Correcting the breaking of a down/stay - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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Correcting the breaking of a down/stay

Hello guys,

I am stuck at a place that I would appreciate guidance on.

Rex hs his down very consistent. I can down him off leash when a cat approaches or when people are passing by and we are off leash and I want them to pass by without an interaction.

However I am struggling in one instance. When people come to the house. So the door rings and in this specific example it would be my brother coming in who Rex knows well and likes. Or it could be a stranger that comes in and Rex wants to say hello to. His "hellos" are very excited and wants to jump some and run around zoomie style excited about the new comer. In order to taper this off, I put him in a down stay and then after a few minutes, I release him to say hello. If I am successful, then the hello is more tamed after the down / stay.

However, in a few instances, I put him in a down stay and once the person comes in or pass by him, he breaks it and does his crazy hello. What I am doing in this instance is correcting him with a no and bringing him back to the place and downing him. I release after this is successful. However the correction is messy in that I have to physically hold him or bring him to where he broke the down and then down it with higher more serious tone. Last time, he yelped a bit while I held him as it was a but forceful.

I would like to know if I should be consistent in this "correction" and hope that he will listen as we go along. Also, I can only do it by actually hold him and bringing him back otherwise he would just do the jumping and crazy hello. Is that aspect ok? Am I doing something wrong in approach? Instead of bringing him forcefully, I could use an E Collar correction and down him then it would be less physically engaging?

Thank you for the input.

Mozi
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 10:55 AM
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The correction is not working so change it. He needs practice with distractions. Once he breaks, it is self reinforcing. He hasn’t learned a permanent stay. He has taught himself if he stays for a while then he can break. Be more consistent and determined. If he breaks, he must go back to a stay or he is removed. You should not have to physically force him. He must learn down so he always Downs. Crate him or put him in another room. There is nothing worse for guests than to be rushed at the door. Another solution would be to remove him before people arrive. Greet them than have them sit down and let him into the room. Or bring him in on leash. Make him do a down stay to a Place, like a pillow. If he gets up, put him back into a down stay. Eventually he will calm down. Then he can greet your guests. Does he know the Place command? That is a very good use for it.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 11:14 AM
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I agree with the place command. It has helped me with my dog immensely. When he use to break it would be a correction and back to place. I trained with no distraction, initially. Added different degrees of distraction until I felt it was good. He gets practiced often because my house is quite frankly Grand Central Station. It was even more important to me because he was not wanting to say hello. He was assessing, escorting, staring. And it was intimidating to guests so it had to stop immediately.

My prior GSD was off the effusive pushy love me me even though I never met you variety. We worked with known breed specific good trainers and it just wasn't fixable to a point where people could cross my threshold without a LOT of work and control out of me. That is just not fun or fair to anyone. Greeting guests should be a pleasant experience for all involved. So we switched to management and he was contained in a crate when we had company.

Hopefully your guy isn't as much of a hard head (the 2nd GSD I described was just "special" all around lol). I'd work the place command or down stay whichever you prefer (I like "place" because I can use it for company or when I am putting laundry away in 3 different bedrooms and I DONT want something that weighs 95lbs doing a focused heel with me lol). Correct it firmly and replace him. When he waits for your ok before breaking..calm reward. Also note worthy and another mistake I was making with previous dog that was pointed out to me by the trainer, when you are trying to quell rambunctious greeting try and keep the reward calm. If he thinks a big celebration results from not breaking the stay, you will wind up with delayed guest jumping, not extinguished behavior.

Good luck and KUP!

Edited to ask- how are you correcting besides "no!" I personally used a prong with a short leather tab on it for in house corrections with my current dog.

