Let The Games Begin!
This month's positive pet training hop subject is recall, I thought I had covered this issue when we had Jack our former foster but as I searched through my blog posts I realize that while yes I talked about it I didn't really explain to you guys how I did it. SO here goes!
Sneaky Jack slipped out the door on more than one occasion, a couple times he did it to me as I was getting ready for work - on a good note my boss was always laughing at the latest Jack shenanigans.
Step 1 with Jack was to pick up a very long lead line, we found a 100 foot leash that worked perfectly for our needs and the space we were using to train.
*Not all dogs are good candidates for being off-leash! It has to do with personality and training.*
The rule at our house is that if we have a dog that runs away or doesn't come when called then they do not get to be off-leash. In Jacks case, it took him 7 or 8 months before I could actually trust him to be off leash, and even then I wouldn't allow it unless I had a high value toy or treat to reward him with for coming when called. Training With Jack
Baby Steps to Success -
- 100 foot leash
- Bag of VERY HIGH VALUE treats
- Favorite toy
- Clicker if you want to use one
Work in a low distraction environment.
Remember your job as a trainer is to set your dog up for success. Being in a low distraction environment allows you to be the most fun thing in that environment, get your dogs attention and engage with their brain!
Start indoors if you're successful there then try your yard, keep practicing, as your dog succeeds slowly increase the level of distraction.
Our low distraction environment happens to be a field that we regularly play in, the dogs are used to is and it is not a new place with new smells.
Training should be fun for both you and your dog, if you are frustrated or not having fun go home. Train when you are in a good mental state and can be patient. What you DO NOT want is for your dog to associate being called with bad things, or being in trouble.
Taking Jack out to the field I would attach the leash to Jack and then to myself via a carbiner on my leather belt (NOT BELT LOOP), don't attach your dog to something that might break. I liked to allow him to sniff and roam around while I just casually walked through the field. If the leash became tight I would stop and wait for him to come back to me - reward him with a treat any time he willingly came to me, and then continue walking so that he would start sniffing again instead of just harassing me for more treats.
Game 1- Reward attention
One fun game I liked was to say his name, "Jack!" And when he looked at me throw a treat in his direction.
"Jack!" = treat in his mind.
Game 2 - Catch me if you can!
Another game I would play with Jack was to say, "Jack come!" Whip out his toy which was a tennis ball in this case, and take off running! As soon as he caught up to me I would reward him with a treat, either *click reward, or say "yes!" and reward with the treat, then toss the ball for him.
Game 3 - Collar Grabs
Our agility trainer taught us this game and it is great for teaching your dog to trust you. And teaching your dog that good things come when you grab their collar.
Yelling "Jack!" running straight at him, grabbing his collar and then rewarding him. This game is great if you need to grab your dog to prevent them from injury, or teaching them that being caught isn't a bad thing in general. Start small though, we began this game right next to him. Say his name, grab his collar, reward. And slowly increased our distance to the point where I could sprint up to him without him running from me. More in depth description of this game - Success Dogs, Jean Cote
Game 4 - Nose Touch!
I love this game! My dogs think it is amazing and it means a super big bonus for them. In fact right after getting to his new home, his family left the front door open and Jack slipped out and took off down the road! Thankfully all our practice paid off, the family remembered what I told them. Hand straight in the air, yell "Jack!" As soon as he turned and looked they dropped their hand yelling, "TOUCH!", and he came running!
Don't Poison Your Cue Word
I've heard of some dog owners having to change their verbal command because it was ruined through over use or some other means. If your dog is not paying attention to you, and you know you are going to have to repeat yourself, simply go get them or wait until you have their attention before calling otherwise you run the risk of poisoning your word. I hate repeating myself anyways, if you yell multiple times "Come, come, come, come..." and then reward your dog when they arrive - you just taught them that when you say it four times is when they are supposed to return to you.
More on Poisoned Words - HERE.
Using the Long Line.
A long line is an awesome tool, but keep in mind it is just a tool and it is not a replacement for lots of training.
|Jack on the long line.|
Eventually I worked us into using a normal 6 foot leash that he dragged around, we also did a lot of practice in our front yard or super short off leash sessions in the front yard. As he succeeded we slowly increased the amount of time he spent off leash, and slowly increased the distractions.
Rewarding Eye Contact & General Training
The more you work with your dog the better everything gets, when we walk I reward eye contact and focus. By conditioning your dog to regularly check in you are increasing your relationship and your bond. Ziva naturally gives amazing eye contact.
|Here we are practicing, "Look".|
Unleash the HOUND!!! Jack is doing great off leash, we've been practicing daily and using lots of #positivereinforcement it's amazing to see how far he's come, granted we've had this silly hound for 6 months... But we think we've finally found Jack his forever home! Hopefully he'll be joining them next week! #fingerscrossed 🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾 #captainjack #jack #dogtricks #trick #offleashtraining #positivedogtraining #positivelytrained #prongcollarssuck #prongiswrong #practicemakesperfect #FinesseNotForce #adoptdontshop #plotthoundmix #muttlove #mutt #doglovers #training #fosterdogs #fosterfamily #fostermom #hound #houndmix #brindleicious #badassclub #fitdog
Jack the #offleash wonder dog! On a more serious note.. Please don't just let your dog off leash, if you can't control your dog then they do not belong off leash. A leash is not only for their own safety but for the safety of other people and dogs. We have worked long and hard on this with Jack, and I only let him off leash in environments where I know we can safely train/play. He can't resist other dogs yet so we play super early in the morning and I'm always careful to watch for anyone with a dog. Having a reactive dog (Ziva) I know how frustrating it is when another dog runs up on you when you are out on a walk minding your business. I don't want to be THAT person. 🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾 #dontbeajerk #dontbeirresponsible #beresponsible #trainyourdog #positivedogtraining #positivereinforcement #playtime #offleashtraining #offleash #jack #happyhound #houndmix #mutt #brindleicious
Eventually we were successful! Keep in mind though training never ends, you have to keep practicing your skills or like any learned thing you'll lose it.
How do you train recall?
More Jack Training Stories:
Unleash the Hound
Jack's Loose! (Leash Walking)