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Discussion Starter #1
Our six month old spoo is doing great. BUT we are having a lot of trouble with "come". He won't. Or he'll come a little bit close and as soon as I reach my hand out to him, he jumps back playfully. He wants to play "catch me if you can" instead. It's getting old. I find myself trying to figure out ways to sneak up on him to get him without making it a game.

My husband seems to be getting some results by making him "sit" first and say "stay" and then he goes and gets him. He won't do that for me. He'll sit but as soon as I'm approaching, the game begins. And his "stay" is not stable anyway.

He does great on leash for me, but pulls on my husband, so we each have our issues with him.

Anyway, would LOVE any advice that you can offer on "come". I tried luring with treats, but that's backfired. He doesn't seem to care about the treat anymore ... plus, I don't want to "lure". I want to reward him for doing it and eventually have him just do it.

(p.s. we are signed up in obedience class, so I know that we'll get help there ... but I don't want to wait and let this bad habit fester)
 

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Ask him to come, and when he looks, run away from him. He'll chase you, and when he gets to you then PRAISE PRAISE and TREAT
 

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ALWAYS keep him on a long line outside!!! Every time he gets the chance to "blow you off" it just reinforces the game. Does he actually know the come command? Dogs are not hard wired to respond to it if not taught. A class will help with that.
Let him drag the line outside and when you are ready to be done call him to you. If he doesnt respond then reel him in. Never let a command be ignored! Tell him once and reel. Hold on to the line so he cant jump away from you at the end. Praise him for coming in.
 

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our spoo is 10 months old and we still don't have success every time with the 'come' command. she's a lot better about it now, but you can see in her eyes that she has to think about it before she decides to obey or disobey! haha. *Edit* This is also after passing TWO obedience courses already. GRR!

when the come command fails...i just have to go up to her and grab her collar and pull her to where i want her. when i have a serious look on my face like "don't mess with me now" she usually gets the point. hopefully she'll understand soon that that there is no escaping the 'come' command cause it's either my way or the highway.
 

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Definitely agree with the long line, and that dogs don't automatically know the meaning of the words we use!
First - only use "come" when coming to you will be rewarded, and not lead to anything unpleasant (bath, leash on to go home, etc). When you call, turn your body away, or run away a few paces. Be happy and upbeat.
Second - make it more fun and more rewarding to come to you than to play keep away - really good treats, a fun game with a tuggy toy - but the reward only comes when you have your hand on the collar. Try putting the keep away game on cue too, and don't join in that lovely game of chase when it follows "come!". Never, ever scold or punish him when she does come, or you catch him!
Make it a game - call him to you, play, then release him again.
Be consistent, and remember the three Ds - distance, duration and distraction. Start calling him to you over short distances in a quiet place - and be aware that you will need to build up both distance and distraction level in small, easy steps. Meanwhile, use the long line for safety.

I have found the "wait" command invaluable - we use it in doorways, getting out of the car, putting on and taking off the lead, whenever the dogs get a bit too far ahead, etc. It was very easy to teach - they learned that it was the quickest way to get what they wanted!
 

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Long line, long line, long line! This dog should NEVER be off leash, even in the yard. Then practice every day, multiple times a day.

Does this dog like toys? When I teach the "Come" command, I give the command and if the dog does not respond immediately, I give a collar pop and reel them in. Running backwards as the dog comes in will help increase the dog's recall speed. If the dog is not getting close enough to you, I would teach the dog come to you and pass between your legs. To do this, as the dog is coming in, spread your legs into a V and toss the toy through them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for so many responses. Really dumb question I'm sure, but what is a "long line"? Is that just his leash? He's definitely always on leash whenever we are outside. Inside the house or in our fenced in yard, he doesn't have it on. Should I be leaving it on him? Do I just let him drag it around all the time and then grab it when I want him?
 

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A long line is a really long leash. You can buy them at most stores, horse longe lines work well too.
 

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Ask him to come, and when he looks, run away from him. He'll chase you, and when he gets to you then PRAISE PRAISE and TREAT
This is what I do with my 7 month old (Corbin). It never fails. This also works well when he gets a hold of something and wants to play keep-away. If I chase, I'll never catch him. If I run away, he drops whatever it is he has and chases me. Once I have his attention, I turn (continuing to jog backwards) and give the "come" command, praise and treat (if I have one).
 

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Games to help recall

I use a couple of games, both with really really good treats (hot dogs, cheese, chicken) to help make the recall a really positive thing, and fun.

If you can shanghai another family member, you can play yo-yo. One person holds the dog and the other moves 10 feet away and recalls the dog. Treat, treat, treat, happy dance, what a good boy. First person then calls the dog back. Treat, treat, treat, happy dance, what a good boy. Repeat, getting further and further apart. Stop when you are still getting good recalls.

The other is the home-and-away game. You need visible chunks of something yummy. Call the dog to you, when he comes tell him good boy and then throw the treat, with the command 'away', in a sweeping arm motion so he can see where it lands. Then run away, and repeat. I do come, away right, come away left (also good for teaching right and left if you plan to do agility), come and sit in front of me for a treat. It's a game, the dog should enjoy it, making the come command part of the game.
 

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Sorry, should have said, works best to start work on reliable recalls & games in the house, then move to a fenced area, then once perfect there, move to outside on a long line, then eventually practice with no long line. Each of the previous steps should be reliable before moving to the next.

You can find what are called tracking lines, for gun dogs, that are very lightweight, very long leads. The advantage is that they are light, so sometimes the dog forgets they are attached (and that you therefore have final control). Great for practicing recall work.
 

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Sneaking up on him, is a game to him.

My personal preference is reward based training, and it has worked wonders for me. I played the name game with Baldr from the moment he came home with me. I would say his name and as soon as he looked at me, he would get a treat..his name became a very positive thing. He has been off leash since 8 weeks old, and has come back every time I call, he even breaks off when chasing chipmunks or bunnies.
One or twice he has found a very interesting smell and did not come on the first call (and I only call once, because his recall should be on Baldr, not Baldr Baldr), I have just run in the opposite direction, and within seconds he will be by my side.

It really comes down to what type if training you want to do with your dog, cause once you find the method you want to use, stick with it.

Good luck
 

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That is so right, it becomes a game, which will make it harder to unteach.

I have never had a dog so quick to learn, nor so eager for a game, as my poodle.

Mine likes the keep-away game so much that we do play it, but we only play when *I* say we play. The code phrases are "I'm gonna GET you" or "GIVE me that". The first means now I'm going to chase you, and I won't chase you at any other time. The second means it's time to play keep-away with the toy in your mouth, and we ONLY play this game with low-value toys, never with something that I really want back from him.

Anyway, my point it, you CAN still play "bad" games with your poodle, just play them on your terms.
 
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