Speed in obeying commands - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-17-2010, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Speed in obeying commands

Hi All,

I have a three yr old purebred black GSD female. Wonderful temperment great dog. The problem I have isn't with obeying the commands, she does them all sit, down, sit stay, down stay, heel, front, etc. The problem I have is slow response in doing them. I'm sure it's my fault, either in the timing of the marker, or the treat. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-17-2010, 10:42 AM
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I've found a couple things that increase Jax's response time. First, the way I say the command. I can't be nice and calm like my obedience instructor taught me. She needs to be ramped up a bit. That makes heeling a challenge at times but the response on everything else is great! Try you tone in an upbeat, "we're playing", tone and see what happens.

Second, train with a high value reward. I say reward because Jax will leave you in the middle of a command to go get her ball out of her bag. Ham will get her attention too. But more than anything...the frisbee does it. So find your dog's "high value reward" and work with it.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-17-2010, 11:15 AM
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Like Jax said, move around a bit when you train, make her chase you for the food or toy (the movement itself will make her more animated and drivey) and use only high value reward. If you use food, for example, then you have to make sure she is really really hungry. Maybe try only doing obedience during her meal time, twice a day. Also, don't train too often. It's like anything else in life ... even the most fun thing ever, if you do it day in and day out, eventually you would get sick of it.

As for the actual training, be sure you are training for only one thing at a time. In other words, if you want speed, train for speed, don't train for speed and duration. Let's say you want a faster sit, then you reward AND release the dog as soon her butt hits the ground. Don't ask for a fast sit and then make her sit for 2-3 seconds before you reward her. And make the reward/release a big big deal. Jump up and away and throw her a HUGE party. Finally, make sure the clicker/marker marks not only the reward but also the release as well.

Also keep in mind some dogs will only move only so fast. My Obie will never do his obedience with the speed and enthusiasm of my Ike ... no matter how hungry he is or how much he wants the reward toy.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-17-2010, 11:30 AM
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It's usually a function of drive. Dogs have different levels of drive usually involving the different types of motiators we use to train our dogs. Ex. A dog with high food drive loves to eat and is very excited whenever treats enter the picture, usually trying to take your hand along with the treat. A dog with low food drive may not even take the treat because it doesn't have much value.

Dogs obey commands because they are conditioned to do it for a reward or to avoid a correction. The level of the reward can get a faster response. Consider...if I said wash my car and I'll give you $5...you would do it when you got around to it if you even did it at all. But if I said I'll give you $5,000...you'd probably have the bucket out before I said OK. Slowness in responding can also be habit. If the slow response was consistantly rewarded then the dog may view that as part of the action for the command.

I would suggest bringing up the drive level and also only rewarding faster commands. Get your dog worked up! The more excited they are about the reward the more quickly they will comply. If your regular treats are not doing the job...what gets your dog salivating? I have been known to use double cheeseburgers from MCDonalds for hard tasks when I am training my dog. A good game of tug can get my dog going more strongly for his toys and then I can use those.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-17-2010, 12:58 PM
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How long have you been training your dog? Three years?
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-17-2010, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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You guys are great, I think you're right that the treats have become mundane and I need to move her into a higher drive and then work speed with higher value treats. I'll keep you posted on the results. As I said i'm sure it's my fault and she's obviously smarter than I am...lol
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-17-2010, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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Samba, i was able to work really hard with her for the first couple of years and she did well, then we had some health issues (human) and I didn't have as much time. She's been wonderful, I think she's just rusty. She did wonderfully and I used no treats or markers, and i'm a neophyte to this and now I have more time to spend with her and we are both enjoying it
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-17-2010, 06:15 PM
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Rusty is probably some of it. When they get confident and proficient with behaviors they tend to get faster. Good motivators and more energy on your part can jazz it up also.
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