Any new ideas for recall??

Posted by Wendy-O
Oct 2, 2008
I have small heinz 57 who is just coming up to one year old. She has been having training since she was 11 weeks. I very occasionally let her off the leash for a run around in a safe grassed area. However, she only tends to return to me when she is ready. She is not interested in treats/toys/clicker - or even if I run in the opposite direction. Her only interest is smelling the ground, fox/rabbit poo/chasing rabbits. I'm not sure what to try next.

Also she has recently decided to start chewing my rug (whilst being left alone) and a table whilst I was in the house. She has never done this before.

Could you possible give me a few pointers to try?
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Oct 2, 2008
Hi there,

I understand what you want to accomplish.

However, dogs are very honest and simple minded animals so they don't come back to your right away unless:

1) You are more fun than smelly grasses
2) She thinks it's better to be back to avoid trouble
3) Make it as a routine so that she doesn't think coming back to you is not the end of freedom

for 1) you can reinforce yourself with treats/toys/praises, etc.
for 2) you can place yourself as the leader and give her unfavorable consequences, such as "end of the freedom" of "inoring her".

You said that she is not interested in treats/toys so Option 1 is gone. Although you can come up with something she is as much or more interested than the grass smells.

For Option 2 you won't wait until she comes back but YOU go to her and tie her leash and go home. Don't scold her when she comes back to you even after waiting a long time. That will discourage her to come back when called in the future. Coming back to you should be always rewarding for her.

I would choose Option 3 myself (but it is actually a modification of Option 1). Let her go just around you first and call her and put her on leash as you give her a treat. You will keep her only the perimeter of you (within your reach) and call her/leash her/treat her, many times. You will gradually let her go a little bit further as you get more and more comfortable (you may want to use a tractable leash if you don't think she will be back). Again, call her/put a regular leash/treat her many times until it becomes a routine for her to stay around you and check on you every now and then.

However, you would always want to keep her, say no more than 5 meters away from you unless you are in an off-leash park.

At the off-leash park, usually all my 3 dogs come back to me when I say "Shall we go home?" because they know that they get treats as soon as they get in the car. It has become their routine except for one of them that is so obsessed with squirrels and she is so focused and doesn't hear me. Then, I don't wait for her to come to me but I walk up to her to leash her. I always want to praise her for coming to me and it is difficult for me to be nice to her even she eventually comes back after calling her many times and waiting so long. I know I can not beat squirrels as far as the level of her interest is concerned so I am giving up at this point
Posted by Wendy-O
Oct 13, 2008
Thanks for your response Max?!

I think sometimes frustration tends to creep in when you have worked/are working constantly on training and the message doesn't appear to be getting across. You then start to question your training method. However I have taken on board your comments and am pleased to say that I have seen an improvement which is certainly in the right direction.

Many thanks