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Old 01-30-2013, 11:30 PM   #31 (permalink)
Jag
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Thanks, I may be ordering him more Orbee balls in the near future. I ordered the planet one on a rope so far. Since I just spent about $200 on toys and equipment, I think I have to take a break before my wife kills me, LOL!
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:33 AM   #32 (permalink)
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I have a couple of the Planet Dog Diamond Plate balls too - they're the same diameter as the medium Orbee, and they're the same chewy rubber.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:03 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Is there a way (besides trying to gain his focus through treats and food...which so far has been a huge failure, as have toys) to get this? Will time just be the answer? Am I right that he's also losing energy through his wandering mind and eyes? He can be intense when he's focused on something, but that focus is so short lived. It's like living with a kid with ADHD. In fact, ADHD was mentioned as for how his focus seemed when he was evaluated. He's everywhere... and into everything....until he finally tires of his 'exploring' and settles.
I think you need to slow down like someone else said..

For me when I'm teaching focus, it's in a quiet setting in the beginning, then over time I'll add in more and more distractions.. But what I also teach in the very beginning with my dogs is, I'm the most fun and important thing, so that way it's easier for them to start focusing on me and they want to..

And like you said, he needs to explore his environment, so let him, let him take it in and then start asking for behaviors.. reward the good behaviors, even if they last a split second, because you can always build on them..

I also have no problems correcting my dogs back into me and then rewarding heavily.. Especially when they're distracted..

I'm sure with maturity your dog will settle, as I've seen a difference in my male as he's growing up..
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:09 AM   #34 (permalink)
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As G-burg said, I KNOW you are trying to move to fast. Trying to do too many things. Go to your training classes absorb what they say (and no more), and LET him be a puppy. You are talking about balls, tugs, focus, and who knows what else. You are learning and the puppy is learning, not a combination for either to be going fast. Being a Czech dog has nothing to do with his focus or anything else....he is the same as any other dog with strong drives. In competent hands, yes imprinting leading to focus building and foundation would be better...but Czech has nothing to do with it, the skill and knowledge of the handler has everything to do with it. One of the negatives to clubs, is newbies see experienced handler making much faster progress with even younger dogs and they start comparing....happens all the time. Slow down! Let the puppy grow up and listen to the people in the club and you will be fine! The road to hades is paved with good intentions! Good Luck!
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:02 AM   #35 (permalink)
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When I am out in stores and places with new dogs or puppies, I like for them to want to explore, sniff, use their senses to observe and watch - I think it is a "herding breed" kind of thing to do and I like to watch them learn. You could bring some nice pieces of cooked chicken or string cheese with you and when he checks in (looks, eye contact, touches your hand, walks back toward you) click and treat if that is the desired behavior. I am always afraid to have a dog neurotically checking in with me, as I tend to have/foster dogs who need some confidence building, but if he's solid, I can't imagine that would hurt.

Agree with all others who say dogs don't have watches, calendars, or to do lists in terms of when they should be where in terms of their behaviors, and this guy sounds like a nice puppy who is doing his thing.

Cuz toys are also fun! Squeaka squeaka!
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:40 PM   #36 (permalink)
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I think maybe I should qualify what I did in Bass Pro. I took him out to walk around first (he was barking) to get some top energy off and to potty. We went in. I didn't demand he look at me or anything. I wanted to take him somewhere he'd never been. New sights, sounds, things, people, etc. He was heavily rewarded for every new surface he went over, and yes, if he happened to throw me a look while he was checking everything out. He was also really rewarded for never pulling on the lead. A couple times when I stopped to look at something, he'd sit (BIG reward) on his own, and even laid down (another jackpot) when I was looking at boating stuff. I never asked for him to sit or down at any of those times. Less than five times I asked for a 'sit' or a 'down' while we were there. When he did, he got a big reward. That's it. The rest of the time I was watching how he interacted with people, how well he walked with me (not in a heel, either.. just walking nicely), and I watched him looking all around and taking it all in. He wasn't acting spastic about it... he was just checking it all out. A woman on a motorized scooter went by us, and he just gave a brief look. Months ago, he was wanting to give chase to a lady in a manual wheelchair....so I was interested to see what he'd do with that.

