What would you do with this dog? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2009, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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What would you do with this dog?

OKay. So we've been playing with a friend's dog (GSD little over a year female) for a few weeks now. She's living with us and we offered to work on some training with her. I'm not a complete idiot. Trained my own dog through the BH so far and have worked with my other dog as well...although she's not old enough to title. So I understand and use training in drive, clicker training, corrections, etc. This dog makes me feel stupid.

I can't get this dog to do anything. She has little to no food drive. I've even tried artificially creating some food drive (i.e. skip 3-4 meals-she was chunky anyway) and she still doesn't seem to care about any of the tasty things I try to interest her with. So we ruled out food as a reward.

Likes to play. We'll use a ball or a tug. She likes those things BUT not enough to maintain any kind of focus or persevere through frustration. AND I am trying to teach her focus with a clicker...but it's like she doesn't care enough to keep trying. I might get 3-4 good repetitions in with her of voluntary attention and then she just walks away...even though she knows I have the ball, or if I have her on a leash and she can't walk away she just lays down on my feet with her back to me. I know my 2 liked the ball and would keep pushing me with behaviors even when they were little like scratching/biting at my hand, jumping, whining, etc. and when a particular thing worked and I marked it and they got the ball, they caught on pretty quick...within 4-5 tries the behavior was offered sooner and sooner in their attempts. This dog just quits. It's like she can't handle the non-reward. Is it the difference of being raised in a learning environment, or is she just really that genetically unfocused/driven?

She seems to have a lot of energy, always jumping and running around kind of aimlessly (it reminds me of the puppy zoomies where they just run all over the place just to run)...but no real drive to work. It's frustrating because I'd like to take the edge off mentally with some training but she can't sit still and when I tried to wear her out physically and then train she was tired and went and laid down.

She seems to pick up on physically reinforced household commands pretty quickly. Like OFF the furniture...(I move her off the furniture) or CRATE (I put her in her crate) or WALK (I pop and reverse direction when she pulls)...but to teach her everything via physical force isn't exactly what I want to do...

She's very soft. All you have to do is raise your voice and she's submissive with her body posture...but interestingly when I've tried to work her up into playing with me she drops the toy and attaches herself to my leg. She's a humper. What does that even mean? She's also very doggy. She was allowed too much access to the other dog in her house growing up, I don't let her interact with my 2.

So what would you do with a dog that doesn't like to eat and doesn't like toys much when you have them? How would you reward and what kind of method would you use to train?

Bianka vom Eisernen Loewen IPO3, CGC, TC 1-3-08
Cade vom Eisernen Loewen IPO1, CGC 3-25-09
D'Artagnan (Tag) vom Eisernen Loewen BH 2-2-10
G Aiko von Burkndeiros SchH 3, IPO3, FH, TC, KKL2 9-17-02 (Retired)


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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2009, 08:55 PM
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Re: What would you do with this dog?

What foods have you tried? Have you tried a tug made out of animal hide? Sometimes tugs with real animal hide like rabbit pelt can make a dog go gonzo. What about ice cubes? Fruit? Certain scratches or massages?

What is she eating? If she's eating something that's starchy and easily converted to sugar, she could have a lot of hyper, ADHD energy. Maybe a diet change would help her focus.

Renji - 6 y/o M GSD x chow rescue


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2009, 08:57 PM
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Re: What would you do with this dog?

Sounds very much like Morgan, except for the submissiveness. No tasty food or toys motivated her in class. She learned quickly - still does at 7 y/o but it was like she was too cool for school.

With Morgan, what worked for training was competition with an older well trained dog. Luther loved to work, loved the yum yums. I used to say she contact learned everything, just being in the same general area watching him, she learned.

-Jenn

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2009, 09:00 PM
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Re: What would you do with this dog?

How about using Campbell's "earn to learn" (a variation of NILIF) with this dog? I'd start with the intro -- ignore the dog for a week or several days - then start working where it has to earn any and all rewards (even a glance from you.)
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2009, 09:02 PM
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Re: What would you do with this dog?

Oooo good one, Middle! Nearly all dogs respond to ignoring in some way, shape, or form.

Renji - 6 y/o M GSD x chow rescue


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2009, 09:02 PM
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Re: What would you do with this dog?

I'm wondering if a big part of the problem is insecurity. A lot of new (and soft) dogs don't feel comfortable enough to "challenge" you (in their mind) for the food/treat/toy/whatever. They can also shut down and go into avoidance easily - the quitting and turning her back to you.

I would work on building confidence and see if that helps.

How long have you had her? What is she like on walks and out and about? You say she is "doggy" - can you elaborate?


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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2009, 09:03 PM
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Re: What would you do with this dog?

back tie here and play with the other dogs, might be a maturity thing, Erika didn't show much prey until she got older and watched her mother go nuts over the ball and the sleeve


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2009, 09:05 PM
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Re: What would you do with this dog?

Quote:
Quote: Nearly all dogs respond to ignoring in some way, shape, or form.
True, just if you try this be alert for signs she's shutting down. Might work great, but some dogs could respond to this by withdrawing further, so proceed carefully.


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2009, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What would you do with this dog?

We've tried liver-beef and chicken, hot dogs, all sorts of dog treats, deli meat, cheese whiz. She also doesn't really like eating from people's hands. I've been trying to work on that by hand feeding and she seems to be progressing with that but she won't take her kibble from between fingers...only from the palm of my hand.

She likes attention and to be scratched on the chest...but for like 10 seconds and then she bounds away for awhile and then comes back.

She's on ProPlan, which isn't what I feed my dogs, but I don't really feel comfortable changing it since she's not my dog and I'll be giving her back in about 2 more weeks. I have cut her food in half...She was fat and she didn't need all the calories she was getting.

As far as working with other dogs...I would be concerned about the level of distraction. My male is very good at working with other dogs present...but she's so doggy that I think all she would do is jump all over him trying to get him to play.

She's also a little under socialized. Seems to have in general a pretty good temperament, but everything is Sooo exciting.

Bianka vom Eisernen Loewen IPO3, CGC, TC 1-3-08
Cade vom Eisernen Loewen IPO1, CGC 3-25-09
D'Artagnan (Tag) vom Eisernen Loewen BH 2-2-10
G Aiko von Burkndeiros SchH 3, IPO3, FH, TC, KKL2 9-17-02 (Retired)


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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2009, 09:11 PM
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Re: What would you do with this dog?


To me, the deal with working with other dogs is that she is restrained and only gets to watch until it is her turn.
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