Need some Rally help - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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Need some Rally help

We just started Rally class a couple of weeks ago. Gunny seemed to enjoy it, but now I think he's kind of bored with it. Its not nearly as fun as Agility. Anyway, I can't get him to halt (sit) EVER! I've tried really good treats (we are still in the training stage) and sweet talk. He'll have nothing to do with it - during Rally time. He'll sit all day long for treats at home. Its getting frustrating and I'm ready to quit. We have competition night in 2 weeks for the last night and I want my GSD to beat the fur off those Labs! Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 10:22 AM
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I've never tried agility, but I love rally and so does my dog, Timber.

Hang in there! Have a little patience and press on. He'll get it.

My first question is: Does Gunny know to halt in all other contexts besides home?
If he hasn't practiced the halt in different places with all kinds of distractions, this may be the problem.

If you are absolutely sure that he knows that halt means halt no matter where you are, then I would give him a correction for refusal to do it.

Anytime my dog is having a problem with an exercise, I start asking for that particular behavior before meal times, for treats, and just random times throughout the day. By doing it like that, they catch on pretty quick.

Also, do you by chance use a clicker? My dogs love working for their click and treat. Maybe that would help.

I'd really like to see you beat the fur off those Labs!!!!! Good luck!!!!

By the way, I think Gunny is gorgeous!!!!

Last edited by Karla; 08-17-2011 at 10:24 AM. Reason: wanted to add a comment
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 11:32 AM
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As Karla mentioned, dogs don't globalize behaviors well and need a lot of work to get to the point where they will perform in different and distracting environments, not just in familiar ones. Just because they know "sit" at home or in a class where they go regularly, doesn't mean they really know it in other situations. More often than not it is lack of truly understanding the exercise and globalizing it that leads to failure to perform, not disobedience. So the first thing to do is practice this in all sorts of different places, telling and showing him what you want him to do and then rewarding him for doing so.

Also remember that in Rally the dog doesn't have to sit at halt automatically. You can give a verbal command, hand signal, or both when you come to a halt to cue the dog to sit. So if he'll sit when told to, even if not automatic, that's no big deal for Rally.


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 12:41 PM
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Help him with the halt sit. Lure with treat. Tell him to sit. He needs help with this at class. If he is doing it at home you have the first step. He is distracted or stressed st class if he is not performing as at home. This means more assistance is needed. If he is not super proficient and happy in the behavior, I would not add any correction. He is not ready for that.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 01:14 PM
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Two days? He knows sit? Then stop, stop training altogether. Oh, its two weeks. Ok, that gives you a little time. If he is ready for competition in two weeks, he should be beyond treats. But that is just me. You cannot wave a strip of bacon in front of him in the ring.

Rally is fun, and you can repeat commands, and move your hands and such. I think this causes people problems. There is nothing more annoying than some old lady with a pitch in her voice telling her little monster dog to sit seventeen times. For one thing, the dog tones you out. So if you are repeating commands at all, stop. If you halt and tell the dog to sit, and he does not, help him, run your hand down the back and a little pressure to the waist or tuck under. Do not allow him EVER to hear a sit command and not end up in the SIT position.

At the same time, you do not want to go over board, cramming for this test in two weeks. Several times a day, in your drive way or on your daily walk, just do some four sign routines. (Signs in your head): Halt sit, walk forward four steps, Halt Sit Down Walk around, walk forward six steps, 1 step 2 step 3 step halt, walk forward, 360 degrees left. This is about 1 minute or less of training.

Mix it up, come fronts, finish left halt, finish right forward. Do these little four sign routines three or four times in a walk, or a couple of times a day, but do not do much the day before.

Get to the show early, check out the map, figure out where any issues might be, and do a four sign routine with one or two of those in them, maybe do another four sign routine and then stop, relax with your dog. Do the walk through a couple of times, and Good luck.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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My first question is: Does Gunny know to halt in all other contexts besides home?
If he hasn't practiced the halt in different places with all kinds of distractions, this may be the problem.

If you are absolutely sure that he knows that halt means halt no matter where you are, then I would give him a correction for refusal to do it.

Also, do you by chance use a clicker? My dogs love working for their click and treat. Maybe that would help.

Yes, he knows halt. I really think he's either bored or distracted. Believe it or not, he's kind of lazy during class. I need to work on the halt in other places than at home. It could be the environment and that makes sense.

Haven't tried the clicker and don't know much about it. We've been in obedience training from puppy kindergarten, thru intermediate and agility novice (over a year's time). I could give that a shot too.

Thank you all for the great advise.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 04:23 PM
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What sort of training do they teach you to build drive? A GSD can look lazy if they are not worked in drive. Too many classes I see make obedience boring.

I would not push my dog for an artificial competition goal. More important to find what makes him energetic and tail wagging in training. Enthusiasm is most important for competition.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 08:28 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Samba View Post
What sort of training do they teach you to build drive? A GSD can look lazy if they are not worked in drive. Too many classes I see make obedience boring.

I would not push my dog for an artificial competition goal. More important to find what makes him energetic and tail wagging in training. Enthusiasm is most important for competition.
I'm not sure what the problem is. We had class last night. He does all the stations perfect with the exception of the sit. He just stands there and won't pay attention. I tried hotdogs and he just wasn't interested. I tried happy excited voice and same response. Had a discussion with the trainer and we think maybe he won't sit because he's tiried of the command. I have a young niece and nephew who like to give him treats and ask him to sit... a lot. So, we are on a "sit" break this week and see how it goes next week. I know this sounds silly, but I had a dog who sat on command before and really don't know what the heck is going on with him.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 09:14 AM
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Samba good point about the enthusiasm, I ran into that with my guy at CGC yesterday but I brought toys and worked him on the side also let him play a little, he was totally bored with walking around cones (loose leash). He also decided at times not to sit, and I'm no dog trainer but with horses if you stop without getting the desired result you just taught your horse that he won. So with dog I made him sit no matter what, I stood in front and walked at him, or pushed his butt down, but when I said "sit" that's what I was going to get from him, pretty sit or not.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-25-2011, 09:42 PM
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As suggested by others, work on making sure that he really DOES understand the halt, sit in environments other than your home. Practice on the sidewalk, in front of the local KMart, near the elementary school at recess/lunch time, etc. If you are sure he understands in various contexts, and he still seems to want to refuse in a ring setting, try picking up your walking pace. Echo does much better when I walk fast enough to keep her moving. And remember, the standard for all Rally rings calls for a "brisk" pace, so by moving a fraction faster you can keep Gunny thinking about your (and his) next move. That may que his interest in doing a fast sit at your halts.

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