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-   -   Engagement Question (http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/training-our-puppy-basic/399586-engagement-question.html)

Luna'sMom 01-21-2014 01:45 PM

Engagement Question
 
So, attempting engagement training with 13 week old. She has very little attention span, obviously, but I think it seems she watches me almost always. She is very good at looking in my eyes when I say, "Look!" But if I want to do luring, shaping, engagement, seems like she is more focused in my hands and the treat, rather than me. So my question is, is it a matter of just keeping the treats out of my hands (but I want to be very quick with the treat!) and / or, does it even matter, as long as she is working and not getting distracted ?
Thanks!

boomer11 01-21-2014 03:12 PM

Engagement and focus are two different things. Engagement just means your dog is having fun with you. At that age it's even hard for them to stay engaged with you and sometimes you have to give a little tug on the leash to get their attention back on you. Imo if engagement is done right then the focus will come

Baillif 01-21-2014 03:25 PM

If the dog is following the treat lure it is engaged. If the dog gets a reward and immediately looks for more from you it is engaged. You fade lures eventually and that's when you will want the dog looking to you more, and most of that occurs naturally as long as the dog is no longer cueing off your lure and gesture and begins to cue off your mouth when you give a command.

Your dog is considered checked out if you are working the dog and it just runs off or starts smelling the ground or staring at someone across the street.

Luna'sMom 01-21-2014 04:53 PM

Ok, that makes since, I appreciate the clarity. I think she will be good at this. So what do you all consider "focus"? Now, I just need an understanding of how to fade the lure and when? What we do is, say the command and take her thru the motions with the lure and when she is done, immediately treat and say, "Good Blank" ie, good sit, good down, good swing....I have never done luring like this...this is something my husband just started doing, so I am unsure here.

Baillif 01-21-2014 08:34 PM

There are a lot of different ways to do it but my preferred way is to

1. lure the dog to the behavior I want with the treat and mark with a yes when the dog completes the behavior then I make the treat "run" and the dog is allowed to "catch" and eat the food. I stay at this stage until the dog is being lured into the exact position or performing the exact behavior I want before moving on.

2. I begin to add the command just before I move to lure the dog into the position or behavior I want. Command first then move to lure.

3. I use the command first then begin to shorten the luring motion into progressively more abbreviated motions. This is essentially the lure fading into a gesture. Eventually the food is no longer in your hand and doesn't emerge until you mark the behavior with a yes when it is properly performed.

4. The command first and then the gesture is faded out completely to where the dog is now just performing on the command. If he gets a little confused at some point and needs a little help I will use the gesture to jog memory.

A book you should consider getting.
Excel-Erated Learning: Explaining in Plain English How Dogs Learn and How Best to Teach Them by Pamela J. Reid ? Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists

To see it in action leerburg has a Michael Ellis DVD called the power of training dogs with food.

To have a coach wrap your knuckles with a ruler every time you screw it up despite these resources you need to find a good dog trainer to work with you in person.

Luna'sMom 01-21-2014 08:42 PM

That is great! Thank you. I do have an excellent trainer but he does thing a little differently.

Baillif 01-21-2014 08:52 PM

Yeah there are lots of ways to do it. Instead of food I could be using leash or prong pressure or even going from lure to finish in a single session. Depends on the dogs motivation the behavior being taught and all that other mess.

boomer11 01-21-2014 09:02 PM

i would caution trying to train a bunch of commands for such a young pup. engagement isnt about keeping your dog focused on you enough to train her. engagement is about making your dog think you are the most fun thing in the world. if you make your pup do a command like sit 20 times in a row, she might suddenly decide that she actually would rather go sniff the grass or stare at the birds. its easy to bore a pup. i just worked on recall and engagement for the first 6 months. made a huge difference when i started teaching commands. no matter where i go his eyes are always on me. he is eager to learn no matter what distractions are around.

its very easy to keep a dog engaged when you are in the house with nothing but boring furniture laying around. you will know if your dog is truly engaged with you when you take her out in the real world.

Baillif 01-21-2014 09:11 PM

Right that's a real danger. To prevent the checking out the training activity has to be high energy animated and occur quickly like a game. Think of yourself like a slot machine. If you let the dog pull the lever quickly as soon as it's done with getting a reward he stays in the game. Be fun sounding, be excited, be the flashy fun slot machine. There's a reason they make all those noises and flash with bright lights. Get slow or cause big delays and the dog would rather play the floor the grass or whatever else.


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