Recall problems, esp around sheep

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Recall problems, esp around sheep

Postby ScottishBorderer » 13 Dec 2009, 20:54

Hi, have just joined this forum as i've recently rescued Jasper, a 1 or 2 yr old german shepard cross from the local sspca centre. The problem i'm having is with recall, twice now i've had to catch him when he's bolted after a herd of sheep (I know how stupid i was to let this happen in the first place). He's not aggresive toward them, but I wouldn't fancy the chances of a farmer thinking about that if he caught him disturbing his livestock. Same problem applies to other dogs, although to a lesser extent. His recall is almost perfect when there are no distractions. I have read a few posts on here about recall training and plan to get a 10m lead asap, have also enrolled him in obedience classes due to start on 7th Jan, but what i'm wondering is, due to the type of dog he is (i also suspect he's part collie), do i just accept that chasing sheep is in his nature and i'm always going to have to keep him on a lead when anywhere near them, or can this be fixed by training? Current admittedly limited training involes dog biscuits when he does as he's told, and no reaction at all when he doesn't. Would appreciate any advice anyone can offer. Thanks
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Re: Recall problems, esp around sheep

Postby Nicola » 14 Dec 2009, 11:27

Hi there

Its horrid isnt it? Ive got one that proved himself to be hot-headed around livestock, although he has never had the chance to actually chase (since Ive had him, although Rescue dogs, who knows?)

Long story short Karl has a high prey drive and strong tracking/hunting instinct

I have now joined a local training school that uses this principle

http://www.naturaldogblog.com/learn-the ... -training/

with their help, Karl has started to turn around behaviour wise already, and I would strongly recommend learning more about this.
Bella - Yorkshire Terrier - 9 years (Rescue)
Carl - Staffy X - 3 years (Rescue)
Tilly - Collie X Kelpie 18 months (Rescue)
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Re: Recall problems, esp around sheep

Postby Chris » 14 Dec 2009, 13:42

Nicola wrote:I have now joined a local training school that uses this principle

http://www.naturaldogblog.com/learn-the ... -training/


I have just had a quick scan of the attached link and noticed the following statement which got my attention:
"Play Tug of War with Your Dog, Let Your Dog Win, and Have the Happiest Dog on the Block".

As intended by the author, this did indeed catch my attention because my belief is that the dog should not be allowed to win. As I have said, I have only scanned. When I have time I will read what he has to say and think about it. I am always interested in material that helps me to understand my dogs better. It would be interesting if other members also want to post discussions on the philosophy behind this training on the above web site?

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Re: Recall problems, esp around sheep

Postby noviceboy » 14 Dec 2009, 13:49

a very interesting read Nicola thanks for posting it. it really does prove that dog training is one big contradiction :shock: :shock:
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Re: Recall problems, esp around sheep

Postby Xita » 14 Dec 2009, 14:32

I've not read all the articles that are on Nicola's blog, but the approach sounds very useful. Training a dog with a high prey/hunting drive is a real challenge, but - according to my dog trainer anyway - it can be done. I also know several people with terriers/Viszlas and other breeds with a lot of prey drive who have successfully retrained their dogs, even dogs that have hunted to kill in the past.

The idea behind the training is to offer the dog an activity that satisfies the prey drive but happens around you, under your control. In Germany, a lot of dog trainers offer impulse control training: you attach a filled prey dummy to the end of a lunge whip (or similar) and move it across the ground like a prey animal. On your command (but not before - this is where the impulse control comes in), the dog is allowed to 'chase' and 'kill' the prey. Then you feed it from the dummy. You can see some piccies here: http://www.hundpunkt.de/html/reizangeltraining.html.

My dog is currently on a drag lead because she loves running off towards other dogs (not what you want, especially if the other dog is on a lead!). We do intense training that includes hand-feeding, tug of war, impulse control, wild 'running around and being silly' games, lots of recall exercises, socialisation with other dogs, but only occasional play (no matter how hard I try, another dog is always going to play better than me!). We also do exercises that teach her to 'drive' me by paying me attention - eg I stop and don't move on until she's looked at me. That way she learns that she can 'make things happen' by eye contact, and I get her to pay me more attention. I fully expect her to be on the drag lead for a few months to come, but we have made huge progress compared to our starting point. (I used to dread taking her for walks.)

@noviceboy - you're so right! The worst thing is these forums where people all have different opinions! :twisted: :wink:

@Chris - from what I've read and been told, it's a myth that letting your dog win at play undermines your status with the dog. As far as I've been taught, you exercise control by starting and ending the game. Who's 'on top' while you're playing doesn't seem to matter much!
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Re: Recall problems, esp around sheep

Postby Nicola » 14 Dec 2009, 14:41

Chris wrote:
Nicola wrote:I have now joined a local training school that uses this principle

http://www.naturaldogblog.com/learn-the ... -training/


I have just had a quick scan of the attached link and noticed the following statement which got my attention:
"Play Tug of War with Your Dog, Let Your Dog Win, and Have the Happiest Dog on the Block".

Chris



This method definately works, or I should say, IS working in my case.

If we look at the case, Karl came to me at 18 months, Staffy X, found straying, no history. Large, highly strung and extremely destructive. Refuses to give up toys, and has already clearly learned that he is stronger than humans during the tug game.

it has been explained to me that DOGS NEED TO BITE. it is inherent in their nature.

