Recall!!! Our biggest problem. And holding commands

1 reply [Last post]
viper's picture
Joined: 2014-04-30

I am going to start working our Doby more soon as she FINALLY seems to be getting out of her puppy phase and will listen.  My primary problem is recall and one in which I am not used to fighting with retrievers. 


I had an issue the other day when we were out and a neighbor walked by with their little dog.  She spotted it and I told her NO and STAY, she got around me and ran towards the dog.  I was not the least concerned with her biting the dog but anyone would be scared of a big Doby running towards them at full steam!  Then if I yell at the dog, it looks like I am worried. 

I know she just wants to meet people and was brought up that way but I must work on this pronto.  I am curious if the treat thing works well, a long lead and how you work the lead for that, or something else?  We are certainly getting better and I usually push her all the way to a full "heel" and "sit" beside me, then I pet her.  I am also wondering if I get her more excercise if that will help most of this? 

I am also working on longer duration commands such as laydown and stay.  I need her to stay untell I tell her to come.  She holds for a few minutes, then wanders. 


First I'm gonna start with this. DO NOT wait "til the puppy gets out of puppy stage" to train. Puppies are very impressionable and this is the perfect time to imprint behaviors such as sit, stay, heel, come. Start working with the puppy as soon as you get your hands on them. This is the "teaching" time. Too many people (Viper) miss this opportunity.

Now to the situation at hand, recall.

With a 30 meter lead, just go for a walk with your dog, "Just a walk". Let the dog be a dog smelling peeing exploring. No obedience. Every now and then call your dog and if you have to, reel him in and when he gets within hands reach reward with a high value reward. Don't stop him or give any other commands. The idea is to get the dog to come to you and like doing it. When the dog is getting the idea of recall consistently then and only then do you start to implement another command. You train in teaspoons and train commands separately from one another. When the dog can do the separate commands perfectly then you start combining the commands, (come-sit).

Next, positive sits and stays.

When you sit your dog (or any other command) never let the dog break the command. It goes like this; Viper Sit! he sits.. GOOD BOY!!! As fast as you read that is how long the waiting to reward is. Have a release word. A release word lets the dog know he's done. A period on the end of a sentence. "Viper Sit! Good Boy! Free! After "free" he can do what he wants till the next command. This gives the dog "clarity". Over time you increase the duration of the command from a second or two to however long you need him to sit or down. With "positive sits and downs" there's no need for a "stay" command.


I'm not big on letting other people pet my dog. I want him to get that enjoyment from me. This keeps me more important than the friendly stranger and gives me the decision on who he gets to interact with. Dogs left to their own devices will ALWAYS make unpopular decisions.

Every time you interact with your dog, you are training. So be careful what you let them get away with and what you show him.