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I’ve trained my dog to reliably come to me when I call him as long as there’s not any major distractions. However, I take him to an off leash unfenced dog park every day and there’s times where I need him to come to me but he chooses not to and instead goes directly for whatever he’s interested in. Sometimes he’ll come eventually after checking out whatever it was that caught his attention, but other times I have to go all the way over him and bring him back where he needs to be.

I’m just looking for any tips on how to train him to do this better and more reliably. Thanks in advance!
 

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So from your past threads, clickers and treats aren't working...

If you and I are in a field - you're a few hundred feet away talking to someone of opposite sex that you find attractive. I'm standing in the same spot calling you - do you have any incentive to come to me?

Here's some incentive - we came in my car, either get your arse in the car or I'm leaving.

Go sit in the car. Walk elsewhere - just don't stand in the same spot, stop calling the dog. Let your dog come looking for you. If you feel you have any recall whatsoever - the dog should panic a little and come looking for you. Now you've become a little more valuable than what it's sniffing.
 

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I don't use the clicker and never used the collar. He comes 80-90% of the time because I use positive reinforcement with treats. It's only when there's something truly distracting going on (big commotion of other dogs) that makes him not listen. He always comes looking for me eventually but only when he's done looking at whatever it is he wanted to see. I don't stand in one spot and repeatedly call his name and wait for him to come to me. I usually call his name a couple of times and begin walking over to him to make him come back to where he needs to be.
 

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I dunno. Some dogs have a SCARY indifference to being alone haha. Just the other day, I had to catch someone's dog and carry it to their car as they slowly pulled away (he was an elderly guy who couldn't corral the dog).

IMO your absolute best tool for proofing recall is a long-line. If you are like me, the car isn't always right there. And dogs get wise to bluffing super fast. AND you don't want your dog to call your bluff when they are running toward a dangerous situation.

Get a harness that fits your dog and then go buy a lunge line for under $20 at any tack shop. Get a pocketful of hot dog. Find your dog's recall kryptonite. Start by calling them away while they are at a fair distance from the distration, then you can work your way closer as they get better at coming when called. The long line will prevent them from running over to what they want, thus rewarding themselves for totally blowing you off.

Another really awesome exercise to do is to call your dog away from a distraction, reward them, and then let them go engage with the distraction (provided it's safe). Fall is just around the corner... I love taking dogs where there are lots of oak trees (and therefore squirrels) in an enclosed area. Call them away from the squirrel, reward, and then let the leash go. This teaches them that doing as told doesn't always mean that they have to sacrifice their chance to run after the distraction.
 

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I don't use the clicker and never used the collar. He comes 80-90% of the time because I use positive reinforcement with treats. It's only when there's something truly distracting going on (big commotion of other dogs) that makes him not listen. He always comes looking for me eventually but only when he's done looking at whatever it is he wanted to see. I don't stand in one spot and repeatedly call his name and wait for him to come to me. I usually call his name a couple of times and begin walking over to him to make him come back to where he needs to be.
So you call his name - and then walk over to gather him. Negative reward my friend, you're feeding the dog negative reward.

Walk away from him, leave. He knows where he left you, don't be there and don't walk toward him. Make him come looking for you. Go sit in the vehicle, he'll smell you out.

I've done this with all my dogs - I have never trained recall. They don't go too far without glancing an eye ball to see where I am - be unpredictable. Dogs don't like being alone - they will come looking for you.

Play hide and seek.
 

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So you call his name - and then walk over to gather him. Negative reward my friend, you're feeding the dog negative reward.

Walk away from him, leave. He knows where he left you, don't be there and don't walk toward him. Make him come looking for you. Go sit in the vehicle, he'll smell you out.

I've done this with all my dogs - I have never trained recall. They don't go too far without glancing an eye ball to see where I am - be unpredictable. Dogs don't like being alone - they will come looking for you.

Play hide and seek.
I definitely understand what you're saying and it makes perfect sense, but the problem I'm facing is he'll eventually come find me in the park when I call him back, but only when he's finished with whatever was distracting him. So if I choose to go to my car and act as though I'm leaving so that he'll panic and want to come find me, he'll only realize I've left and decide to come find me once he's finished with his distraction. I need him to leave the distraction before he even gets to it.
 

