HELP! lots trouble with distraction & focus. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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HELP! lots trouble with distraction & focus.

Hey everyone, ive been reading and studying since i cant remember on how to train my GSD I dont know what im doing wrong but im having huge issues when xferring from my home, yard to outside at the park on walks etc.

At home, he does awesome. Comes when i call. He gets confused about sit and down atm but we can work through those.

Ive been using clicker training with him and its worked well so far, ive never done it before im sure my timing is off im used to the older method. ><

He tends to wanna pull very hard on the leash when i take him out, or try to go back to our yard. Hes 12 weeks old on tuesday. Im just wondering am i pushing him to hard? I dont wanna over do it but id like him to behave so that i can socialize him properly. The major issue is hes going through his fear stage towards strangers, he loves kids so much he just wants to sit and watch them forever (in turn ignoring everything i say) I use just plain chicken to train him, which is highly motivational for him because when i have the chicken he gives me eye contact for a split second and breaks it immediately back to the treat bag or the hand with the treat, ive been trying to capture the eye contact but even over the last week or so it seems to have gotten worse.


He will offer down, but will not get back up for sit. When i was teaching him sit and down i taught him in front of me now trying to get him into a heel position and stay is almost impossible (he wants to be in front looking at me at all times)

Anyone have any suggestions or questions to maybe clarify this. It seems to have gotten worse as he gets a bit older. My brother has a standard GSD that we took trick or treating last night and zack was pulling like no ones business trying to get to Tobi, and he was exercised very well.

>> im losing my cool. halp!

btw, the puppy is pretty darn chill any other time, he gets so much training walks and play time that all he does when he comes inside is sleep! lol

tired is good i know but he immediately wakes up outside the house and fence and goes ballistic. I dunno what to do /cry

Last edited by LondonnZack; 10-31-2010 at 02:14 PM.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 02:55 PM
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My opinion,,slow down, you may be expecting to much to soon from an almost 12 week old puppy

Work on one thing at a time, untill he really 'gets' it. Then move on to another. Plus at this age, they have the attention span of a gnat so don't be frustrated if they get it one minute and forget it the next

Since he is afraid of strangers but is intrigued by kids, let him interact with what he's intrigued with,,kids Sit on a bench somewhere, let him watch the world go by, if people stop, ask them to toss him a treat or that yummy piece of chicken.

At this age, I just work on really basic stuff, sit, most importanly COME, and let them be a puppy, explore, check new things out, etc..

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 03:31 PM
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Aww, he's just a baby! I have leftovers in my refrigerator older than him! I agree with Jakoda- let him do really well with one thing before you move on to another. Are you using a clicker, have him in puppy class?
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks you guys! that was a huge eye opener, i was really worried that i was pushing him to far to fast. He really is an amazingly attentive dog and very responsive when he can focus.

I take him to the park when there is a bunch of children there and he just loves it! He could sit there and watch them forever and they absolutely love him because he is so excited to see them and play with them, but at the same time the parents are very happy because he doesnt get rough with the kids at all and is very submissive towards children.

I adore how he acts with kids, my niece and nephew call him bolt and play him to death! He is very good with down, and has learned to settle when im standing he either sits or lays down next to me unless there is alot of distraction or something he wants to get to.

So hes okay? Im not screwing him up thats what im afraid of. I dont spend hours training him, i do small spurts of instruction daily.

Ill have to get a video and let you guys make a decision on how he is doing so far.

Hes so cute people wanna come up all the time so unless its unexpected or a dog thats barking at him hes like "OH HAI HOW ARE YOU, ::ROLLS OVER:: PET MAH TUMMY!" lol so cute

I do not have him in a class, i live in Mississippi and im absolutely terrified of taking him to a trainer around here because everyone ive seen is punishment and intimidation based. I do not like those training methods and ive seen dogs trained that way, i do not want him to fear me at all. I also want no aggression from him towards anyone. I just want him to understand and have fun with it. He gives me alot of love and happiness and i just want the same for him.

I do clicker train him, and hes very good with it and i can just see the gears rolling when i give him a command lol

Last edited by LondonnZack; 10-31-2010 at 03:44 PM.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 03:54 PM
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your not messing him up,,and I think it's great he gets to play/interact with a bunch of kids,,keep that up for sure !!!!

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JakodaCD OA View Post
your not messing him up,,and I think it's great he gets to play/interact with a bunch of kids,,keep that up for sure !!!!

ty! i will. Ill just stick to the stuff he can do pretty instant for now once i get him really stable on those things ill move forward. My first puppy, the other dogs ive trained have been full grown.

