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Teaching the Life Saver: How do YOU train down/stay and recall?

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  • Teaching the Life Saver: How do YOU train down/stay and recall?

    If there is any hope of a farm dog being off leash, and able to fully enjoy interaction on the farm, a recall, and therefore a stay are necessary.

    I learned the old fashioned way. Down-stay, on a long lead. Holding it longer and longer etc.

    Just wondering if there are any other methods. Clicker training maybe? I dunno.

    It's been a looooong time. Down-stay and recall are our holes.
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

  • #2
    1. Find great trainer.

    2. Send dog to trainer for one month. (usually that length of time)

    3. When dog is trained, then you go to obedience school with trained dog and learn to do the same things that dog knows. (The funniest times in obedience school were when 1/2 the people did not do "about turn" and humans collided.)

    4. Dog will be trained. (My dog would drop even when chasing a raccoon. Trainer said that we should train so that if dog is across busy street and running towards us and big truck coming, we could use hand signals or voice and dog would down stay, and we were taught to turn away from dog in training. It worked!) And we had a big pit bull and hyperactive rottie in our intermediate class, after we graduated from elementary obedience and moved up. We had to down stay and go out of sight w/o dogs breaking, or being eaten by the unruly ones.

    Of course I had a terrific trainer and instructor. And she's retired now. Dog was trained for life.


    • #3
      Well I cheat a little. The new dog gets tethered to the old dog for training sessions. They learn at a lightening speed when its another dog doing the training. Of course that means you always have to get dog number two while you have dog number one.
      Attached Files
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home


      • #4
        I agree with scheher-finding a good obedience school is in your best interest. I disagree you need to send the dog off. Good schools will offer foundation classes, like Family Manners, and you will find most of the people in their have no desire to do much more training than just sit, down, stay, come and heal.

        I can offer some tips to work on your own:

        I do clicker training. Once your dog understands click is followed by treat (repetitively click and throw a treat-don't give from your hand, but throw on the floor for dog to get), you can start to shape behaviors. No luring, dog has to offer the action 1st. Take a lot of time and patience. I make a game of it, starting with a target-a coffee can lid. I have my dog move towards it-C/T (click and treat). Once he is looking at the lid then immediately looking at me to C/T, I know he gets the idea. Then I wait until he offers something else, like hit it with his paw, touch with his nose, etc, until I can do other things like, sit, down, even walk a circle around target.

        Moving on to using C/T to stay-leave dog, go back C/T, leave dog go further, then back C/T, over and over until you reach a longer distance, for longer time period. I make this a game too-I can leave my dog at a sit, then ask him to down, back up to a sit, recall. I can ask him to drop on recall, come, or back to a sit or whatever. It all started out as a game and now he knows if he gives me a desirable behavior, he will get the C/T.

        I truly think when you use clicker training, allow dog to figure out what he can do to get that C/T, you end up with a dog who is very in tuned with you, who desperately wants to give you an action to get that treat. And I think it builds trust so they are waiting for your next command, not so interested about running around the farm entertaining themselves. But I am a big believer dog has to have a very good recall and understand boundaries before I leave them loose on the farm


        • #5
          Yep. Positive reinforcement, operant and classical conditioning will get you a rocket recall, instant down-stays and happy happy dogs. Mine were additionally reinforced through sheep work, but that'll only apply to certain breeds (and certain individuals of certain breeds). Of course, I have Border Collies, which may be considered cheating.

          For dogs with problem recalls, long lines are essential -- not to drag the dog to you or to punish the dog, but to ensure that you can prevent the dog from engaging in the behavior you don't want (i.e., running away) while you are training the recall.
          MelanieC * Canis soloensis


          • #6
            I have a bafflingly good recall on the dog. He turns around like a shot, but down-stay are just as important around equipment and I never did get that right. Come was easy to install, I always use the same word even if he isn't paying wonderful attention and I always make sure that he is rewarded for coming to me regardless of what horrid thing he was doing. He doesn't have full run of the place but if I were to want to do that I would go to a class/find a trainer to train me .
            Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
            Incredible Invisible


            • Original Poster

              OMG--laurie, what a GREAT photo.

