General Training Question - how to respond when the dog just isn't going to do it? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-28-2011, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
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General Training Question - how to respond when the dog just isn't going to do it?

Ridley and I are working on lots of things and I've been avidly reading, watching videos and following threads here to get and understanding of what to do and how to do it. I also have an excellent trainer and I'll probably ask her the same question later but here goes . . .

I understand that one of the keys to success while training is to avoid giving commands when you either can't enforce them or have a low likelihood of having the dog comply. With this in mind, we've been working on Platz with stay. Last night I had Ridley on a short leash and had treats in my hand and had him on Platz right at my feet for a minute or 2. Rennie and my husband walked through the room and Ridley popped up (no surprise, that's why I had the leash) I said "uh, uh. Platz" and pulled down on the leash and got resistance. I tried luring him down with the treat, repeated the command and felt that failure was eminent! At this point the only way I could make him platz would have been to pull his front legs out but I didn't think this was a good idea. I finally asked my husband to go into a different room (removed the distraction for a minute) got him to platz for a minute and then released him and let my husband come back into the room.

He's great with basic obedience under most situations. The worst is when he's afraid he's missing out on something with my husband and Rennie which is why he lost focus last night. So, my question is what's the better way to handle this especially since there may be times when I can't control/remove the distraction and eventually we need success with distractions anyway!

Thanks for your help!

Sandra

Ridley 2010
Rennie 2006
Rex 2000 - 2010
Retta 1993 - 2006
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-28-2011, 08:24 AM
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Ridley is just a pup so you have to always keep that in mind when working on things like down and sit stay.

Having a dog and a person (especially if they are the Ridley's buddies) walk through the room and still have Ridley maintain a down stay is a tough one and it's best to tackle this in small pieces. You can try something like have Ridley in the down stay, have your husband come into the room (just a little bit to show himself to Ridley), leave the room, and then if Ridley holds the stay, release/reward. Or have Ridley on a down stay and have your husband make some noise in the next room and if Ridley holds the stay, release/reward. Right now you are not looking for perfection, just incremental improvements. Stay with distraction is almost a different exercise than stay without distraction. You have to go back to the beginning and start with 5 sec, 10 sec, 20 sec, etc.

If the dog cannot do a 2 minutes down stay with distraction yet, then I would not use compulsion or pressure or aversives. If he breaks the stay, just use a negative marker and get him back down there.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-28-2011, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason L View Post
Ridley is just a pup so you have to always keep that in mind when working on things like down and sit stay.

Having a dog and a person (especially if they are the Ridley's buddies) walk through the room and still have Ridley maintain a down stay is a tough one and it's best to tackle this in small pieces. You can try something like have Ridley in the down stay, have your husband come into the room (just a little bit to show himself to Ridley), leave the room, and then if Ridley holds the stay, release/reward. Or have Ridley on a down stay and have your husband make some noise in the next room and if Ridley holds the stay, release/reward. Right now you are not looking for perfection, just incremental improvements. Stay with distraction is almost a different exercise than stay without distraction. You have to go back to the beginning and start with 5 sec, 10 sec, 20 sec, etc.

If the dog cannot do a 2 minutes down stay with distraction yet, then I would not use compulsion or pressure or aversives. If he breaks the stay, just use a negative marker and get him back down there.

I totally agree with using this method. Young dogs have to build reliability in the down slowly. Two minutes is a long time for a young dog so a little at a time is better. Also practice in many places to make it more reliable.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-28-2011, 11:07 AM
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I know patience is a huge problem I have when I'm training my puppies. I want too much, too fast, and get frustrated (need I say angry?) when a session doesn't go the way I want.

The way I found help for my impatience was to not just train my puppy. But I had to train myself. Thank goodness clicker training was invented cause it's made a huge difference in ME! Great info that will help you can be found at:







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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-28-2011, 11:24 AM
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You need to start on the other sites for the clicker, but here's the specific for teaching the 'stay'





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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-28-2011, 01:35 PM
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This may be going out on the limb here but when you said "I felt that failure was eminent" i think you sealed your own demise....

