Recalls Off Distractions – Bad Dog Agility Academy

Recalls Off Distractions

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  • says:

    I have a 6 month old Jack Russell Terrier. In the fenced in backyard we have a fairly good recall, unless he is digging. When he is digging he has 0% recall; he just ignores me. One time his leash slipped out of my hands when we were hiking in the woods and he would not recall at all. Thank goodness I was able to catch the leash. I know the old advice of not calling your dog unless you know they will come, but sometimes when I think he will come he simply does not. I sometimes repeated the command in case he didn’t hear me, but if he doesn’t come I don’t repeat it again. However, I don’t know what I am supposed to do when he does not come. I am working circle games and chase games in the fenced in backyard and his attention during those games is very good. I went to a field with him on a 50 foot leash and practiced the come and close commands. I had only so, so success. When he did not come I realed him into me and if he showed forward motion towards me on his own I would praise and reward him. If I had to real him all the way to me, I would simply reach down and give him a pat and scratch. I understand how important it is for safety to have a solid recall and I want him to come to me on the agility field if I call too. I have been following along with all of your training, but none of your videos show a dog simply ignoring you. Please help!

    • Esteban Fernandezlopez says:

      There’s two principles you can apply to your situation:

      #1 Hierarchy of rewards. What does your dog like best? I’d reward him with that “best thing” for more difficult recalls. If your dog prefers digging to any kind of food, I would reward him with digging. For example, my border collie likes best to run with the other dogs, so I built up to recalling her from running with them, and then immediately rewarded her with a cue to go run with the dogs again. A single treat is unlikely to work in all scenarios. I will often amplify by dropping a handful of treats, or a series of rapid fire single treats.

      #2 Structured, step by step training of the recall. You may not have completed enough repetitions/rewards at the “easy” stages of recall work. You may be missing opportunities to reinforce recall situations where the dog almost always comes to you (meal times). Being loose in the woods is a high level challenge and your dog simply wasn’t ready for that. In general, you want to control the environment. If he does not recall, you can put him away in a crate or xpen. When he does recall, you should give him access to something he wants a lot like dinner, digging, agility obstacles, meeting with people, playing with other dogs, etc. In general I think you may have progressed too quickly.

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