Hi all, I'm hoping I might be able to get some insight here from those with much more experiene than me. Ive been working hard on recalls and general off lead obedience with my 10 month old lab X GWP. I've put in a lot of effort and she now recalls reasonably well from most minor or moderate distractions, albeit not always instantly. She will also stop fairly well on a whistle, although that needs working on probably by going back to basics in the garden.
Anyway, the problem is this. Sometimes, for no apparent reason she will simply ignore the recall. This can happen seemingly at random. As she isn't totally reliable yet I usually actively avoid recalling her in situations where I know she's likely to be too distracted unless I need to. But she will sometimes look right at me and then simply continue whatever she wants to do (usually run around in circles, but sometimes go off hunting towards the horizon or ssimply munch a clump of grass) even when not particularly distracted or excitable before I called her. She also does this when retrieving a thrown or hunted-for dummy sometimes, but usually brings it straight back to hand (or via a slightly bent straight line back )
When she does this she obviously thinks its a game, as she won't come close enough for me to put her on the lead (even when actively offered a treat from my hand she stays outside arms reach and runs away when I move) despite other times being perfectly happy going on the lead after a recall, which I always reward with food. I dont chastise her or anything when she finally does come back, but I'm concerned that she's basically rewarding herself the whole time and learning that ignoring me is a fun game. I have no way of stopping the behaviour and obviously she isn't interested in the alternative reward.
A supposed expert suggests on another site that I should run after her and catch her. I dont know what breed he usually works with, but clearly this is a less than useful suggestion...
If anybody has any effective advice of how to stop this before I end up posting a lost dog thread or pulling all my hair out then please do share!