So far I have only been working on the tug and the push and have factored in some tracking/hunting and now (yesterday) some retrieving (insofar as Karl will bring back a "chucky" toy and swap for a "tuggy" toy, thus allowing me to introduce a drop command
Bella - Yorkshire Terrier - 9 years (Rescue)
Carl - Staffy X - 3 years (Rescue)
Tilly - Collie X Kelpie 18 months (Rescue)
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Re: Recall problems, esp around sheep

Postby Nicola » 14 Dec 2009, 14:45

sorry, tech problem before I had finished posting.

Please read about the "moose" philosophy, it is fascinating

Long story short, after one week of practising these exercises and this mind set, Karl is already happier, more settled and relaxed, MUCH less destructive (which I believe is because he has an allowed outlet for this) and works closely to me when allowed to run freely (with the long line)


We have our follow up session on Thursday and I will update you on how I get on, but my gut feeling is very positive.

Ongoing, Karl and myself are going to begin Agility, which I am really looking forward too.
Bella - Yorkshire Terrier - 9 years (Rescue)
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Re: Recall problems, esp around sheep

Postby Nicola » 14 Dec 2009, 14:48

Xita wrote:@Chris - from what I've read and been told, it's a myth that letting your dog win at play undermines your status with the dog. As far as I've been taught, you exercise control by starting and ending the game. Who's 'on top' while you're playing doesn't seem to matter much!


Karl and myself have definately "connected" on a deeper level since we began this method. (pls bear in mind Karl has only been with us since the end of September)

As it happens whose on "top" is essential. The dog must always win. He must always leave the game feeling happy, and satisfied. without fail. However, that does not mean that the dog decides when the game starts and stops, the handler must always be 100% in control of this.

At present our game stops when Karl is distracted, by treats and pushing - but this is short term until he understands the commands.

I am absolutely fascinated by this method and truly believe in it (based on what I have seen so far, and compared to other methods I have tried)
Bella - Yorkshire Terrier - 9 years (Rescue)
Carl - Staffy X - 3 years (Rescue)
Tilly - Collie X Kelpie 18 months (Rescue)
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Re: Recall problems, esp around sheep

Postby Xita » 14 Dec 2009, 18:59

@Nicola - I totally agree that the dog wins at the end of each game of tug. What I meant was that when dogs play together, they 'take turns' in being on top, even if one dog is high in the pecking order and the other one isn't. So when I play wrestle with my dog, sometimes I chuck her around and sometimes she body-slams me (in the gentlest, most ladylike manner, of course! :twisted: ). So it's a bit of give and take.

The approach of being the moose makes a lot of sense and fits right in with how Schutzhund training develops the prey drive in a dog - you always move away from the dog (prey), never towards it (predator). You drag the toy along the ground (prey) rather than holding it over the dog's head (predator). At the end of the game, the dog trots off proudly with the toy in its mouth - before it comes back to you for more.

This also reminds me of Patricia McConnell writing 'Alpha - Schmalpha' in one of her books, which made me laugh. :D

Just out of interest, Nicola - do you take Karl tracking, or have you considered it? Sounds like he would be fantastic at it, and it doesn't half knacker them out.
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Re: Recall problems, esp around sheep

Postby Nicola » 14 Dec 2009, 19:27

[quote="Xita
Just out of interest, Nicola - do you take Karl tracking, or have you considered it? Sounds like he would be fantastic at it, and it doesn't half knacker them out.[/quote]

I would consider anything that would give this wonderful (albeit hyper) dog a purpose in life.

He loves work, loves training and thinks the sun shines out of me :crazy: - what more could you ask for.

How would I find out more about tracking - can anyone point me in the right direction?

Also, should I work on his training and steadyness more before we consider this do you think?
Bella - Yorkshire Terrier - 9 years (Rescue)
Carl - Staffy X - 3 years (Rescue)
Tilly - Collie X Kelpie 18 months (Rescue)
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Re: Recall problems, esp around sheep

Postby Xita » 14 Dec 2009, 19:52

Nicola, my main reason for starting tracking work was that my dog is very easily distracted, so I wanted to work on her ability to concentrate and work steadily. In my opinion tracking is great for dogs who are a bit hyper as it helps them to work more calmly. It took me ages to find a place that does it - finally found one 3 weeks ago through Claire in this forum. So I'm a complete newbie myself but I love doing it - it's just fascinating to see the dog sniff its socks off and concentrate so hard on the track. In my opinion, if you think you'd enjoy it, start as soon as you find a place you like - it can only help! (You can do it by yourself, but it really helps if someone points you in the right direction to start with.)

Whereabouts are you based? Maybe someone in your area can recommend somewhere.

Nicola wrote:He loves work, loves training and thinks the sun shines out of me :crazy: - what more could you ask for.

Jealous - my dog currently thinks I'm vaguely OK, as long as I'm not in a mood...

(Sorry, @ScottishBorderer - wandered every so slightly OT...)
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Re: Recall problems, esp around sheep

Postby Nicola » 14 Dec 2009, 20:05

Im in the South (Hampshire)

Not far from Richard I believe
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Re: Recall problems, esp around sheep

Postby Richard » 15 Dec 2009, 00:20

Dam i thought i had copywrite on 'Alpha Shmaltha'........ :goofywink: :goofywink:

Alpha....pack order ect.....are simplifications.....but the 'rules' they employ do work its the rules and structures that give the dog boundaries.....

much works but not because of the theories being correct, hence you can junk some of the silly bits but keep the sensile stuff.........

rules......any rules will improve a dog and stimulate it to work harder for you

in consistancy....or lack of rules confuse and allow dog to make up own rules.......

Kato knows rules, he knows if its cold he can sleep on bed with me....he also knows if i fall asleep on sofa that even if its cold hes sleeping on his own bed...cos the bedroom door is locked.......so he wakes me up to open the door for him to get the warm big bed......

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