Limited Obedience until 4 months? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-05-2019, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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Limited Obedience until 4 months?

I was watching Leerburg's "Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 months" DVD and he said that he only works on sit, down, and come with young puppies until they reach 4 months of age. Does anyone know why he would recommend this? Obviously I keep all obedience positive and correction free with puppies, but I dont know why he recommends not even working on stay until they reach 4 months? Does anyone else agree with this? Why or why not?

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-05-2019, 12:25 PM
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Puppies that young don't have the attention span and impulse control to work on stay. Plus, rather than teaching the stay command, you are better off using a release command such as "free." This way you can incrementally move away from your pup during a sit or down and free them. As time goes on, you take a few steps away while the pup is sitting and then walk back and reward with food. I don't think enough people appreciate the amount of repetitions that are required to get proficiency, so you have plenty you can work on without trying to teach too many new behaviors.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-05-2019, 12:42 PM
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Engagement. luring. I would not expect much but they catch on quick. Do what Chip describes.



Mine is 5 months and we have heeling, sit, down, stand, send outs, impulse control, backing up, dumbbell retrieve and just started an about turn. It's all started and progressing and all done with luring and shaping.



Keep it fun and make it all a game. For instance, the about turn. All I care about at this point is that it's tight. I'm not moving forward, just turning and luring her around so she sees the position and her reward line is tight to my body. I have 1 1/2 years to add the forward heeling motion.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-05-2019, 01:10 PM
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I have said before that I disagree with training for puppies.
It is not uncommon for pups to pull a "brain dump" somewhere between 6 months and a year, which effectively undoes any training done previously or at least makes it null and void for a while. In reality they are simply testing and learning but the effect is the same.
My start was with horses and I saw repeatedly the impact that hard training had on young horses both mentally and physically. Horses that train young have lower lifespans, more injuries and slower recoveries in my experience. They also resist new behaviors as they age and display more OCD behaviors. All because the foundation and groundwork is improperly laid.
It has been my experience that dogs and children are much the same.
I did not teach my son advanced mathematics at two years old, I don't teach puppies hard obedience at a few months.
I step by step lay a foundation that enables them to learn later. I work on the simple concepts of trust and engagement. I teach them to trust me and themselves, I let them learn by experience and explore their world. Come is a game, sit nets rewards. Later that proves useful. And a solid sit covers a multitude of sins, because a sitting dog can't jump, bolt, chew, nip, etc. So if that one command is highly valuable in a dogs eyes because as a baby it always netted a reward, treats, cuddles, praise, play, etc, then I have created a rule of compliance and calm being beneficial to the dog. Come is a game so later when I need it I get an enthusiastic and energetic recall because it was always fun.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-05-2019, 01:37 PM
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I think the key word here is "game". There shouldn't be pressure or corrections. The most a correction should be is withholding the reward if the break before you want or if you are shaping and you want something higher than the previous rep. But everything should be short and it should have a release. If I ask my puppy to sit, I will throw the food for her to chase to release her. Games and shaping that set the foundation while allowing them to mature mentally and physically.




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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-05-2019, 01:47 PM
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You are teaching the young pup how to learn and using only positive reinforcement at an early age, so it is a game and not stressful to the pup. The very first thing I did was introduce my pup to indirect learning using a place box. If the pup moved near the box, I marked the behavior and he got a reinforcer of food. You keep doing that until the pup eventually figures out if he gets into the box, he gets a reinforce of food and you can progress from there. There is no luring. The pup figures things out for himself indirectly, which imprints the pup with learning how to learn.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-05-2019, 01:56 PM
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I shape the box and perchwork that way as well but I also lure. Shaping is so important. It teaches the puppy how to think and problem solve. If all you do is lure then they never have to think. But you can use a combination. For instance, teaching the fuss position. I lured and lured and lured, then I dropped the lure keeping my hand in the reward position and asked for a fuss. She looked at me for several seconds and then jumped into position. That comes from other exercises that were shaped and taught her how to problem solve.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-05-2019, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulip View Post
I was watching Leerburg's "Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 months" DVD and he said that he only works on sit, down, and come with young puppies until they reach 4 months of age. Does anyone know why he would recommend this? Obviously I keep all obedience positive and correction free with puppies, but I dont know why he recommends not even working on stay until they reach 4 months? Does anyone else agree with this? Why or why not?

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I think the main reason Leerburg and many others recommend postponing "training" is because people tend to take that too seriously! They want a schedule and often ask how long should a training period be... Then they fully expect said puppy to be on board with that, when said puppy couldn't care less. Or even worse, said puppy decides that these pesky training sessions are no fun at all!

Virtually EVERYTHING you do with your puppy IS training! As everyone else has pointed out, training should be a game and great fun! But, IMHO, it's also good to develop a complete dialog with even a small puppy, meaning a quiet negative marker, "no or nope" or "eh eh" for example, said quietly and calmly is just as important for steering as praise. Just keep it light and fun and keep sessions short with lots of play and adventure!

What and how you teach different things is for many people dependant on what your long term expectations or goals are for your dog. Pet obedience usually doesn't require a place box or perchwork (these lay the groundwork for more formal obedience than pet owners are typically concerned with), but the concept is the same. Begin shaping behaviors using treats and praise, and have fun!
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-05-2019, 02:52 PM
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I start training right away. But what I call "training" is what Jax & Chip describe - lots of luring, shaping, capturing and marking behaviors, using food and play. I do impulse control games, lots of reinforcing eye contact. There's no reason you'd need to wait until 4 months old to do any of that, as long as your sessions are short and fun, keeping in mind the short attention span of young puppies. The more I can reinforce what I want from an early age, the better.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-05-2019, 03:17 PM
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This is an interesting thread. Following!
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