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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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Off-leash Question

Sobacca was my first dog ever and I learned A LOT with him about how to train a dog and what I need to train. I'll admit, I could have done a lot better with him, but at the same time I can't complain because he is one of the best and most well-behaved dogs and I constantly get complimented on him.

Now with having two dogs, I would like to get them both to the point where I can have them off-leash a lot (to go hiking, play, etc). But I need to get Sobacca to the point where he listens to everything I say, and comes every time I call.
He's not very food motivated, actually he could care less about treats outside of the house -- this used to work for him, but it seems like he just doesn't care anymore.
I can have him off-leash and he's not TOO bad most of the time. But I want it to get better so that I feel like I can trust him off-leash to come when called.

I have no idea how to work on getting him better with this if he's not motivated by anything!
I know a lot of people on here have a lot more experience than I do with dogs, so was wondering what tips you may have for how I could work on training this.

Minna likes to try to follow him around, when we've gone to the dog park she just wants to chase after him and try to keep up. He's about semi-good at listening to me....he won't wander off but he definitely doesn't come all the time when he's called.


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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 06:11 PM
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When we work in competition obedience, we get a point where we have to "proof" the behaviors our dog has learned. This means that we have to progressively add in distractions, and corrections for the wrong behavior. This creates a clear picture of "you have to regardless of what is going on" for the dog.

What corrections you use depend entirely on the type of dog you have. Highly motivated dogs sometimes only need the withholding of the reward, soft dogs sometimes only need a verbal reprimand, other dogs use varying levels of collar corrections with varying types of collars.

So in your scenario I would probably have my dog drag a line to start with. When I call, I would issue a collar correction immediately- as soon as I say the command. The reason for this being that when I ask my dog to come, I don't want them to think about it. I want them to do it immediately. Come should be one of those commands that is like a reflex because of the safety involved. If my dog moves immediately to obey, the collar correction is already minimized. (Also remember that one good correction is more effective than several nagging corrections) As soon as the dog got to me I would give the dog a reward and lots of praise. I understand that the dog may not be as motivated by the reward to use it on it's own...but he still needs to know that what he did was the right thing to do and it will help him understand the command more clearly. Then you have to work on this in dozens of different places, with all kinds of distractions, and work up to it slowly. If you see his very favorite dog and know that there is a good chance he won't listen...Don't even try unless you have a line on him and can make him. The more times he successfully ignores you...the less the commands mean to him.

Depending on how it goes with the line, that may be all you need. Sometimes people have to go to an E-collar to further enforce the offlead behavior. Again it just depends on the dog. Good luck!

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks!
I figured something along those lines, just wanted to see if anyone on here had suggestions. I think taking Minna to puppy obedience school will also help me with any extra training tips for Sobacca as well.
I'm just working on what motivation would work with him. In the house he does well with food rewards; but he still doesn't really care for the treats. If he misses one and it goes near the puppy he'll just leave it and let her have it.


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 08:49 PM
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Maybe people food? My dogs are fairly indifferent about "dog treats" and even the regulars like hot dogs, chicken and cheese. But things like steak, pork roast, cold cuts seem to get them more motivated. And not that it's particularly good for them...but I've been known to use a plain McDonald's cheeseburger when I'm training something really difficult because my dogs will do just about anything then.

It also helps if she is hungry. When I am doing a lot of training I will cut their kibble in half. I don't stop feeding them because I want to keep their metabolism up...but I will significantly reduce their kibble so they are hungry and consequently more interested in my food.

What about toys? Those are always good motivators as well.

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Cade vom Eisernen Loewen IPO1, CGC 3-25-09
D'Artagnan (Tag) vom Eisernen Loewen BH 2-2-10
G Aiko von Burkndeiros SchH 3, IPO3, FH, TC, KKL2 9-17-02 (Retired)


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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 09:48 PM
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Thanks JKlatksky, I needed that help too. I'm almost there but I get lazy, then expect the dog to d more than I have. Back to basics for us!!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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I haven't tried people food because he really isn't allowed people food. But maybe I could try cheese or something.
He doesn't really care for toys much either. He's a weirdo

Minna on the other hand, will train for food no matter if she's hungry or not.



Thanks for the tips


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