How to "tweak" this... - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-04-2010, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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How to "tweak" this...

When my pup gets loaded up about something, he will unload into his obedience behaviors so nicely. I just can't seem to figure out how to frustrate him a bit so that he puts that energy into obedience.

Tonight the cat started scratching at the door to the training room. Okay, death wish kitty. Hogan busted the door open and got the cat. No harm, just that German Shepherd sschmmoooosh the kitty to the floor behavior. I rescued the cat and set her up on top of the shelf nearby.

Hogan was tweaked!! He did things in two minutes of obedience he has never done before. Grabbed DB and brought it to me, tugged with it and outed. Heeling like a bouncing maniac. Slammed into me on his fronts.

Short of inviting the cat to each session for a spectator seat on the shelf, how can I load the dog up for obedience? He seems to thrive on a bit of frustration and I am not good at getting it so far.


Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2010, 12:05 AM
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What motivates him the most?


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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2010, 01:46 AM
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Samba are you SURE Stark and Hogan are not littermates???

I usually can get him ramped up by playing "smack the puppy" or really rough housing with him. That works for Stark. I also do a bit of tug play with him and really tease him with it.

The cat works too..

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2010, 08:42 AM
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Usually I start a session with something Ike knows well to warm him up. Well, last night I decided to go a different route and started with some marker capturing stuff (just rewarding him anytime he grabs the middle of the dumbbell) - which he is really bad at because his frustration threshold is so low.
By the time we were done with the dumbbell, he was so frustrated and has worked himself into such a pitch (and probably so happy we were done with that stuff) he did the rest of the exercises with an extra little bounce in his step ...
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2010, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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I think Ike 'wants" something though.. so you can get the frustration going.

It's probably something I am doing or not doing.

Food is not terribly motivating. He is spoiled with his meals, I think. He has gourmet tastes anyway. Could alter things around that.

The toy is not over the top motivation at this point. Perhaps that is due to my not playing it enough with him. I do get it out pretty often though; and do short play sessions after also short training to try and develop the drive for that.

I could "smack the baby" and get him going. If it caused him to hop around and bark like it does the Border Collie, I would find it more appealing. He likes it, but stands on his hind legs, holds me with his mouth and front legs and propells me across the room in reaction to some rough play. Oh that's pretty. I then have to get a bit of control of this... and we are back to control more than drive.

He's nuts in protection the few times I have tried it, so its not like he is a dead head with no drive. It must be me.

Perhaps I am in to self preservation and just have not engaged him enough. He is not aggressive with me, but he is very physical.

Primary motivators: cat and helper. Me, not so much.
Ha! I am neither cat-like nor helper-like!!

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2010, 10:39 AM
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Well, I was going to suggest that whatever he likes most you can use in the same way you used the Cat. Tease him and then put it somewhere he can't get it. Maybe he doesn't get it every time you work also. I think people sometimes make the mistake of letting the dog have what they want all the time or they give it to them for every little thing they do, so, it becomes boring.
Tying a dog out and teasing them, ( without letting them bite whatever it is you are using for that), is a great way to build drive and interest. Just don't dump all the drive you create by giving the dog the tug or whatever it is you are using. He wants the cat because he can't have the cat. Use the same idea with the tug or whatever. Just like the mailman, dogs want the mailman because they can't get to the mailman and the mailman "teases" the dog on a daily basis. People should keep that in mind in SchH protection also because they are giving the dog the sleeve WAY too much.


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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2010, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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I did just try some teasing and put the tug up with him still really trying to get it and then ran him to be put away... now boring. I think this may really help. I am going to have to do more teasing sessions though. I lost an undergarmet during this one. Had a sudden switch of tug item. Yeah, and I had clothes on! Don't hold the tug in front of you too close!

Funniest thing. When I first started the play session, I got quiet and creepy. He got still and was watching me. I then "hopped" straight up.
Hoag threw his fronts legs out in play but the hop so startled him he had a sharp intake of air and went into one of those reverse sneeze, honking situations. Yes, me moving that fast is just that shocking. It was the laugh of the day.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2010, 10:57 AM
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Don't have him do obedience for it until you have worked him for a couple of weeks with the teasing or until you see that he REALLY wants it. Then, make sure you don't go back to the old ways where he gets to tug for doing nothing. He has to earn it.


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2010, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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Experiment on!

I am trying to think of ways to frustrate him in this. I took another dog down to train and made sure I was exhuberantly loud enough for the pup to hear. He did start crying and scratching at his crate. Perhaps this will help too. The other dog looked at me like, "I ain't gone deef, woman!"

The two rescues I have didn't even know toys. I "worked" outside their crates every day with toys for a long time. I played with the toy, threw it around, had a lot fun with it without even looking at them or trying to engage. It did take weeks, but they started to want that toy and now are very good with toys. Why I can't think of these things with the "special" dog, I don't know. The ones I am most interested in their performance, do the worst!
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-06-2010, 11:12 PM
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Try paring the cat or dog training with the toy. Tie the dog out. Pick the cat up and put it on the shelve or play with another dog. When the dog show excitement and energy due to the cat or training pull out the toy and play/ redirect him onto the special toy. Soon when you pull out the special toy it should have an association with the cat or training the other dog and that drive/energy/excitement should carry over to a large extent.
Does that make sense to you? I'm having a hard time explaining it with outgoing into a lot of behaviorist babble
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