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UPDATE/BRAG POST 32- Question about Long-Line Training in Dogs

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  • #21
    just for info, someone actually did a study of methods of training the recall, and compared dogs who were trained solely by rewarding heavily when they came back (no line, no consequences if they failed to recall), to a group of dogs trained with a line who were checked and pulled back if they failed to recall- the solely reward-trained dogs took longer to learn the recall, but ultimately had a much more reliable recall than the line-trained dogs. Because dogs always know when they are on a line vs. not, and if your training method requires a line to enforce compliance, you have a built-in problem with switching to off-line behaviors.
    I personally gave up on the line method years ago, and switched to using a remote collar for the recall. I do all of my obedience training off-leash from day one these days- everything. The leash isn't part of the picture. If it has to be on, for example in a group class or while working in a public location, it is carefully held slack at all times. It's not part of the training. I use Click n reward for the most part. For the recall, use a light vibration from the ecollar to get the dog's attention back on me if the dog doesn't respond. Thus there is never any transition from on leash to off leash.
    If dogs don't come back when recalled, it's usually because they are so distracted by something that they don't really hear you calling them- thus the tickle from the ecollar reminds them you are there- or they are not motivated to come back to you because what they are doing is far more fun than anything you have to offer. For the lack of motivation issue you have to build up a history of coming when called is the best thing EVER for the dog. Dragging the reluctant dog back with the line is counter-productive for building up that "best thing EVER" idea in the dog's mind.
    If you must use a line for safety, do so, but don't use it as an essential part of the training, just use it as way to keep the dog from running out in front of car or something.

    Comment


    • #22
      ^^ this brings up a good point. I'm not sure anyone is suggesting that the OP use the leash to "pull" the dog back to her to teach recall, but maybe some people are.

      I agree with you, though, that the leash doesn't come into play for recall. It's just there so you don't accidentally lose your dog. If you ask for a recall, and you don't get it, you should go to your dog, not drag the dog to you.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #23
        Originally posted by S1969 View Post
        ^^ this brings up a good point. I'm not sure anyone is suggesting that the OP use the leash to "pull" the dog back to her to teach recall, but maybe some people are.

        I agree with you, though, that the leash doesn't come into play for recall. It's just there so you don't accidentally lose your dog. If you ask for a recall, and you don't get it, you should go to your dog, not drag the dog to you.
        Yes, I agree that the leash will never be used for reeling her in- just for preventing a flat-out bolt away from me. She is a submissive dog, and when I first got her I used some more traditional "punishment" (not physical, obviously), methods, but I have since realized that the reward-based training (such as the clicker) is much more effective.

        Unfortunately for me, the only reward that really has any impact on her is food (luckily she's not picky, so I can get away with kibble most of the time and reserve the cheese/hot dogs/good stuff for more important things like recall). She likes snuggles, but not when we're outside and there are more important things going on around her, and toys are extremely hit-or-miss.

        I'm taking her out in a little while- I'll let you guys know how our training session goes today!

        Comment


        • #24
          The line here is a safety line for a bolting dog, and it is certainly possible to train by proofing with a gradually shortening line. OP is definitely doing the right thing by using a line since she is training in public areas. Far too risky to train with no line and merely hope the dog will come for treats 100% of the time.

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          • #25
            yes, good. It takes time.
            Another mistake people make with the long lines- even if they don't actually pull the dog to them, they use a little tug or wiggle of the line to try to get the dog to pay attention to them, and if you accidentally teach the dog he only has to pay attention to you after you give a little leash wiggle, you are again facing a severe uphill battle in getting rid of the line.

            It might be worthwhile to watch Leslie Nelson's Really Reliable Recall DVD- she talks about using a line for safety only, and how to reward the dog such that it is a BIG EVENT.

            You should try to develop some other rewards your dog will work for- being reliant on only one kind of reward can be problematic. This article here talks about how to get your dog interested in toys: http://www.thedogathlete.com/pages/p...ith-prey-drive

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            • #26
              Originally posted by wendy View Post

              It might be worthwhile to watch Leslie Nelson's Really Reliable Recall DVD- she talks about using a line for safety only, and how to reward the dog such that it is a BIG EVENT.
              just a comment on Nelson. She does this with very non-traditional breeds-sight hounds, so she knows something about dogs who are independent. Leslie is very good.

