Recall Collapse?

Posted on 06/30/10 139 Comments

Most puppies come with the basics of a recall. I said most not all, there are those independent models out there that learn very early on that the world has much to be discovered and they need to explore every inch of it

All puppies can be taught a brilliant recall, it is much easier if you start when they are young, but it is possible at any age.

That brilliant recall requires two basic things from you 1) the willingness to really get focused with what you are want and what you are currently doing and 2) the willingness to having at least one 5 minute session of daily fun with your dog — two or three would be ideal but one is necessary.

Ha! I bet you where thinking it required that four letter word w-o-r-k didn’t you. Nope, fun, that is how I got my brilliant recalls, it has got to be fun.  Work is play and play is work and unless you are enjoying what you are doing and your dog is enjoying what you are doing it is unlikely to end up brilliant!

Take this scenario, your dog is playing with a pack of dogs their own age, new people come to visit, how many of you could recall your dog away from that event?

Not too many right?  But remember I said most puppies do come with a pretty decent recall. When that puppy was 5 or  6 weeks old if he was playing with all his littermates (a pack of dogs his own age) and there where new people visiting (possibly you there to see the litter) and the breeder said “pup-pup-pup” I bet that same dog that won’t recall now did it perfectly back then right?

Why would they? Why do dogs do anything . . . it is simple; reinforcement.

Reinforcement builds behaviour. Somebody (like your breeder) started to say “pup pup” to the litter before she put the litter’s dish down at meal time or to get the litter to follow her in or out doors. Whatever it was (many times over) if the puppy comes when you call it as a wee one, it has been given reason to believe people are very reinforcing.

That is how it starts. So then, what causes Recall Collapse?  Aaaah that would be reinforcement once again.

Yes, all of the dogs out there, that have a brilliant recall, have been taught it with reinforcement. All of the dogs out there that have a crappy-doo recall have also being taught that with reinforcement.

It has nothing to do with being the “pack leader” or not physically correcting the dog enough. As a matter of fact, my dogs have never being physically corrected and definitely all have brilliant recalls.

The brilliantly trained dogs earned all of their reinforcement from their owner or trainer while the dog with the crappy doo recall earned a lot of reinforcement for NOT coming when called from his environment (chasing, sniffing, finding something to roll in etc)

So what about your dogs? Where has the value been for him? What distractions have been so reinforcing for your own dogs they are choosing them over you?  I really want to help so let me know what is distracting your dog?

Today I am grateful for another great group of campers here at Say Yes handling camps.


  1. barbara green says:
    Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 5:22am

    I have a 4 year old Romanian rescue. I adopted him one year ago- things went very well, he put on some weight and did well on recall when he ahd settled down. An=bout 3 months ago he suddenly ran to a man and barked furiously(? reminded him of a dog catcher) I got him back but stopped going to that park, but his recall started to deteriorate—I got proferssional help and we did all the usual things–which I had done more or less anyway, treats etc, turning round. One day he simply ignored me even in the new park and since then I have had to take him to a safe dogs park which eh finds boring–or keep him on a long lead which I hate to do, or let him play with his pals only with a long trailer–which is a nuisance to humans also, and when there are a few of us to catch him if need be. He totally ignored his name and whistle—however, I am hoping that the reveral of recall will in time reverse back. He will do his lesson perfect in the house and garden but not out in the park!


  2. Anj says:
    Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 6:18am

    I have a 10 month old collie bitch. We came to us 5 months ago with no recall at all. Now she has one in the home but not outside! It is so frustrating as I am “doing all the right things!” Or am I? Please help!
    I’m starting to get very disheartened with her behaviour.
    Thanks Anj


  3. Pat says:
    Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 8:46am

    My 14 week old spaniel collie cross discovered bird chasing for the first time today. So far I have been teaching her to come to call when I’m sure that she’ll respond. This way I’m setting her up for success every time. I wait until she’s stopped dashing around and isn’t distracted by anything in particular before I call her.
    Today she spotted some crows and took off after them. I didn’t try and call her back until the chase was over but now I’m trying to work out how to get a successful chase recall. I really want to nip this behaviour in the bud before it becomes a problem.


