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  Topic Review (Newest First)
01-27-2014 03:19 PM
Merciel It... depends. There's no quick answer because it depends on whether we're preparing for competition vs. trying to shore up fundamental skills, and also what we're preparing for competition in (AKC Rally, WCRL Rally, or competition obedience -- each one is different enough that I try to spend at least a couple of days prepping for whatever venue we're doing that weekend).

On top of that we had a pretty disastrous trial yesterday so right now I'm feeling like I don't know anything about anything.

But in general, yesterday excluded, I would say that I have a pretty clear sense of what we need to work on (currently defined as "anything we don't have competition-ready," meaning that either (a) it's not ready for competition at all; (b) I thought it was ready but Pongu blew the exercise more than once at an actual trial so clearly I was mistaken; or (c) we're not actually blowing the exercise routinely but we are regularly losing points on it), and whether the problem lies in the learning of the exercise (a and sometimes c above) or proofing (b and sometimes c).

Most of my training sessions are structured so that we work on new stuff first, while Pongu is freshest, and then go into proofing work after we've done X numbers of reps on the new stuff. I'm working on a BUNCH of different stuff now because we have infinity things that need improvement, so it's a constant rebalancing act.

I'm also working on thinning reinforcement rates for treats/praise and increasing the value of personal (non-toy) play while simultaneously trying to teach, proof, and build value into the exercises themselves, which also affects the order in which I ask for exercises. This means that I intersperse exercises Pongu really likes with other ones he doesn't like as much, and easy ones with hard ones. It also means that I put in play breaks strategically, with an eye toward increasing the value of the exercises he doesn't like so much. So... it's a lot of stuff going on at once.

What you're asking is a really good question. It's just hard to answer because there's SO MUCH that goes into it, and much of it depends on how you train, what your goals are, and what your relationship is with your dog. Also, a lot of this is stuff that I don't consciously think about anymore, so it's hard for me to sit down and try to puzzle it through. But it's a very interesting topic!
01-26-2014 10:09 PM
Kaun Thanks for the great replies guys! It's been a long dark winter where I live and my motivation got thrown out the window and I'm trying to relocate it by getting some outside inspiration. I enjoy seeing how others get things done.

I hope I didn't make my Tosca sound untrained in my original post. I train her a lot and she's wonderful and knows plenty of things but my problem is that I want to train too many things at the same time. So now the plan is to focus on the competitive obedience exercises... and continue training her to bring me beer/soda from the fridge.

mego: That's exactly what she's carrying in that photo! Great looking dog you have btw! I love those fluffy eared dogs.
01-26-2014 09:22 PM
KathrynApril I looveeee that picture!
01-26-2014 09:18 PM
wyoung2153 I also wanted to add the order in which Titan learns things.. necessity first. So we learned the basics.. sit, stay, come, down, etc. All the home manners. Then we followed with public manners, then off leash manners. After those, come the ones I just think would be good for him to know. Then the fun ones.
01-26-2014 09:15 PM
wyoung2153 I don't compete but would like to one day. During sessions, we usually start with all the basics that he knows hands down, then we will try a small handful, like 2 or 3 things he is iffy on. Once he has those down after a few sessions, we introduce new commands in a new session. When I introduce something new, I will start with a couple of his solid ones and move on with the new command. Once I feel we have gotten somewhere with it and I want to stop, I end with a few more of the ones he is solid on.

Also, play time is PERFECT for distraction based training. I have started using playtime with Titan as also OB training. Ex: throw the toy while he's in a down stay and make him make eye contact with me. "eyes" is one of the commands he is 90% on but when distractions are involved he loses it. So use your fun time too! Love the pictures btw
01-26-2014 09:04 PM
mego also is that one of these toys? :P
01-26-2014 09:03 PM
Kaimeju There are lots of ways to go about it, and I know I didn't really figure out a good routine until I'd had my dog maybe six months. What I found was that the best way to train is to just make it a part of daily life. Basically my expectations of my dog is that she be well behaved in public and that we start progressing towards Rally competitions. It's not quite that simple, but here is what I do:

Do you train something specific at once or focus on a handful of things or do a little bit of everything?
If I am training a new behavior, I definitely focus on just that behavior, and I do it in the kitchen where there are no distractions. The kitchen is clicker-training space. After my dog is doing that behavior reliably without a lure, I will start asking for it during other sessions.

