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Hi all,
We have noticed just in this last week that our 6 month old is not responding to his name anymore. Even in the house with low distraction, we can say his name and it's as though we had said nothing! He used to be great in obedience class and now just selectively listens and is allegedly deaf to his name all of a sudden. All of a sudden his moments of wanting to work for treats are becoming few and far between. Should we correct him when he doesn't respond or wait a few moments and try again in a more upbeat fashion? During this phase should we really limit the attention and affection? Thank you for your responses.
 

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This is a difficult one. I am struggling with Copper who is 14 months old just this week, on the recall. They go through stages and yours now is in the I'm learning about the outside world stage. Meaning, I know whats inside with my house and family and the outside stuff is just way more interesting! :) Also, understand that they live to hunt. It seems they need to hunt in some way every day. They find any moving object, smell it, track it and try to attack it! This is where my problem lie. If Copper sees prey, any prey, or even hears it he will not come when called. It's a bit frustrating and I have 4 others in the house so the poor dog is always being called for something.
Any way; this is what I did/do. I try not to call him unless I really need to. I use other methods to get his attention like talking, whistling etc. If I do need to get him to come and he doesn't, I raise my voice a bit and drop the tone (I really don't want to to this :(). I also will throw something is his direction to get his attention. Sometimes, I will go after him (this is only when I really need him to come). If he has his e-collar on; he will get buzzed and then shocked if he doesn't comply. I always make sure he comes when called. He never gets to ignore the command! I hope others will chime in on this topic and post their opinions and experiences. I really do think they want to come but go through these phases where they are so engaged in an activity it's just to tempting to turn away.
 

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Somehow, treat training will have this effect. We did this to our GS dog and ended up around 6 moths with a small monster who needed to be retrained professionally.
After all they get fed even if they disobey orders. So there is really no consequence for disobeying.

Some of the most obedient dogs are not treat trained, instead there is always a consequence for not obeying even 1 order. So they learn to weigh the consequences. However, that takes some nerve on the part of the trainer because the correction must match the drive mode of the dog.
 

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I'm afraid I have to respectfully but completely disagree with datacan ;)

Treat training should not result in a dog deciding to disobey! And the dog should absolutely not be fed if it ignores you. If you are treat training and following the NILF (nothing in life is free) philosophy, the dog should work for every single bit of food it gets. So rather than putting their food in a bowl and giving it to them after one command, you get them to do something for each piece of kibble or each little bit of food. To me, it seems that not treat training but instead training the dog some other way then giving it dinner encourages the dog to think that it gets food for nothing. And for most dogs food is a strong motivator so why not use it?

To get back to the recall issue, linescreamer is right, you are competing with a very exciting world so you need to make sure coming to you is always rewarding in some way, not always food. Whenever the dog pays you some attention, even if it's just a quick check in, praise him. One of our trainers had a 5- month old with a really solid recall, scatter brained in many other ways but great with recall and she thought that was because every but of food that pup had ever had came directly from one of them. Keep some kibble in your pocket and at odd times, get the dogs attention and when it comes over, praise and give it a piece. Also, rather than always calling it, use other ways to get his attention, walk away briskly in another direction, pretend to be really interested in something in the grass, someone else on this forum once suggested rolling around on the ground. These things will help convince your pup that you are where the action is so that you don't have to call him, he will just automatically look to you.

Of course, all this is so much easier to say than do ;D. And I have to admit that although I think Merc is pretty good at coming when I call, I'm not convinced he is as rock solid as he should be.
 

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But U are not really disagreeing at all, Merc.
1. NILF training, by definition is a form of consequence training.
2. We are dealing with a 6 month old, unneutered dog. Vizsla dogs are frail but not weak, fearless with intense drive (cat trapped in a dog's body?) ;)

I like Ian Dunbar's training methods and at Ted he spoke to the point raised here.
http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/ian_dunbar_on_dog_friendly_dog_training.html

if the link is dead please Google Ian Dunbar at Ted
 

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Good responces so far. Please post your ideas or experiences. :) When Copper is called in or back to me, he is usually outside and out of sight. Most of the time he is smelling a squirrel or chipmunk, or maybe posted at the base of a tree looking for movement in the branches! He does recall but it takes a minute or two. :mad: I'm going to talk to a trainer about this on Sunday. Maybe I will be provided with some ideas to implement. :)
 

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8) I like your dog, Linescreamer and from what you describe he's really fun. I suspect you invested lots quality training time. Cannot put a price on that.
 

