Laser Pointer as a Return Call?

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nmcnair

Boxer Pal
I would like some opinions on a possible return call which works every time. Duke's (22 months) ultimate favorite thing to do is chase a laser pointer. So much so that he will dead-stop playing with or chasing a dog, sleeping, and even eating. Once his interest is peaked in seeing, or thinking he saw the laser pointer his attention shifts completely to the laser. The only problem is once that happens, he obsesses about chasing it. He will hang right around my immediate area always looking for it to show up. He will only venture away about 20 feet at the max from me for as long as 20 minutes. Using this method always gets him to come back. However I don't like the idea of getting a one and done command. After I put it away I want him to go back to going about business and not focusing solely on me. Is this close to the easiest way to train a return call or closer to a disaster decreasing of his fairly good socialization skills? Any thoughts or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

Gunther

Super Boxer
Sound like an OK game. Myself I don't like to use anything other than a flat collar,treats and a leash to train my dogs.

If I can't do it with normal tools then I consider the failure as being mine and not my dogs, so I try to figure out what "I'm" doing wrong?

To me it sounds like you have taught him to look for a laser pointer?
 

TwoDogs

Boxer Insane
Sound like an OK game. Myself I don't like to use anything other than a flat collar,treats and a leash to train my dogs.

If I can't do it with normal tools then I consider the failure as being mine and not my dogs, so I try to figure out what "I'm" doing wrong?

To me it sounds like you have taught him to look for a laser pointer?

There are no "normal tools" when it comes to training. The dog decides what is a reward and what is a punishment--period. I have a dog that fills up fast. If I limited myself to your "normal tools" I wouldn't be able to get a whole lot of training in. Most of my training isn't even done with a leash or collar on my dogs. It is a perfectly reasonable and sound training practice to use toys, play or activities the dog enjoys doing as rewards for desired behavior. Rather than considering it as a "failure" it should be considered smart and the sign of a good trainer.

To the OP. You can certainly use the laser as a reward for a speedy recall. Understand though that you shouldn't use it as a bribe otherwise your dog is going to start waiting to see the laser before he returns to you. You want to establish a verbal or visual cue (for recalls I like to focus on a verbal cue because then you have a cue that you can use if the dog is out of sight). When the dog performs the correct behavior--speedy recall--you present the opportunity to chase the laser as a reward. When you've let him chase it for a bit, turn it off and put it in your pocket. If he hangs around pestering you, just say "Enough" and ignore him. He'll eventually get interested in something else and direct his attention elsewhere. Then you can practice another repetition.

There is a saying in training, "Deprivation builds motivation." If a dog truly likes an item or activity and you dole it out selectively in exchange for performing a specific behavior, you've just given the dog huge motivation to perform that behavior whenever and as soon as you ask.

So yes, you can use the laser in recall training but use it as a reward, not the cue.
 
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