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How Do You Recall Train?


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This is the first time I've ever had this problem: When I say "Eli! Come here!" in a happy, friendly voice, Eli runs away from me. in the living room, the sunroom, down our hallway, it doesn't matter - he ducks his head either submissively or in fear and runs. He used to respond to it and I've never let him get away with not coming when I call him (I'll go and gently take his collar and move us both in the direction we're supposed to be going), so I'm not sure why he's decided that "Come on" = horror.

 

I've tried calling him with "Come here" and "come on" and even just kissy noises, but nothing works. I'm starting to wonder if, at one point, someone called him over and did something horrible to him. I just don't know.. Either that, or he's testing to see what he can get away with.

 

I suppose maybe he associates "Come on" with me trying to get him in the house before school - which means I'll put him in his crate and leave. But I've never said "Come on" and then locked him in the crate - the "come on" is to get him inside the house, then after a minute I'll give the command "Okay, bed time!" and put him in the crate. He never fights going in. He loves his crate (he's in there right now with the door open, actually - haha). But when I call him inside after a walk, his response is to run to the other side of the sunroom, hang his head as low as possible, and tuck his tail. It's leaving me utterly confused, and a little sad that he apparently thinks I'm going to hurt him when I've never given him any reason to feel this way (I know, I know - Greyhounds are excellent at "pity me", but still...). :sad1 The worst I ever did when he used to respond was give him a pat on the side and say something like "You little stinker!" in a happy voice. Not exactly dog abuse...

 

So I'm going to start from scratch and recall train him, but this is something I've never had to do (our last two came to us super friendly and responded immediately whenever you called them via their names, kissy noises, or "Come here!"), so I have no idea how to go about it. I'm using a whole new word ("Dai" - Italian for "Come on"). Since he doesn't respond to "Wait" either, I'm going to start using "Aspetta!" instead (again, the Italian word). I know how to teach "wait", but I've never had the problem of a dog running away when I called them.... How do I teach "Come"? Put him on a leash, stand across from him with tasty treats, and give the command while showing him the treat? Or wait until he comes over naturally (which almost never happens, since he refuses to step off of his safety runners while there are people in the room - leave the room, and he'll traverse the shiny hardwood floor - I know this because he shows up in random rooms when we leave him alone :lol) and said "Dai!" while petting him and praising him? Should I stand in our carpeted hallway (with every door closed so he can't escape) with hotdog (his favorite) and back up down the hall saying "Dai!" and feeding him bits of the treat? Or is there some other method? I just want him to come over when I call him D:

Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

Wrote a book about shelter dogs!

I sell things on Etsy!

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Guest Lady_Catherine

I've been training Bessie to come to a whistle. I'll blow the whistle, and when she comes right away, she gets a high value treat, like a piece of hot dog. I started by doing it when she was near me, and then moved it out a bit. I can now blow the whistle and get her to come when she's in the yard where I can't see her- she comes running! :)

 

The key for us has been to reward, reward, reward. I only use super special treats for recall. I also grab her collar for a second so if I ever use the whistle if she gets loose, she'll be used to me grabbing her collar.

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Guest ShanYu

My daughter and I taught Nike to come by standing on either side of the room (then in separate rooms, and later on opposite sides of a tennis court) armed with treats. We would take turns calling his name and rewarding with the treats. He loved the game and learned recall really quickly.

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Sometimes dogs can learn to associate "come" or "come here" with something unpleasant that comes afterward (medical treatment, toenail trimming, teethbrushing - anything they don't like), so many trainers insist on NOT calling the dog to you if anything potentially unpleasant is going to be done to/with them. Though it is very difficult to remember in the moment.

 

Can you try using a completely different term? We're babysitting a dog and "come" means something similar to what it does for your dog [bud: run away! It's a game of keep-away!], so I've started to use "Bud, Here!" and he comes with enthusiasm. I started working on this when he's on leash on a walk, and would call him "Bud, here!" excitedly and when he turns to look at me because I've used his name I try to entice him closer by crouching down and backing up and making all sorts of excited "good dog" noises at him. He would speed up and then I'd let him get to me and throw a party for him (petting, and at first treats of kibble that I had in a fannypack that I constantly wore). Now he has generalized to it in the house...for me. My DH still uses "Buddy, come" and gets no response and gets irritated - I need to train him too.

