Doesn't know his name? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-26-2010, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Doesn't know his name?

I originally posted in the aggressive forum concerning the introduction of our new 3-yr-old GS to our family and other 3-yr-old GS.
I am going to take baby steps in asking questions.
The owners (my in-laws) had Shadow outside in the yard or in a small porch. When they brought him to our home, he was protective over the family and inside our home towards our dog Blade. Blade on the other hand was aggressive outside in our yard. Both dogs have now seemed to be calmer and tolerate each other inside and outside. Our in-laws have left and there will be no reason for Shadow to be protective over the family.
One of the biggest problems I've found is that it seems that Shadow doesn't know his name when called for. Also, even if I whistle, he is ignorant to the sound. He doesn't know how to play, as in fetch or frisbee. However, he has learned the command 'Out' when he tried to come into the kitchen when we are eatting. Also, he does know sit and lay...and..I even used a hand signal for sit and then lay and he performed the command; therefore, he is very smart.
So...how am I to get him 'involved' and bring him to 'life'?? For starters, his name? Secondly, how to play? He is such a beautiful dog and just has those eyes that shy away.
Thanks for the advice and help!!
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-26-2010, 04:34 PM
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Thank you very much for taking Shadow into your home. It sounds like you have gotten a dog that has had very little, if any, training and did not spend a lot of time with people or other animals. At least, since he came from your family, you know some of his background, whereas many new dog owners whose dogs came from shelters or rescues don't know much about their dogs. So you are a step ahead.

It's not uncommon for a dog NOT to know his name or what it means. Ideally, a dog should look at you when his name is called - not come. The name should be used to get his attention, and then the word ("come") should tell him what to do.

Since he doesn't know his name now, I would start by playing the "name game" to get him to learn that name = looking at you. The best way to train this is with some really good treats and in a place with no or few distractions. The kitchen is a good place - my dogs love to watch me cook and I always have their attention in the kitchen. (I might drop food, after all!)

Take your treats - something really yummy is best, like cut-up hot dogs or string cheese - and call his name. As soon as he looks at you, throw him a treat or hand him a treat if he is close enough. Repeat. Lots. Then do it in other parts of the house and outside until you have a solid response to his name ("solid" meaning, he looks at you 9 out of 10 times).

If you want him to learn to come, work on it ONLY when you have a way of MAKING him come - like a leash or long line. A command that cannot be reinforced is useless because you're just teaching your dog that obeying is optional, not required. Start "come" by having your dog on a leash, stepping back to the end of the leash, and calling him. You can show him a toy or treat to get him to come. You can stomp your feet, clap your hands, etc. But only say the command ONCE. When he comes, praise and reward him. Repeat this A LOT, then work on it with a long line (30ft or longer). Repeat a lot on the long line until the come is sold. Then work on it off-leash.

A lot of obedience is easiest trained if you use a clicker. A clicker MARKS the exact behavior you want when it occurs. Because a clicker ALWAYS sounds the same (same tone, same length, etc.) it's very clear to the dog when you are marking. If you want to use a clicker, your dog must first understand what the clicker means. The clicker means "you did that right AND a reward follows." To get the dog to understand that, you have to "charge" the clicker, get the dog to associate click with a reward. That's easiest done by having a hand full of treats and simply CLICK - treat, CLICK - treat without the dog doing anything. Repeat a TON of times before ever using the clicker to mark a behavior.

As far as play goes ... I don't know how long you have had Shadow, but some dogs take some time to warm up to a new place and new people. Some dogs just don't like to play. Some dogs like certain toys but not others. And some dogs have to be taught to play by seeing other dogs play or being engaged in play at times when they are naturally more excited (like when you get home).

As for "out" - most of us here use "out" to get the dog to release a toy. You can use it to send him out of the room, but make sure you use it consistently for that and not for any other purpose (such as giving up a toy) because that would be confusing.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-26-2010, 10:04 PM
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Great post by AbbyK9.

One thing you might try when teaching his name is to poke or nudge him if you say it and he doesn't acknowledge you. That should get his attention on you, at which time you can do something such as lure him towards you, give your sit sign etc. I'm assuming you're looking at him in his eyes when you say his name, and eventually he'll know to look to your eyes when you call his name (barring a distraction he's more interested in, of course) because he's expecting something to follow.

For play, lots of people "rile" up their dogs by getting in front of them, moving around somewhat frenzied, push back on the dog a bit (which causes him to want to push forward towards you) then throwing something or moving a towel or something around in front of him quickly to bite it. You can sometimes see people doing this before an agility run or before a frisbee toss, when they want the dog to be charged up and ready to move. Obviously you should keep an eye on the dog to make sure he's not threatened by this type of activity, which he could be if he is unsure what it means.

One of my dogs really loves the "bad cuz" toy, he likes that more than any other toy he's ever had. It made a noise for ahwile till the squeaker came loose and I removed it, but he still loves it. My other dog prefers a canvas frisbee that I roll along the ground or throw for her.

Thanks for adopting Shadow!

