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How to train to come
Old 12-18-2012, 07:02 AM   #1
djmnb
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How to train to come

Hi, I'm a new Hav owner and a need some advice. I am trying to train her to come to my call. I have had Shelties for 26 years and no training problems at all...a little treat when then do what you want a couple of times and they are trained. Problem with Bella (she's a rescue 3 1/2 years old) is that she could care less about treats - I give praise etc. but don't know what else to do. She is hardly afraid of me - snuggles in and kisses, allows me to pet her, play with her paws etc. but when I go to get her or call her to come she runs like crazy. Clues please....
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:18 AM   #2
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I think the trick to this, and others feel free to correct me because I am just guessing, is to find what her "reward" is. What does she crave? And then reward her with that when working on commands. It must be so challenging when she doesn't respond to treats. Have you tried different sorts of treats?
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:29 AM   #3
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Rosie gave me fits over that when she was a pup. Finally one day out of frustration, I yelled STOP and she did. Then I could go and pick her up. Sometimes, I still have to say STOP when she is heading for the door or something, but we went from StOP to making her stay until I said Here. Repetition is what worked with me. Everytime she would break the stay, I put her back in the same place and slowed walked away. Took a few days before she got it, then she was trained. I don't use treats as a general rule, just repetition and praise. Works for me, but most do use the treats.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmnb View Post
Hi, I'm a new Hav owner and a need some advice. I am trying to train her to come to my call. I have had Shelties for 26 years and no training problems at all...a little treat when then do what you want a couple of times and they are trained. Problem with Bella (she's a rescue 3 1/2 years old) is that she could care less about treats - I give praise etc. but don't know what else to do. She is hardly afraid of me - snuggles in and kisses, allows me to pet her, play with her paws etc. but when I go to get her or call her to come she runs like crazy. Clues please....
You have two things working against you. She doesn't seem very food motivated (though you can work on this) and you are also not just training, but RETRAINING over 3 1/2 years of NOT coming when she was called.

First, you need to find something she cares enough about to work for. I'd try all kinds of different, smelly treats... things like liverwurst and jars of baby food meats often are particularly attractive, but try ANYTHING. Work on developing her play drive too... play can be hugely motivating.

Next, for the time being, I would never allow her to be in a situation where she can get away from you. In the house, leave a leash or drag line attached to her collar, that way, if she starts to dash away from you, you can calmly and quietly step on the line and reel her back in, talking in an upbeat, encouraging voice while you do so, and delivering whatever treat is most meaningful when she gets to you. If that means just tons of praise and a quick cuddle for now, so be it. Use what works.

Outdoors, do the same thing, just use a longer line. You can use a thin rope with a clip tied to one end, or purchase a purpose-made long line. The point is that you want to set her up for success. For now, that means NEVER giving her the opportunity to run from you or choose not to come.

Working with a good positive based trainer might be the best way for you to learn how to use some of these tools most effectively, and to help you figure out what the best motivators are for her.

At this point, I would NOT yell "stop!" at her, except in the most dire circumstances. It's not a method I would choose for training, but at least Lucile was working with a puppy who had not yet developed bad habits, and she had already developed a strong, loving bond with Rosie. With a rescue dog, you might get the desired response (at least once) but it would not be because the dog understood, but "shutting down" behavior. That's the last thing you want in an older rescue dog that you are trying to develop a good relationship with.
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Old 12-18-2012, 12:18 PM   #5
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When you call Bella, what does she do?

Dave gave me a great site for recall training....

http://pawsitivedawgs.wordpress.com/recalltraining/
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:02 PM   #6
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Like the suggestion of a drag line.... That has been the issue - when I call, she gets to choose and I haven't found a way to win. I'll give that a go. Also will try some smellier treats to see if that entices her and...I'll check out the site for recall training too. Thanks all.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:21 PM   #7
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I have experience with adult rescues. Here's what I would do to teach come.

train right before a meal, so your dog is hungry.

top shelf treats: cheese, chicken breast (yes fresh, roasted, poached, whatever you like), natural balance 'sausage' is always a crowd pleaser, hot dogs (I personally don't like it b/c of the preservatives). cut them smal small small.

lock yourself in the house with the dog you want to train.

sit on the floor. start with maybe 3-5 foot distance. make a sound, that gets her attention. I like the kissing sound, or a horse click. whatever you want. when she comes give affection, praise, food, any order, every time she does it (1:1 for each success) always reward, even if it's a taste of the treat, and you have to meet her 1/2 way to encourage her, do it. all positive.
After 3-5x success at the short distance, scoot away and increase the distance.
train 5-10 minute sessions, before a meal (so she's hungry).

after you have reliability at whatever distance you want, 6 yds, 10 yds. add a voice command, it might be 'come' could be 'chicken' whatever word you want to assign.

you get the idea. you can also start with tricks she already knows to loosen her up.

You probably already know not to call her for anything negative, perceived by Bella.

good luck. My dogs really like chicken and duck jerky. what I call they all come, and they always get a food treat. some times, I don't call come yet, but they can hear me getting a treat or getting out of bed to call them, and they come. pretty cute.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmnb View Post
Like the suggestion of a drag line.... That has been the issue - when I call, she gets to choose and I haven't found a way to win. I'll give that a go. Also will try some smellier treats to see if that entices her and...I'll check out the site for recall training too. Thanks all.
Right now, you should NEVER call her unless it's to do something she loves. If you want her for anything else, YOU go get HER. It's fine to step on her drag line, so she can't run and avoid you, but always go get her if it's for a non-preferred activity.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:39 PM   #9
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Karen +100 on that thought. I knew this but still made mistakes in calling my big girl for nail trimming (non-preferred activity).
When they are offleash, I only call them if I want them to come for real, not just to practice obedience. My dogs are all very attached to me, and are afraid of losing me, so they often look back and keep within eye shot (I think I just made that up) of me.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:54 PM   #10
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Karen +100 on that thought. I knew this but still made mistakes in calling my big girl for nail trimming (non-preferred activity).
When they are offleash, I only call them if I want them to come for real, not just to practice obedience. My dogs are all very attached to me, and are afraid of losing me, so they often look back and keep within eye shot (I think I just made that up) of me.
Kodi is very attaxhed too, and like our guys, doesn't wander out of sight. But it's STILL important to me that he return to me propmtly when I call. It could be that he's getting too close to the street, or I see a larger loose dog coming... Or I just don't want him to go down into the swamp so I prCtice over and over while we are out in the woods, calling hom back to me. I grab his collar, tell him how wonderful he is, give him a cookie and release him. He thinks it's all a game, but because it's FUN, I know he'll come back to me immediately when it's important.

We often walk on an old rail trail, where it is possible for him to get WAY ahead of me, without getting out of sight. In this instance, he will sometimes go further ahead than I feel comfortable with. I can just call, "Kodi, far enough!" and he'll stop and wait until I close the gap, (not necessarily go all the way to him) and then say "OK!" so he knows it's OK to go forward again. I have no idea how he kearned this, though... It just sort of happened.

He will also follow my hand signal from way behind hom if he comes to a fork in the trail. He'll look back to check in, and I'll say "This way!" and point, and he goes down the correct path. I'm not sure how he learned to so that either.
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