He doesn't want to train anymore? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-16-2010, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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He doesn't want to train anymore?

During our first basic obedience class last week, 5 month old Panzer did great! Our practice sessions at home since haven't been going so well. He's pretty much refusing to train - we're working on sit/stay. He shuts down. He lays down and/or tries to back out of his collar.

We had been using a prong, but now are thinking maybe this is too much correction for him; however, we're not having success with the choke either. Even hotdogs aren't motivating him.

I would be more than happy to shower him with praise, but am having trouble finding something (training related) to praise him for. What do you suggest? How can I get him motivated when we start the training? And do you have suggestions for a different type of collar?

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-16-2010, 08:23 PM
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I would not have a 5 month old on a prong. If you have a fenced in area, just go with no collar, leash and use food for motivation, mix it up with some toys. If he isn't food motivated don't feed him unless you are training. When he comes to you, praise the heck out of him with a party. Make it all fun! Keep a couple of his very favorite toys for training only and put them away when you aren't working with him.
If my pup focuses on a certain toy, I'll use it in a training session(cuzballs at the moment) Keep your sessions short and stop before the pup checks out, end it on a happy note.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2010, 12:07 AM
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At this age maybe more play and less training. Maybe try some research on reward training. You find their favorite toy/treat and work with that. I talked with a professional trainer years ago that was taught to catch the animal (she was required to train a chicken!) doing some natural behavior and reward it.

The latest trick I'm teaching Keka is speak. Rather than "working" on it, I play with her. She gets in a focused state where she REALLY wants what I've got (toy/treat). That's when I work on commands. If she wants the toy/treat she has to "Speak". As soon as she speaks she gets the toy/treat. After awhile she'll do it without the toy/treat.

GSDs are very smart if you have the patience.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2010, 03:46 AM
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I agree with the above that he is too young for a prong collar. We didn't introduce the prong to Otto until he was over 1yr. I think not having such a strong correctional tool introduced later on helped a lot more. Or else, when they are older they may feel a little desensitized to it.

When my dog was around that age, he did try to avoid training as well. I usually tire him out by chasing him, playing, first. Then when he is hungry or more attentive I use treats to get him to do commands. Try introducing NILF (nothing in life is free) to him. I always find ways to do training with my dog. Even if its something as simple as giving him water. I'll review a simple command like sit or stay from far away, then release him to drink the water.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2010, 09:52 AM
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One think is that Panzer must to be really, really hungry in order to be motivated by the food. I do not feed my dog at the training day at all (i.e. before the training). Ussually he gets his breakfest portion during the training at the midday.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2010, 10:05 AM
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All good suggestions posted here. You might want to consider stopping "formal" training for a few days and just play. Then ease back into the training with very short sessions interspersed with playtime. What is his favorite toy? Use that to motivate him and keep him interested. You might also want to check that he isn't experiencing any pain: sounds strange but too many "sits" may be giving him some muscle soreness in his knees/hips. I also agree, at 5 months I would be hesitant to use a prong. For his "resting period" I would go to a flat buckle collar and avoid corrections, then when it's time to phase back in more serious session time, I'd go with a chain or nylon correction collar. The goal here is not to demand perfection, but to teach him to enjoy minding you.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2010, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EchoGSD View Post
The goal here is not to demand perfection, but to teach him to enjoy minding you.
I like this. We'll discontinue the prong and see if that improves the training attempts. We play throughout the day and are just shooting for short training sessions, usually in the evening when we're both able to work with him.

Thank you all for the suggestions! I think I'm going to see how a nylon slip collar (Martingale?) works for him. I really don't like the metal choke, but the standard flat collar doesn't seem to do anything either. Will also try bringing some toys along to use after a couple of sit/stays to keep him engaged.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2010, 11:09 AM
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Same here- I didn't start using a prong until 7 mos and primarily for walking in public places. Before that I used a nylon choker. Have you tried using a clicker? Ours really responded to it at about Panzer's age and we had already been through puppy and obedience class.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2010, 11:44 AM
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I use a flat collar (or no collar if we are in my yard) and lots of treats for training. And we play during training. It's more like: play, play, sit, play, play, play, play, sit, down, play play play sit. For Play, my dogs like to play tug, fetch is good, too.

I'm suspecting that your dog trainer is not using positive training methods. With positive training methods your dog thinks he's playing.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2010, 11:52 AM
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BlackPuppy hit the nail on the head. Training should always begin with play. Always make the activity a game. As the dog gets excited and wants to play more, he will be more focused on you and more eager to please to keep the game going. Having him sit once or twice during a fun game will go further than you correcting him into a sit. You can get into corrections and more serious training later. Right now focus on both of you having fun, and throw a little training in throughout. This will help with your bond and the respect you have for eachother.
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