5 and 1/2 month old training questions - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-20-2010, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
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5 and 1/2 month old training questions

I find I'm getting such good quality and quantity of info from all of the members on this site, I thought I'd ask this question: How long a duration and how frequently should I be working/playing/training Boss a day (I understand the best 'training' is also 'play/work' in the dog's mind)? Along with that question, I wonder how to introduce new 'tricks' without him losing proficiency on the ones he already has down. So far, he can sit fairly well with some distraction, can walk on a loose leash and even stopped going after my neighbor's cat when I told him to stop, leave it and come (although he really, really didn't want to leave it or come judging by the way he hesitated and stopped for a long time practically drooling for that kitty fur)! But it seems as though when I focus on one thing, he slides on the others. I'm obviously anxious for him to learn everything, but I just want to go at the right pace for him. How did you handle this for you puppies and what are the most important commands to teach first? What training games/methods or reinforcement techniques worked best for you?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-20-2010, 02:28 PM
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At that age I was having 3-4 training sessions a day for as long as I could hold his attention. Sometimes that was two minutes, other times it was 10. You have to judge your dog the best here, because you never want to make them do it, and you always want to make it fun and end them on a good note.

That said, at 13-15 weeks my dog knew how to sit, down, stay(1minute), shake, walk on a loose lead, come (for then, anyway), not to chase cats, and knew his name. The most important things to teach from a young age are sitting, downing, staying, focus work (which he lacked on), walking well on a leash, leave it, and drop it.

Rewarding them with multiple treats and toys alike can keep it fun, and playing games like the come game (two people standing 10-20 ft away in the yard with treats, one calls, the dog comes, gets a treat, then the next person calls, etc. etc. back and forth) make it very fun and he doesn't realize he's training. You can also use premack opportunities to train (such as sitting at the door before you go out, sitting before food, sitting before being released to play with other pups, etc)

Good luck with him!

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-20-2010, 02:31 PM
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Have you tried clicker training? I didn't start out using one, I added it at about 5 mos of age, both pups really responded to it- just enough difference to get their attention and keep them interested.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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I have not begun clicker training yet, but meant to ask about that in my OP. I recently saw a link to some training videos (Dog Tutorials on Youtube) where the guy used a clicker and it seemed very effective. With the summer in full swing and having all of the children at home going in different directions, not to mention my two year old learning new 'tricks' to play on Mommy every day, I have not been able to give Boss the undivided attention in training that I had a couple of months ago. However, I realize now that I just need to do a lot of brief training on the spot when there are a few moments, ie. sit/stay while I open a door. Training is so much easier when I can find a way to incorporate it into our normal routines and activities! The clicker though is gonna be next....can you find them at a pet supply store like PetSmart or should I go online?
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 11:13 AM
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Petsmart sells them. I suggest getting on that has a wrist strap of some sort so you can wear it and your training pouch and this way you are able to incorporate a quick command here and there during your busy day...

Renee'

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 11:34 AM
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There's usually a dvd or at least a booklet inside the package about how to use the clicker. It's tempting to try using it as a remote control! Are your kids old enough to help with the training? They might enjoy it too
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
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My 11 year old daughter is very interested...the two year old as well...we were trying to teach Boss to pick up toys and put them back ina basket, and what do you know, my two year old began 'helping' so much in fact that it left very little for Boss to do. He was totally confused about this clean up game, so I'm wondering if he's just too young to learn it. When he would pick up a toy, he'd just start chewing on it. I was hoping that he might learn from my two year old. This was the first time we'd tried it and I got the idea from another thread. As for the other teens in the house, they are not that interested at this point, but I have a feeling that they might be once they see what he begins to learn and do! (Any suggestions for helping a GSD learn the clean up game would help me and the lazy kids tremendously!!!!)
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 12:57 PM
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This is a video using clicker training that goes through the process of teaching the clean up game.


Danielle, owner of...
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Red Dog's Reconnaissance Man CGC CL1-R CL1-H CL1-F CL1-S USJ
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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oh wow, I was going way, way too fast and expecting way too much for the first training session!! Need to go get a clicker now!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
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Stosh, funny you mentioned getting the kids interested in doing some training --- my two-year-old thinks it's the best invention ever! I just have to make sure that he can't click it around Boss or no telling what kind of tricks he'll teach him. Seriously, I had a chance to work with Boss tonight and we're making quite a bit of progress. I'm so glad I followed the suggestion about the wrist strap; boy, does that come in handy even around my belt loop when I don't want to hold onto it!
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