View Full Version : Training my King Charles to come back to me down at the park

9th August 2011, 02:45 PM
Hi All

I need some help with training my king Charles Cavailer. The problem is that we wonít come when is called down at the park. Heís good around the house and out the back garden however when we are

Down the park heíll stick with me until he mets another dog and then its like he has his own mind and doesnít care that you are there, If you call him there isnít a chance of hime
If the front door is open he make a bolt for it and runs out and we live at a main road so Iím very worried heíll get knocked down. Iím very careful but Iím afraid of somebody else leaving the door open

Both 1 and 2 above are kinda related in that he thinks he can do what he wants. So any help on what I should do would be very greatfull.??????

Iíve done the whole treats and calling him for months and then we do to the park and its another story

9th August 2011, 04:26 PM
I saw this video and maybe it can help you:
Its the same thought as calling the name then giving treats but this demo might help you more.


9th August 2011, 04:35 PM
Thanks, I'll give the whistle a go anything is worth a go at this stage:)

9th August 2011, 04:56 PM
Getting your dog to come to you during high distraction levels takes a ton of practice. First you need to condition your dog to the idea that you are the most amazing thing in the world - because if he finds something else more interesting, then you are the least fun item on his list.

Start by practicing your recall at home and use a very VERY special treat, like a chunk of hot dog or something he goes nuts over. NEVER feed this food iteam for anything else other than your recall. Start practicing in more distracting places and eventually your dog will just have the recall auto-programmed, when you call him, he comes a runnin.

If this is not conditioned enough to the point where it is auto programmed, success will not be likely in situations that are highly distracting. You can also practice on a long leash, to make sure you set the dog up for success. There's nothing like calling your dog to come, then they don't, as they realize "ah hah it sure is fun to not listen!" It is better to make sure you get the result you are looking for, and even in the end if you had to guide your dog on the lead all the way back to you, its important to still praise as if he came running.

Lastly, for bolting out the door and such, when you get back to the dog or the dog comes back to you, resist the urge to say "no bad dog!" because the dog will be less likely to return to you the next time he runs out.

Good luck!

9th August 2011, 10:37 PM
Hi and welcome to the board! :D

I am pretty sure you mean a cavalier (eg Cavalier King Charles Spaniel), and not a King Charles (eg King Charles Spaniel) – which is a different breed? King Charles spaniels have a really flat face and are quite uncommon… Although of course an owner of a King Charles is very welcome here too, If that is the breed that you have, and your training issue remains the same! :)

Have you done a good obedience course (rewards based, that doesn't involve jerking the dog around on the lead to issue “corrections”?). Doing a proper training course where you have the distractions of other dogs and people in the room is the best possible way to get started on a solid recall–and have fun as well. :) As you have discovered, just teaching a dog inside your home or in the garden really means very little once you are out in the real world, where good recall is very important and can even be a matter of life and death.

It sounds like you already get a good response at home, but you need to be working with them out in the real world where you slowly introduce distractions. It would be far easier for you if you start in a proper class, which has the huge benefit of inbuilt distractions in a safe environment, and then you can also get advice from the trainer on how to practice safely when at home, but the basic idea is that you will need to go purchase a long lead–using one of those handheld extension leads is not safe or appropriate for this particular exercise. Instead, go to a good pet shop where they should sell 25 foot leads or even 50 foot leads, which are called long leads and are used for exactly this type of distance training. You want to be able to take your dog to 1st, some areas of low level distraction like a quiet area of a public park, put him on the long lead, and then practice your recall. Gradually, you move towards areas that introduce more and more distractions. Only when you have excellent recall on the long lead, with lots of distractions around, should he ever be allowed off lead (and of course, it even then only in areas far away from traffic and any other hazards). If you go to the training section here, pinned at the top are links to a number of training websites and all will give very good directions on how to train safely and correctly for a good recall and how to practice in various ways. :D

The issue of running out the door is just as important. I am afraid for most people, this is mostly going to be an issue of management and again, as you have noted, is very much an issue that could result in the serious injury or death of your dog if not addressed, so I can understand how worried this is clearly making you. The best way to start is to make it so that it is impossible for a door to be left open for the dog to rush out. That means hallway doors need to be shut and it may mean that you need to use something like a baby gate. But the 2nd thing that you can do in tandem, is to start to train him to always sit at the door and to wait–he only is allowed to stand up and go out the door when you give a release command. Again, it is far easier to understand this and if you are working with a professional trainer in a class and you explain that you have this problem.