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I need him to leave the distraction before he even gets to it
So the dog isn't allowed to explore or be distracted? It's a dog.

Do you think this is going to be a magical fix the first time you do it? When the dog finally comes looking for you, and you're not there - watch the dogs face, watch the dogs reaction. Now you likely have a thinking dog.

Hunters? Oh yeah, they'll leave the dog in the field and go home. Some of these hunting dogs are off 1/4 mile or so, they are supposed to recall, no exception. Buddy of mine had his chocolate lab out on morning trials, he loaded the truck, recalled the dog - dog was off barking in the field. He got in the truck and went home. 6 hours later he came back, one happy dog waiting for him - and he bloody well recalls now. I'm not telling you to leave the dog in the park and go home - just an example.

What are you doing at the park?

When I had the pin at the local park, it was at least an hours walk, sometimes 2. Ample time to be unpredictable. If at any time I realized he wasn't paying attention to me, I'd veer off down a trail - stop and watch through the trees. Sure enough, when he finally turned around to look for me, I wasn't there. He'd come booking it back up the path looking for me. He had to come looking for me. How's that for recall.
 

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So the dog isn't allowed to explore or be distracted? It's a dog.

Do you think this is going to be a magical fix the first time you do it? When the dog finally comes looking for you, and you're not there - watch the dogs face, watch the dogs reaction. Now you likely have a thinking dog.

Hunters? Oh yeah, they'll leave the dog in the field and go home. Some of these hunting dogs are off 1/4 mile or so, they are supposed to recall, no exception. Buddy of mine had his chocolate lab out on morning trials, he loaded the truck, recalled the dog - dog was off barking in the field. He got in the truck and went home. 6 hours later he came back, one happy dog waiting for him - and he bloody well recalls now. I'm not telling you to leave the dog in the park and go home - just an example.

What are you doing at the park?

When I had the pin at the local park, it was at least an hours walk, sometimes 2. Ample time to be unpredictable. If at any time I realized he wasn't paying attention to me, I'd veer off down a trail - stop and watch through the trees. Sure enough, when he finally turned around to look for me, I wasn't there. He'd come booking it back up the path looking for me. He had to come looking for me. How's that for recall.
Yes the dog explores, he's at the dog park. I let him do whatever he wants until he leaves the boundaries of the park. When he's running up to a stranger outside of the dog park I can't just get in my car and pretend it's not happening. He won't come looking for me until he's no longer curious about whatever it is he's looking at. I realize it's not an easy fix, I've been working on this for years, that's why I'm posting in this forum. If I thought it would happen the first time I ever tried I wouldn't be seeking help.
 

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What incentive does your dog have to pay attention and come to you? A treat? Is that the only incentive for the dog to recall?

I let him do whatever he wants until he leaves the boundaries of the park.
I see issue with this, my dogs don't do what they feel like doing. We are out for a walk, yes, they can feel free to sniff around, they can explore some - but we're out for exercise.

The fact that you have to go looking for the dog every time. That to me is a negative reward, you say you've been doing this for years? You have some work to do. The idea right now is to get the dog to want the positive reward, instead of expecting the negative reward of you coming to get it. You know your dog better than anyone else.

How do you get the dog to pay attention to you? You don't wait until the dog is distracted.

If you need to put the dog back on a long line - do so.
When the dog doesn't recall - leash the dog and take it for a walk on leash at the park.
Play games with the dog - engage the dog, have fun with the dog at the park.

Get something different - a whistle - something that the dog hasn't experienced before. Blow it periodically in the house, when the dog is in the back yard - it's going to get the dogs attention and the dog is going to associate the whistle with you.

Now when you're at the park, blow the whistle and walk away from the dog - before it has a chance to be distracted. If the dog comes to you, grab a rope and play tug or something, engage the dog in some kind of play. Now you have something to work with.

Stop giving treats - be the treat.
 

