View Full Version : she is testing me I'm sure but

17th July 2007, 08:22 PM
how do I correct this. for the last week or so maile who is 5.5 months old. will not come to me. she just looks at me as if to say I'm here what do you want? she is also running out of arms reach when I bend down to pick her up. I do try to just ignore the behaviour but sometimes I need her to come or to stand still so I can get her. but she will run away like she is playing with me. I am finding it hard to always have a treat on hand to entice her. I hope it is just youthful rebellion and something she will out grow. what to do?

17th July 2007, 08:33 PM
My Aoife does this & she's a bit younger. So what I do is I sit on the floor, if she walks upto me of her own will, she gets a treat. But she doesn't know I have the treat waiting, if you see what I mean, so as not to bribe her.

18th July 2007, 01:15 AM
Four things:

1) Dogs find it threatening when people stand over them and reach for them, so dodging you or running off is one response that is common. See: http://diamondsintheruff.com/bodylangspaceinvaders.html
2) If you haven't trained recall, your dog will have no idea this is what you want her to do! :)
3) Puppies often find the game of running away more fun than coming to you because it engages you with them.
4) Your dog is way too young yet to have learned reliable recall anyway, but should be learning to come ina fun and enjoyable way for you both (see below)

In short: you need to train a dog on recall and this takes time (see links below for some guidance). She's not testing you, she's a puppy and playing with you :lol:and probably trying to figure out what it is you want from her, too. And try to forget the notion of 'correcting' -- she isn't doing anything wrong, she just doesn't know what it is you want her to do, so therefore, there's nothing to correct -- but lots to teach! :) What you need to do now is to teach her a cue that tells her, 'I need to go over to my owner' and then -- praise and reward.

Never, ever, ever punish or scold in any circcumstance when training recall -- when you call a dog and it doesn't come, then eventually you get annoyed and go get it or it eventually it comes and you are annoyed and scold, what it learns is -- "geez, if I come over to her I get yelled at so coming to her MUST be the wrong choice!"

You can start working with recall even with a little puppy, as a fun game, but it will take many months for as dog to get a fairly reliable recall. Until they are about 9-12 months, they will NOT be very reliable and a pup under 6 months should not be expected to be particularly good at recall as they just don't have the memory and attention span to always get this right (just like small kids -- you need to cut them some slack!). The best way to get a dog to come TO you, especially puppies, is to turn sideways, bend over at the waist into a crouch, and run AWAY from the dog sideways while clapping and calling he dog. A pup that has just run FROM you is 99.9999% of the time going to stop and immediately run AFTER you. Try it! Reward & praise for coming. You can seize all sorts of opportunities to call her to you and reward thorughout the day. :) Remember you can;t just occasionally do this to call her; you actually have to set aside training time each day to work on this for say 10-15 minutes.

Some reading:

18th July 2007, 06:38 PM
wow, thanks karlin so glad she is not doing it on purpose or testing me. I will read and put into action all the info on the links as best as I can. my sisters pom is still running from her and he is way to old for it. so this is something I really don't want maile doing when she is older. thanks again everyone I will give ya an update in a few months

19th July 2007, 04:42 PM
Another fun way to work on recall -- especially out of sight recall -- is to play hide and seek in the house. The dog always gets to be the seeker, and it takes two people and one dog to play. Person #1 hides and then calls to the dog to find it. Keep calling. The dog will find the person eventually. When person #1 is found, s/he gives the dog a treat and heaps of praise! This noise is the cue for person #2, who started to hide while the dog was "seeking," to call the dog. Hearing #2 call, the dog should take off in search of the other person, allowing person #1 to hide.

This game is fun for all involved, and it helps the dog to know that being the seeker when its name is called is FUN.