 

Can you make coming into the house automatically mean he gets a treat? (As soon as he gets into the house.) He doesn't like some of your floors, so maybe he is worried about the flooring in general and it makes him tense? Is there anything else in the house that he isn't fond of (ceiling fans, weird shadows, etc.)? Has he *ever* slipped when coming inside? Those kinds of memories can make it a nightmare to dilute with good memories before they seem to forget. Monty slipped on our kitchen floor once and I think it was two months before he would go across the floor in there without supreme concentration and tension.

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Start from the basics, find a different word...maybe "let's go!", something that the general public might use, incase he'd ever get lost. Then start with on leash, happy voice, word, treat. Work your way up to a longer leash.

 

Also, maybe try this outside on grass (last poster mentioned he could have fallen at some point).

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Maggie (the human servant), with Miss Bella, racing name "A Star Blackieto"

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I think the floor is the biggest problem - he panics on any inch of exposed hardwood, but he's totally fine walking on it as long as we're either out of the room, or sitting down on the floor - it's like he thinks that if we're sitting on it, it must be solid! We put runners down, but there's a tiny little gap (like 2 inches or less) between the runner and the door and he slips at least daily (usually when he's trying to skirt around the "waiting at door" rule we're working on - and when he runs directly into my knee with his head, he looks at me like I intentionally hit him :/ ). I'm going to buy a small area rug or two after payday to make the whole room more tolerable for him. I tried shutting all the doors in the hallway and calling him to "Come on!" in there (it's all carpet) and rewarding with a treat. He ran right up, tail wagging, though his head was really low like he thought I might hit him (it picked up after a few times, but why he initially expects me to be mean is beyond me o.o). We did this a few times and all was good, so I thought "Why not try going in and out of the door for treats?" He did okay the first two times, then slipped once (didn't even fall, just a tiny little slip) and was intent on leaping out the door no matter what. He's a pro at avoidance - when I try training him to do anything, rather than look anywhere near me, he turns his head and focuses intently on whatever's across the room. If I call him ("Eli!" or "Come!" or "Here!" or even just a whistle) he'll flick an ear, look over, and if it's convenient for him, he'll approach me.

 

After our impromptu training session (I made sure it ended on a high note - he waited more or less politely at the door, then hopped out when I called him, so I gave him a chunk of hot dog) I sat down next to his bed and gave him lots of lovin'. He's not at all upset at me - he climbed into my lap, and then laid down and begged for head scratches - even though he acts totally dejected whenever I'm trying to teach him anything and he's not getting it.

 

Would an actual obedience class help at all? I've been thinking about doing the "beginner" one at Petsmart (mostly because it's relatively inexpensive) just so he has some sort of basis for why I'm asking him to do things, and so we get some experience working together. He's smart, and I know he's smart - it took maybe three times of seeing my Dad leave in the mornings before he started to tap the doorknob with his nose in an attempt to follow. I keep having to remind myself that I'm still new to him - I've only had him since mid-May, so he's still adjusting. It's just so hard to remember that when he fits in so well otherwise! I swear, some days it's like he's been here for years.

 

 

Sometimes dogs can learn to associate "come" or "come here" with something unpleasant that comes afterward (medical treatment, toenail trimming, teethbrushing - anything they don't like), so many trainers insist on NOT calling the dog to you if anything potentially unpleasant is going to be done to/with them. Though it is very difficult to remember in the moment.

 

As far as I know, I've never used "Come on!" before doing anything unpleasant to him. Before nail trimmings and teeth cleanings, I usually say "Alright, let's go!" - and oddly enough, he comes running. :lol

 

This whole thing is just mind boggling to me. I've been training wild and crazy mutts at the shelter for about 6 years now, and have a pretty decent success rate. But no matter what I try for Eli, he just... nothing works. :riphair

Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

Wrote a book about shelter dogs!

I sell things on Etsy!

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I can't find the edit button, so I'll just post again...

 

I went shopping just after I posted that and found a runner at Walmart for $3 in the clearance section (it's big, too!) so that's now leading outside and he seems quite a bit happier! I'm also going to send an email to a trainer I worked with on a shelter dog in May - I was bringing the dog to their place for training sessions while I was in the process of adopting Eli, so he heard me go on and on about my boy. They're awesome at what they do there and even though they specialize in aggressive cases, they're able to work wonders on just about any dog brought to them. Hopefully they'll have some one-on-one lessons open soon.

