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Old 12-19-2012, 01:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default help with response to comands

Hi i have 14 months old boy from czech workling line (gift from family back in czech). He is my first dog, but i have been around gsd all my life. We do not go to any club to train (not enough time) but he is good with all comands. My problem is in last two months with every comand i give he looks around for 2 or 3 second before accually do it. He will do what i ask but first he just check suroundings. He does it everywere outdoors, not in house or yard.he even does it when we play with me, and i call his name. How to breake this habit? He is not really food motivated, and even he loves ball he still stop and look around. Sorry my english is far from perfect.
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Old 12-19-2012, 03:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It would be so much easier for you and your pup if you found time to take some great dog classes. I know for me, the hour a week class and 'homework' in between is more than worth it because ACTUALLY my dog learns so much faster.

Less frustration from me. Less confusion for my pup. Win/win for both of us.

Plus the additional socialization for my dog to learn that other people and dogs are a normal part of life and yes, you still have to listen to me.

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Have you tried clicker training?
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Old 12-19-2012, 03:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Andrea, a few suggestions:

1. Try to find his food motivator. Try unconventional things: scrambled eggs, sardines, vanilla yogurt chips, etc. There is probably something that will get his attention.

2 Do not feed him all day--exercise him in early evening to relax and focus him, and THEN train with the food. He should be very hungry for training if he is finicky about training treats. After training is done, you can feed him.

3 Tease him with the treats at first. No commands. Don't actually give the treat to him. Wave it in front of his nose until he tries to take it, then pull it back. Chances are he'll get very interested in it. That is when he is ready for step 4.

4 Start simple, and REQUIRE quick obedience before he gets the reward. Say Sit--and if he drops into a sit, treat promptly. If he hesitates, move away for a few seconds, then move back and start again. He will get the idea that when you approach and say "sit" he must do it immediately if he wants that luscious treat. Once this works then move to "stay". Make him stay and move just a couple of feet away to be sure he understands and does not break his stay, then reward quickly. Again, the idea is that he sees that the reward only comes when he promptly obeys--otherwise, no reward for him delaying his obedience. You have to reward very quickly once he obeys so he understands that the reward came because he promptly obeyed.
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Without seeing him it's hard to say, but I have three suspicions about what could possibly be going on here.

1. Your timing is off, and because of that he is confused and maybe isn't really motivated to respond quickly. This can happen with some dogs if you reward too slowly when they do listen, or otherwise confuse them or aren't totally clear about what they want. Clicker training is great for this, you have to practice your timing there too but a lot of people find it easier to click than to try to reward.

2. I'm sorry if I'm making assumptions here, but if you don't have time to a training class, my first thought is that you are not giving him enough exercise or stimulation. How much exercise do you give him every day, and do you do any sports or work with him? If he's bored or has pent-up energy, he may be more interested in checking out his surroundings than in whatever you want him to do. If this is the case, the answer is to just get him out more. Take him on lots of walks, different places, give him a job to do, etc.

3. It is also possible that you are just expecting too much, and that he doesn't know his commands as well as you think he does. Does he respond immediately every time at home, or do you have to work a bit there too? Do you work on obedience in the house as well as outside, or is the only time he hears most of these commands when he is on a walk? I suspect this is the least likely possibility because you say he is good with his commands otherwise, but it is a possibility. If this is the case, you just need to step up your obedience training, both at home where there aren't many distractions and outside where there are many.

I would really recommend that you make the time to work with a trainer. Owning your own dog is different from just being around them, and a working GSD is a difficult dog for your first dog. Even just one or two private sessions a month would probably be beneficial for when problems like this show up.
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Czech GSD's do carry some suspicion naturally so maybe your pup is in an age of maturing where his awareness is heightened.
I remember when my 1/2 Czech male went thru this when we tracked, he was never tunnel visioned on the track but checking his surroundings(he is higher threshold and not reactive) Though having our SchH helper in his realm when we tracked at club didn't help either as he was 'on' when the helper was in his view.

I agree with all the above about building his food drive and engagement, but understanding his lines is helpful in understanding why he is doing it.
Work him through it and don't make a big deal of it, he needs to know he should do what you are asking, regardless of what may be distracting him.
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you all for respons. Onyx girl you are right about a awerness it what this seems to be, he will just check around to see if all is well. I know it is my fall, we do a lot of lease walk in woods, of i see somebody coming, i call my dog to heel and lease him. I think he made connection, if i call him back or made him sid and wait for me, somebody may be coming. last month i really stept up in commands when nobody is around but so far he is reacting same. Not beenig afraid just checking around. just need to fix this, maybe time will help.
I know i should take him to classe, but localy i don't find anybody i like. I will double my efort to find some good trainer.i think is my czech aproache, we did train are dogs by are selfs.
I make sure he has 2 hours outdoors every day, training and running off leashe.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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After reading your second post, I don't think most of my post was relevant. I apologize, I got a really different impression from your original post--I was thinking you just didn't have time for a class, and so was imagining a dog cooped up all day. It sounds like you're doing great with him, so again, sorry for getting the wrong impression of you!

Billsharp's advice is great. My only addition would be, if he's generally more motivated by his toy than by food, does he have his toy available all the time in the house? If so, maybe take it away except for when you're actively working with him. That can help make it a very high-value reward for him.

Using a marker word or clicker can be really useful for this kind of training. A combination of no reward unless he responds quickly and a marker for the behavior when he does respond (so there's no lag between his behavior and the reward) can work very well to fix this kind of problem.
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Rowdy dogs, no need to apologize, i see so many dogs without proper exesies i get it. reason for not being in any club is really not enough time. We are mountain bikers and all races are done on weekends usually sunday morning, and offcours local club has meetings on sundays. I hope i can make him good dog, i know he deserves somobody who do shoutshound, he is from czech border patrol bloodline, i can cleary see his need for protection work but money are isuue for private training.
My late father in law had been head of local gsd club back in czech and work on border patrol, all i know i got from him, but it is so different to rise you own dog than just watch how other peaple do it.
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If you're feeling bad that he doesn't have enough work, you could always do some casual nosework or agility during the time you spend with him. It's not protection work obviously, but it would give him a job and give him an outlet for his drive. I've started doing nosework with my GSD and it's really easy to get started, you don't need a whole lot of equipment or anything even. There are some threads in the sporting dog section which could help you get started.

I train horses professionally and I often hear people say, "This animal is so talented, he deserves an owner who will do [whatever] with him." In my opinion, though, as long as the animal is happy and his needs are being met, who cares? It's not like your dog even knows what Schutzhund is, after all. He just knows he has a good owner!
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Abutiu "Abi"-ACD puppy and hopeful future SAR dog!
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