I (more than anyone else) KNOW he's a baby. On another thread, I argued this point to the death. All my previous shepherds had next to no training until they were a little older. Then the 'focus' was able to be gotten easily, they were already interested in balls and tugs, and teaching them to 'heel' didn't seem like I was pushing them. I know I'm not the best handler for a dog I want to do IPO with. However, I'm what he's stuck with. My main concern was "what do I do to get his attention" because yes, I see lots of videos of very young pups that seem to have a very long attention span for their handler. When Grim was younger, he'd follow me everywhere in the yard and at home. His attention span was longer for me. Now he's growing up, and I'm not the most interesting thing out there. I don't expect to have his undivided attention for any long period of time. I'd like to at least be able to play with him, though, with something that is of interest to him. The tugs and balls on rope I had weren't something he wanted to play with. Even in the house with no distraction. The new tug (a soft, leather puppy tug...unwrapped at the end) has been something he's actually tugging with. I don't tug for long periods of time. Just short... and I believe that finding things that he wants to play with will make me 'more fun' in his eyes which will make it easier to get his attention and focus on me... if even for a few minutes of play. He finds it much easier to play with his pug. That's great, but *I* want to play with him. I want him to learn to enjoy tug. He's learning that now, finally.

I am enjoying every single second of his puppy hood. It's gone too fast, and once it's gone you can't get it back. I want to be prepared as his handler, though, as to what to do with him when he's past that. I want to know in advance the best way to do things to get the results. IMO, waiting until he's older and then saying "what should I be doing?" is too late. I would have known it was coming... and that would be just stupid of me. Also, living in a small house with a small fenced yard, I need to have new ways of interacting with him. We had a long hall to play 'hall ball' in the house we moved from. I don't have that here. So balls on a rope are not only good for attention, but good for just play for us. Tugs become more important than they were before, because I can't just go throwing something across the house for him.

I'm not trying to rush him, I'm really not. The only person I'm trying to rush is myself. Socking away info. to use at a later date. I did explain how he is now... hoping that it's all just totally normal. Sounds like it is. Yes, I saw a ten month old at the club who was able to sit at the side of the handler and look non-stop at the handler. Yes, I saw that same pup sit in front of the handler and stare at the handler. I didn't think "I wish Grim would do that", I thought "It will be great when Grim is old enough to do that". I've had that attention from previous dogs.. primarily my bitch. However, she was an adult before we ever went there.

Although I'm dedicated to going to the club, doing the work towards his IPO, etc. he is NOT a 'club dog'. It's not my only aspiration for him, and if he doesn't cut it I'm not going to be home crying or wishing for another dog. I'm not going to sell him or buy a 'club dog' to get titled. He's MY boy. I think it's a really cool thing to do with him, but it's never going to be more important than he is. I LOVE who he is. I have never punished him for not paying attention to me. I've never been disappointed in him for his behavior. He's a baby. Sure, I was embarrassed when he barked like a madman during class the other week... but he got better as class went on, and he'd just found his bark. He's also very bull headed and wants what he wants and doesn't give up easily. It's one of his qualities I find endearing. I'm still exploring his personality, and what that will lead him to do. I never want to see him so obedient that I quash his personality. Never. That, to me, would be the biggest failure ever as his handler.

He's a good boy. Crack puppy or not. I am proud to be his handler. The advice I'm looking for is to (hopefully) not fail as his handler. I'm sure that if he was handled by someone else, he'd have more focus, etc. He's not, though. So please don't think I'm not letting him be a puppy. I am. I am enjoying every second of it. I'm not envious of anyone at the club. How could I be? They don't have Grim. I do. He is hands down the BEST shepherd I've ever had. The mistakes I've made along the way were giving him too much latitude. Not enforcing what I don't want. Not 'laying down the law' because I love him so much that I don't want to get after him for anything. So while I have goals for him, they will NEVER be goals that would harm him or push him past his ability or want. Could that change? Could I come down on him for not doing what I want him to do? I guess anything's possible. Right now, though, he's a puppy who has been drawing breath for less than 7 months. I don't have too high of expectations for him. I'm sorry if it came across that way. Yes, we're learning together. I'm not in a rush, though. I'm deeply in love, and I want to do everything right that I can. However, no one is going to push me to push him. Even if we repeat the foundation class. Big deal. I didn't get him as a status symbol or as something to make me look good or as something to get titles for me. He's my friend. He's my partner.
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:50 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Cassidy's Mom View Post
I have a couple of the Planet Dog Diamond Plate balls too - they're the same diameter as the medium Orbee, and they're the same chewy rubber.
Thanks for letting me know that! When I can order more toys (without my wife killing me) that will be first on my list. He has a Kong ball that's plastic that squeaks when you squeeze it, and it's one of the balls he likes. It's not soft, though. We have some Cuz toys, but not like that. He's got 2 of them that have the crinkley stuff inside them, because he loves chewing on bottles.
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:58 PM   #38 (permalink)
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I haven't read this whole thread (or any others about your progress with Grim) but I can show you what I normally do to help imprint focus, maybe it will help or give an idea, maybe not but so far it's worked OK for me....