THANKS AGAIN!

two things, you guys have any tips for GSD pups on being dominate and alpha without intimidating, like going out the front door of the house?

secondly, how old should i wait for him to be before i let him jump out of the jeep or off my bed. At the moment he cannot get up or in either of these should i just wait til he can enter when i tell him. I already taught him UP and he will try but he cant reach BUT HE TRIES! lol

Last edited by LondonnZack; 10-31-2010 at 04:06 PM.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 09:15 PM
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Sounds to me like you are doing a great job with your pup! Agree with Stosh and Jakoda, you may be expecting too much from your pup. The most important thing you should work on at this stage is developing your relationship with him, and having a lot of fun!!! He will come to associate work and training with having fun. Training sessions should only be five minutes long or so, and it is normal for pups (and even adult dogs) to focus beautifully when in the house with no distractions, but be too distracted when outdoors to do the same. So not anything that you are doing - just a silly pup with limited ability to concentrate and stay in focus.

A couple of tricks to keep him focused on you and not the treat bag: I'm thinking that after the click, the reward is not fast enough (hard enough to time the click correctly, but the timing of the reward after the click is also important). So you might try spitting treats at your pup to keep him looking at you, not at the treat bag. Have a treat in your mouth (aren't you glad you are using cooked chicken?), then when you have that elusive eye-contact for a split second, click and spit your treat at him. At first, he won't realize what you just did, so it will take several tries to get him to catch on, and after a few more tries, he will be catching the treats out of the air as you spit them.

To get him to focus longer, keep the focus for longer periods before you click. If he looks away, wait for him to look back at you. You can help him by softly saying his name or making weird noises to get his attention back - don't help him too much though, let him figure it out. Always reward almost as soon as you click. Do not try to work on extended focus by stretching the time out between the click the reward - you are clicking the extended eye contact, and every click should be closely followed by a reward.

To start getting him used to the heel position, keep kibble-like treats in you left pocket (cat kibble works well). At first, every time puppy happens to be on your left side, praise and give a treat. Don't set it up, just do it as part of a normal day, as often as possible. You will notice that pup will start seeking out your left side! When pup does this, hold kibble in hand down at pup's level, and move forward a step or two. Your pup should follow focused on the kibble, and let him have it.

Do this when out on leash walks - let pup explore around on leash, but if he looks at you, moves to your left side, walks accidently in heel position, be quick to praise and reward. This is just getting your puppy used walking next to you, and being comfortable there. When he starts walking on your left on his own for treats, extend the number of paces he walks before a reward gradually.

Next step is having him walk next to you, and give you eye contact before he gets a treat. Work on these basics for a few weeks - don't ask for too much too fast, show your pup that you are always happy with him - if you get frustrated, he really won't understand why, and may stop offering and trying new behaviours for fear that he will displease you.

Hope this helps!

As for jumping, you will run into some heated debates on what is best for a puppy, but for me, if the pup could easily jump in and out of my vehicule, than that was when I stopped the lifting and carrying.

Lucia


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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 09:21 PM
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Try to think if it from a dog's point of view - sitting (down) from a stand is not the same as sitting (up) from a down. To us it is, but not to a dog. Obviously, he hasn't generalized the sit command yet to understand it means his butt is planted on the floor no matter what position he was in prior to that. And as Diane said, he's just a baby! So I wouldn't expect him to understand the difference yet and I'd be helping him when he gets stuck by luring him with a treat and then marking and rewarding when he gets it right. Eventually he'll get it, but please keep your expectations realistic.

Right now his attention span is very short, so several small burst of training a day is MUCH better than longer sessions where he can't help but check out on you.

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LondonnZack View Post
you guys have any tips for GSD pups on being dominate and alpha without intimidating, like going out the front door of the house?
I'm not sure what you are asking? Are you looking for tips on how to establish yourself as Alpha without intimidating him?

Don't worry about it. In his eyes, you are a King Kong, and he is a baby - he looks up (waaayyyy up) to you for protections, for leadership, for play, for food, for safety and survival. If a pup this age is secretly plotting to overthrow your Alpha status so he can take over, send him to a science lab for testing and study, because that is not how puppies think or behave.

I don't let my dogs rush out in front of me when I open the door, because I expect them to sit and wait until I tell them it is okay - not because I have to re-inforce my alpha status, but because I want well-behaved dogs that listen to me and don't run out the door the minute it is open. So my Alpha status is reinforced just by me expecting every-day good behaviour. So just by training him, working with him, teaching him what you want and what you don't want, daily interactions, asking to sit for treat, being consistent, etc, should be all you need to maintain your alpha status.

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-31-2010, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much you guys ill try those tips out and yea i dont wanna be the "alpha" per say I just dont want him bolting out of the house, and the jeep.

I just want him to understand that stay means ::sit in the jeep and dont move til i get back:: i have to get him to understand this before next summer.

I dont mean push him to hard i only do short intervals of training during the day. Lots of play and loving attention and socialization is what i want from him now. I just wasnt sure at his age what to expect from him but now thats all clear!

XOXOXOX ty!
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