Please help me to plan next training stage - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-31-2009, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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Please help me to plan next training stage

Hi! I need your help with the way how to proceed with the training of Anton (he's 18 months now). He knows the basics and I need to plan my sessions in order to take him to a different level, and I'm stuck and need direction.

Some background. Anton went to puppy class, 2 basic ob classes, CGC class, we do tracking all the time with the exception of now because it's too hot and he cannot handle the heat at all. He knows all the basics except I did not train a formal heel and didn't use the word 'heel' even, and his finishes are not very clean. I try to work with him every day, throwing some obedience into our daily routine, and also having separate ob training for 10 - 20 min working on different stuff. But I am getting bored because I feel that it's time to move forward and stop doing the same stuff, and I catch myself avoiding the training and Anton senses my state of mind too.

The thing is that I cannot take him to classes right now (school, surgery (mine) and an out of state trip planned in the next two months, but I want to sign up for hopefully Oct - Dec session) and also I am not sure if there is a right obedience class available for him at this point in our area. I don't him to be referred as 'this dog' for my own money, and I won't go with heavy correcting him either. I cannot drive because of my car condition, and we are not in the position to buy a car right now.

I am wondering how should I plan my training sessions that it becomes more interesting for both of us? Like, 10 min work on recall, 5 min play ball, 10 min do down stays?

If I am not excited and radiating energy my dog is not excited either, so I know I need to change something. Anton is not food motivated and not tug motivated, he's squeaker motivated which is not very handy, but he's really feeding off my energy and involvement. If my eyes are excited he will be flipping over with eagerness to work with me. It took me quite some time to get to this point of being so tuned to each other and I would hate to loose it...

I have two books on obedience by Sheila Booth that I used as a reference for imprinting commands, and I liked them. I thought maybe I should follow her books even though I don't plan on doing BH or SchH. What do you think?

I will appreciate any advice! Thanks you so much in advance!


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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-31-2009, 05:13 PM
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Re: Please help me to plan next training stage

Why not add some fun tricks or new commands to the mix? Add some variety. Since you are tracking why not dabble on some article searches or teach him to find different items by name?


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-31-2009, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Please help me to plan next training stage

Thanks, Ruq! I'm doing some tricks but usually I do it just for fun and never incorporate into training because it doesn't seem to be serious. Maybe, that's my mistake. Anton learned to find quite a few things by name, usually toys. He differenciates and finds a red squeaker, green squeaker, frisbee, hedgehog, and Stripey (the tabby cat) It's very cute when you tell him "Where's Stripey? Go find" and he goes everywhere and finds the kitty and indicates him by laying down and waiting for me Sometimes he comes back and leads me to the cat or to the toy if I don't follow him. We have three cats so he looks for that particular one.

I hide toys in the yard in flowerbeds and ask him to find a particular toy and he won't stop until he finds it. I did the same in the dog park and hid the toy when he was distracted and then asked to find the toy. He did work the entire area, ignoring play invitations and did find the toy and brought to me. I was very impressed!

But it's not helping obedience, it's just pure fun and I catch myself to rather wanting to do such cool things than working on obedience. That's my problem.


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-31-2009, 08:23 PM
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Re: Please help me to plan next training stage

I hate to suggest it because I don't feel I know it well enough to give any concrete ideas, but clicker training is fun and you can really fly with obedience training with it.

Since he keys into you, you could even do it with your mouth (though sometimes your mouth gets a little dry or slow...). There are a lot of videos on YouTube and websites that have some things to teach using it.

I take that clicker out and dogs are all pick me! pick me! I really am not sure why. But I won't argue with them.





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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-31-2009, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Please help me to plan next training stage

Thanks, Jean! Clickers, hmm. I must admit I know nothing about how to train with them. What I've heard is that a very good trainer is needed to properly show how to use them because it's the owner who needs training for the right timing and correct fading the clicker so the dog and the trainer both don't become dependent on them. The only class around here that uses clickers is in Petsmart and I will pass on that.

