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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-04-2015, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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Stay means stay

I need some advice. Simba has been training for competitive obedience for about 8 months. I am really struggling to teach him to stay. He is so so so stubborn so teaching him anything has been really difficult. I am also not the best handler and this is my first time to train a dog anything but the basic manners.
I seem to be going backwards with him. I had started of by standing about a meter away and rewarding him every few seconds with a click and a treat. Then I would build up the time in between rewards and slowly built up distance. It was going well and I could get a solid 30 seconds before rewarding and a full minute in total.The trainer from our class recommended not using treats at all because it encourages him to come to me. But now I can't get him to do it at all. I can't get him even sit at my side when it comes to stays now. He is constantly looking around he licks his lips, he stands up and when I try to put him back into the stay he won't sit down. I was told to push him bum down and not to let him away with it. Keep putting him back until he finally does it but now I feel like he is anxious and that s why he keeps licking his lips.
Any advice on techniques? I feel like forcing him to do it by not letting him get away with it is making him dislike it altogether but then if I let him get away with it I am letting him win
Training can be very difficult!!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-04-2015, 07:48 PM
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I've made the same training mistakes by conditioning a dog to become "treat" reliant.....it works ....sort of... but the dog isn't working for you, it's working for the food, which becomes problematic over time. Some smart people in this forum offered advice to my situation which was somewhat similar to yours.....more regarding how to wean a dog off of constant rewarding whatever form it takes. It is a process but easily done.

Maybe some of the more experienced trainers can correct my opinion but I have taken an approach where the dog does what I ask because I told the dog to do it and understands somewhere along the line, the dog will be rewarded but it is the anticipation of the reward which keeps the dog captivated. And no longer is the reward a scrap of food....it's most always engagement of some sort...a break from the training which involves me....not a morsel of food.

I might be more of a hard ass if I had your dog and hook my dog back up to a lead and "sit on the dog" a bit.....make it understand that you mean what you say and will follow through enforcing it via control which the dog cannot escape....starting with the basics....the dog acts accordingly then the dog gets to be a dog for it's reward....engagement with the human....fun for all.

Treats and clickers are probably great to teach new skills and behaviors but once they have displayed the capacity to execute...you need to raise your expectations and no longer lure the dog into the behavior with a piece of bait and a click.

These dogs are smart and know how to work the program IMHO....and since they are smart they also know how to make the proper decision when given clear choices.


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-04-2015, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axel13 View Post
He is constantly looking around he licks his lips, he stands up and when I try to put him back into the stay he won't sit down. I was told to push him bum down and not to let him away with it. Keep putting him back until he finally does it but now I feel like he is anxious and that s why he keeps licking his lips.
This is stress. IMO, you are putting to much pressure on him. Alot of dogs will backslide at about 8-9 months. Why not take a step back and try a different way. If food works for you right now, then use it. He's still a young dog. Don't put so much pressure on him that you ruin it.

I think the idea of not using treats because it encourages him to come to you is crap. Where are you rewarding? If you ONLY reward when he stays and ONLY at the position where he's staying, then it will not make him come to you. The reward is not there. The reward is at the stay.

So stop...take a step back. Put him in a sit and take a step away. Go back and reward. Take 10 steps out and go back and reward. Instead of rewarding duration. Reward him for not moving. Put a high value on the sit.

AND DON'T BEAT IT TO DEATH!!!! If you get 30 seconds then break the sit and play ball with him. Exercise over. Give him a way to release his stress.




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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-04-2015, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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This is stress. IMO, you are putting to much pressure on him. Alot of dogs will backslide at about 8-9 months. Why not take a step back and try a different way. If food works for you right now, then use it. He's still a young dog. Don't put so much pressure on him that you ruin it.

I think the idea of not using treats because it encourages him to come to you is crap. Where are you rewarding? If you ONLY reward when he stays and ONLY at the position where he's staying, then it will not make him come to you. The reward is not there. The reward is at the stay.

So stop...take a step back. Put him in a sit and take a step away. Go back and reward. Take 10 steps out and go back and reward. Instead of rewarding duration. Reward him for not moving. Put a high value on the sit.

