Some tips on tricks and commands... - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-01-2008, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Some tips on tricks and commands...

Hi all just wanted to ask a few tips concerning some obedience and tricks I've been trying to teach my 5 month old boy so far.

Firstly this is my first time working with a large breed and the first time in 15 years (and yes my old gal, sabi the 15 year old pom is stick fierce and furious ^_^) so I'm unsure as to where my puppy should be in terms of his ability to handle commands.

My three main questions are:
1. I've been trying to get him to do pee/poo and speak on command, everytime he barks/pees/poos I go "Good speak!, Good pee, and Good Poop" and praise him. Yet after a few week of this he kind of just ignores me or looks at me...and if I use "Pee, speak" he just ignores me. I'm not sure if I'm doing this correctly or not
2. Initially I did not allow him to jump up on me or anyone at all...at the advice of my friend I decided to teach him "hug" in order to control the behavior (he still did it when he got really excited) and it's kinda backfired...he jumps on people when they have treats or if he gets worked up.
3. Lunging at the end of his leash...I've been doing loose leash training with him (walking around with a 15 foot lead and ignoring him, or when on a regular walk doing the "turn around" when he pulls") and for the most part he does well...however lately he will get riled up about something and just lunge! He does this so forcefully, one day he pretty much just "snapped" into the air and fell on side! What's going on with this behavior? How do I correct it?

Sorry for the long post, but I'm just looking for some good advice. I have been taking him to obedience class and he does amazing during class, but afterwards...

~Lee
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-01-2008, 08:59 PM
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Re: Some tips on tricks and commands...

First keep in mind he is just a baby. It sounds like you are asking a lot from this baby. He is still in the imprinting stage of many behaviours.
1. Its fine to use "Good bark" ect but don't expect him to overly connect the command and behaviour too much at this stage. One week is no way near enough for him to be understanding that you want him to offer this behaviour.
2. If you don't want him to jump on people do not allow it at any point. There are those who believe that if you want to get rid of a behaviour then train to only do this on command and don't give the command. This rarely works and definately not at this stage in the game. If you want him to keep his feet on the floor then just distract him every time. If you have the sit nailed down you can give the "Sit" command the moment you see him thinking about jumping. When he sits give praise and treats at a level to mainatain the sit, do not present the treat above his head as this will encourage him to move in an upward motion.
3. Lunging at the end of the leash is not uncommon right now. He has not learned to respect the end of the leash. Is he charging at a distraction? If you can anticipate then use a toy as a distraction to change his mind. You can also help by when you see him tense to charge, change directions and walk the other way. He will learn that charging the leash is not as much fun as seeing what you are up to. While you are walking the other way try to call his name and act excited and happy. He will soon want to see what you are up to rather than test the leash which is no fun at all.


Also if he does well at obedience class but not at home examine if your body language changes between the two. Are you more observant and confident during obed. class and maybe a little distracted at home? These dogs are very very smart and will notice the difference. Up your posture, give commands not requests and think confident thoughts at all times while training.

Hope some of this helps.

Sharon, Mom to
SAR GSD's
Lexi CGC (Cert. area search)
Neko CGC (Cert. HRD)
Justice CGC (trailing),
BOLO, Bloodhound CGC(trailing)
Titan, Shilo Shepherd (beginning area search)
Kibby(Rodie mix)
Lil Bear and Izzy and Louie(Pom's)
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-01-2008, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Some tips on tricks and commands...

Opps sorry, I had a few typos. I've been doing the "Good pee/poop/bark" thing for a few weeks (about a month). I realize that I'm asking for a lot from him, I just wasn't sure what I should expect in terms of obedience training from a puppy that age, as I said it's been awhile since I've had a puppy.

But I will def. try your method for the lunging! I don't mind it so much, since it's only occasionally, but I walk on a road with a lot of cars and not very much sidewalk, so its a bit worriesome! Thanks so much for the advice.

~Lee
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-01-2008, 11:46 PM
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Re: Some tips on tricks and commands...

It helps to teach your dog what "good" means. Load it with meaning. How do you do this? Sit with your pup, so he's sitting right in front of you, and say "good' in a brisk happy voice; then hand him a tiny treat. And repeat about 20 times. Do this a couple times a day for a couple days.

Now, when you use the word "good," since your dog is a pup, you need to reinforce the meaning of that. Much of the time you're going to say "good" and you're going to hand him a treat. As our dogs master commands, we can phase out the treats. As they learn new commands, we use treats, and we phase out treats more for old commands that they know well.

But I still like to hand out treats occasionally even for the simplest command. My 15 year old still gets a snack for a fast response to a sit command now and then. It reminds her that there's always a chance that there's a paycheck for her work. Random reinforcement. If there's never a paycheck, why work?

With regard to class vs. home, dogs have to perform commands at least 15-20 times in an average of 15-20 different locations (including locations with distractions) before you can be sure that they truly know the command. Why? Because dogs don't generalize well. They don't realize that Sit means I need to Sit everywhere. They learn that Sit means "put my bottom on vinyl floor next to the refrigerator" because you make them sit for dinner. Then you teach them to Sit at the park and that means "put my bottom on the grass or my ball won't be tossed for fetch." Then you make them Sit before you cross streets on your walk. And they learn that "my bottom has to be placed on concrete, and this black asphalt stuff too, or the walk stops." All of these lessons get added to their cognitive database. The more places you take them and reinforce the commands, the faster and better they learn.

Pretty soon, there is enough data there that they realize, "Sit means put my buns on the ground or floor, no matter where I am, what else I want to do, or even if there is a squirrel running by me. "

Then your dog has truly learned what Sit means. One of my trainers always announces in her lower level classes, "You need to be taking your dog everywhere and training him. Don't EVEN come to class and tell me that 'But my dog always does this at home.'" And she has a point. It's one thing to have a dog that follows orders at home. But when our dogs are in public, that's when we really need them to be obedient.

Make sense?
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-02-2008, 11:35 AM
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Re: Some tips on tricks and commands...

Quote:
Quote:
With regard to class vs. home, dogs have to perform commands at least 15-20 times in an average of 15-20 different locations (including locations with distractions) before you can be sure that they truly know the command. Why? Because dogs don't generalize well. They don't realize that Sit means I need to Sit everywhere.
Great point! Wow, I feel like now that Charlie has gotten really good at doing commands at home, I keep reading posts like this, pointing out the real need to work on them everywhere I possibly can! It's exciting, like we will never stop learning and growing with our dogs!

MH & Charlie the GSD (he just turned 1!)

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."

- Will Rogers
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