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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I'm looking for some advice please.

We've worked very hard on recall. We've been taking him to 1-2-1 training sessions every week and have trained him to the whistle. We got it a point that it rarely failed. We could even let him play with other dogs and call him and walk in the opposite direction and he'd respond to the recall command and follow us to continue the walk, it was pleasant to have him off the lead.

In the last week we've noticed his recall has taken a massive hit.. When we recall him, he will stop and look at us and do nothing, literally just stands there staring at us (ignores us). If we recall him and he sees another dog he will just stare at us and then bolt it over to the dog rather than respond to the command.

His recall in the last week has been non-existent around other dogs and even in empty fields, which is the first time since we have had him.

Is this a sign that he is beginning his adolescence phase (his behaviour at home is still amazing - he is good as gold)?

What recommendations can you provide, is a long line a must?

Thanks in advance,

Tom
 

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I haven't hit it quite yet that hard with my 9mos girl, but sounds like the "adolescent / teenage" phase I keep reading about. Seems going back to the basics with a long-line is in order from what I have read, or consider an e-collar. I started using an e-collar only on vibrate/tone when our girl turned 7mos and used only when she hesitates too long or is distracted with other things like other dogs or people. I'm sure some of the more veteran owners will chime in here.
 

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Sounds exactly like I experienced with my boy Reggie, his recall was nearly 99% then it just went off the rails. I really thought all my hard work was gone and it was really hard to accept. Anything was more interesting than me and he was clearly at the teenage defiant stage. Advice from forum was to put him back on check cord which gave me time to gain back my control. It was back to basics for Reggie, and I also found high value treats made him think twice about darting off. So for a few months I only walked him with the check cord when off lead, working hard to make him aware I’m much more fun to be with. A few hairy moments as he’s a master at spotting a deer ! but now at 14 months he’s a changed boy it’s like a remote control dog, without hesitation when I shout his name he’s on his way back. Not saying I won’t have more bumps in the road but check cord all the way for me. Hope that helps ! Hang in there
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dan, Kazi, thank you so much for sharing your experiences. This is super useful to know and it has really helped me to think that all is not lost. I will take him right back to basics on a long line and with a big of perseverance and luck at 14 months I'll have a "remote control" dog too!
 

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Sounds about right. They all seem to do it, and they actually have to. It's part of growing up.
Your dog was meant to be an independent working dog, so what appears to be "blowing you off", and it is, is more a part of him beginning to make his own decisions. To be an effective hunter he has to be given his head, with rules.
Put him back on the check cord and start to work him in a more structured pattern when you have space. Send him out, bring him back, move left, move right, and continue to send him out and bring him back.
It's also time to incorporate a new command. You need to develop a new comfortable command to bring him back towards you, but not right to you.You want to call him in to control his range, but you also want to give him some freedom. With Finn, I just command "here, here" and when he is close enough, I wave him off, and we continue to move.
I work my dog in a "moving box". The box is maybe 50x100 meters. He has all the freedom he wants in a area the size of a football field, but I control where that football field is at.
One "trick" that you'll find is that after you get him reconditioned on the long checkcord, you can attach a much shorter length to him. He won't know how long it is. ;)
You didn't do anything wrong in his training or conditioning. This a sequence almost all Vizslas, and all hunt breed dogs go through. He'll need a few months of overt handling on your part, but then he'll settle out.
Last Fall I went into hunting season with Finn at his 13 month mark. He'd been good with the recall, but about 3 weeks into the season,he started blowing off the recall also. We spent the remainder of the season with Finn hunting on a check cord, and an eCollar. I thought I got lucky with him, and wouldn't have to repeat the recall training, but in the end, he was just a typical Vizsla boy. They are what they are.
Keep your boy moving on that check cord, give him lots of commands and control his range and direction. Be animated and overt and have a lot of fun.
 

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Be animated and overt and have a lot of fun.
I've really embraced this concept with Ellie. I understand it is the basics for dog training; however, I just find with Ellie she really responds best when its all a happy game. Being too "serious" with her will cause her to retract away. My GSD loved the serious-job style of training, she would snap into little soldier mode and loved every minute right up to her praise/reward. Not trying to be too generalistic but it is amazing the nuances between breeds. They are not a one-size-fits-all for certain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all for your input - it's greatly appreciated. We've been using the long line for 2 weeks now and when he's on it his recall is immense and I hope this is a glimpse into the future! However, I told my trainer (1-2-1) that I'd started using the long line, he told me to stop it as the dog needs to learn how to behave around the distractions without an aid. My trouble with this is that, I know the dog will ignore me and bolt it after interesting things and learns how fun it is to do so each time - I don't see how my trainers method will translate to success in the future.

