Down while playing - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-13-2017, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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Down while playing

Hello!!

Im looking for some advice and suggestions regarding a small training difficulty im having with my 6 month female GSD. We have been working since the start on the basic training: sit, stay, down, come and a few other things around eating and so on. In general she is quiet good, and eager to learn whenever we have training. For the last few weeks ive been using a flirt pole with a piece of braided cloth at the end for exercise and training. She loves that play and gets very excited, so I started to introduce other things in between, like she is chasing the rag, then I stop and have her sit and wait until I let her run after it again.. she starts to get it and its working... except for 'down'! I mean, in normal situation she responds immediatly to the 'down' command, so I think she knows what it means. When doing the training in tehe flirt pole session though , she obeys the other commands, she does 'sit' , 'stay' , 'wait' and even comes toa heel position if I ask.... but she will not go 'down'! no matter i much I wait, wait a bit, repeat the command, she makes a whining kind of sound, moves around and sits again, but no down. I take the flirst pole away, walk away, call her and have her go down, and she goes down. .. im confused, not sure what is happening.. any ideas?

thanks
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-13-2017, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shanti View Post
Hello!!

Im looking for some advice and suggestions regarding a small training difficulty im having with my 6 month female GSD. We have been working since the start on the basic training: sit, stay, down, come and a few other things around eating and so on. In general she is quiet good, and eager to learn whenever we have training. For the last few weeks ive been using a flirt pole with a piece of braided cloth at the end for exercise and training. She loves that play and gets very excited, so I started to introduce other things in between, like she is chasing the rag, then I stop and have her sit and wait until I let her run after it again.. she starts to get it and its working... except for 'down'! I mean, in normal situation she responds immediatly to the 'down' command, so I think she knows what it means. When doing the training in tehe flirt pole session though , she obeys the other commands, she does 'sit' , 'stay' , 'wait' and even comes toa heel position if I ask.... but she will not go 'down'! no matter i much I wait, wait a bit, repeat the command, she makes a whining kind of sound, moves around and sits again, but no down. I take the flirst pole away, walk away, call her and have her go down, and she goes down. .. im confused, not sure what is happening.. any ideas?

thanks

After she refuses to down when you are playing with the flirt pole what do you do? Do you give another command and then continue playing? Or do you end the game and put the toy up? If you've ever gived in maybe she's thinking she doesn't have to do it and can get away with it. I've never had this problem with my dog but I'm thinking she might be having difficulty connecting the two exercises and getting confused in the situation. She might know Down inside a calm environment but when you bring out the flirt pole all that excitement might be getting her too amped up and she's forgetting. Does she have a visual down cue? Maybe try coaxing her into the position with a visual cue as well or food? When she ignores the command I would stop play immediately, put the flirt pole up. Practice downs often and in distracting environments. She might just be getting overloaded for her age and experience. Do you reward each command done correctly (verbal praise?)?

SQUIRREL!
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-13-2017, 11:46 AM
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Agree with Gandalf.. way too much distraction, Down is a super hard command for a dog that is excited. The most submissive command and often drive ending command. Many dogs learn that the down is a good thing in bite/prey work and the faster they down, the fast the play begins.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-13-2017, 12:29 PM
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The picture I see is a bit different. If you have said down and then the game ends, she may be learning a second meaning to the down command specific to flirt pole play. If you tell her down and she doesn't, just help her get into the position. Say good girl and release to play.
May take extra time and work but since she is self disciplined enough with the other commands when playing flirt, reinforcing the down would be the next step in the game imho.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-13-2017, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GandalfTheShepherd View Post
After she refuses to down when you are playing with the flirt pole what do you do? Do you give another command and then continue playing? Or do you end the game and put the toy up? If you've ever gived in maybe she's thinking she doesn't have to do it and can get away with it. I've never had this problem with my dog but I'm thinking she might be having difficulty connecting the two exercises and getting confused in the situation. She might know Down inside a calm environment but when you bring out the flirt pole all that excitement might be getting her too amped up and she's forgetting. Does she have a visual down cue? Maybe try coaxing her into the position with a visual cue as well or food? When she ignores the command I would stop play immediately, put the flirt pole up. Practice downs often and in distracting environments. She might just be getting overloaded for her age and experience. Do you reward each command done correctly (verbal praise?)?

Ive tried several things to be honest.. maybe not consistent. at the start I would try another command, get her to sit, or heel and then go back to play and then try down again. after a few times I insist in the down and wait, she just sits there looking at me.. I tried a few times to use food to lure her into a down as when I first taught her down - but no - her eyes are just on the pole even ignores the food. lately ive been doing that - when she ignores the down after I repeat it a few times, I put the pole away and stop the playing, not sure though if she is connecting the end of play to not going down... still feel something is missing. I always praise on executing the command, at this stage and in this situation if I ask for more than 1 command I reward with food, and at the last one I reward with more pole play.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-13-2017, 12:45 PM
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She is way too amped during play to comply.Practice a few downs at the beginning of your train/play period.Lure her with the tip of the flirt pole if she's really excited.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-13-2017, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Heartandsoul View Post
The picture I see is a bit different. If you have said down and then the game ends, she may be learning a second meaning to the down command specific to flirt pole play. If you tell her down and she doesn't, just help her get into the position. Say good girl and release to play.
May take extra time and work but since she is self disciplined enough with the other commands when playing flirt, reinforcing the down would be the next step in the game imho.
That only happened a few times, and always because she refused to down, so I ended the game. Im finding it hard to correct her in that time because she wont follow the food lure to down when I have the flirt pole in my hand, and a more trying to physically move her down doesnt work either, she just stands up. So I tried to put away the pole, get her to down as normally, which she does and then I get the pole again to play- but i feel this is still having some disconnect.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-13-2017, 01:39 PM
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I like to teach my dogs to obey commands even when the toys are around. Right now, your pup is too excited to obey when the toy is in action, I think. You could, perhaps, teach her in increments to "down" around the flirt pole. For instance, ask her to down while the flirt pole is across the yard lying on the grass. When she can do that, move closer, until you are holding the toy but not waving it. Put a leash on her while training so that you can physically move her into a down if she doesn't listen. Don't repeat commands. Reward her with a treat and/or some time playing with the toy when she listens. Eventually she should be able to down even when playing. Remain calm and don't get mad while she is learning. Puppies have to learn to obey in different places, situations, and scenarios. You may have to physically help her get into the right position for a while (I don't mean roughly or violently). Sometimes treats just aren't effective when a dog is amped up.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 05:18 AM
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Just a thought, do you do much distance training with basic commands when no toys are involved?

With Nero I have worked on a lot of distance control and growing this distance more and more.

But always getting Sit, Down and Stand before moving further away.
Also if he didn't understand I would move a bit closer and make a bigger body movement.

This might help before involving a toy and excitement.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions so far. Im trying some of the suggestions here, and I think in general the idea that she is too excited to do a down is probably right, also the last comment about distance has some relevance, but its not the whole thing. Today I got her to do a down in the middle of the flirt pole play.. was hard, very very reluctant, and not really fully down, like down, but not belly on the floor, like ready to go... but i rewarded that anyway and I guess its progress!
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