I should look into that because I don't mind to give it a try! I'll go and do some research.


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-01-2009, 03:07 AM
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Re: Please help me to plan next training stage

There are some threads either here or in the Training Theory section that talk about teaching a retrieve (formally), teaching tricks, clicker training, etc. There are SO many neat fun things we can do with our dogs, and many of them can be trained without going to classes (although classes are invaluable as they help teach our dogs to respond even with distractions).

I do a bit of training with my dogs each day, and sometimes it's just things like tricks (spinning, waving goodbye, etc.). Today I worked a bit on "tick-tock", which is Khana's command to high step with her front feet - left foot up, then right foot up, and so on. I also did a bit of refresher on attention, where the dogs had to continue to look directly at me even when I brought a treat right up against the side of their muzzles - and then I would say "YESS!!" and they'd get the treat.

You can start teaching the weaves by using a couple of toilet bowl plungers - set them up in a line and teach your dog to enter at the left of the first one and then weave past the second one to a target.

You can use a small step or sturdy box and teach your dog to run to the step/box and put his front feet up on it, and "pose" until you release him. I initially used an exercise step for this - one of those portable steps you use for stepping up on and down for exercise.

You can teach him to lay his chin in your hand when you hold your hand out. This is a good calming exercise.

You can teach him to touch his nose to a target - a piece of duct tape or colored tape on a door/wall works well as a target. Or if you need a larger target, use a lid from a butter container, taped to the wall.

You can teach him scent discrimination - a simple way is to set out a few unscented sticks, and then take one stick and do some play retrieves - and then toss the stick into the center of the other sticks so he has to figure out which is "his" by sniffing and finding the one you played with. Most dogs will do this pretty automatically.

Clicker-type training, whether done with the clicker or with a reward word/sound, is absolutely fantastic for teaching behaviors. There was a recent thread that talked about how to do some of this training.

Good luck - and remember, a dog's training is only limited by our own ability and imagination!

Melanie and the gang in Alaska

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-01-2009, 11:36 PM
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Re: Please help me to plan next training stage

Oksana, there is no reason you can't work on the fun stuff with the "boring old OB stuff". Leave your dog in a stay while you hide a toy. Leave him in a stand or sit stay while you hind the toy. After hiding the toy do a recall then heel for 10 steps or 100 then release to find the toy. Just keep mixing it up with adding a new game, trick or command to keep it fresh for both of you.


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-02-2009, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Please help me to plan next training stage

Thank you Melanie for the ideas and encouragement! That's what I'm trying to do right now, boost my imagination . All this time I have been working on fixing and modifying things and suddenly I found myself in a situation that there is nothing really needed to be fixed. I would probably enjoy Anton just fine without even further training because he's perfect but I know that he deserves more and I want more too As weird as it sounds but just normal working with my dog and seeing fast results is a new route for me.

Ruq, that's what I needed!! Thank you for your suggestion! I can find lots of exercises and tricks to teach but what I was lost at was how to incorporate them into the routine so I still work on obedience and we see the progress and build on previously learnt stuff. I think I need a good club and a long term goal (like 3 years in advance) but it's not available for me right now. I will try using hiding the toy and using it as a reward in our obedience session, why didn't I think about it myself??


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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-02-2009, 02:17 PM
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Re: Please help me to plan next training stage

teach your dog to pick things up if you
drop something. teach your dog to bring things to you.
my GF can give our dog something and tell him to take it to me and he does and i give him something and he'll take it to my GF. we do this indoors and outside. can you hide from your dog then have
your wife send him to find you? then your wife can hide and you
send him to find her. does your dog know hand signals?
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-02-2009, 03:26 PM
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Re: Please help me to plan next training stage

Glad I could help. I am the first to admit that I prefer training just about ANYTHING more than basic OB. Jethro has been more fun because I think we play more than we train.


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