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Hi,

I am in desperate need of some advice/tips on what I can do with my puppy! He is a 7 month old cocker spaniel and he is my first dog.

Recently his behaviour has become really bad, he has started to ignore us when we call him back and whenever we take him into the garden for toileting and a run round he refuses to come back in and thinks it’s some sort of game running round away from us! As well as this it has also worsened when I took him to our field for a walk he ended up running away from me when I tried to put him back on the lead and got half way home running from me - thankfully he stopped and just sat down and we only live round the corner so he wasn’t far but this has sent alarm bells ringing in my head as he could’ve been hurt!

His behaviour before has always been really good his recall was previously really good I don’t understand what has gone wrong or changed - I know he hears me calling but chooses to ignore me and I really need help on what to do as he is still really young and I want to rectify this behaviour before he does it permanently.

TIA
 

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Where do you keep him at home, does he socialize with you or does he go straight back to his cage until he is next due out.
We have 7 Cockers, all but one we have bred ourselves but one we bought at 6 months of age (she is 12.5 now).
All of our lot grow up with freedom and are able to socialize with us as they wish. Being with us and not shut away they learn daily routines, our different moods and voice tones and how to behave properly, both in and around the house and when out on walks.
They can learn very fast, both good and bad :rolleyes: , they can also go through a stage of knowing everything and trying to do things their way.

As mentioned by @Buzzu2
Perhaps think about teenage rebellion in humans. ;)

Our puppies do not come already trained and sometimes we may have to go back to basic puppy training.
Try keeping him on a long line with close recall practice, and praise him with a gentle word and a stroke when he has achieved this. Always finish on a happy and positive note but don't over do training and make it a boring subject, keep it interesting and part of play.
NEVER tell your puppy off when he eventually comes back to you, (why should he come back for a telling off or a beating)

Given time he will grow up.

We have never regretted any of our lot, they have all grown up, with each one slightly different to another. We have learned about them individually as they have learned about us.[/QUOTE]
 

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I don’t understand what has gone wrong or changed
In a word, adolescence. A lot of dogs regress at this age, and behaviours you thought were solid suddenly go out the window.

You need to strongly reinforce that coming back to you is the Best Thing Ever, far more fun than running around, or anything else he might be doing. So call him back for slivers of hot dog, then release. Call him back to play, then release - and so on. Coming to you isn’t the end of his fun, it adds to it. If necessary, do this with him on a long line (only ever attached to a harness, never a collar, for safety).
 

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Hi,

I am in desperate need of some advice/tips on what I can do with my puppy! He is a 7 month old cocker spaniel and he is my first dog.

Recently his behaviour has become really bad, he has started to ignore us when we call him back and whenever we take him into the garden for toileting and a run round he refuses to come back in and thinks it’s some sort of game running round away from us! As well as this it has also worsened when I took him to our field for a walk he ended up running away from me when I tried to put him back on the lead and got half way home running from me - thankfully he stopped and just sat down and we only live round the corner so he wasn’t far but this has sent alarm bells ringing in my head as he could’ve been hurt!

His behaviour before has always been really good his recall was previously really good I don’t understand what has gone wrong or changed - I know he hears me calling but chooses to ignore me and I really need help on what to do as he is still really young and I want to rectify this behaviour before he does it permanently.

TIA
Hi.

Yup, your puppy has become a teenager.

Keep him on a long line and harness so that if he refuses to recall, then you still have control - do not let him off lead, no matter how safe he is, unless or until you are confident he’ll return or if you’re in a secure area (I see you’re in the Uk - sometimes you can hire private fields for an hour, which will give you the chance to let him off leash in a safe environment).

Meanwhile, if you do let him off lead, reward him for so much as looking at you/choosing to come back (aka “checking in” with you). Randomly put his leash on, walk a couple of steps, and release him again. The idea is to get him to stop associating the lead being clipped on with going home and end of fun.

You running around after him in the garden is a game. Think about how dogs play - yes, they might play fight or play Bitey Face, but they also play Chase Me.

Simple way to stop him running away from you - don’t chase him. Walk away from him, turn your back on him, absorb yourself in one of his toys, ignore him, or, again, keep him in a long line and harness (never, ever use a long line with a collar).

Meanwhile, think - what’s in it for him? If calling him inside means end of fun, then of course he’s not going to want to come in. So make going inside an extension of the game.
 

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I agree with the above. You have a teenager on your hands. I think it would be a good idea to stop letting him off leash for a few months in situations where recall is truly important. You don't want him getting into trouble or getting accustomed to blowing you off.

When you do have him off leash, you might be able to use some psychological tricks to nudge him into making the right decision. One is, ironically, to move away from him. You can play on his fear of missing out on fun or his fear of being abandoned. One thing I've done is to scoop up a favorite toy, furtively tuck it under my arm as though I don't want him to see I have it, and then slink away from the puppy as though I'm going to go play with the toy without him. Another thing I've done is to step out of sight and let the puppy have a few moments of panic when he realizes he has lost me. A third thing I've done is to cheerfully call "Come check it out" and then trot away as though I'm hot on the trail of a rabbit.

It's also important to try and ensure that coming to you is always a good thing for the puppy. Try to greet the puppy with a treats and a play session instead of just clipping the lead on him. Avoid calling the puppy for unpleasant things like nail clipping.

When I was a little kid most parents in my neighborhood had to call their kids several times to get them to come home at in the evening You'd hear bellows of increasing parental frustration: "Chris...Christopher...Chris, dinner....CHRISTOPHER ALTON SMITH GET YOUR TAIL INTO THIS HOUSE RIGHT NOW!" The kids all had the same evening routine: get fed, get put in the bath, get put to bed. All the kids knew that coming home meant bath, bed, and no more fun for the rest of the night. The slight lure of dinner wasn't nearly as appealing as continuing to play outside with their friends. Of course the kids dragged their heels coming home. Puppies work with the same logic, including a willingness to ignore food if something else is sufficiently appealing.
 
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