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You might find some ideas for different ways to play recall games in this thread: http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/recall-9595/

What you have sounds like a proofing problem, mostly. A really good book on proofing is Denise Fenzi's Beyond the Backyard. It won't tell you how to teach your dog to come -- Fenzi assumes you can teach that already. But it does offer a step-by-step approach to teaching any behavior to become reliable in the face of greater and greater distractions, which is pretty nifty.

It sounds like you need to incorporate more low-to-mid-level distractions in your recall training, gradually making your recall stronger & stronger before you test it at the dog park again. That might mean putting a cookie on the kitchen counter, or putting a toy on a nearby chair, before calling. The first few times, make sure you're close enough to quickly cover it with your foot or hand if your dog moves toward it (always control the distraction, not the dog -- the dog is controlling himself, just like he will be when distances are longer and distractions are mightier). I know a lot of people who toss their treat bag on the ground as a distraction -- but empty at first! As your dog learns to ignore the distraction, you can very slightly increase your criteria (increasing distance from the dog, or distance from the distraction, or making the distraction higher value, but just one thing getting harder at a time!). Always make it easy for your dog -- you can keep training to higher levels when those become easy for your dog in turn, but you want to aim to train at a level where your dog comes directly to you 99.9% of the time.

As your dog is reliable in the face of greater-and-greater distractions, you start to have more choices when it comes to reinforcement. You can reward your dog the way you've been doing, with treats coming straight from your hand. Or you can run with your dog to the "distraction" and reward him there (from your hand, or by releasing him to enjoy the distraction itself). For instance, I can call my dog to come running to me past a pile of cookies (or favorite toy) on the ground. Part of her reward for getting to me is that I turn around and run over to the toy with her, and tell her to "get it!" It's the same thing Kelly528 suggested, and a good way to help dogs learn that they can get exactly what they want by doing exactly what you want!

Pat Miller outlines some similar recall games, and a systematic progression, in this brief article: Why a Reliable Recall is So Important | Whole Dog Journal
 

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Drill baby drill!

I use my time at the Dog parks and dog beach AS training session. I started by watching him and working on recall at first when he was not totally engaged in something then continued to up the ante on his distraction and engagement level over time.

Since he is VERY task driven I have also turned recall into a game for him so it is not just a "why did i come to you and leave what I was doing?"...I hold my hand out and and his recall is coupled with a nose touch on my hand. Now he comes with just a hold out of my hand, no verbal.

As other said, you have to be more exciting that what they are engaged in at the time. Boring old "come" with same old treats ain't gonna cut it when initially training recall with distractions.
 

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I find that when using positive reinforcement methods the most important things you can do is being consistent and gradually building up the distraction level. It is very important that you do not introduce very large distractions too soon. What a large distraction is depends on the level of your recall and the specific interests of your dog.

Instead try to focus on having training sessions as often as possible and focus on controlling the environment as much as you can. In doing this it can be very helpful to use both a long leash and have your dog's favorite treats on hand.

There is really no shortcut to a good recall especially not in a distracting environment. It is simply something that takes time and consistency.
 

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When I had the pin at the local park, it was at least an hours walk, sometimes 2. Ample time to be unpredictable. If at any time I realized he wasn't paying attention to me, I'd veer off down a trail - stop and watch through the trees. Sure enough, when he finally turned around to look for me, I wasn't there. He'd come booking it back up the path looking for me. He had to come looking for me. How's that for recall.
This works great so long as the dog isn't eating wild mushrooms or chasing after a bear or tossing over a beehive or picking apart a carton of chocolate icecream or annoying a walker on trail or...

The OP's point is, if the distraction isn't acceptable, playing hide and seek with your dog isn't nearly as fun.
 

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This works great so long as the dog isn't eating wild mushrooms or chasing after a bear or tossing over a beehive or picking apart a carton of chocolate icecream or annoying a walker on trail or...

The OP's point is, if the distraction isn't acceptable, playing hide and seek with your dog isn't nearly as fun.
And the OP clearly states they've been working on it for years. Recall without distraction isn't recall... You may as well be calling your dog to the kitchen for supper. Make a vermin dog like a Pin choose between me and a gopher hole, that's fun :) He knows just because he comes to me, the day isn't done.
 
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