I dont think my dog gives a darn about praise - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 06-25-2013, 05:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default I dont think my dog gives a darn about praise

Both my daughter and i are very loving towards our dogs. Always giving hugs etc. You can touch any of my dogs anywhere and they dont mind because we are always petting them.

I have taken some members advise here about my using praise interchangeably with treats for my dog. I have enrolled us in a class with a trainer that teaches dogs for the blind. She uses positive rewarding both treats and praise. My problem is that my 5 month old doesnt seem to give a hoot about praises. When i do praise him he just sits there. Now that we are in class its even worse. When the teacher says to praise our dogs Dexter usually pulls away and is more interested at the sounds the other dogs be praised makes. Both my other dogs love praise and will sit for ours to get it. Dexter could care less.
I have been reading about handler sensitive dogs and seems like their dogs do things to please their handlers.Dexter would do it if it makes his stomach happy and maybe do it for a ball. Does anyone else have a dog like mine and could give me some advice. I cant bring a ball and have him chase it in class as the trainer likes our dogs to stay in place ,because we have reactive dogs in the class.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If your pup is just five months old, I wouldn't worry about it too much. It takes time to build a strong working relationship. With lots of practice and interaction and bonding, your approval will come to mean more to your pup.

In the meantime, if he likes food and toys, great! You have lots of other reinforcers to choose from and can use those not only to reward him for desired behaviors, but to build up the value of praise as a secondary reinforcer. Combine praise with other things he likes (food, toys, little games with you such as Tag) and, over time, praise will become more meaningful.

It can be helpful to keep in the back of your mind that a secondary goal during your reward sessions is to make praise more valuable, so for example, instead of just popping a treat into his mouth to reward a successful cue, you might break that treat into several smaller pieces and feed him continuously while also praising him the whole time. Stretch what could be a quick one-and-done moment into a more pleasurable experience that is combined with praise.

As for not being able to toss a ball, what if the ball is tied to a string and you can bobble it around in the air or whisk it along the floor? There are several tug toys that have this design, and it might allow you to use a ball for play without pushing your dog into other dogs' space.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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For our pup to be happy in training, she had to have access to agility equipment or interact with other dogs. One trainer allowed interaction during breaks, but his classes were too slow and boring for a puppy. Our other trainer uses lots of agility but no interactions.

You need to find out what will get your dog engaged and happy. Go visit some other trainers and training sites, see how your dog reacts. Praise may work better when your dog is more mature. We've had to vary our training methods as our dog has aged. When our dog was younger, she had no remorse, nor responded to praise or treats. Once our dog got to be about 18 months she started to respond better to treats and praise.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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LOL

I completely understand how you feel. My Lulu at 5 months didnt care one lick if I touched her. All she wanted was to eat me lol.

Now that shes almost 10 months old shes much more loving.... and less bitey lol.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I wouldn't worry about it too much at this age... Ollie was the exact same way. Now at 10 months old he is just now starting to get affectionate, follow me around and like praise. Training him has been a bit of a challenge because he's not all that food or toy motivated either... But I finally found that he goes nuts for his flirt pole toy and actually get into drive for it, I've had to tone him down because he gets so amped up. I would just be more patient and keep plugging away and keep trying different things to motivate him.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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My problem is that my 5 month old doesnt seem to give a hoot about praises.
He cannot be food motivated then. Let me tell you something what, possibly, you already know. It could be better not to use any treats then. Make his treat - your stroke. Active stroking longway from eyes down to tail. Run your fingers in the same manner. Praising him verbally and stroking in the same time stimulates his nerve system keeping it in the same mode: he would be ready to hear something else from you, because he is listening to your verbal praise "My sweet boy!", his attention is driven to you. Listen to your own voice in the same time, "sweety-sweety" shoud sound sweet, your commands should be pronounced in so called "commanding tone" - not loudly, but firmly. Recognizing between the two, he would get better orientation in aspects oncerning commands, and you will get his attention. That is the whole point, you should get his attention! Make a surprise for him: take his hidden ball out of your pocket, just flash it to him at the beginning of your lesson and put it back (well, you should have pockets in the first place, I don't know what you wear, sorry if my suggestions sound inconvenient to you).To stop him breaking into your pocket try putting it back into your pocket in such a way that he wouldn't see where it dissapears. The sense that something is missing would attract him to your person at least for a while. Don't show him the ball more than once until the end of your lesson, whait for people with their dogs to leave and play shortly with your puppy on a leash on the same training groung where you just had your lesson. Besides you stroking him during the lesson it will be his second treat. Your dog should be satisfied with your sweet praising, you cannot rely on treats to the end of his life. It also would be advisable to exercise him properly before your classes. He will be more attentive if he spent that extra energy.
My Lucy doesn't give monkeys about any other treats in my hand but to the ball. Balls could be great tools, if you know how to use them, I've taught Lucy quite a few commands by having her ball in my right hand.