  4. Amanda Hazel says:
    Sunday, September 23, 2012 at 11:06pm

    I have a 2 and a half year old german shepherd female. Up until about 6 months ago she had amazing recall, and never left the property and always came when called. It started to happen every now and then that she would take off and not come when I called her. Now if I dont make sure she is on a chain before I take her out she is gone almost instantly and wont even look back. Shes almost been hit by cars several times and Im terrified that one day I wont be able to find her or she will eventually be hit by a car. Now when I take her to the beach or to a park she doesn’t take off and listens very well… Please I desperately need help and advice!


    • Susan says:
      Monday, September 24, 2012 at 7:19am

      Our popular online “Recallers” course will be offered again late this fall. In the meantime there is lots of great information right here on this blog. Just do a search for “Recall”


  5. Nika says:
    Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 2:59pm

    My BC is 9months old, he will come when called unless there are children around, then he will follow them and wont come whatever i do or say, i have to go put him on a leash. Ive tryed all sort of things to find something more interesting than children,but i guess there isnt any (or i still havent found it). Any advices?


  6. Melony says:
    Saturday, December 3, 2011 at 1:46am

    My intact male Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will not come if there is a female in heat or even some very interesting females who are spayed.
    I am hoping to perfect his recall with this course so nothing is better than coming when called 🙂


  7. Michele Fry says:
    Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 11:44am

    My 3 year old Papillon, Maxie,has great recalls. So do all my dogs, because I keep little treats in my pocket all the time and dispense them when they come on my first call. But at trials, especially those in a dirt arena where there has been a horse show recently, or even at a practice field where cat’s and wild animals meander through at night, Maxie does half a run then goes off to the sidelines sniffing. I have to call and call to get him back running the course again. Someone suggested rubbing vanilla on the bridge of his nose so he can’t smell anything else. Another said rub hot dog juice around his nostrils and give a big hot dog jackpot after every successful run, both in practice and at trials. I don’t know what to do. Looking for suggestions.


  8. MaryR says:
    Sunday, November 14, 2010 at 2:40pm

    Wow this is truly a great topic. I am at that stage with my 14 month old mini aussie. She and I have attended obiedence class and her recalls were getting really awsome, She would even come when we were at agility classess where she could smell other dogs and treasure hunt for treats. Well in the last 3 weeks or so, she has just started to ignore the recall. I am just befuddled not sure what to really do. Sounds like there are some games you play as I read the blogs. Would be great if anyone could share them . My plan right now is to go back to the obdience training that I know and see if we can get back on track and to also play more with something that she loves and brings back well.


  9. Jean says:
    Monday, July 5, 2010 at 7:56am

    My Lab was taught his brilliant recall by the puppy fear method. Plop him down in the yard, when he gets too far for his own comfort and comes running back to Mom call out COME. It’s “Contiguity Training on Natural Behaviours”. No treats or special rewards necessary as pup’s immense relief at being safely back at Mom’s side is a powerful reward. Of course I did praise enthusiastically. Key is, no other dogs or people nearby. I did often go to new places where we could do this and upped the ante by hiding behind a tree or bush or building. This resulted in perfect, brilliant recall off of snowmachines, wild turkeys, deer, other dogs, anything I called him from.

    BUT …. You knew there was a but coming, didn’t you. Where I failed was to transition him to coming when he was no longer apprehensive of his surroundings. We lost his recall at about 18 months old. Not completely. It was still pretty good but other dogs became more enticing. Twice other dog walkers (in a large safe area) returned him to me.

    I got it back by whistle training and using the North/South method of teaching a good retrieve. Combining the two resulted in an even better recall. Three tweets and he almost flies back to me. His reward is a throw of the tennis ball. I do not have to reward every time but I do carry the balls with me for times when we put up a deer or turkey and I feel he deserves a powerful reward. The darn turkeys run straight away down the trail in front of him as if they intend to distract him.

    I would say we now have our brilliant recall back for 90% or more of the time. Maybe even 99%. The whistle has only failed me twice since we figured it out at 2 years old and he’s 2 and 8 months old now. Both times it wasn’t even other dogs but sniffing around an outside training area. Took me completely by surprise.


