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Thanks. I am trying some of what you mentioned, but I have not tried a clicker. That might be the ticket.
Emphasis on the word "might". I toss that out as what I'm really trying to say us "hey,I'm just a random dude you found on the internet. What may have worked for me is because it worked as "it was new and different" and caught my dog's attention. With a new arrival, I generall go thru a few nonsense words that are usually the result of what comes jumbled out of my mouth when I try not to cuss. What's working best with this pair that I have now is "Enh" but its more the sharpness I think on that sound that gets the attention. I enjoy watching Victoria Stillwell on youtube as many of her videos involve this little tiny woman arriving to homes in a tiny english sports car and dealing with very rambunctious large dogs ... the way she deals with "macho" man owners is also fun :) ... But she uses a short syllable also ..."Unh" if I recall correctly.

While consistency is extremely important in dog training ... I think it's not really a good idea staying consistent when whatever you are doing is not working.


I'm sure you have visited forums on various subjects where folks will criticize every post with a philospophy or approach different than their own. My thinking is, the more suggestions you get, the more the chances of finding something that works in your situation. You dog arrived in pretty much a wild state ... was surviving on its own....a "clicker" is something I thought she's likely unfamiliar with so my guess is whe will want to investigate. If you're consistent in making something exciting happen every time she hears it ... the association is likely to sink in. You also have to reinforce it and not provide any form of positive reinforcement until she does. On long leash training a no response because she wants to small a fire hydrant instead should be followed with a tug, denying the opportunity to so what she would rater do ... show her the sound means "something better". BTW, Stillwell has some videos on long leash training that may give you some ideas
 

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That would have almost given me a heart attack seeing any dog run at/after hogs.

Up to you, but a whistle might be helpful for intermediate distance work. As for Bella being a gun dog, sounds like you have a good plan. And you never know, I believe it's member @RodeoRiata who taught their retrievers to work livestock.

It might take a long time, but she is a stellar student. So she might surprise us all. Or not, but that's fine too.
Sorry I am late to this thread.
Thanks for mentioning me @Shadowfox!


My dog is a GSD mix. She is between 14 to 16 months old. She was a drop-off that showed up on my land and I rescued her. She apparently had no training at all.

I have been training her. She does super great during the training sessions and has learned many commands. She understands Sit, Lay Down, Fetch, Load Up (to get in vehicles), Heel, Come, and a few more. When she is on a leash and I have her attention, she is like a robot and obeys my every word. She does the same when she is off-leash as well, UNTIL..... she gets distracted, and then, I cease to exist, and nothing I say or do has any effect on her. I mean zip. zilch, nada!

This is a real problem that I MUST correct and I need serious real methods to correct this. She runs off and it will get her killed. I live in the country and she will run after a car that she hears on the road a quarter-mile away. I have wild animals like hogs, packs of coyotes, and bobcats. Additionally, she looks a lot like a large coyote and every farmer around here carries a gun and will shoot her on sight. In fact, she had already been shot before I found her.

She has to obey me or she cannot have freedom, not where I live, and I do not believe in keeping dogs on chains or cages. I am willing to put in however much work it takes, I just need to know how to teach her to listen to me, over everything else, at all times.

Again, I am looking for serious real training methods, not the "I tried this with my dog and I think
it worked" This is to SAVE the dog's LIFE! I have done a lot of searching and have read hundreds of posts before posting this and have not really found anything on how to deal with this issue.

Thanks in advance.
@John Howard, I just skimmed through the replies and have a few suggestions.
Wanted to preface this with how happy Bella looks with you. She is exquisite & living up to her name...It is quite obvious Bella loves you and I want to say thank you for what you are doing for her. She is lucky to have you, though deserving.

I did teach my golden lab and my kids trained our retriever to work stock. It sounds to me like your dog needs a job with some base training first. Here is a training plan...
Training plan:
-purchase a long leash (I suggest 50 foot) and hook Bella to it. Have her lay down and tell her stay. Walk back slowly, start at small 'intervals'...First session 15 feet, next 20, next 30, etc. Make sure she is listening to you the entire time; eyes focused on you, ears perked in your direction, not relaxing. Have an assistant nearby with a squeaky toy. Once you are standing at distance from Bella, wait a few moments, but make sure she is still focused! Let your assistant squeak the toy, but the moment he does, say firmly, "Bella. Leave it." It may take 10-15 seconds or so at first for her to re-focus on you. The goal is for her to eventually "graduate" to re-focusing immediately when you say "Leave it", and eventually "graduate" to her not even shifting gaze or focus at all.
-do this in sessions of 10 minutes every day when you are working on training her. I presume your training field is an enclosed area on the property (as in video)?
-as weeks of this training go by, eventually move on to different noises. A youtube video of hogs squealing (low volume at first) or a video of a dog howling, are some suggestions

I hope this works, please let me know if there are any updates, as it has been several days since you replied to this thread. Again, sorry about joining in late!
 

