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Recall - Small Hiccup

3141 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  gunnr
Oscar is now 7 months old and until a couple of weeks ago his recall to voice and whistle was really good. A couple of weeks ago i noticed that if he was biting a stick or sniffing the ground he would ignore me. If i went to him he would look at me and run hoping for a game which I didn't provide. Today he ran off and crossed a road and ran to the another park. He refused to stop to whistle and voice which usually happens. I went and got him and didn't tell him off in case he associated it with the recall.
What do i do next? I've bought him a 30ft lead and going to take him back to basics. I call him and if i have to pull on the lead i don't reward him, If he comes back on a slack lead he gets a reward.
It really is disheartening to see all that work go downhill so quick!! Am i doing the right thing here?
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I just went through this hiccup. Catan used to recall pretty well in the forest. Recently we noticed that he wouldn't recall at all. He would hear us and run at us but then zip right on by. It became a real game for him - very scary for us. We often run into horses on the forest trails and I need to get him on leash during those times. I spent about two weeks going back to basics in the house. Sit, down, come with lots of rewards. It seems to have worked cause he's re-calling again.
Oscar is now an adolescent and you are going to have these hiccups from time to time. Luckily Tizane only forgets her recall in the dog park so aside from me looking like someone who doesn't know how to train her dog, we are alright. If she was crossing the street it would be more of a problem for me, as she could get run over easily here. I agree with working him on the long lead and doing basic training again. Another thing you might try is changing your recall command and starting over. Sounds silly but it worked for our girl when she hit this stage. If you use "come" change it to "here". Just use it for times when he is absolutely going to come. Say when you have a favorite treat or toy that you know he won't balk at coming to you. Three times a day for a week or two until Oscar has it down. Now she comes interchangeably to come or here except at the dog park but I'll give her that one. It is dog world after all.

You're not going downhill. Training isn't a linear step progression, sometimes you take a step or two back in one area, only to gain a step or two in another area. Eventually it all comes together.

Oscar is gaining confidence in himself, and he is going to start testing you, and he has to do this. He needs to determine who is actually in charge, and whose making the decisions. He's not a bonehead, it's normal.

The path you want to take is the correct path. Put him back on the lead and go back to the basics. There are still holes in his training. He needs to be worked to the whoa/stay,and in all actuallity 7 months is still pretty young.
Work him on the short leash at the heel, and on the long lead for the recall. Start to integrate the whoa/stay into the training, and make it solid.
Thanks gunnr, that is what i was hoping to hear! When you say make it solid, what exactly do you mean? Do I also let him off leash to let him play or do i just keep him on leash for a while. We had a little training session on long leash today and it was pretty good

Most folks that hunt will either say that the "come" command, or the "whoa" command is the most important. It really depends on the person.
Come is the command that brings the dog to you, whoa is the command that brings you to the dog. Whoa however, is a command that can save your dogs life.
When the command whoa is given, it's a no nonsense command. It means stop and do not move one iota, and not to be confused with "stay". Whether the command is given to lock the dog on the bird, and keep him out of the field of shotgun fire, or stop him dead in his tracks if he is getting near anything dangerous, like the road oscar crossed, matters not. If you can lock him in one position, until you can re-establish control, he is a much safer boy.

To be "solid" means that Oscar is 100% on that command. He does it every time without hesitation and regardless of distraction. When the command is given, he locks in mid stride. (Not having one of my Vizsla's absolutely solid on this cost me in excess of $3000.00 in vet bills when he got clipped by a car. Luckily he lived another 8 years, and I was able to learn from my mistakes with him.)

The important thing to take away from your event today is that Oscar displayed that he is not solid. Prior to this he was emotionally dependent on you and that was your mechanism of control. Now he's a little older( mature),and becoming less dependent on you. He was thinking for himself, and making his own decisions. Some folks term this "out of control". I don't though. Out of control is something completely different to me.
At 7 months old, in an open area, Oscar should still be on a check cord/long leash. He needs you to be making his decisions for him for awhile longer. That he needs to go back on the leash is not a reflection on you. It's just where he is at now in his mental and physical development.
Work the whoa in the backyard. Whether you use a "whoa pole", a sling, a "whoa barrel" or a training table is kind of up to you. I prefer to use a combination of the table and the pole. It's also time to work in some of the other commands, like heel and fetch.
One exercise I like to use to test where the dog is at goes like this; I walk the dog at the heel to an open area with a frisbee or two in my hands that I am tossing ahead of me as we walk and picking them up myself. I'll then stop and put the dog on stay. Throw the frisbee, and then command fetch. Halfway to the frisbee I whoa the dog, walk to him and re-command fetch. This is a high pressure sequence,and it takes awhile to get a dog to this point. Once at this point however, the transition to live birds is easier. It's a good sequence to break down into individual components and work on.
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Thanks again gunnr and everyone else who replied. What is a whoa pole, table or barrel? How does i work, I've never come across those terms before.

You also say on open ground he should be kep on leash, when can i let him off? I worry that he will have energy to burn and i'm not allowing him to do so.
Letting him off the leash is conditional. If he's in a safe area, and you have control of him, you can let him rip. Until his "come" , "whoa" and "stay" are instilled I'd keep him on a long leash, or train him to an E-collar.
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