              OK, goal #1 is now get Eamon trained, so that... goal #2 is have him train the next one in a bit.

              I actually *have* always had the older dogs train the youngers--hence why *I* got lazy. They (he, ) are great companion dogs, with house manners and things like "let'sgoIN" ingrained very well.

              I definitely plan on some classes. My old trainer that I worked for is still around. It would be nice to go with a dog that isn't quite as *gifted* as the one that led me to him.

              Throwing the treat vs. hand feeding is something I'd not heard. My big question with clicker (we've been playing with it. He got sit in about 6 minutes, way back when... and got 'down' in four tries last night. ) is when you STOP clicking? I understand the fact that once the clicker is loaded, you don't have to treat every time (less/more randomly later) but I guess I need a good book or something.

              Re--that's funny "bafflingly good recall..." Do you use 'come?' Even in the house, we are... selectively deaf, or at the least, reticent, to come at times. Malarkey *always* came (at least inside or on the long lead) but Eamon thinks he's going in his crate, and he HATES his crate, even after all these years. (Lark loved his, would often be found in it, even after I'd stopped putting them in/shutting the doors for a loooooong time... )

              I plan to revist the Monks of New Skete book... I am not sure what else I haev on hand already. Recommendations?

              Going to the trainer won't happen until after WEG at least, more likely until after tax time... I'm on my own until then. (HOW much would I LOVE to make use of my time away to have him trained!!! )

              And I NEVER plan to just leave him out on his own. Just under supervision. But if he's already been lose (by accident--just bought new screens AGAIN last night... ) he is so happy to hang with me and do chores and be off lead. It would be SO nice.
              InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

              Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


              • #8
                Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                Well I cheat a little. The new dog gets tethered to the old dog for training sessions. .
                That's how the hounds are trained. We couple them. I pity the older hounds who have to tolerate the assault on their dignity.
                Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                -Rudyard Kipling


                • #9
                  It may help if you think about training your dog in general, to be a good citizen.
                  One of the perks of a well trained dog is that it will come when called and will drop on command, wherever it is.

                  To try to train just for one behavior is much, much harder.
                  As part of a scale of teaching different behaviors, starting with teaching a dog that you are talking to it and want something from it, that end up with a dog listening and understanding what you say, that makes training any, even a recall and drop in place, much easier.

                  Some classes at a local performance dog club will get both of you started best.


                  • #10
                    My dog will down forever wherever I put him ( Unless I am being hurt). It just takes lots of training. When they move, they go right back to where you first put them. I have a rocket recall ( clocked at a trial at 27 mph at 5 years!) and I put his ball under my chin. When he races in a sits I drop it. ( Caution- sometime they may barrel into you at first!)

                    This works for down. Down is down. I put my dog in a down, run out, put his ball out. Come back, make him listen then send him to his ball. When he gets it, I yell him down word. This has SAVED us when he wanted to bolt accross the road. I just yelled "PLATZ" ( his word) and he went down.

                    Just chose a word you do not use every day. "DOWN" is used all the time like , " get down" so try to be consistent and not confuse them.
                    Come to the dark side, we have cookies


                    • #11
                      "long lines are essential -- not to drag the dog to you or to punish the dog, but to ensure that you can prevent the dog from engaging in the behavior you don't want (i.e., running away) while you are training the recall."

                      Ditto. I have worked obedience, conformation, and even along with police K9 dogs
                      and the latter must have a drop, stay and recall that is unsurpassed for work on the street. This training is fascinating to watch (when done humanly) and there are even competitions between the police departments.