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DNA testing to find out her breeds can really help with fighting out her motivations for training her.
It really helped me with understanding and training my current dog. He was the "problem dog" at the shelter when I adopted him at sixteen months old and had gone through two homes by the time he was fourteen or fifteen months old and had very little vet care and no training at all.
He was an escape artist and had no recall, had no interest in fetch whatsoever and absolutely loved meeting and playing with any new animals he could meet, horses, he tried to herd and got kicked in the chest when he escaped and was nipping my ancient mare in the heels but was fine, cats, my tough feral kitten scratched his cornea the first night I brought him home when I let him try to carefully meet the cat while leashed and my other former street cats out the fear of God into him so he learned the hard way to respect and be very careful around cats, and he LOVED meeting and playing with any dog he saw, but didn't know he had to meet and sniff them first so he'd run over and just jump on them and start wrestling. He got out in his place and learned quickly.
He chewed through 8.5 leashes, jumped out of my car and took off and almost got run over, took off a harness and opened a door and took off, jumped two six foot fences together right before our first obedience class, jumped my baby gate into the kitchen and ate all the cat food then jumped it again from a standstill to show me he could do it, has opened the gates to the dog park to break out and break in to chase a rabbit and can open basically any door or gate in existence. I should have named him Houdini.
I have two master's degrees and this dog is much smarter than I am.
He loves chasing rabbits, bicycles, skateboards, joggers, and anyone who runs, moved in a strange way or runs at us screaming or waving their arms like children.
I've been working on recall and leave it for the whole six years I've had him. He used to knock down people to go after a rabbit or to greet a new dog and there'd be no stopping him. He's 95 pounds and DNA testing says he's 25 percent each of German shepherd, boxer, and Chow, then 12.5 percent each of lab and American Staffordshire. So he's got a strong protective streak, can be dominant with other male dogs, especially unneutered pushy ones like adolescents, and had some herding and chasing drives. No prey drives as he never kills or injured any rabbits. Could care less about squirrels or birds or anything except rabbits.
Now we can be in a unfenced field loose and if he sees a rabbit or new dog I can tell him to stay or leave it and he'll freeze or better yet walk or run to me and stay until I tell him ok and then charge off to greet the new dog or chase the rabbit. He knows to stay in the field and not run out of the field and not run out of the field even if the bunny does.
If a bicycle or runner runs by now he'll usually ignore it. If he starts to chase it or if he thinks they're threatening I'll say leave it and he'll react bank to me.
I always make a huge fuss of praising him and telling him in a silly voice that he's the best dog ever and let him a lot and give him his favorite baboon treats which he loves. He likes when I make a fuss out of praising him and starts prancing around and wagging his tail and leaning on me so I do it even when there's a lot of people around and I look and sound like an idiot. It works and that's what counts.
Now people say what a good well trained dog he is and ask how I did that. It's still a work in progress years later.
I also every time we go out to a field or park do a few recall practices while he's leashed to remind him and get his mind set before I let him loose. It's a refresher of the most important command. I also tell him leave it if he's sniffing or trying to eat things in the field so he remembers that command is very important and fresh in his mind too.

If he forgets like today he saw a new dog arrive in the field before I did and started running over, I just called him and said no, leave it. It took twice but he stopped and kept watching the dog for a minute because I didn't catch him before his adrenaline kicked in. My fault for getting distracted. I called him back again and said fast which he knows means come back quickly and run and then he did. So saying no to stop an unwanted behavior is fine because then he got tons of praise and pats and his favorite treats once he did come back. Then I asked if the other dog was friendly y once the other owner said yes and it was fine for the dogs to say hi I told my dog ok and he got to race over to sniff the other dog so he got another reward for listening.
But for your dog being in the rebellious adolescents she and only having her a month you're doing really well.

I'd keep her on leashed or in a secure fenced area if you have one until her recall and leave it is perfect in the fenced area loose. The long line is dangerous. I tried that with my dog when he was only 70 or 80 pounds and he took off full speed and knocked me down and dragged me across the grass until I had to let go. And I'm tall and very heavy so weigh a lot more than he did. I had just gotten him so he has no training or manners but I have a bad knee and my hands got hurt from trying to hold onto him. Holding onto a full speed 80 plus pound dog is dangerous.
 

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I had a similar situation with my dog. My experience indicates there is no magic bullet, no one single technique. You need to give your dog broad, consistent, good training over the course of years. You're not looking to teach a trick, but to modify some pretty fundamental stuff and build a new relationship with your dog. That's a whole education.

While I found books, videos, and advice from this forum valuable, they weren't enough. Getting information piecemeal doesn't give you an overall training program. But perhaps an even bigger problem is that you don't always know what mistakes you're making. We were able to make more and faster progress under a qualified instructor. Don't waste time trying to figure it all out yourself.

I tried the whole "be the leader, make the dog walk beside you, yank the leash and say no" thing before I learned better. That technique is garbage. There is better stuff out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Thanks for all the great advice guys. Sorry for the delay in responding. Bella is doing very well. She still has ADD symptoms as I described but is getting better. I keep her on a leash mostly while outside, but the few times she has been off, she has not runoff. Yesterday, she resisted chasing a rabbit on command and that is a big step, since rabbits are her biggest attraction. I made a little video of her progress. If any of you want to see it, let me know and I will post a link.
 

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Bella is progressing beautifully, you are doing a wonderful job!!
Congratulations on her huge step forward in training, I know more good news will be coming along soon enough: )
 
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