Other sessions, we just practice everywhere. In the lobby at work, downtown, out in the field, pretty much everything she knows except when we go hiking, which I have a different set of expectations for (hiking is more about good trail manners than obedience per say, different set of skills).

Is there something you train every session while others you do less of?
Every "session" is different but basically I am always training some basic behaviors, no matter where we go (yes this does entail carrying treats around everywhere): leash manners, sitting and waiting when asked, eye contact, and good behavior around distractions. There is no "off" moment for these things. With a puppy I would be more patient but that is how I work with my adult dog. We don't practice things like finish right/left very often because she's not solid yet around distractions, but you can incorporate all kinds of fancy heelwork into your daily walks. Make it a game! Keep it short and exciting!

And here's one photo of what we get distracted doing instead of training for obedience
This is the perfect scenario in which to practice obedience! Your dog has something she really wants, and you can have her offer behaviors to get it. Sit for the toy, down stay for the toy, whatever you think you would like to practice. Just make sure you play with her enough so that she doesn't get burned out following commands. What I do is have my dog do a down-stay to get her ball 2-3 times, then we take a break, then if she seems up for it, we may do a few more. We also practice recall. Sometimes I throw in fun behaviors like "high five" and "yoga" just to keep things interesting.

As far as competition goes, I don't really look at it as different from teaching her tricks because I don't want to be the sort of person who becomes frustrated at getting points knocked off. I never want to get mad at my dog because she didn't do some arbitrary behavior to impress other people for me. If she doesn't sit totally straight, oh well, no cookie, and we'll just work on it. But we're not serious about obedience, it's just something I have been teaching her on the side because it keeps her happy and balanced.
01-26-2014 09:02 PM
Originally Posted by Kaun View Post
How do you train your dogs for obedience? I'm feeling so disorganized and almost embarrassed that I haven't gotten my puppy further trained now that she's 8 months old.

Do you train something specific at once or focus on a handful of things or do a little bit of everything?
Is there something you train every session while others you do less of?
I'd like to know all you want to share about your training regime.

I need to kick my training up a few notches and am thinking about mapping out how I want to proceed. I really want to be able to get us started competing this year but I sometimes feel overwhelmed, like I don't know where to start and what to focus on.

And here's one photo of what we get distracted doing instead of training for obedience

I consider a few commands the most important, some may agree or disagree: recall, a sit-stay, a down-stay, and a heel. We work on these the most. I mix them up and practice them all in one session usually so it's not monotonous and boring. When teaching them newly, if your dog doesn't know how to do one, I focus a whole session on that. I also train with mixing up using food as a reward or playing. You get a feel for which ones your dog is really solid on. Mine's solid on down stay so I don't train that one often anymore, we put more time into heel. I hardly spend any time with tricks but sometimes they are fun
01-26-2014 08:52 PM
artemisnhounds Research research and more research! I have been reading books this forum and googling YouTube videos. Set your goals and a command list. Always be calm and confident... Never yell. Be quiet dominant. I would start with the touch command and focus along with sit and down. Be consistent. I am new to all this as well but with the guidance of these good people, friends, and some good books my puppy has learned sit paw down focus and touch in two weeks. Training really does create a powerful bond between you and your pup. Always leave your pup looking for more, I find training in 10 minute bursts throughout the day help him stay motivated. I also make him sit and give paw for his food. Remember always reward positive behavior and do not give attention to negative behavior. Hope that is a little bit helpful. If u can a trainer is definitely a great idea!

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01-26-2014 08:49 PM
Curtis No picture has ever made me more jealous ever.

Does she have prey in her mouth?
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