Sit for Exam help! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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Sit for Exam help!

Okay, so during Anna's round two of basic OB everything is going GREAT! Sits, downs, stays, heeling, sitting calmly while meeting a stranger and a dog, etc. She's spot on on everything...except for the exam by stranger--where I put her in a sit and someone comes up to pet her.

I don't understand it. Sometimes she sits happily and is fine, but other times she avoids contact all together and is not happy. Our instructor (and vet) tried this last night and Anna had nothing to do with her (although just 20 mins before class she let her pet all over her and licked her, etc. and will let her do this AT the vet clinic!) then the other instructor tried (a man) and she let him pet her chin/neck although she wasn't happy about it.

As a test, I had one of the other dog moms try it...yeah, she sat and let her pet all over her. In our last class she would let the other trainer and a complete stranger (someone's spouse) pet her, but during the final exam she wouldn't let the trainer near her.

I don't know what to do...it's so random, and I can't let this fail us AGAIN. She's so perfect for everything else. If there was a pattern I'd know how to fix it...we only have two weeks until the final exam... What am I missing??


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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 10:49 AM
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Where are you when it happens? Can she do it with you kneeling beside her? My general rule is that no one touches my dogs unless I'm touching them too (there are many exceptions, but for training purposes...). What if you walk up to the stranger and ask her to sit instead of them approaching her?
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 11:06 AM
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Supporting her physically as Lies mentions sounds like a good idea to me. Will she take food as they approach?

If I have someone with a dog who is not sure of being touched by in class, I start by placing the dog in the sit and have the person walk by at a distance that is comfortable to the dog. They shouldn't look at or make overtures to her. If she tolerates it, they can make several passes and gradually move closer if she shows no reaction. If she is comfortable enough to take food, I feed soft treats continuously as the person nears and stop feeding as they move away. If the dog likes food, they learn the approach of this person means good things happen and food can be calming.

Don't try to get it all accomplished in one session if she is not comfortable. If she is accepting of close passes, then the person may begin to touch her... not perform an exam... at first. Again, gradually accustom her to their touch and feed while being touched. Watch her level of calmness and acceptance with each pass.

Also, if she will stay and you stand in front of her... I have had the person stand next to me and we both step up to the dog together and I feed when we are both right there in front. If each time works, then gradually I have the other person begin to approach first and then I follow and reward as the person is standing there at the dog. We have to work up to the actual touching. Short successful sessions are better than long ones. You don't want her to feel forced.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 11:15 AM
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I view this kind of thing in the same vein as distraction training. We teach our dogs focused positions. Sit and stare at Mom, Down and Stare at Mom. Ignore the people, other dogs, noises, etc. We teach watch in the foos position and enforce it. Once the behavior is learned, looking away gets a correction and we build in more and more distractions until it's proofed. You can actually check Anka's tattoo on her inner thigh and she'll not break eye contact from her Dad. Anka does not particularly care to be touched and she can also get a little hyper when touched by strangers. But she does it because she's under command and her Dad expects it of her and she's learned that if her Dad asks it, she can trust him, and she's got to do it.

Something you might try doing is a oppositional sit. I put my dog in a sit, with the lead under the chin and with very mild pressure I will pull, starting under the chin and extending out the leash. I reinforce and repeat the command..Sit. If the dog breaks I will hold the collar with a hand on each side and pick the dog up and push it back to the start position and say SIT again- very non-emotional. Moving just gets you put back where you were and we start again. This sends the message that Even though I'm pulling on you, you've got to dig in and hold that position. You can build this to the point where you're working on a long line with more distance, more pressure, and pulling in multiple directions and you can start adding in people as distractions. Maybe you're 4 feet out and you've got her in a sit and someone walks close to her and pats her in passing...and you build from there.

I done this with all my positions and it helps them to lock up and not move until they are given the release word. I would add that if you haven't built a release word into your training yet, I would.