 

Also, I don't want all of this to sound like Eli is positively miserable, because he isn't - he has his sulky moments (mostly around the hardwood or when he'd rather not do something we want him to do), but he is a really spoiled happy, greatly loved boy!

Edited by Roo

Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

Wrote a book about shelter dogs!

I sell things on Etsy!

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there are very good instructions on recall training at http://www.neversayn...greyhounds.net/

 

i just started using really desirable treats, and holding them out in front of me while calling my dogs name at the small dog park we go to. after no time, he started BOLTING toward me whenever i called his name. i also did it while on leash walks. i havent kept up with the training since i got my second, but it was clear that POSITIVE reinforcement was working very well. sometimes, if he was really distracted or playing with other dogs, he wouldnt come right to me immediately, but i think that was just a matter of needing more repetition.

 

whenever we would leave the dog park, i would also bring them right home and feed them, so they were never reticent about leaving. i see all these other dog owners at the park, running around all exasperated because they want to leave and their dogs wont come to them -- well, no wonder. they know that "come here' means its the end of fun time! turn it into a positive, and they'll come running.

 

also, after a month or two of proper rug coverage (i have all hardwood floors at my place), tempo, who has been terrified of slipping, changed into a completely different, more confident dog.

Edited by jaym1
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I'm glad that finding a rug to help him keep his footing is helping. I know that when I slip on ice outside in the winter I spend the rest of the week at least walking excessively carefully in that spot and being tense about it. (Which means that if I do slip I'm already tense and can hurt something more!)

 

It could be just an association made of a single slip that made the doorway a dangerous place to be and he has to work through that. Glad he doesn't hold a grudge toward you and it seems to be directed at going through the "dangerous" doorway onto the "dangerous" flooring.

 

You say that "all right, let's go!" is something that brings him running...could you (After he's started to learn that the doorway floor area isn't as dangerous as it once was) start using that to get him through the doorway? I'd definitely wait until he starts to be more confident at entering and leaving before starting it (in case the resistance to coming is because you used a phrase and he somehow tied it to the slip in the doorway). Dogs can make such seemingly irrational connections sometimes [coming from someone from a species that has people who carry rabbits' feet, have to wear certain clothing to do well at sports, have to perform certain routines before they can hit baseballs, etc. :dunno ]

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He seems to be doing a lot better today, and for no apparent reason :lol

 

Instead of calling him in after our walks, I just came in the door and left it open and up to him whether he entered or not. When he came in, I went over, gave him lots of pets, and closed the door. He was doing a lot better by tonight.

 

Also: he ventured over onto the hardwood for some lovin'! Huge for him, since that meant approaching the human while stepping on shiny floors. He did this willingly before dinner (whereas normally he just lays on his bed and stares at me till it's time for him to eat), so when he came over on the shiny floor I petted him for a bit, then said, "Dinner time!" and fed him. After dinner, he came over on the floor again. Food is definitely the way to this guy's heart.

 

I emailed the trainers I know and asked about pricing for a couple of lessons. Even though he seems to be getting better, I still think it would be a good bonding thing for us. And maybe they can help with his over-exuberance in regards to greeting people. He's been known to stop in the middle of poo-ing to say hi to people :blink:

Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

Wrote a book about shelter dogs!

I sell things on Etsy!

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i always introduce a new skill on lead. start the come w/ a 6ft leash and work your way up to 12 ft and then across a room. in class one of the rescue dogs freaked at the word/command come. he was badly abused, so the owners used "cody here". let's go, means walking/heeling. always sound super happy w/ the recall and in a fenced in area...WATCH OUT....i've been knocked over as felix has bolted back to me at 30 mph. we worked our dogs in a huge indoor space at training and he must have had 200ft+ to run up to me. i now run into him when he is coming from a distance .

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Guest Giselle

Something to keep in mind... Most people say "Come!", lean forward, and pat their legs. Unless the dog has already been trained to respond to this posture, this is not the appropriate body language to get a dog to come. Dogs naturally want to follow (maybe it's prey drive, maybe it's an attachment thing). So, instead of saying "Come!" and leaning forward, you should run away from the dog, instead. Of course, when you start, you should always have the dog on a leash so that you can give a slight tug to get the dog to follow.