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Last edited by CometDog; 04-07-2019 at 11:17 AM.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuvShepherds View Post
The correction is not working so change it. He needs practice with distractions. Once he breaks, it is self reinforcing. He hasnít learned a permanent stay. He has taught himself if he stays for a while then he can break. Be more consistent and determined. If he breaks, he must go back to a stay or he is removed. You should not have to physically force him. He must learn down so he always Downs. Crate him or put him in another room. There is nothing worse for guests than to be rushed at the door. Another solution would be to remove him before people arrive. Greet them than have them sit down and let him into the room. Or bring him in on leash. Make him do a down stay to a Place, like a pillow. If he gets up, put him back into a down stay. Eventually he will calm down. Then he can greet your guests. Does he know the Place command? That is a very good use for it.
Thank you for the feedback. Just to be clear, I force him to get back to where he broke the down. But not force him to down again. I bring him back and then down him verbally.

Yes, he knows place and that is inside his huge crate with door open. Easier to probably put him there before opening the door of the house. But he sometimes breaks that and I tell him again to place and he does it after the breaking. So I am "following through" in that I am making him know it is not an option to break it...
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 11:51 AM
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I always just move my dogs to another room behind a gate after yelling through the door "One second please!" for unexpected visitors .Everyone else calls ahead a few minutes so I can gate them off and greet my guests.It's really hard to be attentive to your visitor and train your dog simultaneously.If you feel flustered your dog gets more excited.After the guests get settled and the pups are chill they are released to greet.If one is feeling overly excited still it's much easier to ask for a down/stay and enforce it when the atmosphere in the room is calmer.I actually think the e collar isn't appropriate in this scenario.IMO I don't think you can correct a dog into learning how to calm himself.

The best way would be if you could have several different people to help you by dropping in randomly so they could be neglected as you practice training.Most of us aren't fortunate enough to be able to set that up,but wouldn't be ideal?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 07:48 AM
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Don't let him break the down to begin with. Have him on a leash and correction collar when your brother is coming over and keep the leash in your hand so you can quickly correct him if he breaks the down.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the advice
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 10:47 PM
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I agree with Chip. If you're asking about how to correct him for breaking a down, you've already lost the battle. You need to manage the situation so he CAN'T break his down, and having him on leash is the way to do that. Repeatedly breaking a down and being corrected and put back in place isn't really teaching him anything.

I would also try to get that down stay as solid as possible under a variety of circumstances before expecting him to hold it in a highly distracting situation like that. My dogs are far from perfect when guests arrive, especially Cava who is still young and extremely social, so I would never expect her to hold a down stay off leash when guests arrive. Why would we set her up to fail? Failing and getting a correction is fine to proof a behavior but it sounds like you're nowhere near that point yet.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Chip and Cassidy's mom; I think it is probably too much to ask/expect form him as he is social and young.

This and when we are in a cafe is the only places he breaks the down. But I will slow it down and like you said set him up for success.

Today, I did it different. Two of my friends knocked on the door. He announced with a barking and jumping around. I asked him to place before I opened. In his crate and I closed the door. I waited until he calmed down and let him out to greet.

Question on the leash method. How would I prevent him from breaking with the leash. I go open the door (leash is not with me) and then go hold the leash while they approach so he does not break it? Because if I open and I a bit far, he is likely to break before I get to him. What sequence do you suggest for this?

Thanks
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 02:17 PM
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How old is your dog? Crating him is not allowing him to learn or figure out anything. What kind of collar are you using? Have you worked a lot on just downing him outside and walking away a short distance and coming back and rewarding him with food? Reward for the initial down, walk away about ten feet, come back and reward with food if he holds the down and repeat that several times and be sure to have a release command and offer food and praise after the release. Reliable obedience takes a ton of repetition. Re: the door, set it up when you know some friends are coming over. Tell him place, (I would use down) and keep the leash in your hand and tell your friends to come in. If he starts to break the down, quickly pull down on the leash and tell him down. You can reward with food and praise. I like to include the command in the praise such as, "good down." Have your friends come in and sit down and when you think he has held the down well enough, give the release command. You can also teach him to look at you before the release command so he is focused on you.
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