AND DON'T BEAT IT TO DEATH!!!! If you get 30 seconds then break the sit and play ball with him. Exercise over. Give him a way to release his stress.
Thank you for the advice. I was doing just what you described up until about last week and I felt we where making some progress. Then I was told no food rewards just verbal and praise and to keep putting him back into the sit every time he breaks and if he refused just push his bottom to the floor. Now he doesn't want to sit for me at all when we are at the class. I really think he is getting more and more anxious. Previously when he broke stays I would put him back in it but if he refused to sit back down I would would just completely ignore him or if we are at home I walk out of the room and leave him alone for a few minutes. This always did the trick and he was willing to do it when I came back in. Then I would reward and praise and stop working with him and throw the ball or let him go play with his brother.

When I was using food rewards I would put him in a sit, tell him to stay, take a few steps back and after a few seconds I would walk back up to him and reward but not release, then I would repeat. At first I was doing 20 seconds and rewarding every 5 seconds and over a few weeks I built it up to 1 minute and reward every 30 seconds. I moved on to 40 seconds but he would break it after about 35 so I moved back to 32 seconds.

I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. I know I have no experience in obedience at all and I am not a good handler and the people at the class have years of experience and have reached such high levels and are brilliant handlers but I know my dog better then anyone else and I know when he is uncomfortable. I would rather call it quits then have a scared and anxious dog.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-04-2015, 09:23 PM
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I think the problem is you went from 60 to zero and he's confused. Obviously, what you are now doing isn't working. All dogs are different. Some will work for praise and be happy with it. I was taught with my first dog praise only. And it didn't work.

So I look at it this way. If you went to work Monday thru Friday and on Friday they paid you. Then suddenly on Friday they decided..meh...work for praise. Are you going to come back on Monday?

There has to be a reward. It has to be a reward that works for the dog. I started training my boy with food. I used his meals. Then we moved on to a ball. We build duration on all exercises. But he always gets a reward at the end. He always wins.

As far as him refusing and you leaving the room? I would not do that. First rule always...don't beat it to death. If you get a sit at 30 seconds and that's what you wanted...you are done. Move on to something else. If he's just refusing to sit, then you make him. At some point, he has to learn that he HAS to do this. But if you correct him and he does it, reward him! Reward that sit! Reward the position! Often. Don't always put him in a sit and leave him. Sit! Reward! Sit! Stay! Reward! Sit! Reward! If it's boring and stressful he isn't going to want to do it.




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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-04-2015, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Axel13 View Post

I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. I know I have no experience in obedience at all and I am not a good handler and the people at the class have years of experience and have reached such high levels and are brilliant handlers but I know my dog better then anyone else and I know when he is uncomfortable. I would rather call it quits then have a scared and anxious dog.
Maybe your own trepidation/ doubts/lack of confidence are the source of your dog feeling "uncomfortable". Every "good handler" with "years of experience" who have obtained such "high levels" started off in your shoes.... cut yourself some slack and exude the leadership/confidence your dog deserves and desires.



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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-04-2015, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axel13 View Post
I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. I know I have no experience in obedience at all and I am not a good handler and the people at the class have years of experience and have reached such high levels and are brilliant handlers but I know my dog better then anyone else and I know when he is uncomfortable. I would rather call it quits then have a scared and anxious dog.
First off, don't compare yourself or your dog to others. Secondly, I think Jax is right, you are deviating away from how your dog became comfortable with learning sit/stay, topping it off with a group of other dogs and people, and then expecting the same reaction, despite the changes in your behavior and environment. Your expectations of the outcome changed when you saw how other people were training their dogs the same commands.

Most trainers I have met have been open and understanding when I discussed my challenges and difficulties with their training methods, particularly when the training methods were to be used simultaneously by an entire group. If you share with your trainer what you have shared with this forum, maybe your trainer would understand and allow for you to provide and alternate reward method? If the other owners/handlers are so great, their dogs should not be deterred by the awesome smell of a treat you are giving your dog during sit/stay, and the class should go on without a hitch.
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