• Michael D’Abruzzo

    March 13, 2012 at 3:02 am

    Hey Jose,

    I have experienced this a bunch of times before. Like Teresa suggested I always look at the Golden Rules first. The faster the timing the better. When I do recalls with a stubborn dog it will sound more like “comenocome” than “come-no-come”. The quicker the better if you don’t want the dog to think he can wait until the last moment.

    If you are doing all the timing perfect, and the dog has little food drive or other positive motivation to return to you, it would still make sense if the dog is trying to “play the no game”. From the dogs point of view there is no good reason to come to you, so the command might as well be “come-no”. When the dog is highly motivated to come to you for either + or – reasons you can barely get out the first sound of the word “come” before he whips around. This is the area where I believe can most likely be tweaked since it sounds like you are being consistent and using good timing.

    Some suggestions:

    – Establish operations: Make sure your dogs food is plain and a little less than what he ideally needs. Give the rest of the calories through training. You can jump start the process by skipping a meal.
    – When you said he responds to the “no” “most of the time” if that means that he will sometimes wait for the correction, then I would say start at a higher level on the e-collar. If this is phase 2 we are talking about then there is nothing wrong with him waiting for the correction.
    – If you are establishing operations the best you can and using a starting level that the dog appropriately wants to avoid for the given distraction and we are dealing with a dog on the highest end of the stubborn spectrum, you can always skip the “no”. This would be “name, command, command+correction”. So it would sound like “Buster come come” (with correction on the second come). It is better to remove the no than to correct on it. Correcting on the no would destroy the purpose of it being a warning.

    The purpose of the “no” is to prevent the dog from looking like he is walking on egg shells and make room for honest mistakes. Without a warning we can get all kinds of side effects and also make it more likely we will correct the dog by accident during a borderline first command response. I am more likely to remove the “no” when a dog breaks a stay command more than once because of a direct challenge and not an honest mistake. I rarely skip it on the initial command. But, from a behavior and safety point of view if you need the quickest response possible, the “no” removed will give you that on a stubborn dog if no other options are working.

    All of this being said, I would suggest always going with the full command sequence (including the conditioned punisher “no”) until you have exhausted all troubleshooting. Then and only then would I go to the skipping of the “no” with consideration of all the side effects.

    I hope i wasn’t too confusing.