  10. Debbie says:
    Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 6:51pm

    This is a great topic! One I’ve been struggeling with for a while.
    My dog came to me at 13 weeks old distracted by EVERYTHING. He is very sensitive to sights, sounds, and motion. Along with all of that wants to be in control of everything! I’ve had my hands full from the start! He didn’t care about food or play and I am just starting to bond with him at 2 yrs. of age.
    I started out trying to teach the recall using “pup, Pup, Pup” but that only excited him more! I decided before he could learn anything at all, he first needed to learn to focus. After 2 yrs he is starting to gain some focus. As far as teaching the recall, I’ve started over. The reinforcements I am using are as follows. Ham bone in a sock, steak, meatballs, tugging with favorite toy of the day (it changes), toy in the water/tug/reward by swimming in the water. I’ve tried everything but am open to anything 🙂 I always reward for 30secs. after my dog comes to me when practicing the recall. He is still on leash when I practice & I’ve decided to have him put his two front legs on my waist so he can’t decide to leave me in a split second. I’ve been told my dog is an extremely tough dog (even been compared to your “Buzz” by people who know him) You have helped me realize that some dogs just may take longer than the NORM to teach a recall & don’t give up. Just keep reinforcing the behaviors I want. I also got rid of all the expectations I had before getting my dog. In my mind expectations builds resentment. I was starting to get frustrated & resent my dog for being so difficult. That wasn’t fair to him. I can’t tell you how many times I say to myself in a day. Reinforcement builds behavior it has helped me in my dog training, horses, & personal life too! Thanks so much for all your help & insight that you give us all.


  11. KB says:
    Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 10:29am

    My dog’s recall is a work in progress. I would say that he doesn’t have a good recall. However, I look at where he’s come from to give me some real perspective on what we’ve done with him.

    I’ve had him for less than a year. A 4.5-year-old shelter dog, he’s a BC mix with a strong herding instinct and it turned out that he was extremely reactive to other dogs, bikes, motorcycles. He’d go from being wonderful on the leash into a barking frenzy, spinning around and straining at the limits of the leash. This would happen even if the dog or cyclist was all the way across the park! Thanks to an excellent trainer, we’ve made great strides and he no longer does this.

    In general, under certain circumstances and under specific types of distractions, his recall is surprisingly good, considering his reactive nature. He’s now able to function well enough around other dogs that we’re attending agility group. There’s no barrier separating him from the other dogs, yet it seems that as long as he’s the one working, he’s happy to be directed from obstacle to obstacle. I’ve seen him start to get excited about going toward the other dogs, and called him back to the task at hand. At times like this, it seems as if his recall is great.

    But that’s deceptive. If someone were to come in with a new dog, he’d break away and run toward the other dog. It’s happened twice, once in group and once at a training session. No amount of calling brings him back. And that’s why we’re now training the recall as a basic handling skill.


  12. Dorothy Jones says:
    Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 12:41am

    smells, yummy things, even dry bread left out for the crows by the crazy neighbours. Also, balls being chucked by someone else at the park. She does not like to play with other dogs but does like to retrieve the balls thrown by the owners. She gets fixated on that and will not change focus. I need to go out there with equal value or more value toys so she will play with me! Finally, sheep poop at the farm where I am learning to do herding. she loves to roll in the sheep poop or eat it! Yuk!


  13. Kathy says:
    Saturday, July 3, 2010 at 2:50pm

    My rescue german shepherd /lab x has a pretty good recall most of the time but if she smells discarded food or finds bird poo at the park she will wander off and not come back even if I have her favourite treats, the food she finds for her self has more value to her. I have tried to get her interested in toys like my other dogs, she will sometimes play now but toys are not really her thing.
    For the last 2 weeks I have been trying the CU training playing the “give me break game” so she is getting to go and sniff but in a controlled way. So far she is responding well to this she is keen to work and has been paying me much more attention. Two days ago she had gone quite a long way away munching some bird poo usually I would have had to go and collect her, I called her and she bounded back to me across the field. I was very impressed. Hopefully it is having some effect. Recall has been an on going project since I adopted her as she is easily distracted so any more ideas would be good.


  14. Karissa says:
    Friday, July 2, 2010 at 11:11am

    My oldest seems to be getting worse with his recalls these days — no doubt because I have done diddly-squat to reinforce them for some time (I obviously took him for granted!). Even still, even at his absolute best, there is pretty much nothing I can do to call him off squirrels, deer, birds and other fast-moving things that prompt him to give chase. My 11 month old Border Collie has a fairly crappy recall, mostly because she just follows the older guy wherever he goes.

