Training Challenge #1 - Collar - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-03-2009, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Training Challenge #1 - Collar

I'm a firm believer in teaching dogs LOTS of behaviors, even if they're not neccesarily behaviors that have any true use. Training tricks and other "nonsense" behaviors gets people to work more with their dogs, which increases the level of understanding and communication between dog and owner.

So I'm going to throw out some training challenges .. *L* .. and if you do this, I want you to post back with how you taught it, what worked/didn't work, how long it took, etc.

Challenge #1: Teach your dog to put his/her head in her collar.

Rules: Teach this in any manner you choose, but the end result must be that you hold out a collar (I use a martingale because it's big enough for the dog to just stick their head in) and your dog comes over to you and puts his/her head in the collar without any prompting other than verbal.

This is actually a very helpful behavior. I taught it to Khana when she was very young as my hands were sore and putting her collar on was difficult. She still does it (four years later) and it's great. I hold out the collar and the visual is enough for her to run over and put her head in it, but I can also say "collar" to remind her.

Good luck, and let us know how you're doing!

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
... trying to find things to do to alleviate cabin fever .. *L*

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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-03-2009, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Training Challenge #1 - Collar

By the way, I'm going to teach this to Tazer this week. She's never learned how to do this so it will be from scratch. The toughest part will be getting her to calm down enough to SEE the collar .. *L*

Melanie

Positive 1ST! More reward, less correction makes a GREAT trainer.
Chows: Khana CD RE SD & Dora NA NAJ GSD: Tazer SDIT
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-03-2009, 12:25 AM
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Re: Training Challenge #1 - Collar

Most all of my guys already do this even though I do not recall actually training any of them to do it, intentionally.


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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-03-2009, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Training Challenge #1 - Collar

Well, that's not fair! Then the challenge should be harder for you .. *L* .. how about holding the collar up above a chair so they have to actually step up onto the chair to put their heads in the collar? Or hanging the collar from a hook and they have to go to it on their own and put it on?

There's always ways to make the behavior more interesting!

Melanie and the gang

Positive 1ST! More reward, less correction makes a GREAT trainer.
Chows: Khana CD RE SD & Dora NA NAJ GSD: Tazer SDIT
RIP *Trick*Kylee*Dawson*Lady*
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-03-2009, 08:43 AM
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Re: Training Challenge #1 - Collar

Jake learned this behavior quite by accident. He gets so excited when he sees his harness (special walks in the woods and car rides) that he runs over and dives through the neck opening.

Does this count? I'll start reinforcing it by telling him "collar" as he approaches.

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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-03-2009, 08:49 AM
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Re: Training Challenge #1 - Collar

Yes, Renji holds out his neck for his collar and has learned to shove his nose through the GL loop (or at least try to, it's a small loop).

If your dog knows how to target your hand, this should be pretty easy- get your dog to target your hand through a large loop and progressively get smaller and ask for more until you end up with the collar. I'll have to try this with a slip lead and put my money where my mouth is.

Renji - 6 y/o M GSD x chow rescue


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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-03-2009, 09:42 PM
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Re: Training Challenge #1 - Collar



Diana said exactly what I was going to do. Since Risa already knows how to target my hand.

I'm going to go try this now and see how long it takes.

Okay, back. Spent about 15 minutes on it. I started off using targeting and was able to get Risa to put her head through the collar in about 5 minutes. I started moving my hand further and further away from the collar in an attempt to fade the signal. I wasn't very successful, however as she just started circumventing the collar. I wanted to see if I could get her to do it without a hand sign so I just presented the collar and started shaping instead. Hoping to build on the concept we just used with targeting. The first thing Risa did was scratch an itch (that she likely didn't have) and then she yawned (again, another stress sign). Eventually, she did stretch her nose out towards the collar and licked it so I clicked for the reaching out. She spent most of the rest of the time putting her feet into the collar (she LOVES foot-targeting). Of course, she'd get her feet caught in it so I had to keep removing them. Eventually, I was able to get her to put half her muzzle into the collar without prompting so I called it quits after a couple repetitions of that.

I love teaching Ris 'stupid' little behaviors so I'm always looking for more to add to her repetoire.

~Jamie~
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-03-2009, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Training Challenge #1 - Collar

If your dog already knows this behavior, then find a way to make it more complicated - the idea is to do some training, not tell us that your dog already knows it! *L*

The end goal should be that when you hold out the collar, your dog comes and puts his head into it without you moving the collar toward the dog. If your dog already does this, then add in something like stepping onto a box or chair; leaving the collar hanging so that the dog goes to it on command and puts it on (without you touching the collar), or make a stiff leash (like with heavy wire or a piece of doweling), put the collar on the end of it so it's well away from you, and then teach your dog to put his head in the collar while you're walking.

There are all sorts of variations, so if you're lucky enough to have a dog that already does the basic you can expand on that. No excuses for not training! *G*

I taught Trick to put her head in the collar with the stiff leash (made out of heavy black wire) and she would run up and put her head in even if I was moving. When I stopped and said "out" she'd pull her head back out and then go behind my back to do another trick I'd taught her (going to a little garbage can and pulling out bits of crumpled paper) before coming back and putting her head back into the collar. It was part of an act we had where I would stop to talk to the audience (usually a lecture on well-behaved dogs or something similar) and she would leave me to go do something that wasn't so "well-behaved" .. *LOL* .. and then I would turn and see the papers on the floor and scold my assistant (usually my niece) for not cleaning up. We'd do this two or three times and then Trick would bring me the trash can or I would turn and see her (by then the audience would be laughing and pointing when she went to the trash).

So there are some really neat side things you can add to this behavior if you want to. And no, I never had problems with Trick getting into the trash after that! It was a specific trained behavior - a specific little trash can that had papers only in it, so it wasn't like real trash.

I did start Tazer last night but I was feeling kind of lazy (bad me!) and I just did it when all the other dogs were out there too. So I had Khana trying to put her nose in the collar, and Trick came over and said "hey, I want some of this" and then she was trying to put her nose in too. Tazer did well considering all the distractions, but that's not the way to start! Later on I use the competition to make them try harder, but the initial training should just be the one dog.

Melanie and the gang in very cold Alaska

Positive 1ST! More reward, less correction makes a GREAT trainer.
Chows: Khana CD RE SD & Dora NA NAJ GSD: Tazer SDIT
RIP *Trick*Kylee*Dawson*Lady*
Total of 2UDs 3CDXs 12CDs 2REs 8AgilityTitles 1BH Chow!
20 Yrs Training/Teaching Experience
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 09:11 AM
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Re: Training Challenge #1 - Collar

After posting I went to see if Jake would do this without all the other "signs" that we're going somewhere. Nope. He just looked at me.

We'll start today with "touch" through the collar/harness. I'll let you know how long it takes my 11 week old to get it.

Shoot . . . I thought I had a freebie!

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Jake (GSD) Oct 2008
Keilan (GSD) May 2007
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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 11:02 AM
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Re: Training Challenge #1 - Collar

Teach? Gad, anything that's associated with going for a walk, going for a ride -- you've got built in rewards right there. When I walked my dogs with special collars, those collars got instant attention. When the harnesses were associated with car rides, all I have to do to get the head in the right place is hold it and say "head!" I don't even need to do that. If they could, they'd get the whole thing on themselves! I'm not going to have the gimpy girls do anything more but it wouldn't have been much of a challenge. Now that I think about it I should have added "clean the house"....
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