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Hi all, long-time reader first-time poster. Our gorgeous 18 week old Rufus is very good with recall in the house and in backyards - probably a 95% strike rate unless it's REAAAALLLLY interesting. We've trained recall since he came home and used positive reinforcement with treats and big big huggles. We have started using a check cord and hopefully will take him to an off-leash dog park soon.

What I'm keen to know is how you approached training recall? He's been to puppy pre-school and is about to start obedience training too, he already has a raft of commands under his belt and is constantly wanting to learn. He's very social and quite chill with other dogs, not overly excitable, just curious and then playful, but he can't resist moving in the direction of anything with wings!

Anyone else with a pup/dog of similar nature - how did you train recall, what worked best, what wouldn't you do again? I'd love to hear your top tips of moving out of this stage of puppyhood. Thanks a mill! :)
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Very Handsome young boy you have there.
Recall is something that you will be working on for the next year or so, and then reinforcing it for a long time after
. As you've found out, he gets distracted easily and only maturity and experience will diminish that distraction level. At 18 weeks, he's going to get distracted a lot.
Everything you're doing is the correct approach. The long check cord is your next stage. It's just a repetition and consistency. Over and over again. You'll go from having the check cord in your hand, to letting it drag on the ground, to eventually there is no check cord.
You also have to define "recall". For me, I do not want Finn to necessarily come right to me when I recall him in the field. I want him to "check in" which means he comes to within a 3 meter circle around me,and looks for redirection, or I redirect him at a distance. If I want him to come to me. The command is given a second time once he is close.
Finn is a hunting dog and I don't want a remote control dog, so he has to have the freedom to make some of his own decisions. He may be 100 meters away and I'll call him back to within 40 meters and redirect him from there. So he isn't coming all the way to me, but he is "recalling". I think you'll find that the members on the forum that hunt their dogs are pretty much the same.
If he has a strong prey drive, chasing after everything with wings, you can use that to your advantage. Investigate any hunt training clubs or organizations in your area, and use his natural instincts to move him forward. He's definitely old enough to "be on birds", and you introducing him to birds and leading him from bird to bird to bird, will imprint in him mind that "you're a lot of fun to be with, and he wants to hang out with you".
A typical Vizsla will very quickly go through a basic obedience course. They're exceedingly smart, and everything you would want him to do on a leash in a course, he'll do afield.
Now then, he is going to "test you". It will start at about 10-12 months of age. He's going to make you prove that he should listen to you. You may have him recalling with 100% consistency in the next few weeks and it will be like that for awhile, but do expect him to test you from time to time. He may have to go back on the check cord for awhile to enable you to enforce your command.
It's not personal with him, it's just his nature, and doesn't care one bit if you come out on top. he just has to know. Be ready for that, and don't get caught off guard when it happens
What not to do? Don't train for a "remote control dog". A Vizsla that is met half way will give you a lifetime of memories. Train him as if you intend to hunt with him and he'll be all the dog you ever want and so much more. Mostly though, have fun. You have years together. He doesn't have to accomplish everything in the first year.;)
 

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We were taught an emergency recall at puppy school and it saved my life quite a few times.

Works as follows:

1. Decide on the highest value treat and never give it again unless used for emergency recall. For us that is cheese. You will always need to bring it wherever you go, so boiled chicken will not be a good option.

2. Pick a word you rarely use. We choose ‘basecamp’. Start indoors by “loading up the word”: saying the word and give your pup cheese each time you say it.

3. Practice normal recall indoors and if you say: “come + ‘basecamp’ give your pup cheese.

4. Let her run between you and your partner by saying the word and treat when your pup comes running. Repeat this for a week, every day.

5. After a week, try it outside when you are 100% sure he’ll come. But also keep using your normal recall command if you are not 100% sure. It’s important that you always succeed at first, so the emergency recall doesn’t lose value. Also do the same trick as inside and have your pup bowl between you and your partner. It’s a fun game and it gives cheese so he’ll love it.

6. After a week or two you’ll be able to start practicing on bigger distractions and you’ll find out he’ll come running to you as fast as he can when you say the emergency word. Again, it’s an emergency recall so it’s important that you keep using your normal recall in ‘normal situations’.

After a month or two you’ll have a rock solid recall in case normal recall isn’t working. It’s really useful when you feel the situation is out of control. I do see a lot of owners that start using it too often in ‘normal’ situations but that it looses it value.

Also, we “reload” the word a few times per week by just saying it indoors in an unexpected moment. As if hit by lightning, she’ll come running, whatever she is doing. That’s the reaction you want in every occasion.

I have to say that there is 1 situation our recall has never, and will never work: when Fred sees someone throwing a ball, we don’t even try anymore. We’re planning to start with an e-collar for that.
 

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Great stuff @Frida010 , very timely I'm going to use this. My boy is generally good with recall , but it's a bit shaky with distractions like another dog or a person approaching. Very valuable training.
 
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