Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Albuquerque, NM
If he's only comfortable being trained for a minute, then only train him for a minute.
Hear me out here. You describe the cabinet training session..."every time" he touched your hand he got a reward, and "every time" he touched the cabinet he got the jackpot. How many times did you ask him to do that? How long was this training session? Obviously it was too long for Chief.
What I would have done is only expect him to do a new behavior once, maybe twice at the very most depending on how quickly he got it. He does what you want, you give him the jackpot, you're done. Then you guys go do something else and in a few hours or the next day or whatever, you can come back and try it again. Do the exact same thing.
I have a dog who did the exact same thing. She was never abused, but she would just shut down and freak out if I focused on her too long...so I just didn't focus on her too long. I broke everything down into the tiniest steps that she could get right away, then quit as soon as we got one good response. Eventually we were able to train for longer duration, but even so I have to keep it very short.
Really, though, for trick and obedience training, I don't like to train for more than 5 minutes at a time with any dog. Very short but relatively frequent training sessions tend to work better than longer ones.
The rowdy dogs:
Hector-2 y/o GSD (mix?) rescue
Scooter-12 y/o ACD/Border Collie mix
Bandit-8 y/o ACD
Wooby-14 y/o ACD
Abutiu "Abi"-ACD puppy and hopeful future SAR dog!