    They are great about coming in the yard and they stick around off leash on walks — until something rustles in the bushes and takes off. My third dog rarely goes off leash because he is a running breed. I have worked his recall long & hard — and it has worked in emergency situations when he has gotten loose (wind blew over our tent at a trial once!). But more or less, I choose not to test him very often, unless we are in a very safe area away from traffic.


  15. julie says:
    Friday, July 2, 2010 at 8:51am

    Oops, sorry for this horribly long post, it didn’t seem so long while I was writing it. *blushing*


  16. julie says:
    Friday, July 2, 2010 at 8:49am

    I have two BC’s. The youngest, 3y old, has a perfect recall. Ever since I had her from day one as an 8w old pup actually. It never changed, no matter what age or what she was doing (chasing sheep for instance). She doesn’t have any chasing instinct (except while sheep herding, though I wouldn’t really call that chasing), only runs with my older dog when she starts chasing something, but she never really gets the point. And before I can finish the end of her name, she has already turned away from it. I don’t often reward her for it though, I’ll explain that later.

    My oldest BC is 7,5y and used to have a perfect recall but not anymore. I’ve had her from when she was a little over 6m old. Initially recall was easy, because she was scared of the whole world and I was her safe haven. She barely left my side, and if she did a soft cue would be enough to make her run to me at full speed. After a couple of months she started developing some serious chasing instinct, mostly rabbits, squirrels, ducks, etc. But tug-of-war was her thing, so even though she mostly started taking off whenever there was something to chase, I always managed to call her back. But then she started having physical problems, and because she always went quite far from me I didn’t want her to have to run back to me each time we met another person/dog/car/… or she started chasing. So I started to give her the whistle cue to lie down, worked just fine, she didn’t need a reward every time, and she could “rest” a bit until I reached her and gave her a release. And then there was the pup, who needed a lot of training… In other words, I seriously neglected her recalls. 🙁 As soon as I noticed how poor her recall had become, I started training on it again, but I never got it quite right again. Chasing a ball, or tug-of-war are still high-value rewards to her, and she always comes when called. But never fast, and usually she stops halfway, seeming to think that that will do, and I have to call her a second time. If I don’t, she will just wait until I have reached her, and then stroll off again. I have tried twice to train from zero and use a brand new cue, to no avail. I taught her to touch my hand with her nose, and started to increase the distance while using that cue, nothing changed. Strangely enough, the way I can call her away in the midst of her chasing something, always stayed the same. I just call her name in a stretched way, and she immediately cuts the chase. It takes her longer to reach me, but she is simply not that fast anymore, and she still turns away from whatever had her attention as fast as before. But when nothing exciting is going on, or it’s “only” another dog of person, calling her the same way I would when she is chasing something, doesn’t do the trick. Don’t know if that’s her, or me using a slightly different intonation I’m unaware of.

    By now I have accepted the fact she has a lousy recall (I have to add, lousy for my standards; for most dog people I know, even the ones also practicing dog sports and spending lots of quality time with their dogs, she has a very good recall). When I don’t have the time to “wait” for her to come back to me, I just ask her to lie down. I try to vary enough with rewarding her recalls.
    Sometimes I think what reinforces her for not coming, is simply being away from me. She has grown very detached, sort of, over the last couple of years. She used to love attention (not so much as my youngest BC, but still very much), praise, being stroked. Now everything seems to need to have some cause for her: praise should be followed by playing with a ball, being stroked is ok if afterwards you can get some physical exercise, or herd sheep, or play fetch.

    She has taught me a good thing: you need to keep practising even perfect recalls very often and reward them almost all the time. 😉 I will certainly do that with all my next dogs, but don’t do it with my youngest dog. Because, to be honest, I would be extremely happy if she WOULDN’T come when called even only once. To her, being with me is the reward in itself, she hardly ever leaves my side, and if she does she constantly keeps an eye on me. Which causes her to bump into things many times (and often quite hard, right now she has a ruptured muscle in her back due to bumping into a tree while walking sideways in order to look at me). Attention is wonderful, but right now I’d rather have not enough attention so that I could train to gain attention, then way too much. Try to run agility with a dog that cannot lose sight of you for even half a second and would rather bump into tunnels, jumps, dogwalk or judges than look where she’s going. Or train on sheep: she really loves it, but has to be able to see me practically all the time. Pushing the sheep away from me is still not an option. Neither is working on a bigger flock, because then she can’t see me anymore through those sheep legs. 😉 Calling her away from the sheep, no matter where she is or what she is doing, has always been the easiest thing.