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So simple when someone else says it!

I guess most training issues come back to going slowly one step at a time. Boring ;)

Datacan, I'm glad you think that we are not really disagreeing. I think I am a bit sensitive to criticisms of treat training because some people seem to think that if you treat train you have no rules or boundaries for the dog and you are just spoiling it rotten (my in laws think this). You are right, when applied properly it is consequence based training but I think often people don't apply it properly and are disappointed when it apparently doesn't work.
 

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Not at all boring. Even teachers learn more by teaching.

Marking correct/desired behavior at the exact time it happened is the issue with learning. Marking by keyword or treat is considered positive.
However, most marking is lost since it is too late or only partially associated with behavior.

Any form of physical correction is considered negative. However, does anyone remember the exact moment they touched a hot stove? Would they try it once more?
What is the correct approach when the dog chases a cat and doesn't pay attention to anything else? He is in intense drive mode.
I once threw my treat bag after them and it was taken by another dog. My dog (GSD 6 month old) kept chasing and hurt the cat.

Anyway, Viszla dogs are different I hope.
 

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My V is also 14 months and I think we reached a point a few months ago where he would always come back but I wasn't strict enough that it had to be right by me and just wait until my next move. It was just a general, 'good boy you've come back to about 1m away from me and will dash off again'. No good!

One thing which really helped is whenever I took him on a walk I wouldn't walk in a straight line. I was aiming for the dog to always be behind me. If he ran in front I would turn and walk in another direction. No talking to him or really even looking at him. It never got to the point where he was completely with me but he was constantly looking round to see where I was. I then built it up so whenever he looked at me, I would put in the recall (I use a whistle - it's not a magic cure but I think it's more effective than shouting). His job was to come all the way up to me and I ask for a sit. He then has to wait there until I say 'ok' and release. Build it up again so you are calling him away from higher and higher distractions. Sniffing, recall then release, See a dog, recall then release etc etc.

I was fairly lucky that he loves tennis balls so I use these instead of treats. I would recall and when he's sat in front of me and steady he gets the ball thrown at his feet, that's the reward.

I would try the walking around thing for at least 2 weeks and hopefully you'll see an improvement in his attention on you.

Agree with the above also - really limit the amount you are talking to him in the house. Your voice becomes part of the background and he can chose to ignore it. Try to only say the command once and if he doesn't comply make him do it i.e. put him in the sit, get his collar and make him come to you. Nothing harsh but just firm and fair.
 

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Chestersmum those are great ideas. I've noticed that the pitch of my voice can really affect whether merc comes back to me or not. If I've seen something that I don't want him to take any notice of, my voice changes and instead of running in (as he does if it isn't actually vital if he comes or not) he starts looking around for whatever has me spooked.

Datacan, yes it is the timing that is vital to training - that's why clickers are so good! A treat is no good to mark the behaviour because by the time you have it out of your pocket the moment is gone. Timing is also one of the reason "positive punishments" don't always work - if they aren't applied at the exact moment the dog does the undesired behaviour then you are not discouraging the bad behaviour. That is why the hot stove works - you know it was the hot stove that hurt. If you touched the stove and then took your hand away and looked at the clock and then your hand started to hurt you might think that the clock was the reason your hand hurt, not the stove.

I really had to start working on recall when merc started chasing not cats but cyclists. I'm not sure if i was more afraid of the cyclist getting hurt or merc getting hurt. Once the dog has that intense focus and cannot hear you anymore, I don't think anything other than physically restraining them from the chase will work - Merc has spent nearly 18 months on a long line / checkchord because I still don't really trust him not to chase bikes and only let him completely off in places where I can see what is coming and it is unlikely to be a bike.
 

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Here is what pros recommend:

"I cannot stress enough that the responsibility for the dog's
response to this command lies completely with YOU.
Do not take the dog out if you are not prepared
on any given day to enforce this command and do not
give the command once you are out with the dog unless
you are fully prepared to go enforce it.
By this I mean that if you and the dog are out for
a session and he is hunting away from you and you want
to have him come in, if you call and whistle and
he does not respond, you MUST hoof it to where he is ASAP..."

http://www.thecheckcord.com/archives/come.html
 
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