View Full Version : Recall training

24th April 2006, 12:49 AM
How do people find training their cavs recall? Was wondering if I'll ever be able to trust my cav of lead in the park, as I find that he can't resist chasing birds. We have been working on the recall with him, but as we didn't have him as a pup, then don't know if it's too late to try and desensitize him.
I know that he would come back eventually but i fear for his safety .

24th April 2006, 04:43 AM
If the park isnt fenced in and secure, I wouldnt trust your dog off leash. Recall is an important command, but it is better IMHO to avoid crisis situations than to hope the recall training works. Cavaliers as a breed are not all that street wise, so keeping them on leash is always a good idea.

24th April 2006, 12:16 PM
My lot are all different - I have to make sure I keep an eye out in front of me for birds (Woody's favourite) or horses (Busta's favourite friends) I need to put back on the lead then on to get passed, but they are generally quite good, I have blackmail treats in my pocket and always make sure that I keep getting them to come back to me, they know they will get a treat or praise - the only thing with Busta sometimes is that he will come back when he wants to and not when I want to but he will always look where I am..... keep practising in the garden.

Bruce H
24th April 2006, 01:07 PM
I wouldn't completely trust these guys on recall. They are free spirits and don't always remember their training.

Good example: about a year ago one of our puppy people brought her two dogs over for a week while they were out of the country. The dogs had a great time in our fenced back yard and came whenever they were called. When they were picked up, I handed her the leashes and she said "Oh, they don't need those, they are very good on recall.". Well, when she opened the front door, those 2 dogs took off as fast as they could go! And no amount of calling could get them back. We spent about 30 minutes walking the neighborhood looking for them. Then all of a sudden they came back all on their own! She just kept saying "They never did that before". I have to tell you, that was one VERY upset woman looking for her dogs. Fortunately, our neighborhood is very quiet with very little car traffic.

24th April 2006, 01:24 PM
Getting perfect recall with bird chasers (or squirrel chasers) is particularly hard. It is best not to have them off lead unless in a totally safe area and also once you know they will come back.

My two are 99% on recall -- but there is ALWAYS that 1%. I have learned that Leo in aprticular will bolt for someplace he knows well and wants to get to -- for example the dog pond in the Phoenix Park here -- and he has run hundreds of yards at high speed towards the pond, right across the access road (very litle traffic but still there are cars there). I now know never, ever to have him off lead within a few hundred yards of that pond; if he can smell it he will run. He once took off after the deer in the park too; something I thought he simply would never do, so I now leash him if we are getting close to the deer herds.

Most importantly, I practice, practice, practice recall with food rewards when we are on walks (still!). I have also taught Leo a hand signal for 'come' (which is basically waving my hands over my head) as he has trouble figuring out where a call is coming from and picking me out at a distance. On a typical walk I will call the dogs back many times and reward. Sometimes when they are a short distance, sometimes when they are a ways away. They need constant reinforcement of this crucial command. We are also working on 'close' (a loose form of heel). I also taught them the word 'treats' and strongly advocate having a word like this for when they get a treat. You would be amazed how many dogs won't come to 'come' but will come running for 'treats!' so this is just a second back-up way of getting them to come to me.

Both mine will stick close to me, never follow other dogs, generally pay attention and are very trustworthy off lead but ONLY in the right environment: so far from traffic that I know they cannot bolt towards it -- eg the beach, fenced areas, very large parks, the countryside. I would not trust Leo offlead near sheep now after his example with the deer (farmers can shoot a dog on sight for worrying sheep here). To get them to this point took lots of practice recallng when they are on a very long lead, like 50 feet of rope for example or one of those very long exercise leads.

PS Can you have a look at resizing your avatar just a bit? The max dimensions are here:


As I can no longer run an auto-resizing program on this version of the board, I am trying to keep them below a max width as larger avatars stretch the whole thread out. It's pretty easy to do :) My avatar is at the max width so you can gauge the size from that.