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              • Original Poster

                #27
                Update: Weather and scheduling didn't work out over the weekend, but I took Fergie up to the park today for some more fun.

                She was a bit beastly getting up there (took much longer than it should have because of all of the circles), but once we were in the field we did some recall work and she was really good. She was running around having a grand old time, and I only really had to use the line twice to stop her (once she bolted into the woods- probably a squirrel, and once when people were walking by).

                I was especially proud because when the people were there, once I had her back to me she sat quietly at my side until they left, so she was very heavily rewarded.

                I used the line that was recommended by someone from amazon.com- it was definitely lighter than a lunge line, but probably still heavier than ideal. Next time I might give my yellow cord a whirl again (or maybe hook them together and use both so I have a longer range).

                My biggest concern is that my super smart dog will figure out the length of the line or figure out my ability to control her on vs. off the line, but in general she wants to be a good girl so hopefully she'll "get it." Still, it will be a long time before she's allowed to be entirely loose just to be safe.

                I've done a little bit of the target work at home, but not enough for it to translate to me throwing something and her actually following it yet.

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by make x it x so View Post
                  I was especially proud because when the people were there, once I had her back to me she sat quietly at my side until they left, so she was very heavily rewarded.
                  excellent work on your part. I am proud of YOU as well, you've done the work that many don't. Good for you!

                  My biggest concern is that my super smart dog will figure out the length of the line or figure out my ability to control her on vs. off the line,
                  if you don't take the line off too quickly, you will reduce the chances of line discrimination (on vs off). When you do take the line off to test it, and you will have to do that at some point, set her up for success by making sure you have already practiced some on lead recalls (if the on lead ones are not quick and perfect, don't take the line off), and keeping the off line recalls very short and only do a few. Much of what makes a recall successful is that it is a conditioned response and the dog is already part way back to you before she even realizes what she is doing.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #29
                    Originally posted by threedogpack View Post
                    excellent work on your part. I am proud of YOU as well, you've done the work that many don't. Good for you!
                    Thanks! I'm really trying hard with her- it's my first dog that's mine as opposed to a family thing, and it's definitely been a challenge but in a good way. She was already about a year old when we got her, so there's a lot of catching up to do. Being that she's a pit-type mix, I feel like I have an extra responsibility to make her the best dog she can be. Luckily for me, she's a good girl and it's really just a bunch of bad habits that we have to get rid of.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #30
                      UPDATE!

                      Thanks for all of the advice everyone!
                      I haven't been as good about the target training as I should, but luckily it doesn't seem to be holding me back at this point.

                      Fergie is getting REALLY good at leash walking now, and her "come" is getting more and more rapid.

                      The other day, she was playing with her buddies Max and Jack, and I took several opportunities to call her in for a treat, and then allowed her to resume the fun and games.

                      Today, I went to the park with my mom and we played "pass the puppy," calling her back and forth between us. It's really starting to show that I've done all of the work with her, because a lot of times when my mom called her, she would run over and then boomerang back to me for her treats, haha.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        click n treat for you.
                        isn't it nice to see your work paying off? it's all about the owners putting the effort in.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #32
                          Update for a quick brag:

                          Today I was working with Fergie in the park, and another dog came in, off-lead. I didn't see it quick enough to react before she did, but as soon as I saw her bolt towards him I gave a sharp but not angry "Fergie, come!" and she turned ON A DIME to get back to me. Didn't even have to step on the long line.

                          Needless to say, she was showered with cheese and praise. I don't get out to work with her nearly as often as I should (I've probably done the long line stuff fewer than 10 times), and so I'm constantly amazed at how quickly she's picking it up.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            It's apparent to me now how much of a dog-person I'm not. When I read the title, I was sooooo confused how you managed to find a surcingle, etc in dog-sized and my next thought was wondering if poorly bred GSDs might benefit from strengthening their hind end. D'oh!
                            Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

                            You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by make x it x so View Post
                              UPDATE!
                              The other day, she was playing with her buddies Max and Jack, and I took several opportunities to call her in for a treat, and then allowed her to resume the fun and games.
                              perfect! Calling her to you should = treats and then a release to go play more. What you might find is that she will eventually refuse to go play. Then YOU have to make a choice about ending the play with the other dogs or just petting her (or some other low value reward).

