7 month old won't sit-HELP!(first post) - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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7 month old won't sit-HELP!(first post)

Hi all!

This is my first post but I've been reading and learning so much from these forums so thank you all for being such a great source of information and knowledge. I'm really hoping for some help, although I'm guessing I will have a lot of people (rightfully) telling me I don't have control of my dog and need major intervention.

Here we go: I have a 7 month old female GSD. She comes from a reputable breeder and we got her at almost 9 weeks. I absolutely adore her. I am her primary caretaker as my husband works crazy hours and our 12 and 9 year old are at school, activities, etc. I do not work. She is our only dog, and our previous dog was a lab and probably one of the biggest differences I've noticed thus far is how different the food motivation is. Our lab would do anything for anything (seriously I felt like she'd do a cartwheel if offered toothpaste or cardboard as a reward). This girl is only motivated by very high value treats. She refuses to work for dried liver and meat roll, etc etc and I use (unseasoned) meatballs or baby food (put some on my finger or let her take a few licks from the jar) if I want her to pay attention during our training sessions/as a reward. I got the baby food idea from our training facility because they too had to pull out the big guns to get her focused. I've tried rewarding her with quick play sessions (she loves tug) but I haven't been able to teach a reliable "leave it" (I can't even get her to sit or respond to her name reliably) so it's hard to make it a quick session of tug as a reward for behavior. Also, I use tug as a way to burn off her energy and at the end of about 5 mins or so I let her have the toy in a (possibly misguided) attempt to prevent resource guarding. Thus I don't want to confuse her by changing tug from a fun game she does with mommy (that works out a lot of her energy which is super helpful to me as she is super active) to something that starts complicating our training sessions. Does that make sense? Okay, now that you have the background here's one (of my many) question/dilemmas: When we are training, if I cue "sit" and she does it, I click and treat. (We are using positive reward based training, no e-collar, etc.) However as soon as I've treated her, unless she gets another command ("down) or get's released ("Okay") she'll just sort of slump lazily to the ground. In other words she doesn't have a "SIT" which = I am sitting and will remain here until released or given another command. Should I be rewarding her for her sit and then IMMEDIATELY telling her to "stay" until I release her, or give her another command?

I release this is probably confusing to read and we do group classes twice a week for one hour but they cover a lot of material and it's tough to get detailed with your own dog. I am in the process of arranging private lessons which I think will be much more useful (and still keep the group lessons so we can work on behavior in a distracted setting) so if anyone has recommendations for the Orange County area, I would so appreciate it! (Or if there is anyone/place you know is NOT good, please let me know.) Feel free to DM me!

Many thanks for any and all suggestions/advice, etc.

~Sheila
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 07:53 PM
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Hi Sheila, welcome to the forum! On the sit issue I can see a couple ways you might approach it. One would be to gradually pause longer and longer before clicking and treating. Another would be to add in a stay command and then gradually taper that off and discontinue as she gets the idea.

Good luck, and show us pictures when you can!
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 09:02 PM
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I personally don't follow a "sit" with "stay". The stay is implied. In our case once the reward is given the asked for behavior is over. It is like telling a kid they can have a cookie if they behave in the grocer store. The cookie comes at the end. Same with the tug. I'd lure into a sit, give the command, take a breath and release with a little tugging. Let your gal win! They love it. When you get the tug back ask for the sit again. You can work on duration, building up the length of the sit. Once your pup learns to sit for awhile next to you, then you can increase distance. When she gets good at that you can add little distractions.

At 7 months old your pup can learn all kinds of things but might not have the maturity to make good choices yet. She will still be silly and impulsive, like a little kid. As frustrating as they can be, enjoy these goofy youngster days.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SEFMD View Post
When we are training, if I cue "sit" and she does it, I click and treat. (We are using positive reward based training, no e-collar, etc.) However as soon as I've treated her, unless she gets another command ("down) or get's released ("Okay") she'll just sort of slump lazily to the ground. In other words she doesn't have a "SIT" which = I am sitting and will remain here until released or given another command. Should I be rewarding her for her sit and then IMMEDIATELY telling her to "stay" until I release her, or give her another command?
The marker usually means the end of the behavior (although it doesn't have to), so she may be thinking that click/treat means she's done and doesn't need to keep sitting anymore. What I would do to build duration is to treat frequently in place using keep going words, something other than "yes!", which is my verbal marker when I'm not using a clicker. I'll say things like "good job, excellent, good girl", while giving several treats in a row, then release. Basically treat while she's doing what you've asked her to do, and release her to get up or do whatever before she has a chance to self-release.

