Young Border Terrier - recall advice!?

Primitive Pony

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Hi

I'm wondering if anyone has any tips for me for my 11 month old Border Terrier, who is at a stage where letting him off the lead is hit and miss... He is fine most of the time, generally comes to call, treat etc and I have discovered that if I catch him at a crucial point and get cross with him, often a very strong 'no' can stop him disappearing into the undergrowth. If he does disappear, leaving him to realise that I've walked on is also not fail safe and I have lost him once or twice now to squirrels, birds and rabbits, when he becomes oblivious to everything around him.

He hasn't yet had 'the snip' but I plan to soon - should this make a huge difference (had thought about breeding but now not sure I can cope with him..! - he's fine in every other regard in this respect), and I am planning to start agility with him when he is a year old to try and channel some energy!

Any thoughts - other than always being on a lead at the minute?
Which I don't suppose is helping him learn, so at the minute I'm working with him off the lead in open spaces and keeping him on it near trees and bushes where he tends to get lost. Any experience greatly appreciated, thank you.
 

twiggy2

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keep doing what you are doing by letting him off in less distracting places and re-enforcing correct behaviour, use tasty treats and lots of praise or a toy when he returns-use what ever rocks his boat (other than squirrels and rabbits), so many dogs go through a teenage rebellion when they become more confident-you just need to stop a bad habit developing and create good ones by controlling the places you go and him as much as you can. he is typical age for this sort of behaviour and castrating may not prevent it but it will stop him going after in season bitches.
 

Dry Rot

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Why do you think it is even possible to train a dog not to do something breeders have spent hundreds of years breeding them to do, i.e. hunt?
 

planete

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If you are lucky, he may be keen on retrieving a ball, then you can use the ball to get his attention and throw it to reward him for sticking with you. This has worked with one of my lurchers who cannot be motivated by food. He has been systematically taught to "leave" and on hearing it immediately looks for the ball. I have to get his attention before he locks his gaze on something though or smells deer in the wind! not foolproof I am afraid.
 

Alec Swan

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Terriers have a mind of, and live in a world of, their own, generally!

He's a terrier! I hate ALL terriers (it's a love/hate relationship, to be truthful)!! I refuse to have my blood pressure rise. Part of their make up, apart from hunting that is and as D_R's pointed out, is their attitude to life, and it's the way that they've been bred, I'm sorry to tell you.

Others on here will now advise us that their terriers are now obedient and compliant dogs, and that may be so, but those such as yours, have an off button, and those which are self determining rarely if ever calm down!!

Alec.
 

Primitive Pony

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Thanks.

I'm not looking for a debate about my dog breed of choice - I am very very happy with him in every way and am just concerned about keeping him safe! - so my question was merely whether there is anything else I could be doing and if this is something that might get easier as he gets older, and if there is anything obvious that I am missing out on in terms of my efforts to train him.

Thank you for the helpful advice!
 

Teaselmeg

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Harness and longline ( don't put a long line on his collar). Lots of recall with a good play with a toy/ball or a good treat ( sausage etc not shop bought treats) everytime he comes back. If he ignores you then gently reel him back in on the long line. When that is working well, then progress to leaving the long line trailing, so you can still get near him if you need to. It might also be worth training him to come to a whistle, as the tone of your voice can sometimes put a dog off coming back.
Yes terriers can be hard work, but loads of them have good recall, just that some need more work on it than others. If he is inclined to run off, then neutering MAY help, but is not a guarantee, but it will eliminate another reason for him to want to go off in the first place.
 

Primitive Pony

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Thank you, that's really helpful advice, Teaselmeg. I had tried with the whistle but suspect I need to be much more persistent with it - agree that the tone of my voice probably isn't helping at times! And the long line is a great idea, I'll invest in a harness.
 

MurphysMinder

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As teaselmeg says, long line and whistle are the way to go. The fact he is a terrier means you may never have perfect recall but they can certainly help. Take him out for a walk when he is hungry so he will be even more inclined to come back for a food reward and make it something really worthwhile that he only gets for coming back to you, e.g. chicken, sausage etc.
 

PorkChop

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I agree whistle training is the way to go, and because it is a new command it is not tainted. However make sure the whistle command is 100% so do not use it unless you are sure he will respond or you are close enough to do something about it!

The book "Total Recall" is excellent.

The comment about trying to inhibit the hunting is ridiculous, I am sure the OP has no problems with him hunting, they just want that hunting to be under control, no different to any other working dog.
 

Dry Rot

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I agree whistle training is the way to go, and because it is a new command it is not tainted. However make sure the whistle command is 100% so do not use it unless you are sure he will respond or you are close enough to do something about it!

The book "Total Recall" is excellent.

