Ooops. 5 month old is scared of me. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-22-2010, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Ooops. 5 month old is scared of me.

I just recently started training with my five month old who I got about a week ago. We have been working on the very basics: sit, down, and come. Well he is fine with them (inside the house, no distraction, treat motivated) but every once and a while he won't do it. I know he knows what sit means, he just doesn't sit.

Soooo...I read somewhere to throw a bean bag or something similar on the floor to create a noise when they don't listen, and then praise+treat when he sits.

Lacking a bean bag, I decided a quick foot stomp to the floor would have a near identical sound effect. I tried this a few times, and now my dog runs and hides under the coffee table when we train and what little progress I have made has seriioooously regressed, he's not interested in training. So I screwed up, any ideas on how to fix it?


Thanks

Last edited by Engine3FF; 05-22-2010 at 01:21 PM. Reason: Typos
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-22-2010, 01:54 PM
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Yes, stop stomping your foot. Your puppy is only five months old and that's way too much for him. Training should be all positive at this age and the foot thing is very frightening to a little dog. You need to go back to giving treats and praise for doing things right so he learns to work for praise.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-22-2010, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Engine3FF View Post
Soooo...I read somewhere to throw a bean bag or something similar on the floor to create a noise when they don't listen, and then praise+treat when he sits.
As you've noticed, not such a good idea. If you need something to distract him from being naughty (charging the cat, putting paws on the kitchen counter, etc.) that might be a fine approach, but not for simply not obeying an obedience command.

Quote:
Well he is fine with them (inside the house, no distraction, treat motivated) but every once and a while he won't do it. I know he knows what sit means, he just doesn't sit.
This is the most important part of your post - just because he understands a command in one place under one set of circumstances, doesn't mean he's generalized the command to all places and all circumstances, especially if you're talking about the difference between a low distraction environment such as in the house vs a high distraction environment such as outdoors in the yard. There's just no way a 5 month old really "knows" all those commands in the way you think he does.

If you usually train toe to toe, with him facing you, try training with him next to you in heel position. Will he obey the sit command when you're sitting on the floor, or a chair or laying on the ground? How about if he's in the car, or with your back turned, or you're standing on a chair or laying in bed? How about in the kitchen, the bathroom, the garage, your front lawn?

To us, it's all sit - plant your butt immediately. To a dog, it's all different. And once you've got your commands generalized to a variety of circumstances with few distractions, you can expect to start all over when you work in more distracting circumstances. One line dog trainers hear all the time is "but he does it perfectly at home!", and that's because the dog really doesn't get it yet, or is too distracted to really focus.

To fix this you could try "capturing" behaviors for a while. This is something I do a lot of with a new puppy. I wear my treat bag all the time and have a clicker attached to it or wear it on a wrist coil (you can use a verbal marker such as "yes!" instead). Every time puppy does something I like I mark it and toss a treat. Pretty soon puppy is offering up all sorts of great behavior because it's been so heavily reinforced, and at that point you can start adding your commands - say "down" right before you see he's about to lay down on his own, mark/treat, etc.. I mark and reward looking at me (will become the "watch" command) laying down, coming towards me (will become a recall), anything I like. Puppy isn't disobeying commands because I'm not giving any yet.

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Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-22-2010, 02:06 PM
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Start clicker training him. Sooner or later, he's going to look at you. Be ready with the clicker and yummy treats. When he looks at you, click the clicker and give him a treat. If he won't come near you, gently toss it in his direction. He will quickly make the association of click = treat.

After about three sessions of ten clicks each, say his name as he looks at you, then click and treat. Then, have him look at you for a second before he gets the click and treat.

I did this with a four month old female I thought we were going to keep (two prospective owners backed out at the last minute). I got a good fifteen second "watch me" out of her, then an owner took her. After about a week, I got a phone call from the new owner. She said, "All this dog does is STARE at me! Is there something wrong with her or with me?" After I explained what I had trained her to do, she found that this puppy was very trainable.

*Edit: Cassidy's Mom's post got in while I was writing mine. I'll add that clicker training is fun!

"What's there to dominate when your dog is well trained and it does what you ask??" - DoggieDad

Last edited by Hunther's Dad; 05-22-2010 at 02:08 PM. Reason: Content
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-22-2010, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunther's Dad View Post
I got a good fifteen second "watch me" out of her, then an owner took her. After about a week, I got a phone call from the new owner. She said, "All this dog does is STARE at me! Is there something wrong with her or with me?" After I explained what I had trained her to do, she found that this puppy was very trainable.
Isn't that wonderful? I have a picture of Keefer on his first day of puppy class laying on the floor in a room full of people and puppies, staring at me intently because I had rewarded him so heavily for attention for the 5 weeks before class began. By then he'd stare at me for HOURS if I tossed him a treat occasionally - we were the envy of the class! People were muttering good-naturedly about Halo in one of her classes too, about how she was making everyone else look bad, and in her puppy class one of the other owners caught up to me in the bathroom afterwards to ask how I'd taught her to focus like that.

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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