Overly excited while training? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-28-2017, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Overly excited while training?

So my 7 month old puppy (will be 8 months on the 1st) is very trainable in general; he just has some excitement issues. When I say say "excited", I don't totally mean having little self-control. His stays are immaculate, he waits perfectly for his food until I release him, he waits at open doorways, he will stay in a down in his kennel with the door open until I release him, etc. What I do mean is that when I am working on teaching new things to him (or even reviewing old commands), he gets very animated and he takes treats much less gracefully.

Right now I am trying to teach him to retrieve my emergency medication on command. My medication bottles (which are currently empty for training) are in a canvas bag that zips shut, so he isn't in any danger of accidentally ingesting medicine. When he sees me get the bag out to work on training, he starts jumping all over the place. I put him in a sit/stay, which he does just fine, but when I tell him to fetch the bag, he makes a mad dash over to the shelf, snatches it up, shakes his head around, then runs back over to me. Occasionally he will try to chew the bag before he gives it to me. He used to be so excited that he would bite a little too hard to get treats from me, so we have since switched over to tug toys as his reward.

Sometimes when we have training sessions, he will randomly start doing tricks before I even tell him what to do. I am not sure how to get him to be more calm when I teach him things. He just gets SO excited about training and working. Does anyone have any advice on how to get him to be more calm? How can I get him to see my medicine bag is not a toy, when I have never allowed him to play with it in the first place? Is this just a puppy thing that will get better as he gets older?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-29-2017, 01:11 PM
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If this were my pup, I would back up a bit(figuratively speaking). Have your bag next to you and your dog then ask your dog to give it to you. That way, you can take the bag quickly before much mouthing or shaking happens. Once you pup understands and does this reliably, you can increase the distance between the pup and bag a little at a time.

I'm not a trainer but I figured I would offer what I would do. One thing I learned because of my boy is how to step away from an issue and look at it piece by piece.

Btw, sounds like your pup just has a love for working for you and a great bond you have created. Hopefully real trainers will come on to offer their advice.

"If you can't see his soul when you look in his eyes, then you need a seeing-eye dog"

Last edited by Heartandsoul; 04-29-2017 at 01:17 PM.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-29-2017, 01:47 PM
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Try backing off on the rewards.Only reward after a sequence of commands or tricks over longer periods of time.Calmly spoken "good job" as you go along and an "EH!" when he gets too amped up and pause until he calms down a little.
You might try being next to him when he picks up the bag,have him sit holding it,and then out it calmly,"good job."Next he could bring it just a couple of steps if he's remaining calm before outing.And so on,keeping it low key.
You can teach him play time will come at the end of training instead of during,building up the duration.
My boy gets excited when training too.He's come to understand when I tell him gently but firmly"gotta do some work first".If he starts getting antsy I'll have him do one more familiar command,then it's treats and a break for play time.It takes some experimenting to keep up the enthusiasm without over stimulating.

Terri

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Misty Husky Mix
Z-Z Terrier/potato mix
Devo Yorkie Mix at the bridge
Dakota Wht GSD at the bridge
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses, guys. I'll try having him right beside me when I ask for the bag. Maybe it is just the distance that's causing him to get so excited. I'm used to him being so smart that he can learn full commands in just a few training sessions, so it is possible that I might be going too fast for him when he isn't ready to move to the next step yet.

Also, would you suggest having a rigorous play session before we start training so that he's already slightly tired? Or would that just make him be in "play" mode so training would be difficult?

He's at the point now that play is his absolute favorite thing. So much so, that he won't even take high value treats that I offer him. I've never seen a dog so toy motivated before! I have a bit of difficulty trying to keep him calm as well as rewarding his good behavior with play. How did you first start teaching your dog that play would only come at the end of the session, Dogma? Should I just have very short sessions and reward with play when he does well, then end the session there?
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 01:05 PM
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It might be a good idea to tire him out some before training.Then a period of rest/calm before a training session.As far as spacing out rewards,if you were rewarding after each successful completion of a command - try after every third completion,next every fifth or sixth,and so on.You'll see when he begins to get bored and lose focus and needs to be "paid"(rewarded).It varies depending on long your particular dog will work until he needs a little enthusiasm boost.If he really enjoys what he's doing he may go on for fairly long periods.Sometimes a dog finds the act of doing what you want and interacting with you very rewarding in itself

Terri

Samson Blk/Slvr GSD. RN
Misty Husky Mix
Z-Z Terrier/potato mix
Devo Yorkie Mix at the bridge
Dakota Wht GSD at the bridge
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