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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2012, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Back pedaling on things he knows!

So my 2 year old Titan is very very well trained... or was at least. He is good with all the basics and a good variation of other commands he learns in SAR. Lately, by lately I mean in the last 6 or so months, he has been "forgetting" things that used to be so second nature. When he was young I taught him "go get your ball" and "bring it" so that when I halt him mid run I release by saying "ok," which is my command for release form anything, followed by "go get your ball" then "bring it to me." He even had it down to where if I dropped a toy or put one down and told him to "bring it" he would pick it up and keep it in his mouth and bring it to me.. granted if there was the slightest indication that I might throw what ever was in his mouth if he dropped it, he would drop it. But he was fairly good at just carrying the item along until I said "aus" and "leave it."

Since last summer he started this new thing where when playing fetch he would drop the ball abut 5-10 feet from me and sit and wait for me to come pick it up and throw it. This frustrated the heck out of me!! Eventually if I ignore him and keep saying "bring it" he would pick it up, take a step and drop it then sit and wait.. we would play "his" game for every. then finally I would go inside. SOMETIMES he would get the point and start bringing it directly to me again and all was good. He has been doing pretty good lately. mostly when he does that it's when there are other dogs or people around. I almost feel like he was trying to train me like "let me drop this here so you can come get it."

Today was the WORST he has ever been. We started training at a distance today. I used fetch as his distraction, since he si so ball driven. I would throw the ball and as soon as he would get it I would tell him "wait" and he would stop and drop the ball and just wait. I would say "ok, bring it" and he would pick up the ball and bring it to me. At first he brought it right to me. Then after the first time he wouldn't he acted like he didn't even know what I was asking. So I thought I would go back to basics and work on "bring it" again and he still acted like he didn't know what i was talking about. I would point to it and say "get your ball" and he would and I'd say "bring it" and he would drop it.. then come to me. We tried this for a solid 10 minutes and the closest I got was him bringing it 10 feet from me. Then dropping it. I'm so confused and at a loss I don't know how to train that back into him. Some days he's good.. most he's not anymore. What is going on??? help and advice pleeeeeeease

v/r,

Whitney
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2012, 06:25 PM
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Your mistake was playing his game. When he does not bring the ball to you, you should pick the ball, and any other toys up and put them in a bin for the day. You are not doing a forced retrieve? It is a game. You throw, he fetches and brings it back to be thrown once more. When you put the toys away when he is playing with you, you are making a consequence and also building frustration. After you have put the toys away, I would ignore him for 10 minutes and afterwards get the treat bag and clicker and get him to do other obedience exercises. Sitz, Platz, Fuss, etc. Teach him a new trick, like wave or spin (and spun which would be the other direction) maybe do some rear end awareness exercises too.

It is also an indication that he is tired or hurt I have found with my shepherd, if you have been playing for a bit. If this is the case, vary your play. Bring a flirt pole into the mix and other games that do not require him to run at full speed, just more agility.

Edit to add: If he is over the top with the ball, to the point he is not thinking anymore and is thinking BALLBALLBALLBALLBALLBALLBALL like this, you might want to try working on distance with another object that he is not so crazy over. When he has that down pact with the lesser object, take the ball out once more.

-Cassie
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Last edited by ShenzisMom; 01-28-2012 at 06:29 PM.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2012, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Well I did notice that when he gets tired of playing.. he will do this. Today, he did it before we got anything accomplished at all. I feel bad when I get frustrated with him because I know the he can sense it. I really should do more agility with him. That's not something I have every worked on.. I think I'll look into stuff to set up in my yard. I have a really good sized one to keep things set up in.

v/r,

Whitney
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2012, 06:40 PM
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Don't feel bad. We all get frustrated sometimes and that is why you are ignoring him for 10 minutes - not for his benefit!

So what you need to work on is to find the point where he still wants to play, and is still eager for the ball. How many throws does it take for him to start this behaviour? and -5 or 8 throws from that. If you notice he is doing it after one throw, then too bad that is all the play he gets for the day.

Getting the agility equipment is an excellent idea! Keep your lessons very short, lots of praise/treats in the beginning. When you teach him jumps, make sure to introduce them almost painfully slowly. Have him walk threw the bars without the bar for a few sessions, then put the bar on the ground for him to step over for a few sessions, and then start putting the jumps on the lowest level and go from there. I know it seems a little silly, but I would worry about stressing him physically if he is not used to structured jumps.

-Cassie
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2012, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Sounds good to me! I think he would actually be great in agility once he actually understands it. He played around with a few things at a dog park once and he didn't show too much interest in them but when we do building searches in SAR and the victim had to climb on somethign to get to their spot, he will do everything in his power to get up to their level no matter how many things he needs to scale or climb.. it's rather amazing to watch when he's into the "game." As for his play drive.. it's so weird.. his play drive is like 150% he ALWAYS wants to play. I mean to the obsession point. He will take out anything in the way of him and is ball (More specifically, my new puppy and neighbor's kids), not aggressively just in the "nothing else matters because I want that ball/stick/tire." Which is why I started to incorporate some obedience in his "play time" which was suggested to my by Athena's Breeder since she is also an obedience trainer. But today it was like.. he didn't want to. Could be because we just got back from SAR an hour or so before. Have any other suggestions?

v/r,

Whitney
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2012, 07:26 PM
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regroup and start training/retraining again.
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