30th April 2006, 03:44 PM
Thanks everyone for all the info, its really useful to hear your experiances with your cavs :)

Cathy T
4th May 2006, 05:32 PM
I thought my guys had a reliable recall...until the other day. We were at the park at the top of my street (thank God it's on a quiet street) where we go at least twice a week. I took of the leads and Shelby immediately dashed across the street (thankfully there were no cars, my heart was pounding) and into a yard to chase the birds. No calling would get her back, it was literally less than a minute til she came back, once the birds took off she was done, but had a car been coming I shudder to think of what would have happened. Now, no one goes off leash until we are securely in the park and completely away from the street. I particularly like to take them to the high school ball field because there is NO street access, it's huge and the school is nicely fenced. Scared me to death the other day!!!! Learned my lesson big time. Shelby is a bird dog!!

4th May 2006, 06:28 PM
Cathy - I am so glad she (and you) are okay.

amanda L
31st May 2006, 02:45 PM
Had exactly the same problem with my cav :sl*p: , went to training classes and found them very helpful. I always bring favourite treats now, ones he only gets on walks and he will come back. It took a while and a lot of patience, and I had to wave the treats (people must have thought I was a bit mad standing there waving and calling treats!!! ) but it did work eventually :) . However, I still only let him off in safe places he knows, wouldnt trust him everywhere.

31st May 2006, 03:34 PM
We have taken one of our cavaliers through advanced obedience classes and he still gets distracted occasionally. :d*g: Sandy

22nd October 2006, 03:25 AM
Henry goes off lead now in the park. He comes back on his own without being called a lot and I always give him a treat when he does. However it is stilll early days so I watch carefully and always check what other dogs are around. He still chases birds but they just fly off and then he comes running to us straight after. It's fun to watch him enjoying that too. It is a large open space. He has learned to play fetch and ignores other distractions when playing it. Those ball flinging stick devices are great by the way. It is great to be able to practice training in a large space, especially as we have a small garden. Now we are practising stay at further distances. I saw a labrador do a sudden "down at a distance" in the park a while ago. Could Henry do that? That seems like the most useful command you could have in the off lead situation really. So we are feeling quite confident at the moment, but will be sure to post if Henry gets eaten by a Bull Terrier :yikes

22nd October 2006, 09:44 PM
I find Holly's precious ring works for keeping her close. She's either running to fetch it and bring it back- for her, having the ring thrown is a reward in itself- or prancing around my feet wanting me to throw it! Having said that, I'll never again let her off lead with any other kind of toy. Chloe so far has been great, despite her 'naughty ruby' streak. I'm training her to the whistle for recall (won't work for holly), and again using lots of treats. I think seeing Chloe being rewarded to coming to the whistle is making Holly think it could be a good thing, too..

23rd October 2006, 03:39 AM
I totally echo what Karlin says as far as teaching the dogs a word like "treat."

Mine knows the word cookie and I can't tell you how wonderful that is. At first I wanted him to come to the word "come," but in all reality, the important thing is that they are running back to you, right? If I say the word "cookie" I can get him to drop absolutely everything in exchange for a treat...That word works wonders, not just for recall. . . I've used it when he tried checking out someone's puke on the street ( :yuk: ) and also to make him do a quick pee in the yard.. I will say, "go pee for cookies" and he sprints, squats, and sprints back in, lol.

Good luck and let us know how you come along! :flwr:

ellie and charlie
5th November 2006, 05:21 PM
iv done training classes etc.my ellie wont leave my side of lead soon as i recall she is their,my dog charlie i let off and he ran completly blanked me and ran off the field,my heart stopped i couldnt find him,then noticed traffic stopped,thankfuly they had seen him but he was walking up street on road with a line of traffic at back of him,he still didnt bother when he noticed me.i felt so sick and stupid.i just wont risk it with him again,bought him a long lead instead :drivecar:

5th November 2006, 08:31 PM
Oakley had a run off lead today at the top of the lodge whre there is no exit, tracffic etc - he just ran after Merlin and as Merlin comes when out (he doesn't always come at home!) his buddy was right there with him so they both got treats!

It was great to see them charging after each other around the grass and in the mud puddles!