If she lays down, I use a negative marker (sometimes referred to as a "no reward marker"), such as "oops" or "ah ah", and put her back in a sit. Once she starts to get it you can gradually increase the duration of the sit and decrease the rate of reinforcement. It's also good to mix it up with regard to the amount of time so she can't anticipate the release, which sometimes happens if you're too predictable and the dog figures out a pattern. As always, start easy and only increase difficulty when the dog is ready for more of a challenge.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 09:23 PM
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Teaching a 7 month old to sit utilizing a clicker and food rewards is not comparable to telling a child that they’ll get a cookie for being good in the store... it just isn’t. Clicker training is dynamic. A better example would be asking your child to walk next to you while in the store and every few steps or every change in direction or when other kids run by, etc etc, clicking and rewarding for all of that! If the shopping experience is successful - they can have 10 cookies and a slice of cake! Eventually there’s no longer a need for every step or change in direction... that’s when the clicker goes away and you developed a chain of good behavior.

ETA: what Cassidy’s Mom said!
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 10:02 PM
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If I were you I would to the "stay" afterwards. I did it with my dog and it worked out. He isn't food motivated too, and we (his professional trainer and I) trained him with positive reinforcement. His reward was a tennis ball, because he's very toy driven.

I really like the idea of private lessons, IMO they are better than the group ones. A big part of the training is actually about you, as her owner, trying to bring out the best in her.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 10:10 PM
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oh really? you " do not work." ??
Sure looks like it -- you work all right , you just don't get paid for it . LOL

welcome
looks like you are trying to lure, bribe the dog and at 7 months it
is time for some discipline which is NOT punitive , but decisive and
clear and no getting away with things.
Pressure on .... pressure off .

what does the dog do well?
you are starting with the sit - static exercises for an energetic dog
can be so boring .

I would tell the family not to ask the dog to sit -- because they won't
follow through and get the desired action and the dog learns that it can get
away with things.

one trainer at a time for consistency - and you do have to be consistent.

I would do traing on lead -- pack up dog when kids are at schools and visit
a quiet parking lot - they can be found even at this time of year .

dog comes out of car on lead and right away go into training , no jumping ,
pulling, circling - get attention -- walk nicely , SIT . surpirse the dog and
lightening fast slight pull up on collar to orient dogs head up and a tap on the rear.
dog is sitting .
good dog -- he does not have to hold it -- YOU decide to move on - don't follow the dogs
lead -- and you walk a few steps - keep it fun and interest the dog because you are
animated and bam another sit .

there is something which excites whendog and handler are moving forward together -
stimulates the pack and co operation is a big part of that pack drive. Team.

reward is praise . Reward is pressure goes off - dog back in car --- pause , let him think
about it -- then repeat . You can do this a few times. It is not a marathon session - even
20 to 15 minutes in total .

when he gets home it isn't party time , he can go into the crate or his quiet private space
and let the lesson sink in.

focus on one thing at a time.

when he joins the household activity put a little tabl on his collar -- and when you want
you take that tab in a subtle way so that you aren't grabing and gotcha --
ask and get a sit -- good dog , release.

you have to be in a position to get the result

Carmen

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 07:35 AM
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You can increase your dog's food motivation by depriving her from food. She will not starve of develop health problems. Have her get her meals through obedience. I would use small pieces of chicken.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 07:48 AM
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Welcome!

I agree with Chip about the food thing. It just sounds to me like she's not hungry enough to want to "work" for the food in your hands. Maybe cut back half a cup from each meal and use that for training if you don't want to feed her whole meals that way. Sometimes in the morning I just feed my puppy half his breakfast for training and give him the other half in his crate while I walk the other two.

You'll probably hear it several times around here - NILF = Nothing In Life is Free.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-22-2018, 09:28 AM
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Before our training, I exercise my pup and burn off some energy. Improves focus for us. We also go to training hungry.
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