Last edited by David Taggart; 06-25-2013 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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In my opinion people are na´ve if they think their dog will work for them and have reliable behaviors for praise alone. In reality the dog is listening to avoid a negative stimulus (a correction or social pressure.) Praise will become valuable to the dog if it is paired with a primary reinforcer such as food. This takes time and repetition. While he is getting a primary reinforcer (food), praise him and make a fuss soon the praise itself will become reinforcing because it is associated with something that makes him feel good. (Plus he's a baby and bonds take time to form)
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kristim View Post
in my opinion people are na´ve if they think their dog will work for them and have reliable behaviors for praise alone. In reality the dog is listening to avoid a negative stimulus (a correction or social pressure.) praise will become valuable to the dog if it is paired with a primary reinforcer such as food. This takes time and repetition. While he is getting a primary reinforcer (food), praise him and make a fuss soon the praise itself will become reinforcing because it is associated with something that makes him feel good. (plus he's a baby and bonds take time to form)
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Lots of good advice here.

I am in my 6th week of obedience classes. For 4 weeks of them, my instructor could get and hold the attention on Cruz better than my wife or I could. It took me a few classes to figure out that it's a cometition between myself and the instructor for his attention. She would bring in high value treats. Not your normal training treats. I finally noticed that after the first interaction and she rewarded him, he was hers the rest of the class. Basically she was handing out better candy than mom and dad. I fixed that last week. I went and got some of my own high value treats just for class and special training. It worked. He paid more attention to my wife and myself and less focused on the instructor even after she had rewarded him.

Point is and I've read this numerous times here, you have to be more interesting than everything else around him. That would start with some high value treats, not the normal bagged training treats even though thats what I use most of the time. When he does something really well or special during training he gets a high value treat. I don't feed him one after another. Just enoug to keep his mind on me. He doesn't know it was the last one either. During a class, I'll take about 10 to 15 high value treats and the rest is normal training treats.

The high value treats I use I got from the refrigerated dog food section. They are treats not dog food. I got him some chicken flavored. They come in little links and I can get 3 rewards per link after dividing the link. You can't leave them laying out for too long a time, but class is around and hour. They should be fine if you choose to use them. I just put what I don't used back in the fridge when I get home or try to use them all before the end of class.
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thank You all. I am so glad i joined this forum because it has helped me through so much. I have gotten such good advice.

Yes I am very naive, this is my first big dog everrrrr. My mom hated dogs so we only had a cat. Both my small dogs (13 and 5) are behaved and know the basics. But this is the first time I have ever had to put time into training a puppy. So im not sure what to expect of him at any age.
i am going to try out some of the advice here and give him more time to bond and mature while reinforcing the praises (especially with the one where breaking his treats into smaller pieces as I think this will help keep his focus on me when treating.

To David. Dexter is very food motivated..lol..even right now at 5 months he will do a stay where i can walk 30 40 ft away and he will wait for my release IF I have a hot dog or other high value treat.

This is what happens at training. the trainer will tell us whether to use a treat or praise for that particular command, it depends on how many times they just did the command. On the treat command when i give him the treat hes very into me and even after the treat stay focused on me. On the praise command ( I scratch his neck and head while saying good boy good boy excitedly) he pulls his head back and faces to the side or tries to turn to look at the other dogs and his eyes wander all over the place. And its not because I have bad breath ..cause I checked LOL.

To Jafco. I know how you feel first week of class like you i had reg dog treats. dexter wouldnt take his eyes of the trainer. He was all hers. I also learned alot about the value of treats that day. Hes very focused in class and the trainers including the one in this class always use him as the demo dog. Where it breaks down for him is the boring praise with no treats. he does the command but when the praise starts its as if he rolls his eyes.

Last edited by Msmaria; 06-25-2013 at 07:29 PM.
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