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-26-2010, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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Shadow's Name

Thank you both for some very good advice!
I am a bit confused on the leash training. How do you get Shadow not to follow me to be far enough away to use the 'come' command?
The 'out' command is only used when we want our dog to leave a room, which is a very sharp and quick 'out'.
Shadow doesn't know what 'outside' is, which is a happy ending question mark. He did however come & nudge me a bit earlier and I asked 'outside' and then took him out where he did his duty.
While outside (it was dark) I whistled and he did come to the sound.
Shadow is unsettled and has been prancing around the front door, waiting for his 'family' to return. He has whined a bit and keeps walking around in a circle. He lays by the front door.
I've been comforting him with lots of love and good praises. He is starting not to duck his head when I go to pet him. I started out by having my palm down and then slowly petting him. His confidence is low; he is meek.
I believe trying to 'rile' him up to play is out of the question until we completely earn his trust.
We will work on the advice given and I will report back with progress! And...probably more 'what' next or 'oh no's!'
Thanks again so much!!
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-26-2010, 11:41 PM
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Don't dismiss clicker training, it's PERFECT for your situation.

Here's some sites to explain:



http://youtube.com/watch?v=8i-L3-gqWic




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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-27-2010, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
I am a bit confused on the leash training. How do you get Shadow not to follow me to be far enough away to use the 'come' command
Have him sit/stay and just step one step back at first. Then a couple. Then to the end of the leash. Then move toward the end of a long line.

Quote:
Shadow is unsettled and has been prancing around the front door, waiting for his 'family' to return. He has whined a bit and keeps walking around in a circle. He lays by the front door.
How long have you had him?

Quote:
He is starting not to duck his head when I go to pet him. I started out by having my palm down and then slowly petting him.
Instead of petting on top of his head (which is scary or uncomfortable for many dogs), squat down and pet the sides of his neck, his chest, his back, etc.

Malinois Ronja - fastest K-9 in VT
=^^= Finn, Ratchet & Ollie

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-27-2010, 11:31 AM
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Just wanted to write the same thing. Clicker training is absolutely perfect and I would actually do that in combination with what Abbys name games.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-27-2010, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the You Tube site, I will be sure to watch them this evening after work.
Shadow came to us a week ago this Friday. His family just left Wednesday morning; therefore, it hasn't been long.
My husband let Shadow outside last night when he got home from work and Shadow would not come to him to go back inside, I had to go out and have him come in.
Shadow slept in our room last night. I brought him in with me when I went to bed and left our other GS with my husband. Again, Shadow paced. I massaged the top of his body and he relaxed enough to lay down.
This morning when I left for work, he tried very hard to get out the door. I heard him bark as I shut the door. At least when I come home every day he will soon realize that I am not leaving him.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-27-2010, 12:22 PM
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Since it has only been a few days, I would not have a lot of expectations for Shadow at this point.

Right now, I would set a daily routine - times to get up and go to bed, times to go outside, times to feed, etc. A routine can really help a dog get settled in, especially a dog that is unsure and nervous in new surroundings.

If you don't have a crate, BUY ONE and crate train. A crate helps a dog feel secure and comfortable in new surroundings and gives him a place to go and "hide". I prefer plastic crates as they are more enclosed and, for most dogs, fulfill their instinct to go into a "den" more than open wire crates.

EXERCISE him before crating if you are going to be crating him for a longer period of time. The same goes for having him loose in the house if you are gone at work. Exercise before you leave - a tired dog is a happy dog. (And one that won't eat the furniture.)

If your yard is fenced, it's fine for him to be off leash to play and do his business, but if he doesn't come when called it does make it harder to train a solid come because he is learning, every time he doesn't come when called, that he doesn't HAVE to. You could try squeaking a toy to get him to come to you, rather than calling him.

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=^^= Finn, Ratchet & Ollie

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-27-2010, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLADENSHADOW View Post
How do you get Shadow not to follow me to be far enough away to use the 'come' command?
You can actually work on your recall command when he's already following you and only a few steps away. I work on this off leash around the house with new puppies all the time. Have treats on you, (carry them in your pocket at all times or wear a treat bag) and when he's walking towards you say "come!" in a happy voice and run backwards a few steps - big praise and a treat.

There's no reason you can't say a cue when he's already doing what you want him to do - it's actually better to do it that way than to say a cue and have him NOT do it, because you want him to associate the cue with the correct behavior. So, say "come" whens he's in the process of coming to you, (click/treat), say "heel" when he's already in heel position, (click/treat), etc.

A recall game I like to play is to toss a treat on the floor and then run away, calling the dog to me. Most dogs love this game and have fun playing it with me. I teach my dogs that "find it" means there's food on the floor, and at first I'll drop the treat right near my feet before running away and work up to tossing it several feet away before running off. He should end up chasing you all over the house (SO much better to teach him how much fun it is to chase YOU than it is for you to chase HIM!), repeat until you're both panting. It should look like this: "find it!", call "Shadow - come!" as you run to another room in the house. When he catches up to you, woohoo, big praise and hand him a treat. Toss another treat on the floor and run away again. It should be fast, fun, and very enthusiastic.

Once the dog has the idea, I sometimes just stand in one place and toss the treat across the room. As soon as s/he gets it, I call "come!" marking the exact second that the dog whips around towards me, and then praise and treat when it returns. Repeat. One night one of my cats was sitting on the floor nearby while I was playing this with Halo and she was so into the game that she was running back and forth inches away from Emmy without even glancing at her. She was having so much fun with me that chasing the kitty didn't even cross her mind!

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