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Old 12-12-2013, 04:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Training with a tennis ball as reward?

Someone told me today you can train with a favorite toy as a reward instead of a treat. Eko is getting increasingly DA and I've been walking him with a muzzle lately, kind of wondering how to take it from here. I use a prong collar on walks so he doesn't drag me towards other dogs, also.

I've mentioned before he is not food motivated, at all, he spits out any kind of treats I give him and the second he sees a dog he won't take it anyway. The prong lets me have barely enough control over him to hold him in place and stay on my feet, and I have mixed feelings about an e collar. I would really like to use a reward kind of training to get him to ignore other dogs, like the treat training where we stay far away and I use treats to distract him and work our way closer over time.

So would a ball work for this? If so, how would I do it? Throw it? Kind of tease him with it so he stays focused on me? What command would I need to use for this, if any?
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I found this picture on another recent topic, I want to post it here if that's okay because it is almost exactly how Eko looks at other dogs and small animals. Except he doesn't show his teeth or growl until the dog gets close, and his tail is usually wagging a lot straight up like that.
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Training with a tennis ball as reward?-1386840934392.jpg  
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Old 12-12-2013, 05:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I would be working with an experienced trainer on the aggression if you are not already doing so. If the aggression is increasing, help is in order. I would rely more on their read of the actual dog than the chart.

I can't comment on using a ball as a distraction aid, though I do use one as a reward and play a short bout of tug with it (ball on string).

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Old 12-12-2013, 06:20 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I agree Nancy. I wrote up a long counter conditioning post and deleted it.

I think you need some professional help with this dog Sarah.

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Old 12-12-2013, 07:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The first step in getting control is intense, on-going, rock solid obedience training and focus, then proofing with major distractions at close quarters.

This isn't going to happen with treats, a tennis ball, or overnight, though high-value rewards can be part of the foundation training. Best thing to do, as suggested by others, is to find an experienced trainer (NOT petsmart), have a long-term plan, and work, work work! It can be done, many of us have been there, but it does take consistency and commitment.
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Check the Tyler Muto vids to see how to use leash pressure to control your dog when on walks.
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It would be my guess that the dog won't walk well for you even in an enclosed car park or what ever with no distractions. I see male dogs being walked and they smell everything and pee where they want. When you want to control a dog on leash you start to stop them sniffing randomly and only let them pee when you stop and allow them.

You change the routine of the dog getting excited when you pick up the leash or your coat. Basically good dog behavior starts at home and then you try to carry the good behavior as you go. If the dog is pulling you out the drive way, you are in for a dragging match which the dog excells at and you get frustrated and demoralized with.

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Someone told me today you can train with a favorite toy as a reward instead of a treat.
Ball drive/Prey drive. If a dog wants to get a ball so much you can then get him focused on that rather than on a distraction. You need to develop up this drive over time if you want it to be powerful enough to refocus a dog from an other dog or cat. It is possible. But you should be aiming for obedience first in return for the ball play and build this up and then try working with distractions.
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Old 12-12-2013, 09:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm with the others in finding outside help. I did want to point out though too, if your dog already highly values tennis balls or a specific toy, it could make the situation worse. Eko could have even more incentive to keep another dog away for fear that it is after his favorite toy now too.
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Old 12-12-2013, 09:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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My problem with tennis ball as a reward is that its generally fetching and the dog isn't interacting with the handler. The problem with your dog is that he's aggressive so you'd actually have no idea if he would not go for the tennis ball and just go for the dog. My boy is very into tennis balls, we sometimes call them his pacifier because if he has one in his mouth he's very calm (he's energetic, but not aggressive in anyway). If we go to the beach, and I have a tennis ball in his chuck-it, he will ignore everything going on around him (including dogs) and just focus on the tennis ball. He's actually almost bumped into children while walking because he's staring at the ball and not what's in front of him. But like I said, I have no aggression issues in the first place.

So...if you can get one on a string, or just a regular tug, and start giving it to him as a reward for looking at you and ignoring the other dogs, that's fine. But I'm not sure how throwing a tennis ball is really going to help you in this situation.

If he's so ball motivated that if its out and he ignores everything...use that on walks for now, but know that its not a guaranteed method of training this behavior out of him.
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Old 12-12-2013, 10:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kahrg4 View Post
I'm with the others in finding outside help. I did want to point out though too, if your dog already highly values tennis balls or a specific toy, it could make the situation worse. Eko could have even more incentive to keep another dog away for fear that it is after his favorite toy now too.
One thing I know for sure after raising 4 dogs....

Is that if a few weeks go past with a training issue and not only is it not improving but getting WORSE..

Then clearly I don't know what I'm doing and I need more help. Real help. Timely help. And one on one help for ME.

Cause the truth of the matter is, I can't blame the dog for not improving when it's ME, as the teacher, who is failing the dog in getting across what I need to. And just blaming the dog and upping the PUNISHMENT isn't actually helping me teach.

Leash collar -> choke collar -> prong collar -> e-collar -> hit with a 2 by 4 over the head until they listen......................

There are MANY in between steps that can be used and missed just cause we don't know what we don't know. PLUS there is a good chance we are making things WAY worse because of what we don't know and aren't doing.

Please, stop trying to fix this by yourself. There is no way people trying to help on this forum can replace the eye and timely help/recommendations of a professional trainer right there beside you.

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Old 12-12-2013, 10:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Take a look at some of the articles in Whole Dog Journal that address this. They work with the dog well below threshold and gradually build up as the dog's comfort increases so does his threshold. I think Pat Miller is the one that authors the articles I am thinking of. To me this is what you want rather than a prong/shock/choke collar. Very different approach although the distractions are part of it.
I would look for a trainer that uses the methods Miller advocates.

Last edited by middleofnowhere; 12-12-2013 at 10:44 AM. Reason: adding recommendation for a trainer
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