                      (Last year there was a deputy that hung his dog off of a porch as punishment and actually kicked him for not listening and he got off scott free I might add. This guy needed to be hung but anyway-----)

                      Long lines work nicely.


                      • #12
                        I use markers (instead of clicking a clicker you pick a word and say it--same idea). Mine is "YES!" Basically what is described here: http://leerburg.com/markers.htm

                        I start all training and training sessions with focus exercises. Gradually increasing focus and adding distraction.

                        I get a solid down and then add the stay. At first I'm toe to toe with the dog and then increase distance and time.

                        Come--long line is important although I start teaching it on just a leash. Try moving backwards--dogs like to chase and it makes it more of a game. Never punish a dog for not coming when they finally do. Quickest way to sour them. Go get them.

                        Always train with positive reinforcement until you are 100% the dog knows the command. Only then do I add pressure or any negative reinforcement. I'd say I'm 95% positive and 5% negative and that's on a trained dog. I haven't found 100% positive to work for me, being totally honest. I'm always positive with a puppy or a dog just learning though.

                        I'm not a fan of pushing on their backs for a down, but use a treat to get them there when they are just starting to learn it. My puppy had a solid down and sit by 11 weeks old. It was always just a game. Stay took longer

                        I could go on and on. Join a class. You get help plus automatic distraction from the other dogs and people and you both get trained together!

                        I have the Monks of New Skete book and am somewhat "eeh" on it. I'm tired of helping teach puppy class and watching people roll their dogs for submission. Then I have to explain that their dogs already were submissive, they just aren't listening because they don't understand their owners (totally inconsistent--but I don't say that) commands. People think they have the dog Ceasar Milan is talking about--the dominant aggressive, when in reality that is such a minute tiny amt. of the dog population (if anything fear aggression is wayy more common). Ok, sorry, got sidetracked. I'd just go join a good class I guess, is my point.
                        DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


                        • #13
                          Obedience training is very important. Not just for the dog but for the owner.
                          All of the above is great. I do have one thing to say about clicker training. What about when you do not have a clicker with you?
                          I trained my horses and my dogs and goats and sheep to word command and hand signals by repetition. I wish children were as easy to train as the animals.
                          I never tried clicker training on the children.

                          It takes time but it is worth it in the end. My reward fo the dogs was boiled liver cut into small squares and they loved it. The horses got carrots and apples and the Arabian got Oreo cookies. He loved them and would do almost anything for Oreos.
                          My daughter was riding with another girl who was not trained in horsemanship like mine was. She said "Lets race and took off at a hard gallop. My QH mare startled and took off after her. My daughter was not ready for it and was off balance and lost her seat in the saddle. She yelled "Whoa, Lady" and the mare slid to stop. My daughter went over her shoulder and landed on her back looking up at the mare. Lady looked at her as if to say " You said Whoa!" So I did."
                          But no one was hurt. (Other than her pride.).
                          Obedience training works on both species Horses and Dogs. But you have to know what to do on your end. But it can save their lives if they get into a situation where they need to stop and stay still. So teach them for their own protection. Yes The dogs got the "sit and stay" but the horses never got the sit part down.
                          Go for it and have fun doing it.


                          • #14
                            I do have one thing to say about clicker training. What about when you do not have a clicker with you?
                            you don't need the clicker once the dog understands the concept. You really only use the clicker during the very initial stage of training when the dog has no clue what you want- and hopefully all of these very initial stages are conducted during carefully planned sessions where you have time to go get your clicker and your treats/toys. Once the dog grasps what you want you can and should discard the clicker and switch to using something like praise (good). So for example, after three two-minute sessions with a clicker most dogs will have grasped the concept of "sit" or "down" sufficiently to not need the clicker anymore for those particular behaviors.
                            The only other time you really need a clicker is if you are "improving" a behavior- say your dog has figured out what "drop" means, but he does it slower than you would prefer. Then you can go find your clicker and start clicking and rewarding the faster-than-average drops, and pretty soon your dog will be dropping like a stone. Or let's say your dog heels ok, but he tends to lag, so you could improve the heel by going to find your clicker, and clicking only when he's perfect in heel position and ignoring the lagging parts- pretty soon the dog will be mostly perfect.
                            The only reason one might need to carry a clicker at all times is if you trying to "capture" natural behaviors the dog just happens to do, that you like and would like to encourage the dog to do in future. Most people don't have the patience, time, or need to do this. It can be a very helpful strategy for dogs with certain issues, though.

