Labrador recall after running away

Discussion in 'Obedience' started by Elisa, Apr 16, 2020.

  1. Elisa

    Elisa Registered Users

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    Mabel is 8 years old, she was owned by someone else for the first 2 years and training her has been very challenging. She likes to run off to get attention. She will eventually wander back each time, but she will stand 30-40 yards away and just stare at me challenging me to get her to come. Every time this happens I should also mention she is covered ALL OVER in stinky poop and mud, resulting in a need for a bath at some point very soon.

    She doesn't enjoy baths and I don't know if the fear of having one prevents her from coming when called, but I am certain that it doesn't help matters. What can I do to stop her from playing games with me to get attention? I've found giving more attention even only at appropriate times to be ineffective.
     
  2. SianMJ

    SianMJ Registered Users

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    Hello Elisa, sounds like Mabel is having some fun rolling in poo, like many dogs! It’s certainly not our idea of fun though, which makes me wonder what your response is when she comes back eventually, maybe it the response she gets not the anticipation of a bath that’s keeping her away and starting the game? I had a little spaniel that loved it too!
     
  3. Elisa

    Elisa Registered Users

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    Thanks for the reply! My response is always positive, however I don't think the one she got for the first two years by another owner was.

    The main reason she doesn't want to come is because she doesn't want to. She has my attention and she craves that. However she will come to me, sit about 5 feet away from me, and just stay, or even lay down. Until I move to get her then she bolts. she is smart enough to see past promises of treats water or playtime as well. I had to pretend to be crying and beg her to come "Oh Mabel I miss you pleaasee come back, etc" before she moved close enough for me to hug her so that I had physical control over what we did next. Which was sit there. I loved on her quite a bit till she was over that game! Then she wandered off to her crate for the next game.
    This is the one where she doesn't want to come out of her crate at all since we will be going up to the bath. Showing me she enjoys the game of please come here WAY to much, passing up cuddles for game time.
     
  4. TEE

    TEE Registered Users

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    Why not try a long leash? That way she is always under control.
     
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  5. J.D

    J.D Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Is your dog running away on walks or running away from the house?
    If it’s on walks you probably need to go back to basic recall training using a long line and build up the confidence in returning to you for a treat.
    On the rare occasion my previous lab escaped from the garden( because someone left the gate open) he could always be found eating food left out for foxes. How he ever knew the food was there is beyond me as it was nowhere near where we walked!
     
  6. pippa@labforumHQ

    pippa@labforumHQ Administrator

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    Hi Elisa

    Recall can be complicated :) It's very common for people to get into the habit of only calling dogs to them when they need them. Often (from the dogs point of view) signaling an end to all the fun. So we call when we want to put the dog in the car, give the dog a bath, put the dog on a leash, and so on. The dog starts to associate the recall signal with these experiences and ignores it, or comes back because they like you very much, but stands just out of reach in hopes of avoiding the "punishment" they expect. And while none of those things seem like punishments in the commonly used sense of the word. They are indeed punishments because the have the effect of stopping the behavior (coming when called). Once the dog has stopped responding to the recall cue in the way you want, you have another problem in that the cue no longer means what you want it to mean. It's a bit of a catch 22 because calling the dog becomes unpleasant for the owner, and so they do it even less - or only when they absolutely have to. Almost always when the dog least wants to come.

    There is hope though! You can fix this :)

    It will take a while

    You need to pick a new recall cue, and build a powerful association between the cue and the act of running towards you. Start by using the cue as you feed the dog. Divide the dog's dinner into lots of small portions and use the cue each time you feed. Do this for several days

    Then get yourself some high value treats - chunks of roast chicken or beef. Crouch down and scatter a few pieces on the floor for your dog to eat then throw one piece well away for your dog to chase and eat. As the dog turns to come back to you to see if there is more food, give your recall cue and scatter more pieces. Repeat in different parts of your home. Do this indoors first then in your yard or garden with the dog trailing a long line. When you've practiced many times a day at home you can start doing it in public spaces, well away from other dogs and people to begin with. The line will help you prevent the dog rewarding herself for ignoring you if someone surprises you and attracts her attention. You can use other ways to get the dog running towards you - running away from her for example, but always have some treats ready if you want to give the recall cue, and only give it when the dog is actually running towards you. Do this for several weeks.

    Then and only then, you can try giving the cue before the dog is on her way. Alway start this with a long line on the dog so she cannot self reward for ignoring you. Always avoid distractions until she is really really good at it. Lots more info here:https://www.thelabradorsite.com/dog-recall/

    Good luck with your training and let us know how you get on
     
  7. Elisa

    Elisa Registered Users

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    Wow, thanks so much for the detailed info!!
    I already feed her in portions, but that's due to my other dog needed to be fed in portions and she was getting jealous
    However I see no reason I can't start to throw in a new recall word then....
    She only runs out if if the door is accidentally left open. So being more cautious of that helps. However I really want her to get to the same level of recall as my other dog Buster. That way I would feel comfortable going to open area parks with her!
     
  8. Elisa

    Elisa Registered Users

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    It's away from the house, it happens if someone leaves the back door loosely closed, it will blow open and she will run off. I am just going to keep working with her, I'd like for us to be able to go to open area parks and not worry about her disappearing if I let her off the leash.
     
  9. Simon Luca

    Simon Luca Registered Users

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    Thank you everyone for your responses. Although, this want my question, I was going to ask it. My boy, Luca is 6 months and he seems to have forgotten everything he knew before. I guess he's expressing his independence as he grows but it's a challenging situation to be in. I simply can't let him off the lead.

    I've been using a halti training lead (double ended thing) that clips to the front and back of his harness. When it's on the front he's great, no pulling or trying to run off. When on the back however, that's a different situation.

    Would you recommend long lead training all the time, i.e I have a 15m lead but don't use it very often choosing to use the 7 foot halti.

    Foolishly I thought he might grow out of his none return behaviour.

    Thanks all.
     
  10. 5labs

    5labs Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    At 6 months, I would ant to nip this in the bud asap before it becomes ingrained behaviour. I'd recommend getting a copy of the Total Recall book and keep him on the longline until you have this sorted.
     

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