Training Progression - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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Training Progression

What would you train and in what order if you wanted a non-competition, obedient dog with excellent off-leash reliability? I'm not worried about perfect positioning etc. I just want her to listen.

I started with sit and recall, then down, then stand. I did it with hand signals, then once those were at 90%, I added the voice commands.

I was thinking about teaching these items next, more or less in this order:

Focus
Stay
Formal Recall (she can already recall from 25+ meters @ 4 months old with ~95% reliability - we'll see if that sticks when she's a bit older lol)
Heel

The reason I ask is I have had great success teaching dogs with marker words, luring, hand signals etc. I was looking for a trainer in my area to "take my dog and me to the next level", so to speak, but quite frankly I found almost all of the trainers I have talked to to be rather arrogant and ego centric. If they weren't those two things, then I found that their training was lacking in discipline and their dogs were all over the place (with a couple of exceptions of course). Many seemed to have a very strong "you NEED me, I don't care about you" attitude and I will not give my money and time to someone who needs to learn humility. Since I have had good results doing it myself, I have decided to train my dog in more advanced commands on my own. Besides, it is useful to be able to do this oneself and since I'm not looking to compete I am not worried about "perfection". If my pup downs when I say, I don't really care if her legs are off to the side a bit or not.

Any advice about what to train and when is most welcome! Also, any literature recommendations would also be appreciated.
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 05:32 PM
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I would train with the goal of at least getting a CGC title.

leave it and wait are also great commands. Teach some tricks too

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 05:38 PM
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Brandi, would you define Wait, please?

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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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CGC is definitely a goal, but frankly except for the stay command she can just about get it already. I figure she'll be able to get that as we progress through her training because everything in the CGC test is very basic. She's calm around other dogs, distractions such as loud noises etc. don't bother her, she accepts other people easily and happily... about the only things she can't do from the CGC test are stay and accept being brushed, and that's only because neither has been taught to her.

I haven't had to attach a word to "leave it", but she knows that in the form of "ah-ah". If I say "ah-ah" she stops whatever she's doing.

Hmm, I haven't thought of doing any tricks yet. Any suggestions?

I need to add retrieval to the list. She sucks at it. That'll be a pretty high priority I think...




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Originally Posted by sagelfn View Post
I would train with the goal of at least getting a CGC title.

leave it and wait are also great commands. Teach some tricks too
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 05:47 PM
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the first things I work on with a puppy, is ALWAYS 'come' and "watch me"..I do alot of free shaping, when they do ANYTHING I want, without asking, it's a chance to reward good behaviors

Sit is usually easy to teach puppies, down may be a little harder for them to comprehend, but that's where a clicker or free shaping comes in. Stay, I work on when the other 'easier' commands are accomplished.

I would say recall is highest on my list to start with

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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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We seem to have very similar priorities.

What do you mean by free shaping exactly? Is that sort of like conversationally training your dog? So for instance, when you're gonig inside, and you say "come on let's go in" and they listen you reward them? Or hopping into the car, you say, "hop in" and they do so you reward that behaviour?

I'm using the sticky at the top of this forum for teaching focus - I haven't done much work on it though and it is proving a bit harder than I expected, but I think it clicked with her a couple of nights ago. Tonight I'm goign to try to add more time between when she focuses on me and when I reward her.

Recall was my first priority too, and I'm actually surprised she picked it up as quickly as she did. I am not sure that I'll even need to do a "formal" recall with her. We'll have to see how she does on that when she's older, as I've noticed once dogs become adolescents they tend to not want to come when called as reliably.

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Originally Posted by JakodaCD OA View Post
the first things I work on with a puppy, is ALWAYS 'come' and "watch me"..I do alot of free shaping, when they do ANYTHING I want, without asking, it's a chance to reward good behaviors

Sit is usually easy to teach puppies, down may be a little harder for them to comprehend, but that's where a clicker or free shaping comes in. Stay, I work on when the other 'easier' commands are accomplished.

I would say recall is highest on my list to start with
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by paulag1955 View Post
Brandi, would you define Wait, please?
Wait is different from stay.

Stay means if you are sitting you stay sitting (do not lay down or stand up) and are not released until I come back to you and touch you to release. That way when I come back to you I reward you for having stayed.

Wait means if I say wait then you may sit,stand,lay as long as you do not move forward until I call you to come or give a release word. I use wait when we get out of the car so he doesn't try to jump out, before we go in or out a door, before he gets to eat his food, etc...

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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakodaCD OA View Post
the first things I work on with a puppy, is ALWAYS 'come' and "watch me"..I do alot of free shaping, when they do ANYTHING I want, without asking, it's a chance to reward good behaviors

Sit is usually easy to teach puppies, down may be a little harder for them to comprehend, but that's where a clicker or free shaping comes in. Stay, I work on when the other 'easier' commands are accomplished.

I would say recall is highest on my list to start with



Some easy to teach tricks are shake, high 5, and catch. Tricks are a great way to keep training fun!

-Brandi


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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 11:10 PM
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I think that you also ought to be ready for the usual "hard of hearing" affliction that attacks most puppies between about 6-9 months. they seem to lose all ability to hear a command when they are doing something real interesting!
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 11:20 PM
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People make some strange connection that competition training isn't necessary for the well behaved pet. The point of the training is to teach you how to communicate well with your dog and get reliable, consistent, off-leash control. Do you need a straight sit in real life? No. But by expecting it in training, you are raising your level of control of your dog and by expecting a straight sit in training, you might get some sort of sit when you ask when you are out and about in the real, very distracting, world. Whether you chose to compete after that is up to you, but you will end up with a well behaved, well controlled, dog.

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