I have very little patience with training as well, Ive never been very good at it strictly for wanting (like everyone else) too much out of the dog too soon...BUT I have slowly been overcoming my own downfalls the more that I train my new pup. Anyway what I mean is you have to trust in your dog to do it right....if you feel she's going to fail, Ive come to learn she WILL. I think my dog can sense my own emotions and when I get worked up and think to myself "this isn't going to work" it usually doesnt...but if I remain calm, work her through it, and let her do what she needs to do the outcome is much different and often very surprising (in a good way)

Also what has been helping me a lot lately is impulse training or getting eye contact before she is allowed to do ANYTHING.... Ive just started this the past week and a half or so and it has already made a TREMENDOUS difference.

I make her sit before feeding her...when she looks at me I release
I make her sit before going outside (with the door wide open)...when she looks up at me release.
Same with squirrels/birds etc. on walks, I'll let her chase them a bit but she is learning she wont be allowed until she asks me (by making eye contact) for permission.

Basically she must make eye contact with me before ever making her own decision....its helping with off leash training as well.

I dont know if this is a formal technique of training but I recently read an article about eye contact being a great tool and it has completely changed the way we work in a positive direction.... try it out and let me know what u think....if she looks at u for permission before you release her it will be easier to hold her there longer.

Just my 2 cents.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 08:41 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason L View Post
Ridley is just a pup so you have to always keep that in mind when working on things like down and sit stay.

Having a dog and a person (especially if they are the Ridley's buddies) walk through the room and still have Ridley maintain a down stay is a tough one and it's best to tackle this in small pieces. You can try something like have Ridley in the down stay, have your husband come into the room (just a little bit to show himself to Ridley), leave the room, and then if Ridley holds the stay, release/reward. Or have Ridley on a down stay and have your husband make some noise in the next room and if Ridley holds the stay, release/reward. Right now you are not looking for perfection, just incremental improvements. Stay with distraction is almost a different exercise than stay without distraction. You have to go back to the beginning and start with 5 sec, 10 sec, 20 sec, etc.

If the dog cannot do a 2 minutes down stay with distraction yet, then I would not use compulsion or pressure or aversives. If he breaks the stay, just use a negative marker and get him back down there.
Jason,

This sounds like good advice. Ridley is still a pup but he's doing VERY well with training. A 2 minute down stay is normally a cake walk - in fact we worked on this one morning for a little while and after I had released him, he came back to me, platzed himself and focused on me just like he had been doing when I had given the command. My main issue with the broken stay was that I couldn't finish the exercise since I couldn't get him to platz again due to an unplanned distraction.

I'll start working planned distractions into the mix to work on keeping his focus.

Sandra

Ridley 2010
Rennie 2006
Rex 2000 - 2010
Retta 1993 - 2006
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 08:45 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pyratemom View Post
I totally agree with using this method. Young dogs have to build reliability in the down slowly. Two minutes is a long time for a young dog so a little at a time is better. Also practice in many places to make it more reliable.
We didn't start with two minutes - actually when I got him in December he was 9 months old and was already good with a down stay. Two minutes isn't normally a problem - it was the distraction that got in the way. Come to think of it, there have been other times with distractions that went well but for what ever reason at that moment he really wanted to go see what Dad and Rennie were doing. He just lost his focus. I think the missing part for me is that I haven't worked specifically on distractions.

