We rescued a dog that was bought across from Spain. She is twelve months old and was a hunting dog. Spanish hunting dogs have a very rough deal and are not in any way treated as pets. They have no affection but are treated as a throw away item, got rid of at the end of the season and not usually alive!
Our dog is an English setter/pointer. We can't let her loose in the garden or she jumps the fence. She has no recall whatsover as she focuses on hunting birds. We have only had her two months, so is early days and I was looking for a bit of extra guidance. I have never has this issue in owning dogs for over forty years. I usually have a rescue dog off lead within weeks, if not days. Even our Weimarraner/Pointer loopy girl was off lead within a week.
It was, therefore, troubling to come across a dog that, even though she is showing an attachment to us in and around the house, just wants to hunt when we are out and we cannot yet get her focus on us when out on walks on a lead, longline or canicrossing.
This book does not deal with a seriously problematic recall. In my view is only deals with a dog that possibly has selective hearing on a recall or just likes to run after the odd deer, pheasant or rabbit. For a dog that will disappear, intent on hunting for as far as it can go, it does not even touch on how to overcome that issue.
As a qualified behaviourist, I don't agree not to play chase games with a dog with hunting drive. I feel that a hunting drive should be channelled. We are doing canicross and bikejor with her which should help to channel her energy in time. But she loves the ball, and we have managed to get her attention in the garden by playing ball with her.
The book is a bit simplistic really. The only idea I liked was the idea of the sausage tree, but even that to a dog with a very strong hunting drive would not work as the drive overides the desire for food, no matter how yummy.
If you have a dog with a very serious recall issue i.e. if the dog gets off the lead it WILL disappear, I recommend Total Recall by Pippa Mattinson. Total RecallThis is a progressive step program and also deals with what to do with a true absconder.
Since starting it a week or so ago the Weimarraner X recall is improved, even though it was pretty good in most instances and our Spanish girl is beginning to understand the whistle. It's not a quick fix and I don't anticipate much happening to change her behaviour for 6 - 12 months, but I believe we have a chance using Pippa's method.