ETA- Do you think it might have something to do with her just being done with people petting her? It sounds like you have more success in the beginning than at the end. Do you get frustrated when she doesn't want to be pet? Your frustration miht make her more nervous. Also during the final do you get more nervous?...She might feed off of you. Just some thoughts...

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Last edited by JKlatsky; 05-07-2010 at 11:20 AM.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 11:33 AM
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Perhaps she is reading something from you? You know she is going to react, therefore you are putting out those vibes and she is picking up on them. I wonder what would happen if a second party held your dog while a third party did the exam?

Just a thought.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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The exam calls for me to be standing in front of her....now I'm wondering if this upsets her cause the person is walking up behind me and and I'm anticipating the person to walk up to her from behind me? Behind her is a wall so I wonder if this has anything to do with her feeling closed in upon..."Wall behind me, mom in front of me, person approaching...I don't think so!"

When she let the male trainer pet her I was beside her and she was leaning on my leg.

She doesn't take food from strangers unless it's one of my treats which I give them (which is something I like for her to know...you never know what crazy people might put in treats for dogs nowadays) and out of all the trainers we've had, she's only taken "strange" treats from our current trainer/vet.

I'm really wondering how she would do in the open ring area instead of by the wall. She does great when we do the "walk up to a stranger with another dog and sit calmly" exercise. I wonder if she would let him pet her then? hmmm....


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKlatsky View Post
ETA- Do you think it might have something to do with her just being done with people petting her? It sounds like you have more success in the beginning than at the end. Do you get frustrated when she doesn't want to be pet? Your frustration miht make her more nervous. Also during the final do you get more nervous?...She might feed off of you. Just some thoughts...
This might be a possiblity...our class this time is late, at 8 p.m. and we were trying this at about 8:30ish. This is after already being mauled/fawned over by the little girl of the woman that runs the community center (so I can't really tell her bugger off like I want too) and then going through several exercises.


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Tiffany; mom to:
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Duncan- Shep Mix adopted on 2/14/00 TDI
The kitty amigos: Simon, Alley and Mia
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 11:39 AM
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Perhaps it is best to begin this exam training with you right beside her? Make the exercise as easy as it needs to be for the dog to have success and then build on it.

The food reward needs to come from you. As JK talked about, the goal is to have your dog looking to you during the exercise, not to the other person.

For sure this is one of the exercises I would want to be careful about 'building stress" into. Find the level she is comfortable with and then gradually work up to the exercise.

What do the trainers have you do?

Last edited by Samba; 05-07-2010 at 11:43 AM.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 01:47 PM
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This exercise of letting a stranger come up to the standing/sitting dog is tough for a lot of dogs - and for different reasons. Baron (2 yo male GSD) has a problem in this one for different reasons - he usually likes people so much that he breaks on the "Exam" exercise. tough to stand still when his whole body is wagging! Course he also likes to "mouth" peoples hands when they pat him on the side. Not biting just a playful mouth but it does tend to shake people up if they don't know him. So we work on this one pretty hard - trainer suggested that we get his attention and zoom in with a treat at his mouth level just as the examiner person extends their hand out to him. Seems to work pretty good as long as it is on the right level and timed right!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 11:10 PM
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I teach CGC classes in Michigan and I see this quite frequently. Oftentimes the dogs are picking up a cue from the owner...are you perhaps nervous when the petting is "for a test"? Is she sensing that you are tensing up a bit? If she is relaxed for petting most other times, but not "when it counts" (ie, for the evaluation), maybe you are inadvertantly giving her reason to doubt the approach of the stranger. Our dogs are very sensitive to our vibes: if you are relaxed, she is more apt to be relaxed. If you tense up, she may not understand the WHY you are tense, but she certainly can associate it with the approach of the "stranger", and she will react accordingly. Try standing slightly sideways to the "stranger" as he/she approaches, take a deep breath, and try to relax when approached. You can't fake your energy, and your dog knows it!

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