    So I barely ever reward her recalls. Often only a soft, non-enthustiastic “good girl”, or even nothing whatsoever. I’ve tried ignoring her for longer periods, to try to make myself as least interesting as possible, but that didn’t work, on the contrary. So now I praise each second she looks away from me and pays attention to anything/anyone else in a soft tone, she mostly reacts by looking at me again and then I ignore her. Don’t know why I keep doing it though, it hasn’t been working the past year and a half.


  17. Anne Springer says:
    Friday, July 2, 2010 at 7:15am

    I always ask my students if they would rather work for a boss who is overbearing and hands them $20, or one who is sooooo excited that they came to work that day and makes a big deal out of giving them $300, plus a bonus if they hang around;-) Dogs want a paycheck, and I’m only too glad to give it to them for this most important of all behaviors. As a result, I not only have two Aussies with a perfect recall, I have a hound with a recall:-)))


  18. Amie says:
    Friday, July 2, 2010 at 2:08am

    Female/spayed Golden Retriever – DUCKS, squirrels, low flying birds, deer… etc. And any body of water

    Male/Neutered Malamute/Husky/Border Collie – other dogs, deer, and unfortunately porcupines


  19. Diane says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 11:57pm

    One comment I haven’t noticed others make; while working on the recall, how do you exercise your dog? I just finished reading (devouring) Shaping Success, Ruff Love, every inch of Susan’s web site and I’m making my way thru old blogs. I understand that my 11 month old Border Collie needs to be on short or long leash/line at all times while we are strengthening our recall, but how do I really let this puppy run? It has been so easy for me to let him out in our huge secure yard to run some energy off. But, he only returns to me 80% of the time if there is a distraction on the other side of the fence. Do I not even call him back to me if there is a level 2-10 distraction? Should I no longer let him loose in our fenced yard?


  20. Helen Verte says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 9:54pm

    This may be outside of a distraction. Dogs that run from thunder, fireworks, or backfiring cars seem to be in a state that doesn’t allow them to hear a recall. I remember at the Dalmatian Nationals in the 90’s there was a Dal in the breed ring that heard a car backfire and bolted. This was in Anaheim, California and people got into their cars to find him as we were adjacent to a freeway. It was frightening to watch that dog bolt and run – driven by fear – and wondering how the owner must have been feeling. Luckily, they did catch him.

    There is a 4-year-old afghan in our agility community who has an issue with recalls. In the ring, he will do a few obstacles, then he’s off and running till he’s caught. Some say he has to grow into his brains, but he has been practicing the art of bolting for a long time and is very good at it. The owner told me he once jumped the 4-foot fence surrounding the yard he was having an agility lesson in and headed down a main road. That wasn’t a secure enclosure to start with for a dog with his issues, and it was a blessing that it was on a Sunday morning that he didn’t get hit.

    I am reading Shaping Success and love the way you teach a recall from the beginning of your relationship with your pup. It’s fun, relaxed, and creates a bond unlike the methods in traditional obedience classes, which are more demoralizing than relationship building. 😉


  21. suzie says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 9:01pm

    the opportunity to run free and smell everything. he started out as a street dog for the first 1-2 yrs of his life and although he’s come a long way, he still will revert back to running off at times esp if I havent given him an “outting” recently.
    would love any help/suggestions!!


  22. Michelle says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 8:56pm

    Thank you! Thank you for writing this blog. I am one of those people who have two dogs w/o a recall. I have tried to get recalls on them but failed miserably. I now have a puppy that is 11 months old. I have been working hard on his recall. It is not where I want it. But it is improving rapidly. I will not show in agility until I get a recall that I am satisfied with and I have high expectations. I am just learning how to teach the recall. What I failed with my older two dogs is that I never grew the recall beyond my house or backyard. Ah, what a concept you have to grow behaviors. How did I miss that?