Basically I start at home (read: no/low distractions!) and imprint that front position and basic (heel) position are the BEST places to be. All I do at first is get into position and praise/reward the dog, calmly. At first *I* move myself into position relative to the dog. I personally don't like a ton of luring when training, and since you are just introducing these positions you can't ask the dog to get into position since he doesn't know it yet. You don't want to start heeling with steps or asking a dog to find heel until he knows heel perfect. So I get myself in a perfect basic or front position and calmly tell the dog he's a good boy and give him treats if that's what he likes. If he makes or maintains eye contact, I mark that with a clicker or my marker word ("yes"). As we progress I add some tricks. I will put yummy treats in my hand and hold it out so the dog wants to go for it. Instead I mark and reward when he keeps his focus on me. I do this to the side (basic position) and with both hands on either side of the dog when he's in front position.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZimDHMHuVM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmO6ews2Bq8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGRBkdRJJZM
(there is some other stuff in the vids too but these should show how I start with focus)

I did these simple things a lot with Pan as a baby and it really helped. Pan is a very outgoing dog, high prey drive, and has a pretty low threshold so anything going on interests him, even a leaf blowing across the lawn. But because I did this imprinting with focus, he soon figured out that if he wanted attention, he would come and sit in front of me and stare at me.

Now the other part of this is having a release word, so the dog knows when you're done and he can break focus. This is crucial because 1) you want to only reward perfect focus when you ask for it and 2) you don't want the dog to become confused about when he's offering focus and when he doesn't have to. Some people will argue that doing this type of obedience with a puppy just mellows them out, squashes their drive, makes them reluctant to do any work away from the handler (bitework, tracking) but I have not found this to be true at all. I just make it really clear what we are doing and when. Dogs can easily switch gears and drives between phases and at this stage you are just making it rewarding and fun (like end a 1 minute session on focus with 5 minutes of tugging). Pan has also done lure coursing, dock diving, flyball, even tried herding (too much prey drive!)....early obedience certainly did not create a dog that was unable to working independently, or squash the drive.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:09 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Thanks, Lies! One more thing I wanted to add... my main thing about wanting to get his attention right now is that he was 'staring' at other dogs in class. I did everything I could think of including moving to stand in front of him and physically moving his head back to my direction and nothing worked. So there are times that I HAVE to be able to get his attention, and he's very good about blowing me off. So finding something (different toy, tug, whatever) is important for this. When we're out on walks or whatever, he acts like I'm not even there. That's not something I'm worried about at his age. However, the staring (which could start trouble) I have to be able to get him snapped out of. I'd rather not use corrections for this. I haven't really started using corrections for anything yet, except for verbal corrections for getting into things that he shouldn't be getting into. That's always followed by giving him something that he's allowed to have. He has self-corrected for pulling me non-stop on our walks, but that's it.

The sitting in front and looking at me he's been doing for awhile (at home, when training). The 'find heel' is something that they already started in class. He does OK at home, but in class it's a no-go. He can't handle distractions yet. He will offer a sit in front and look at me on his own at home when he's wanting my attention. I'm very happy with that!
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:24 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Both of mine did that for a while (and went through REALLY bratty phases where they wanted to bark and carry on at other dogs). I did puppy class and beginner obedience with them but at their age, 60 minutes was a LONG time to stay focused in work mode, especially in classes where often the instructor is just talking for 5 minutes. Sometimes I'd bring something like a bully stick to class and give it to my dog when it became apparent he was checking out.
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