Training a pup to engage - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
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Training a pup to engage

Hi,

So my puppy Kaos is 5.5 months old now and for the most part, he's a growing bundle of joy. I've had German Shepherds in the past but Kaos is my first working line pup and I'm finding that getting him engaged is a tad difficult.

During training (indoors) he is fine with engagement .... as long as there's something in it for him. He's very food motivated. However, it just doesn't seem like this pup is that interested in me. Even when playing - I have him on a 6ft leash, I drop his tug or ball, he goes for it and then promptly lies down to chew on it; even if I reel him into me.

Outdoors, you can forget about any kind of engagement and even food or toys don't bring him around. He's more interested in the grass or flying bugs, or anything really that isn't me.

How do I build engagement? How do I go about making my pup want what I have and to be the most interesting thing in his sphere? Are there books or online courses that deal with this?

He's currently teething and losing his puppy teeth so playing tug isn't as fun for him any more.

(Wish images wouldn't flip on their sides like they do haha)
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What do I want? I want a GSD! When do I want it? NOW!
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 08:25 AM
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What games do you play with food? do you teach him to push into your hand to get food? Do you throw food to let him chase? do you hold the food in your hand and let him chase your hand to get it? (Not bite, just chase). All of these things will help you when you are outside.

as far as the ball inside, sounds like he's just more independent and he doesn't know that he needs to come back to you. Really...he has the object, why come back? It's his. He owns it. Working line generally have a higher possession and aren't just going to come back to you.

Have you tried playing 2 balls? Tease him with one ball then throw it a short distance. when he has it, tell him to come and start reeling him in. He MUST come with a distance that you can touch the string of the ball in his mouth. when he does, pull out the second ball and wait for him to drop the first then throw the second. It won't be long before he's coming back to you.

Outdoors is sooooo much more interesting. You have to remember that whatever you teach him inside has be be started at step one when you take him somewhere else. Dogs don't generalize.

Look up Dave Kroyer. I haven't signed up for his site but it's only $10/mth to access all of his videos.

Denise Fenzi has courses online.

And where are you located at? You might be better finding a local trainer than looking online.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 08:35 AM
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He's cute and handsome. Looks a lot like mine last year. He's my first working line too.

So if he's not interested in the toys, you have to make him interested. Don't just throw the ball or drop the tug on the ground and expect him to get excited about it. Tease him with it. Wriggle it in front of him. If you have another person, throw it to him/her and "throw a big party" after you catch it. Make excited sounds. Maybe if he shows interest then you give him treats. Do you have a flirt pole? Try that.
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 08:42 AM
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Try contacting some of these clubs

https://www.gsdleague-workingbranch.com/contacts/clubs/



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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jax08 View Post
What games do you play with food? do you teach him to push into your hand to get food? Do you throw food to let him chase? do you hold the food in your hand and let him chase your hand to get it? (Not bite, just chase). All of these things will help you when you are outside.

as far as the ball inside, sounds like he's just more independent and he doesn't know that he needs to come back to you. Really...he has the object, why come back? It's his. He owns it. Working line generally have a higher possession and aren't just going to come back to you.

Have you tried playing 2 balls? Tease him with one ball then throw it a short distance. when he has it, tell him to come and start reeling him in. He MUST come with a distance that you can touch the string of the ball in his mouth. when he does, pull out the second ball and wait for him to drop the first then throw the second. It won't be long before he's coming back to you.

Outdoors is sooooo much more interesting. You have to remember that whatever you teach him inside has be be started at step one when you take him somewhere else. Dogs don't generalize.

Look up Dave Kroyer. I haven't signed up for his site but it's only $10/mth to access all of his videos.

Denise Fenzi has courses online.

And where are you located at? You might be better finding a local trainer than looking online.
Hi Jax, I'm in Edinburgh, Scotland. We have a single IGP club that is about 45 minutes away. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend this club at the moment but will look into applying again next year. Currently I am working through an online course by Tobias Oleynik. I am also waiting for Denise's engagement through play class to start up at the beginning of August.

I do in fact teach him to push into my hand for the food and he does this brilliantly. I have also tried to make him chase my hand for food and when I do this, he constantly just takes my arm in his mouth. My arm, not my hand. And just to be clear, he isn't biting down on my arm, he's simply holding it in his mouth.

I have also tried the two balls game and when I'm reeling him in, he'll stash the ball he had where he was chewing it and come to me very reluctantly. He'll happily take the second ball though and then run back to where the first ball is stashed.

I desperately want to bond with my boy and get a more engagement and focus from him.

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Originally Posted by tc68 View Post
He's cute and handsome. Looks a lot like mine last year. He's my first working line too.