 

Essentially, it should look like "Fido, COME!" and start immediately running away. The dog should chase after you. As he is approaching, drop your hand down to his face and feed him excellent treats, like real meat or Natural Balance food rolls. Not only is this a much more fun game, but it also teaches your dog a wicked fast recall. Also, starting with a hungry dog helps, too. Most importantly, practice practice practice. That's pretty much it! Come is actually a very easy command to teach. It's just hard to practice :)

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Something to keep in mind... Most people say "Come!", lean forward, and pat their legs. Unless the dog has already been trained to respond to this posture, this is not the appropriate body language to get a dog to come. Dogs naturally want to follow (maybe it's prey drive, maybe it's an attachment thing). So, instead of saying "Come!" and leaning forward, you should run away from the dog, instead. Of course, when you start, you should always have the dog on a leash so that you can give a slight tug to get the dog to follow.

 

Essentially, it should look like "Fido, COME!" and start immediately running away. The dog should chase after you. As he is approaching, drop your hand down to his face and feed him excellent treats, like real meat or Natural Balance food rolls. Not only is this a much more fun game, but it also teaches your dog a wicked fast recall. Also, starting with a hungry dog helps, too. Most importantly, practice practice practice. That's pretty much it! Come is actually a very easy command to teach. It's just hard to practice :)

 

I definitely understand about the body posture - this is something I modified when I was testing what works for Eli and what doesn't. I closed all the doors in the hallway so he couldn't escape, started in a squat (worked well), then moved up to bending at the waist, then to just standing straight up. The thing is, he responds to "Come!" when we're on all carpeting and when he's on a leash (even a really long leash). He'll do it okay when he's on the runner and I say "Come!" and start walking over the hardwood (he resists a bit, then gives in and follows). After a few repetitions, he does it without any hesitation. The second the leash comes off, he won't answer to "Come" at all - unless I'm holding hot dogs. But I'm trying to wean him off the hot dog, because what happens when I don't have any?

 

We went to GFNC's kennel today for a little off-leash fun for him (I don't have a fenced yard, so he's stuck to me at all times at home) and after he'd had a bit of a run (and I use "run" loosely, because it was more of a slow trot :lol) he looked over at me, I said "Come 'ere Eli!" and patted my thighs, and he came slow-trotting on over. So it's not that he just doesn't respond at all, it's that he's terrified of the hardwood and refuses to respond to "Come" when there's any in sight. At least, I think this is it? He's also gotten so used to slipping in certain places that even after the addition of the runners, he still "slips" because he expects to (he's such an odd pupper).

 

I got an email back from the trainer and he gave me a really awesome price quote, so we're signing up for a couple lessons that will hopefully help him overcome his fear of hardwood (and his over-exuberance when greeting people)!

Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

Wrote a book about shelter dogs!

I sell things on Etsy!

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I love using the running away to encourage my dogs to come. Also, when possible, I'll hide from them (they get busy sniffing and are not paying attention) and call them. When they find me they get "prime" treats. It really teaches them to keep an eye on me and gives me a really fast recall. Good luck.

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Guest lanielovesgreys

I haven't read all the responses yet. Laika is our difficult recall girl. Vive is one of those greys who would choose to come to me over a running white rabbit. She's easy.

 

I remember letting Laika out in the backyard in the dead of winter, calling her and watching her look at me and decide if she wants to. Most of the time it was no. So when she started running back on her own, I'd name it "LAIKA COME" and give her a treat when she arrives. I started saying "LAIKA COME" very sternly, just one time. If she comes, she gets a REALLY high value treat. We've been working on it for like 2 years. And she still takes that moment to decide but actually comes about 95% of the time, which is a success to us. It is definately not enough if she was unleashed in an unfenced area and we understand that and have other emergency measures in place.

 

Sometimes I think greys are just too smart to blindly accept commands. Laika hears it, she knows what we want, but makes her own choice.

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instead of saying "Come!" and leaning forward, you should run away from the dog

 

Excellent point, and one that most people don't think about. This is exactly how I've caught my Pyr when he got loose. Works like a charm, and fun for the dog.

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