The comment about trying to inhibit the hunting is ridiculous, I am sure the OP has no problems with him hunting, they just want that hunting to be under control, no different to any other working dog.

Can you please point me towards the post you refer to above, as I can't find it?
 

Dry Rot

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So, no response from LJR.

I could answer the OP's question based on a life time's experience of training and working many dogs, including terriers and a pack of hounds, but I won't because there is bound to be someone here who knows better.

The knowledge of dogs is subject to a curious phenomenon known as inverse proportionality. The less experience a dog owner has, the more they know -- and I really can't be bothered in trying to buck the trend!:D
 

ThoroughbredStar

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Others on here will now advise us that their terriers are now obedient and compliant dogs, and that may be so, but those such as yours, have an off button, and those which are self determining rarely if ever calm down!!

Alec.

A bit of good humour Alec, here's an obedient terrier :D http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9Fyey4D5hg

Agreed hunting is a basic instinct in a terrier but doesnt mean you shouldnt bother trying to train- some really useful answer here and I will take some of these away too (what with my wayward "i smell a rabbit" terrier)
 

Dry Rot

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This was the post I was referring to :)

If the dog is not coming to call it obviously has something else more interesting to occupy itself with. I don't see how that is ridiculous and I thought you comment rather rude (and still do!).
 

PorkChop

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If the dog is not coming to call it obviously has something else more interesting to occupy itself with. I don't see how that is ridiculous and I thought you comment rather rude (and still do!).

I certainly did not mean to offend :)

My point was that those of us with hunting dogs are actually encouraging this hunting behaviour, but whilst under control - the OP was not necessarily saying that she didn't want her terrier to hunt, merely that it would listen to her when necessary!
 

Alec Swan

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....... but whilst under control - the OP was not necessarily saying that she didn't want her terrier to hunt, merely that it would listen to her when necessary!

That's it, isn't it? "When necessary". The simple fact is that terriers don't have an 'off' button.

Part of the charm, and the frustration too, is that terriers (the best of them), are a law unto themselves, and again there will be those who gainsay me, but the question of 'control', is a seriously moot point.

I suspect that if humans come back as animals, then along with others, I shall return, and as a Terrier!

Alec.
 

Primitive Pony

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I really didn't mean to start an argument...! If terriers don't have an 'off' button, then thank you for answering my original question - ie there is only so much I can do about this and therefore at times I do need to rely on a lead for control. It's good to know that it's not just me doing something wrong, but thanks to others for all the other helpful advice and sources of information.
 

oldie48

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I find walking my borders when they are hungry (which is pretty much all the time as we struggle with weight control!) and letting them know I have treats in my pocket at the start of a walk, works reasonably well but I'm afraid they do get a bit lost in a world of their own from time to time. Although they don't always come on first call, they always seem to know where I am even if I don't know where they are and they come back eventually. Annoying, but the price you pay for having terriers.
 

5bs

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I have two terriers one a Westie he is pretty obedient, I also have a border terrier also pretty obedient, but put a cat or rabbit in front of either of them and I have no chance. I think the saying "none so deaf as those who don't want to hear" is very apt for terriers. I just love there personalities especially the Westie.
 

JustWilliam

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I always walk my terrier with treats & a small squeaky toy in my pocket, the higher the squeak the better! Seems to work, she can't resist the noise & usually comes whizzing back for a treat.
 

Lunchbox legend

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I once had a dog whose recall wasn't always brilliant. I got round it by having a squeaky toy and treats in my pocket. I'd call her, squeak her toy and run away from her (the running away bit can stop after a while). All she could see was a chase opportunity and snapped it up. She always got praise and sometimes a treat.

In the training phase, I'd call her at a point when she was heading in my direction anyway so the opportunity for success was almost guaranteed. Then I started calling her for no reason, just so she got used to being called, having some praise and was then free to go play again i.e. being called doesn't mean going back on the lead and possibly the end of the walk/fun.

The important thing is to start off the training when the dog is just mooching aimlessly about so it's easy to get its attention, rather than when it's already en route to mischief :) . You move on to more challenging recalls when you've got the easy ones under your belt.

I also fling both arms high up into the air when I'm calling dogs from any distance - somehow this seems to make them want to come back too.

Maybe some of this might help with your terrorist :) ;)
 

thewonderhorse

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I also fling both arms high up into the air when I'm calling dogs from any distance - somehow this seems to make them want to come back too.

Maybe some of this might help with your terrorist :) ;)

I always do this with my GSD who has selective deafness and will even look at you and then go in the complete opposite direction. Toad!.
 

gunnergundog

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Dogs are generally visual and then auditory, so with my pups I always teach a visual recall and then add the auditory, be it voice or whistle. This is probably why you get the response to such a large consistant visual! :)
 
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