So if he's not interested in the toys, you have to make him interested. Don't just throw the ball or drop the tug on the ground and expect him to get excited about it. Tease him with it. Wriggle it in front of him. If you have another person, throw it to him/her and "throw a big party" after you catch it. Make excited sounds. Maybe if he shows interest then you give him treats. Do you have a flirt pole? Try that.
Hi tc68, it's not that he's not interested in the toys; it's more that he wants the toys all to himself. I do tease him with it, I do run about with it, I do act stupid with it. He will jump about for the toy and once he gets it, it's astalavista baby! Oh and his favourite thing to do is chase a flirt pole. He just absolutely love the flirt pole above any other of his toys.

What do I want? I want a GSD! When do I want it? NOW!
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RSharpe75 View Post
Hi Jax, I'm in Edinburgh, Scotland. We have a single IGP club that is about 45 minutes away. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend this club at the moment but will look into applying again next year. Currently I am working through an online course by Tobias Oleynik. I am also waiting for Denise's engagement through play class to start up at the beginning of August.

I do in fact teach him to push into my hand for the food and he does this brilliantly. I have also tried to make him chase my hand for food and when I do this, he constantly just takes my arm in his mouth. My arm, not my hand. And just to be clear, he isn't biting down on my arm, he's simply holding it in his mouth.

I have also tried the two balls game and when I'm reeling him in, he'll stash the ball he had where he was chewing it and come to me very reluctantly. He'll happily take the second ball though and then run back to where the first ball is stashed.

I desperately want to bond with my boy and get a more engagement and focus from him.


.
He's still a baby. Keep on doing the two ball. And put him on a 15' line to keep reeling him in. If he's coming to you reluctantly then you need to pull that 2nd ball out and tease him with it so he wants to come back. You alternate between tugging with the ball and letting him win and throwing the ball so he chases. If you are only throwing the ball or giving it to him and then letting him go away with it, you aren't teaching him that the game is YOU, not the ball.

And don't fret. I have an 11 month old with super high possession. She still does not come back unless I call her. My boy was very different. He brings it back to play. She avoids so she can possess.

the food in your hand. Don't swing your arm around. The food is in your hand, he pushes into your hand and you reward. Then food in your hand, he pushes, you move while he continues to push, you rewards.

To chase the food in your hand, get him pushing for the food. then hold your hand close to you and jump away from him so he has to come forward to get it. Reward when he does. Then start doing things like turning away from him so he has to follow you to get it.

As far as the clubs, contact them anyways. they might have someone that can you with this foundation until you join the club.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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He's still a baby. Keep on doing the two ball. And put him on a 15' line to keep reeling him in. If he's coming to you reluctantly then you need to pull that 2nd ball out and tease him with it so he wants to come back. You alternate between tugging with the ball and letting him win and throwing the ball so he chases. If you are only throwing the ball or giving it to him and then letting him go away with it, you aren't teaching him that the game is YOU, not the ball.

And don't fret. I have an 11 month old with super high possession. She still does not come back unless I call her. My boy was very different. He brings it back to play. She avoids so she can possess.

the food in your hand. Don't swing your arm around. The food is in your hand, he pushes into your hand and you reward. Then food in your hand, he pushes, you move while he continues to push, you rewards.

To chase the food in your hand, get him pushing for the food. then hold your hand close to you and jump away from him so he has to come forward to get it. Reward when he does. Then start doing things like turning away from him so he has to follow you to get it.

As far as the clubs, contact them anyways. they might have someone that can you with this foundation until you join the club.
Thank you Jax, I'll keep persisting with the two ball game and also with him chasing my hand for treats. I'm now determined to get this dog to engage with me, because damnit, I'm interesting 😂
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 10:24 AM
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What I found very helpful when you want attention is in some ways the opposite of what you'd think. They need to know when they don't have to pay attention. Focus is finite, you need a clear beginning and a clear ending. Tell him, or cue him its time to start, and the same when your done.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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What I found very helpful when you want attention is in some ways the opposite of what you'd think. They need to know when they don't have to pay attention. Focus is finite, you need a clear beginning and a clear ending. Tell him, or cue him its time to start, and the same when your done.
Hi Steve, what I do to cue start is put his fur saver on. I don't attach a lead to it, the lead attaches to his flat collar. I simply use the fur saver to signal the beginning of work. After we're done, the fur saver comes off.

In the house, obviously where he is most comfortable, he literally jumps at me when he sees the fur saver. He wants to get it on and get fed. Outside however is a different kettle of fish. He ambles all over the place, sniffing, chasing bugs, etc.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 10:41 AM
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I'd be more specific. Pull a toy out, tell him "Ready" or something, play, tell him "Done" put the toy away. They always know collar=something, but I find it to be more of a generalized excitement. The toy narrows it down very clearly.
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