    Your books and your seminar in Washington have opened my eyes to dog training. I cannot thank you enough for the insights you have shared.

    So, I’ve written a list of low distractions all the way to high distractions and am working through them for at least 5 minutes a day. I try to do at least 2 sessions. But when the dog doesn’t come you have to go get them if they aren’t on a leash and this becomes a problem. So, far I mostly use the leash. When do you not use a leash? What do you do if your dog doesn’t come on the first time?

    If you did a recall workshop I would be there in a heartbeat. I’m sure you would show me how much I don’t know but that would only be a learning experience and one that would be invaluable.


  23. Natalie says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 6:35pm

    Other dogs. That’s my Standard Poodle’s weakness. It always has been, and it’s the main reason she won’t come to me. Most of the time, she will come even around other dogs, but if she’s too distracted or in the middle of a play session she won’t. We do our best…


  24. Marcella Ward says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 6:20pm

    Anything will pretty much reinforce my girl. From smells in the ring, to squirrels, new dogs, new people, and food. These posts have really been helping me to know I am not alone with my dog, however, I’d love to change things for her sake as well as mine. Sometimes I wish I had gotten her at a younger age but we rescued her from the shelter at 1 year of age. Of course, like you said, I could teach a wonderful recall at any age. I guess sometimes it feels like you’ve been cheated a bit though. Please continue to post though. This has been a great amount of help!


  25. liz says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 2:08pm

    i’m afraid i have one of the “independent models”. my 6 month old border collie puppy was a pretty good recalll at home, but when i get her into a class setting anything is more interesting than coming to me when i call her. i have 3 other border collies that i can call off of rabbits or deer or sheep, but this little one is going to be tough! i can sometimes get her to come with a toy, but not always.


  26. Jaimie Short says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 2:05pm

    Sheep are one thing that my dog has a very difficult time being called off of.
    That prey drive is a far bigger reward than I am right now but I am working on changing that because I am the access to the sheep! 🙂


  27. Patricia Marland says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 11:26am

    Susan, do you ever train a “panicky” recall? I learned that in my very first training class, and it saved my dog’s life, I believe.

    We were walking off-leash in a fenced city cemetery we went to daily when a woman (who we knew only slightly) joined us with her MUZZLED recently-rescued German Shepherd. After only a minute or two, she allowed the shepherd off-leash, and he took off instantly (and aggressively) after my shy 30# dog who was only about 1 year old. Annie ran like the wind trying to get away from him, spotted a depression under the fence, and ducked under it onto a sidewalk along a very busy street! Thanks to my trainer, Annie returned to me INSTANTLY despite her fear of the other dog. But I’m sure my voice was about as panicky as it can get.

    The teacher made the point that our voices may be different in a situation of danger, so the dog may not come because of the fear in the handler’s voice.

    I still practice it once in a while 9 years later, and it works for me!

    (Love your blog, BTW!)


  28. Paula says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 10:57am

    Pretty reliable recall on both dogs (Terrier and a BC) EXCEPT in the face of squirrels or other wildlife … this is especially true if on our own property where they feel they must be protective.


  29. Eric says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 10:26am

    Susan, timing is everything. Just earlier this week, my local agility trainer asks me what my homework would be for this week and the answer was a resounding “Recalls”. It drives me nuts that after years of training my loveable girl still wonders off when “she feels like it”. Who’s to blame: ME. She does what she has been allowed to do on too many occassions, i.e. follow her nose and find whatever bit of edible substance in the area around her. Obviously my challenge is to make myself to be the one and only “go to” object.


  30. Clyde says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 9:01am

    I just reread “Hitting a nerve”. After all this, I’m not so sure you are right, Susan, about lack of interest in a recall clinic. Many times I have thought about how great it would be to take walks on the Say Yes grounds with an instructor and a small group of students and their dogs. The format could be a combination of lecture and dog walking, “go for a run”, etc. What do you think, guys? How cool would that be?


  31. Liz says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 8:48am

    When I call my 8 month German Shorthaired Pointer he’ll always goes and picks up a toy before coming to me.