If the issue is small children in the home opening the door, I would actually latch/childproof the door so that an adult is required to open it. You will need to come up with some management approach as well as a training approach, because training will take time and hard work and isn't always successful for people as the dog often will not sit and wait if there isn't an adult there to tell him to do so (it takes a very exceptional dog to automatically wait regardless of whether anyone is there), and it is just too risky to have a dog that bolts in this breed in particular. Cavaliers will run directly in front of cars without fear (the breed standard states that the breed should be “fearless”, which means they will have absolutely no issue with walking in front of an oncoming car and dogs really must always, always be on a lead anywhere near traffic–anything else is very unsafe.

Dogs really only understand what we train them to do, and need positive motivation–not a fear–to be encouraged to do the things that we prefer. So it is never really a case of the dog thinking he is allowed to do whatever he wants, but a dog just doing dog things because nobody has given him any alternatives in a way that make him motivated to make alternative choices (In other words, he hasn't been taught the alternatives of what you want! :) This takes a lot of time, a lot of patience, and a lot of work. Sometimes it helps if you think about the situation in terms of a toddler (keeping in mind that a toddler can actually understand context and language far better than a dog!) Our expectations of dogs are often a bit unrealistic if we, the humans, haven't adequately trained them :) ). again, that's why a class is really great–you get lots of support and help to train in a way that the dog understands and that gets the results you want.

10th August 2011, 03:55 AM
Everyone already has said great things that helpede train Brooklyn recall...but one thing I added was a hand signal. I have a background in sign language, so my dog is taught everything with words and a sign, now she can go on sign alone. This is great for two reasons 1) dogs can really underhand signs, sometimes far better than words and 2) it takes all emotion out of the equation. So if I have a command for "come" and I get frustrated or I am in a hurry, my voice will likely reflect that and Brooklyn won't want to come to a frustrated mommy! But if I just used my hand signal, there is no emotion attached. It is alway the same.

If you want, you can try at home. Get her to sit, walk a few steps away and raise your right hand up in the air, then drop it down to her level and say you command for "come" at the same time. Leave you dropped hand down and when she gets to it, deliver a treat from your left and, do it again. You can move further and further away, then try to lose the voice all together (still delivering a high reward treat from the opposite hand til she has it nailed). You will be amazed at how quickly she will get this with no voice.

Just today at the dog park, I had about 4 people come up to me amazed at how I could bring Brooklyn back to me from far away with just this motion. I think she thinks it's a game because she flies to me, she loves it! She is way better at the signal than me saying "come" but I do both (obviously because you have to have her looking at you to do the hand signal...so you need both in case her back is turned!)

Also, when at the park, make sure to have her come to you 15 plus time, grab her collar like you are about to put on the lead, then let go and let her play again. Do this over and over so she doesn't associate "come" with "playing stops" :)

14th August 2011, 10:25 AM
That is amazing advice, Brooklynmom! I will sure try the hand/recall thing with Amelie. I will let you know how it works out ;)

14th August 2011, 12:00 PM
I definitely agree that anyone training their dog should use a hand signal as well as a verbal command for all basic commands and ideally, for everything. It's a good point to have emphasized this!

For dogs at a distance (as is so often the case with recall), they may not be able to clearly hear you or locate you or understand what it is you are saying. In my own case, Leo does not have good directional hearing and I realize this was going to be a serious problem when I had him off lead-- he might wander off at a distance, and then when I called him he would look around in confusion and run after the 1st person he saw, assuming it to be me. Therefore, whenever I would call him I would also wave my arms over my head, something I knew he would be able to see from a long distance away. If you just start to incorporate such a signal in training and every time you call the dog–and I do highly recommend doing something that is a big signal so that the dog can see it at a good long distance away–the dog will associate the hand sign to the command quite readily. It is good to introduce them from the very start, however. Believe me, this has been a critical command several times for me with Leo–if he didn't have the hand sign, he could easily have bolted in other directions. many times, when he is looking around in confusion after I called him from a distance, he has seen the arm sign and then runs back to me.

The other reason why it is a very smart idea to teach hand signals is–setting aside the fact that dogs are known to more readily understand and more consistently understand a hand sign than a voice command–there is a very high degree of deafness in the breed that often starts to show up by around age 5, and there is also a very significant degree of poor hearing. I know there was a recent study which showed that most of the sample, I believe, of Cavaliers had some hearing impediments of some sort even though owners did not perceive the dogs to be deaf. It is known that there are at least 2 causes of deafness in the breed–one is PSOM, and the other is some other genetic aspect, as I have had a dog without PSOM go deaf and early onset deafness of this sort is pretty well recognized in the breed.

It is not difficult to train a deaf dog to hand signs, but it is a lot easier if the dog has always known the hand sign.