                              Today, I went to the park with my mom and we played "pass the puppy," calling her back and forth between us. It's really starting to show that I've done all of the work with her, because a lot of times when my mom called her, she would run over and then boomerang back to me for her treats, haha.
                              and that is exactly how it is supposed to work. What you are doing with this is developing a knee jerk reaction instead of a thought process (which often feels like the dog saying....is it worth it to come back or should I keep going?). You don't want the thought process because all too often the dog makes the choice to keep going.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by make x it x so View Post
                                Update for a quick brag:

                                Today I was working with Fergie in the park, and another dog came in, off-lead. I didn't see it quick enough to react before she did, but as soon as I saw her bolt towards him I gave a sharp but not angry "Fergie, come!" and she turned ON A DIME to get back to me. Didn't even have to step on the long line.

                                Needless to say, she was showered with cheese and praise. I don't get out to work with her nearly as often as I should (I've probably done the long line stuff fewer than 10 times), and so I'm constantly amazed at how quickly she's picking it up.
                                *throws virtual no calorie chocolates to you* Superb. Simply Superb. Good on you OP and good on Fergie. THIS is why you train and how you get those dogs who can be taken out in public without a worry. GOOD FOR YOU!!!!!

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by jen-s View Post
                                  It's apparent to me now how much of a dog-person I'm not. When I read the title, I was sooooo confused how you managed to find a surcingle, etc in dog-sized and my next thought was wondering if poorly bred GSDs might benefit from strengthening their hind end. D'oh!
                                  Oh I am SO thankful I was not the only one!!!
                                  What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by make x it x so View Post
                                    I guess I should be more clear- she's more than happy to stay by my side when there's nothing exciting going on, but if another dog or person enters the park, she will bolt (and once or twice when I initially got her I trusted her too much and she bolted with no apparent stimulus). I do want her to stay with me most of the time, but I also want to be able to get her back to me in the event that she does see something more interesting than me.
                                    It sounds to me like she has a recall, in that she knows what it means and will respond sometimes. What you need to work on is a rock solid recall even with distractions.

                                    I like to use my husband or my teenaged son. We'll go to a park that has some activity, but not too much, and where there is room to be a distance away from the distracting activity. We'll play "Hot Potato". Dog is on a long line, and we both have the highest value reward possible with that particular dog (for the GSD that would be a tug toy, for the Aussie that is food).

                                    We start as far away from the activity as the dog needs to be. This is the distance where the dog notices other things going on, but is still paying attention to us. We stand about ten feet apart. I'll hold the long line and call the dog to me. If I have to I will reel her/him in with the long line. I am happy, happy! I have my own energy level way up, too! I might even run backwards as I am reeling the dog in.

                                    When dog gets to me, I give a huge praise party and either offer the toy for a quick tug or stuff food in real quick. Before the dog loses interest, I have tossed the end of the long line to whoever is with me, and that person does what I just did. With lots of animation and energy, they will call "Here!" and will reel the dog in if they have to.

                                    We'll go back and forth several times. It needs to be fast and it needs to be fun. We will increase and decrease the distance between us. We'll move closer and farther away from the other activities. The rules are that we do it with energy. the dog gets a huge praise party and the dog can NEVER choose to not come, we will reel the dog in if the dog does not instantly start coming.

                                    We do this a lot with puppies and we do it with our older, reliably trained adults, too. If you don't have anyone to work the other end, you can do this on your own. Be close enough to distractions that your dog notices, turn and trot off while calling the dog in an excited, happy, happy voice and if you have to reel the dog in, do it. When they get to you, throw a party. Give the toy, feed the treats. Whatever. And then turn and do it again. And again. Lots of energy and fast. Move closer to the distraction, move farther away.

                                    I also like to reinforce recall when out just walking. I will call the dog to me and love on them and then let them go right back to doing what they were doing. This is most helpful when a dog already has a decent recall. It reinforces that coming to you is a good thing and doesn't always mean that their fun time is over.
                                    Sheilah

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