                            Anyway, that's not the problem most people encounter in dog training- the problem is that most people skimp big-time on the "proofing to distractions" portion of training. They spend a few days teaching "come" in the yard and figure the dog knows it, and well, he does, but only in the yard, and only when there aren't bunnies running over there, etc. The bulk of your training time should be spent in working the dog around gradually increasing distractions until you end up with a rock-solid behavior.


                            • #15
                              Treat idea:

                              My friend does this and I stole it. She goes to Sam's and buys a giant pork roast (very cheap). Semi freeze it then cut into thin slices with an electric knife. Lay out on pans, cook for about a half hour around 400. Cool and then cut up into ity-bity pieces. Bag appropriately (I use lots of bags--a weeks worth in each) and freeze what you won't use that week.

                              This takes awhile to prepare, but lasts forever, dogs love it, it's not full of chemical crap or gross to handle, and is much cheaper than buying prepackaged treats at PetSmart.
                              DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


                              • #16
                                I like the pork roast idea. Right now I am using organic turkey hot dogs, and it does get pricey.

                                Clickers are great to train a behavior, then you do not need them anymore.

                                Teaching "come" as a chase game has worked great for my dog. We left the porch gate open by accident the other day, and he took off into the swamp behind our house. I realized he was gone when I got out of the shower about 15 minutes later, and I was panicked. I called him, and he must have been an acre or two into the swamp, because I could hear noises of him coming to me, but it took him a while/ He came to me happily running. That kind of a happy recall is after a lot of work on the recall, making him chase me because he took off to visit all of the other dogs in agility class--always humiliating.

                                It takes lots of work, but it obviously has its rewards.


                                • #17
                                  I love Dog Star Daily for positive training advice:



                                  • #18
                                    On two of our previous dogs we worked on down stay at dinner time. I wanted the dogs to not be begging at the table anyway.
                                    Put dog in down, say stay and place leash under foot so that they can't get up. Over time as they learn the stay command you allow more and more leash.
                                    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


                                    • #19
                                      Hooray for dogstar!!! I second Dr Dunbar's methods!!!

                                      I teach down first. treat/pay for the down. Then start a down stay. With you in close proximity giving treats and "good down. Good stay" repeated over and over. Gradually increase the distance and keep repeating "good down, good stay." If the distance is too much, close it in some until the dog is solid at "x" distance. Continue to treat.
                                      As the distance and amount of time increases, you can dance around, hide for a little bit expecting the dog to do what it was told to do. Return to the dog occassionally to treat and "good down good stay."
                                      Positive reinforcement gets thru to them as they get to make the right choice and be rewarded for it.


                                      • #20
                                        Great input and advice. We have ALWAYS had very well trained and obedient dogs...boxers, Jack Russells, GSD and the smartest Bordercollie/Jack Russell cross. We now have an 11 week old South African Boerboel pup who is smart as a whip and doing all the basic commands a puppy should, but with an estimated mature weight of 160 to 180 pounds, I want to make DARN SURE that he has all the serious training he needs. How early in puppyhood do you get down to serious training?? This pup is VERY people oriented and has a great attention span - I just want to make sure he has the serious obedience he needs as a potentially "lethal weapon" when he is full grown. Thanks.
                                        Last edited by crosscreeksh; Aug. 14, 2010, 01:37 PM. Reason: Spelling error
                                        Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma