aren't going to like, I just go get them and add in a tasty treat if needed so they don't resent me coming to get them. On the RARE occasion someone decides to run from me I let them know that will never be tolerated but they are only in trouble until they turn themselves in and as soon as they stop running I flip back into you're the best puppy in the world.

Look how hard they work for things that they want--I want them to WANT to do what I want them to do, and want it bad, so I have all their effort and enthusiasm on my side, not vise versa.

When I think they can succeed because they've trained that far, I do start calling out of fun things as a training exercise only, so I am prepared to follow through and prepared to release them back to the great thing as part of their reward. If I don't have anything higher value than what they were called off of, then they are released back to it as a training exercise.

As they grow up we gradually enter the real world where yes, i will call you for things that suck and you will have to come anyway and they will. If a bit of correction or follow thru is needed as we get into the world of "adult" recalls then they get that...but like I said I find way fewer corrections and less force if you do a strong positive foundation. If they refuse a recall it's because whatever else they are doing is more rewarding than you. That means you need to be more rewarding.
No offense intended, and I totally agree with this approach for a young, untrained puppy, but the OP's puppy is 5 months old, has been through 2 AKC STAR classes, and has only recently started blowing off recall!

That is almost exactly when my previously perfect puppy started looking me right in the eye and deciding no, I don't want to do that, whatever "that" was at the time (mostly recall with distractions).

I used a technique very similar to what Chip described, and it worked very well! At some point all puppies need to learn somehow that commands, any commands, are not optional! One can only rely on that "be more rewarding" technique for so long.
 

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This! And also, if you do get him to leave play and come to you, immediately release him back to play more, DON'T make that the end of the play session. At the actual end of the play session I'd just walk up to him, offer him a really tasty treat, and clip on leash while saying nothing at all. Then it's over, but he didn't really realize what was going on, just got a yummy treat and got clipped. At this age I would never call out of play to end play--calling out of play means great treat then right back to it.
The bolded is such a critical step.
 

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No offense intended, and I totally agree with this approach for a young, untrained puppy, but the OP's puppy is 5 months old, has been through 2 AKC STAR classes, and has only recently started blowing off recall!

That is almost exactly when my previously perfect puppy started looking me right in the eye and deciding no, I don't want to do that, whatever "that" was at the time (mostly recall with distractions).

I used a technique very similar to what Chip described, and it worked very well! At some point all puppies need to learn somehow that commands, any commands, are not optional! One can only rely on that "be more rewarding" technique for so long.
Okay Tim...I did ask how old the puppy is, and I also said corrections will come at some point.

5 months? I've never had to start popping one of mine that young. AKC Star classes aren't exactly recall wizard classes, I got exactly zero instruction on how to teach a recall in the one I took, though i didn't need it.

To each their own but I think it is more fair to the puppy to understand what is motivating it and use that to your advantage than to just go straight to popping them. I also feel there is middle ground here. Like, you can have your puppy on a long line, and you can prevent them from blowing you off and self rewarding with whatever, and you still don't have to give them a "sharp pop"

There is another exercise where a helper holds food for the puppy and the owner has puppy on long line. Puppy runs to helper for a treat or at least to smell the treats. Then owner calls puppy and helper becomes boring and closes hands on treats so the puppy is unable to self reward once they have been called. It is a way to teach a puppy to turn away from something interesting and complete a recall. You can afford to wait a minute for the puppy to get with the program and come back to you, where you hopefully have something more rewarding than what the helper had.

I do add corrections for literal disobedience when it is actually disobedience but I think a lot of what people think is disobedience is really lack of training, and there is a difference. I try not to correct a dog for something I they don't know because I didn't take the time to teach them
 

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Nice to get some additional input. I see one consistent factor in everyone's responses about training come and that is to be sure to reward highly with a multitude of flavors: high value food, lots of affection and praise, more play time, toys, etc. I am going to start with a hybrid I think. I like Chips suggestions about not ever doing the recall off of a lead, so that I do not set him up to fail and to get his attention if Stryker is absolutely ignoring me. I also feel that Thecoyboysgirls take is the most positive reinforcement way, and I will lean towards that first. But, Tim was 100% correct in saying that at 5 months, his almost perfect dog was doing the same thing and ignoring commands (recall). That is where I am today.

I am committed to doing the exercise over and over, until we get it down. And not against making a minor correction with a positive reinforcement at the end. I guess maybe I just need to make a bigger "party" to make sure that he knows that I am more fun that what has his attention at the time.

We will continue to work on this!! :smile2:
 

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Nice to get some additional input. I see one consistent factor in everyone's responses about training come and that is to be sure to reward highly with a multitude of flavors: high value food, lots of affection and praise, more play time, toys, etc. I am going to start with a hybrid I think. I like Chips suggestions about not ever doing the recall off of a lead, so that I do not set him up to fail and to get his attention if Stryker is absolutely ignoring me. I also feel that Thecoyboysgirls take is the most positive reinforcement way, and I will lean towards that first. But, Tim was 100% correct in saying that at 5 months, his almost perfect dog was doing the same thing and ignoring commands (recall). That is where I am today.

I am committed to doing the exercise over and over, until we get it down. And not against making a minor correction with a positive reinforcement at the end. I guess maybe I just need to make a bigger "party" to make sure that he knows that I am more fun that what has his attention at the time.

We will continue to work on this!! :smile2:
Sounds like you have all the pieces you need including commitment to repetition and follow through.

Last thing I am not sure ever got mentioned, is when the dog is coming to you and you are preparing to give the reward, run away. It stimulates the dog to chase you and come in faster. It also takes all the pressure off the dog in case they are sensitive to that. Some dogs are super sensitive to spatial pressure, if you are standing shoulders squared staring at the dog that's body language for "don't come to me", where if you turn your shoulders a bit, don't stare directly at the dog and move away from the dog, that's body language for "come with/to me". Plus, puppies like to chase stuff.

Good luck!
 

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Great thread! Newbie here and this thread really helped me to understand the proper way to train recall. I will be changing my ways ASAP!

Firs time, full-bred GSD owner of Wrigley (8week) liver and tan. We have mastered sit overnight so I was super hopeful everything else would come quickly as well.. NOT! I have 2 others dogs so I have been taking Rigs to the backyard or basement if weather is super crap for one on one training/bonding time. I’ve been trying to work in “come” for the past 2 days and so far it’s not as crisp as “sit”.

I have been attaching lead, having him on “sit”, working in “stay” stepping back and reenforcing “stay”. I then would take several steps back and give “come” at first he was still sitting there.. gave him a quick tug in the lead for come and he finally did it. And I rewarded with a bit of chicken hotdog (our training treat) and lots of praise and petting. However, he is stubborn and easily distracted. He will just stare at your like nah mom, not happening or he’ll walk off and want to play with something random in the grass.

I’m not opposed to professional training however I’d enjoy doing it myself for that bonding time/ experience. So any further advice is greatly appreciated.

Also, how long would you set training times for a 8 week old? I know their attention spans are super long.

Thanks- Steph
 

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To each their own but I think it is more fair to the puppy to understand what is motivating it and use that to your advantage than to just go straight to popping them. I also feel there is middle ground here. Like, you can have your puppy on a long line, and you can prevent them from blowing you off and self rewarding with whatever, and you still don't have to give them a "sharp pop"
I couldn't agree more! I did the vast majority of my pup's training off leash using treats and praise as motivation. At 5 or so months of age though, I started seeing outright defiance. At that point we did some on leash reinforcement, without any "sharp leash pops". Honestly, my dog is now just over 2 yrs old, and the only time I've ever given her a sharp leash pop is for persistently forging ahead while heeling, and only then because it was persistent!


...

I do add corrections for literal disobedience when it is actually disobedience but I think a lot of what people think is disobedience is really lack of training, and there is a difference. I try not to correct a dog for something I they don't know because I didn't take the time to teach them
I agree with this also! In general puppies are much less "disobedient" or "stubborn" than people think! And, from my perspective at least, the purpose of a correction is not punishment, it simply reminds the puppy that listening to your direction is not optional, and should always be followed up with praise (and or treats) when the puppy shows it understood!

With my puppy I didn't have to resort to a long line even to remedy her blowing off recall. I used a drag line in the house, and I called her toward the bathroom in which she had bad a recent bath in the tub - which she did not appreciate LOL! When she failed to come (only because it was to the dreaded bathroom), I went to her and grabbed the leash and without further comment drug her to where I was when I called her, then praised profusely and released her - without making her go into the bathroom. For her, I only had to do this a few times and she's been 99.8% reliable since (unless she's in hot pursuit of a rabbit, that's still a work in progress, but it's getting much better!).

So when I said a similar method, I was really just referring to using a leash or long line. Of course each dog is different, but if you show the dog that commands are not optional, they'll catch on pretty quickly. I commented before because I see lots of people still trying to be the "most exciting or rewarding" thing for their dog at 1 yr or more...to me that's just wrong! Even if the dog is new to you, you can't be more exciting than a squirrel or rabbit, so why try?!! From my perspective that is something you do with very young puppies only.
 

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1. Make yourself high value. Food and play when he returns.
2. Play engagement games with him so he looks to you. I like restrained recalls too. It's fun for them. Throw food and call him back, reward. Throw another piece.
3. Have a long line so you can reel him in.
 

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recall

Hi all,

I am looking for some advise on training for a successful recall.
We are in session 2 (11 weeks)!of Puppy Kindergarten and my boy has seemed to have completely forgotten or is being really stubborn about coming to me
during recall. Stryker just turned 5 months and at this point I can only do recalls inside the home or at the training facility, as I can’t trust him in yard off leash until our fence gets done.

Last week after class, we had an off leash play session and he would not come back to me. The same thing happened this week during the recall exercise. Everything else is coming along well in the training.

So we graduated this program (AKC STAR)once successfully and I decided to do it again because I started his at 11 weeks. I will be asking my trainer next week for suggestions.

Any suggestions would be appreciated, as I like to get multiple ideas.

Thanks!
Even the best trained military/police dogs wont come back 100% of the time so just do the best you can and with all these great suggestions you will be ok.
 

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1. Make yourself high value. Food and play when he returns.
2. Play engagement games with him so he looks to you. I like restrained recalls too. It's fun for them. Throw food and call him back, reward. Throw another piece.
3. Have a long line so you can reel him in.
I don't remember who I'm stealing this from, and I'm not quoting exactly either, but the idea of a good recall is a dog that really wants to be with you and you're giving him permission.
 
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