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Old 02-06-2013, 12:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation HELP with focus/recall etc

How did YOU go about getting your dog to 100% focus on you, on command?

I use WATCH ME, but he only glances at me for a few seconds, I cannot get his full attention. What are some methods you guys used to get rock solid focus from your dog? I train with a clicker and treats/praise at the moment.

Also, how in the WORLD do you acquire a fullproof recall? One in which if you call your dog, he INSTANTLY stops what he's doing and comes right to you? Berlin's recall is okay...but I wouldn't trust him off leash, or to come to me with distractions around.

I had class with him last night, and was frustrated because he did everything except focus on me and the commands. I think he was tired (from playing in the snow before) and just didn't want to be there...but I really want him to focus on me better.

Any tips/ideas/opinions are very much appreciated.

(I hope I survive this adolescent phase he is going through! )
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What drives your dog to comply?
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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How are you marking the dog. When you say that he does not have complete focus in say the kitchen is this due to distractions or when I ask for focus even now in the kitchen for practice I will put the treat in spots where he can see and if looks at the treat he gets a not correct or eehh! and then when he looks in my eyes I say yes. Then I build from their.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Start small and work your way up

If he gives you two seconds of focus, click and treat. Next session ask for four, then next ask for six. Keep working towards better and longer focus

Also make yourself the most fun and important thing in their entire world. Food comes from you! Toys come from you! Playtime and fun revolves around you! The more important you are the more they watch and work with you, they'll be begging you for even a moment of attention

For instance when Delgado picks up a toy he brings it to me, he wants to play with me because I make the game so exciting!

When I do a recall I use my happiest COME HERE FOR A TREAT voice, both my dogs come running when I call. Even if it's just for a good scratch behind the ear or a hug, they know I'n calling them for something fun.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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What drives your dog to comply?
Boiled chicken! LOL. I'm not sure, high value treats....and if i'm at home, attention from me. But if I am in public, I am not interesting enough anymore.

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Originally Posted by szariksdad View Post
How are you marking the dog. When you say that he does not have complete focus in say the kitchen is this due to distractions or when I ask for focus even now in the kitchen for practice I will put the treat in spots where he can see and if looks at the treat he gets a not correct or eehh! and then when he looks in my eyes I say yes. Then I build from their.
I mark him with a click/treat when he looks at me, after I say "BERLIN, WATCH ME" He does glance up at me most of the time I say it, but it usually is only for a few seconds. I have been trying to lengthen the time, but have been having trouble getting a long focus..I do like your kitchen idea though.

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Start small and work your way up

If he gives you two seconds of focus, click and treat. Next session ask for four, then next ask for six. Keep working towards better and longer focus

Also make yourself the most fun and important thing in their entire world. Food comes from you! Toys come from you! Playtime and fun revolves around you! The more important you are the more they watch and work with you, they'll be begging you for even a moment of attention

For instance when Delgado picks up a toy he brings it to me, he wants to play with me because I make the game so exciting!

When I do a recall I use my happiest COME HERE FOR A TREAT voice, both my dogs come running when I call. Even if it's just for a good scratch behind the ear or a hug, they know I'n calling them for something fun.
How long did it take you to get a lengthy focus? I have been trying to work up to a longer one, but he never looks for more than a few seconds.

I do try to make myself the most important and exciting thing to him, and always initiate fun play sessions with him. Berlin does love to beg for any attention from me...maybe I am just expecting too much at his age?

Thanks for the advice, I guess I am working in the right direction! I just need to work with him a little more I think.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice, I guess I am working in the right direction! I just need to work with him a little more I think.

Out of curiosity, when you ask your dog to 'watch me', where does your dog look? At the treat? At your hand? In your eyes?
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Out of curiosity, when you ask your dog to 'watch me', where does your dog look? At the treat? At your hand? In your eyes?
My eyes. (It took awhile - he USED to look at the treat, but now he knows he only gets rewarded for looking at my eyes)
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My eyes. (It took awhile - he USED to look at the treat, but now he knows he only gets rewarded for looking at my eyes)
My Lacy has the attention span of a knat. Once he knew the command, I played games with him using "Look" (same as your 'Watch Me'). Sometimes I'd reward from my hand, sometimes I'd have little bits of hot dog in my mouth and I'd spit it out at him (and he'd catch them). Sometimes I'd take my hand with a treat in it and move it to the side of his face, but if he'd focus on my eyes, I'd either spit out a piece to him or give it from my other hand.

For him, it reinforced what I wanted - to look in my eyes - and not where the treat was coming from. This was/is his NILIF command. I did it ALL the time. For high value treats. Now stare me down not knowning if I'm done or if I still have treats in my hands or mouth.

It's pretty cool, unless you don't know the dog knows this command. We had company over and they were eating. My Lacy was sitting across the room staring them down. They said the dog was creeping them out. He was begging, but thinking he was doing something for the reward.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lilie View Post
My Lacy has the attention span of a knat. Once he knew the command, I played games with him using "Look" (same as your 'Watch Me'). Sometimes I'd reward from my hand, sometimes I'd have little bits of hot dog in my mouth and I'd spit it out at him (and he'd catch them). Sometimes I'd take my hand with a treat in it and move it to the side of his face, but if he'd focus on my eyes, I'd either spit out a piece to him or give it from my other hand.

For him, it reinforced what I wanted - to look in my eyes - and not where the treat was coming from. This was/is his NILIF command. I did it ALL the time. For high value treats. Now stare me down not knowning if I'm done or if I still have treats in my hands or mouth.

It's pretty cool, unless you don't know the dog knows this command. We had company over and they were eating. My Lacy was sitting across the room staring them down. They said the dog was creeping them out. He was begging, but thinking he was doing something for the reward.
^LOL! Thank you for this! I really like this idea - then they have no idea where the reward will be coming from....I am going to start using this today! He loves mind games, so it will be nice to incorporate it into strengthening this command. Is hot dog okay for them? What type should I use???
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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^LOL! Thank you for this! I really like this idea - then they have no idea where the reward will be coming from....I am going to start using this today! He loves mind games, so it will be nice to incorporate it into strengthening this command. Is hot dog okay for them? What type should I use???
My Lacy has high food drive. I could put kibble in my mouth and he'd go crazy waiting for it. I normally use hot dog, just because it doesn't get soggy in my mouth.

I'll play 'look' for a while in the living room. Then I'll go to the kitchen. Then I'll go in to the bedroom. Then I'll get on the bed...I'll stand...I'll sit...etc. With each location he is all excited about the game.

Spitting the food at your dog's face is really great entertainment. Especially when they first learn great things come from your face. Once they get really good at catching it you can incorporate games with just that alone. Just make sure your dog doesn't learn to jump into your face for the treat. So you have to make sure you aim at them and pop it out with some vigor.

Honestly, because he is a crack puppy and has high food drive, I keep treats on me (maybe not in my mouth) and treat him all the time. He is a year old and has 100% recall. He's treated 75% of the time. I'm a human pez despenser. But..it's what drives him. A toy or ball will give me the same reaction, but it's easier for me to make sure I have treats.

Hondo (GSD) complies because he likes to please. I play the same game with him and he responds 100%. But not with the same energy. 'Look' is his NILF game as well. Meaning when I'm being lazy and I've got something to give him, I'll just say 'look'. 9 times out of 10 both dogs are already sitting waiting for the treat. So sit doesn't work for me.

The reason why I like to really reinforce 'Look' is I use that command when I need to break focus for my dogs. So if they are watching a squirrel - or giving each other the stink eye, I'll tell them 'Look' and now they are thinking about me/food.
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