What are your thoughts on my trainers advice? It doesn't stack up to me which, isn't a great sign considering that I'm paying for the advice.

Thanks, Tom
 

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Thank you all for your input - it's greatly appreciated. We've been using the long line for 2 weeks now and when he's on it his recall is immense and I hope this is a glimpse into the future! However, I told my trainer (1-2-1) that I'd started using the long line, he told me to stop it as the dog needs to learn how to behave around the distractions without an aid. My trouble with this is that, I know the dog will ignore me and bolt it after interesting things and learns how fun it is to do so each time - I don't see how my trainers method will translate to success in the future.

What are your thoughts on my trainers advice? It doesn't stack up to me which, isn't a great sign considering that I'm paying for the advice.

Thanks, Tom
Thank you all for your input - it's greatly appreciated. We've been using the long line for 2 weeks now and when he's on it his recall is immense and I hope this is a glimpse into the future! However, I told my trainer (1-2-1) that I'd started using the long line, he told me to stop it as the dog needs to learn how to behave around the distractions without an aid. My trouble with this is that, I know the dog will ignore me and bolt it after interesting things and learns how fun it is to do so each time - I don't see how my trainers method will translate to success in the future.

What are your thoughts on my trainers advice? It doesn't stack up to me which, isn't a great sign considering that I'm paying for the advice.

Thanks, Tom
Hi Tom, the long lead is my lifeline and my trainer recommends I use in multiple scenarios. My V Reggie is now 15 months and when he lost recall around 8/9 months it was my go to aid coupled with treats & praise. It gave me back my confidence and enabled me to feel I had control if needed & more importantly it’s worked, Reggie recall is now very impressive. So while I wouldn’t dream of undermining a trainer it worked for me. Good luck
 

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Every bird dog trainer I know uses a (long line) check cord. Even if your not training your dog to hunt, a check cord helps is so many areas.
 
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Options are long line or e-collar(after 6-7mos). Not sure why your trainer would deny you such a valuable training aid. I can’t see how letting him free without recall working will “teach him”.

I have learned that not all trainers are the same and sometimes they default to methods that may not be breed specific optimal.
 

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Thank you all for your input - it's greatly appreciated. We've been using the long line for 2 weeks now and when he's on it his recall is immense and I hope this is a glimpse into the future! However, I told my trainer (1-2-1) that I'd started using the long line, he told me to stop it as the dog needs to learn how to behave around the distractions without an aid. My trouble with this is that, I know the dog will ignore me and bolt it after interesting things and learns how fun it is to do so each time - I don't see how my trainers method will translate to success in the future.

What are your thoughts on my trainers advice? It doesn't stack up to me which, isn't a great sign considering that I'm paying for the advice.

Thanks, Tom
Your trainer is not wrong, but at the same time, there is more involved.
In an environment that "I can control", I will let the dog have it's head for the purpose of correcting distractions. The Key element here is an "environment that I can control".
When I was having problems with Finn, I would take him to an "Off Leash" specified training area for dogs. This area is probably over a thousand acres. If there were no other dogs, or day walkers there, I would let him go, dragging his check cord ,to specifically work on his attention to commands. If I got there and the place was full of people and other dogs, there was more control and he was on the long check cord, and kept close.
Trainiers have the benefit of working with many dogs through the years. Some work out, and some do not. Those that do not are generally rehomed, or are other peoples dogs. You have one dog, and it has to work! You don't have the benefit of choosing from multiple dogs, and rehoming those that do not work, or just drop them as potential "winners". You only have one.
Check cords come in all lengths. Basically any length you want to use. A basic check cord is probably 30 feet long, but I have used cords 150 feet long. The purpose is to extend the leash and fix in the dog's mind that you can, and will, enforce a command at any distance. The check cord does not always have to be held in your hand. they can drag it behind them and if they blow off a command, you only need to get ahold of the check cord and not the dog. Once you have the check cord inhand, you have the dog in hand, regardless of the distance.
This is your dog. You are your dog's advocate and your dogs safety net. If you do not believe that he is ready to be off leash 100% of the time, then he is not ready. It could be a case of you are not ready, but if you're not ready, he's not ready.
Keep doing what you're doing. ;)
 
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