  32. AL says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 8:03am

    Some of the toughest recall problems I see with my students are those with rescue dogs that have come to them already having been essentially taught to ignore recalls by previous owners/situations. A couple of specific dogs that come to mind: one is a chocolate lab who spent the first 4 years of his life in an outdoor kennel. The only exercise or stimulation he ever got was when he escaped and ran like a loonie all over the neighborhood. He came to his current owner with 4 years of reinforcement for bolting and ignoring recalls. On-leash or on a long line, he is great. But off-leash, or if he slips his collar, he is gone. He knows when he is free and when he isn’t, and the second he has an opportunity, he runs and ignores everything until he is ready to come back.

    The second is a rescued husky mix who was abused and neglected by her previous owners. Among other atrocities, she was shot at some point in her past and still has the bullet in her. Her recall is generally very good… unless she hears something that sounds like a gun shot, and then she panics and heads for the hills. Her brain just turns off, and until it re-boots, she won’t respond to a recall.


  33. Marcy says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 7:38am

    We don’t “do” obedience, but if I put her in a sit or down stay she will stay a very long time and will recall quickly. But all other recalls or hit and miss – and mostly miss! Anything that moves in or around the backyard is more interesting to her. Got her as a rescue and for the first 6 months recalls and other things were pretty good. Then I went back to school and lost the connection. She has a bad case of SDS. As everyone has said – my fault for letting it go by the wayside, but it’s like I never know when she will connect and when she won’t.

    She’ll go in spells of paying attention and doing well in the backyard and then not. At the training field she is more likely than not to do a jump or two and then take off and ignore me. I have learned to NOT go after her – that is self-defeating for me and evidently self-rewarding for her. I go the other direction and ignore her. She does eventually come back – but it’s definitely not a “recall.” Hopefully I’ll take this kick in the pants to get back into due diligence and start over on her recall and our relationship as well. Tomorrow starts another round of ruff love in the crate. I did that during the two week Christmas break and had good success. But alas I didn’t follow through long enough or strong enough. Shame on me, shame on me, shame on me.


  34. Christine says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 6:20am

    I have been working alot on my foundations (Thanks SY for the tools this spring another hoorah for the new spring programs launched in 2010!) and feel pretty good about my recalls.

    For me it is usually people and folks that don’t listen to my criteria therefore when I call and my dog and if they don’t come please don’t stand there and pat him just please be boring person standing there giving no emotion or reinforcement – perhaps I need to be more blunt when I discuss this better with folks first!

    Our recalls off our dogs are becoming pretty darn spectacular I always admired the recalls you mention and was determined to have the same. Who knew my BC boy would find me more reinforcing to drive back to just as hard as when he ran out with the big dogs! Now to continue to proof through others dogs. I have to be very cautious about who I work with as I want the others dog to either drop and become boring or have their dog not chase behind although I suppose that’s just another item to work through!


  35. Trudie says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 4:16am

    Wow Susan – 90 responses so far, count me in with the overwhelming 95% who have problems
    The fact that 3 people mentioned the effectiveness of training a special cue such as a whistle, and Gale has prompted me to dust off my RRR DVD


  36. Emma says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 3:35am

    My dog see’s hears and smells EVERYTHING. The distractions are many, leaves blowing, birds flying, a rock that doesn’t look like all the other ones, people or dogs she knows during competetions (never happens during training…).
    I have a pretty good recall now, I have struggled with it and it has been hard not to get frustrated and angry. Now she will turn around while chasing a rabbit and come back! However, I feel like a nag because she is always checking stuff out. She acts on all the distractions even if it is just for 1 second and on the agility course that is equal to dissaster. Even if she just looses focus slightly, she looses speed too.
    Some tip’s on how to build value and keep focus would be great!


  37. Lee Carr says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 2:04am

    My border collie has got in the habit of only responding to her recall when the distraction is high – not a bad problem to have, right? Well it still irks me that I can’t get my dog to come back to me in an empty park!


  38. Donna says:
    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 1:59am

    I have a young BC and when he gets in herding mode he does not hear. When he is not in that mind set recalls are good. I also have discovered (last night) that playing with a lazer light he does not hear.
    He knows crate games and enjoys running to his crate some times when in herding mode I can send to the crate.I can also get him to down or sit in herding mode but not recalls


Post a Comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

slide one
slide two