12th August 2007, 06:00 AM
Don't forget the benefit of food as reward when working on recall too. Always have a little treat on hand and when you call and your dog comes, give him the treat. Don't let him have the treat though until you have him under your control (e.g. you have hold of his collar), as some dogs will snatch the treat & run off and that isn't what you want. Ultimately you want your dog to run to you and then sit in front of you. It is best to call your dog & then have him do something like sit or drop, other than just come to you.

I live on acres and my voice isn't particularly loud, but I need to be able to have my dogs come to me from a long distance away. I have a sports whistle and I started training the dogs to associate the sound of the whistle with a treat. So now, if I can't see the dogs outside, I just grab a little liver treat & the whistle, stick my head outside give a shrill little peep & dogglets run to me from everywhere.

Think like a dog. "What's in it for me? Yum, a treat!" ;)

21st August 2007, 09:37 PM
My little Laci does the same thing. We haven't taught recall yet, but will be doing this with our trainer that comes to our house next week. Your advice is great and I will start using it to get ahead of the game. I LOVE the hide and seek game!:jmp2: What fun my husband and I will have playing this with Laci and Reggie (one at a time of course)!

Cathy Moon
23rd August 2007, 02:16 AM
I just make sure that whenever I call my dogs I use the same enthusiastic tone of voice, and when they come to me they know I'm sooooo happy they came to me! They get kisses, praise, treats!

If you're going to trim their nails, brush their hair, or do anything they're not going to be thrilled about - don't call them to you; go to them instead.

Cathy T
23rd August 2007, 03:11 AM
And then be prepared for her to forget everything you taught her when she goes through her terrible teens!! :confused: Jake would sit on the hill and look at me like "I have no idea what you're saying" A little treat enticement got him back on track. :D

13th August 2009, 05:31 AM
I agree with what everyone is saying however I would not use treats or food to get her to recall that is the worst thing to do. Once you have established using that, when you go to call her and you have no treat it is back to step one. I definately do not recommend this after the research I have done as my puppy has been doing it to!! Good luck!!!!

13th August 2009, 10:43 AM
Rewards based training with food is actually one of the oldest and most established and proven methods of training and is what is used by all professional trainers in Hollywood, with performing animals for example -- in other words when happy, accurate, specific responses are needed by an animal that is being filmed or acting on stage or in a show. A hit and miss method would not work for such animals and there are excellent reasons why pro trainers use rewards-based approaches. It sounds like maybe you didn't get the right advice on *how* to use food as a reward (which is a common mistake!) -- you don't always treat but you use it to link a desired behaviour to a reward and once established, can substitute other rewards (eg praise or a clicker or a toy) and only occasionally use a concrete reward like the toy or treat to reaffirm. Most of those trainers (often the TV types, whose methods have been discredited in two major studies recently) who criticise using food/rewards use much harsher methods and use excuses like 'then they will only ever come for food' to defend their training approach. The key thing is *reward* though, not *food*. :) Many dogs are indifferent to treats (cavaliers do NOT generally fall into that category! :lol: )but get very excited over a special toy kept just for training. This is just as good a reward. Just praise alone tends not to work very well initially because it isn't highly motivating (eg would you work for free if your boss just told you how wonderful your work was? :lol:)

I'd recommend using any of Ian Dunbar's books if you are unsure about how to use rewards -- whether food or toys or whatever -- as he is widely recognised as one of the best trainers in the world. You can read his explanation of using food/rewards and why they work so well here:


This great article explains in easy steps with pictures, how to use lure/reward approaches to teaching anything and everything!


and you can download, for free, one of his most popular puppy and adult training books here:


I recommend that EVERY home have the latter -- it is a great training book for any age dog and is excellent for rescue dogs with no training too! :)

I use only rewards methods for my crew and anyone who has seen Jaspar do agility will know how accurate he can be, how much he loves this type of training and activity, and that he doesn't need a food treat every time he does it; food was just the method to train each piece of equipment initially and to reinforce what he does right. Lots of my classmates in agility use a favourite ball or squeaky toy as a reward for a great run. :)