Sandra

Ridley 2010
Rennie 2006
Rex 2000 - 2010
Retta 1993 - 2006
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KonaK9 View Post
This may be going out on the limb here but when you said "I felt that failure was eminent" i think you sealed your own demise....
Hope that limb isn't too far off the ground . I know I'm relatively new here but when I said "I felt that failure was eminent" I was only referring to failure with that particular exercise at that moment. I try to end each little training session on a high note with success and lots of praise and I couldn't see how I was going to achieve that when Ridley was suddenly more interested in Dad and Rennie than me and the treat bag. It wasn't a planned distraction but it raised an issue that I wanted to find a better way to handle. Overall, training continues to be a success.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KonaK9 View Post
I have very little patience with training as well, Ive never been very good at it strictly for wanting (like everyone else) too much out of the dog too soon...BUT I have slowly been overcoming my own downfalls the more that I train my new pup. Anyway what I mean is you have to trust in your dog to do it right....if you feel she's going to fail, Ive come to learn she WILL. I think my dog can sense my own emotions and when I get worked up and think to myself "this isn't going to work" it usually doesnt...but if I remain calm, work her through it, and let her do what she needs to do the outcome is much different and often very surprising (in a good way)
Actually, I have tons of patience with training. During Ridley's first week with us I spent more time on the floor with him (5 minutes here, 5 minutes there) doing little exercises to get him used to his new surroundings. Bumps in the road are just challenges for me - I know I don't have all the answers so I come here and/or talk to my trainer. This isn't my first time training a dog but this time my kids are grown and I have more of my own time to read, study, and practice what I've learned. I'm enjoying the heck out of it and Ridley is wonderful. I do trust in him and he trusts me. He's also a full spirited puppy so sometimes, the exercises don't go quite as I planned. Since I couldn't figure out how to salvage this particular exercise I decided to look here for suggestions.

Since I mentioned my trainer I'll explain that she is also Ridley's breeder. We live a couple of hours away from her so our sessions are spaced pretty widely apart although she's always available to me by phone or email. I opted to train with her because she's amazingly good. When I went to see Ridley she had me handle him and in about 5 minutes I came away feeling like I had learned more than I ever learned in a 6 week AKC ob class. We also spent about 4 hours watching her work with her Sch Club and I was sold on her and the puppy.



Quote:
Originally Posted by KonaK9 View Post
Also what has been helping me a lot lately is impulse training or getting eye contact before she is allowed to do ANYTHING.... Ive just started this the past week and a half or so and it has already made a TREMENDOUS difference.

I make her sit before feeding her...when she looks at me I release
I make her sit before going outside (with the door wide open)...when she looks up at me release.
Same with squirrels/birds etc. on walks, I'll let her chase them a bit but she is learning she wont be allowed until she asks me (by making eye contact) for permission.
I started all of these things with Ridley the day I got him and I agree, it's amazing how quickly they can be taught and what a difference it makes in every day life. Rex, our last male, was of similar size as Ridley and we never taught him things like this. Consequently, his "manners" were atrocious. In his last few years I did teach him to sit and wait for his food bowl but it never occurred to me to do the same with other things. Ridley knows to go in his crate (bed) and platz with no antics, he knows when I return he must do the same no matter how excited he is and he can't come out until I release him even though I may open the door and wait just a bit. Lots of other little things. As my trainer has said I need to teach him that all good things come from me. So far so good, and we're finding new things to incorporate every day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KonaK9 View Post
Basically she must make eye contact with me before ever making her own decision....its helping with off leash training as well.

I dont know if this is a formal technique of training but I recently read an article about eye contact being a great tool and it has completely changed the way we work in a positive direction.... try it out and let me know what u think....if she looks at u for permission before you release her it will be easier to hold her there longer.

Just my 2 cents.
I haven't really done this in a specific way with off leash training yet but it makes sense. I still periodically do a little "watch" exercise with him. I did it initially to get him used to his name (Ridley, eye contact, click, treat, repeat). Then went to longer intervals, etc. It's not an overnight thing but I see a huge difference in his focus.

Thanks for your input. Like I said, I'm "relatively" new to this forum but I've actually been around lurking for years. If we talk training philosophies I'm very much a believe in primarily positive reinforcement and I am sold on the way good trainers break everything down into small pieces. This is what my trainer does and though I can't see the big picture on how to get from the baby steps to a SchH3 title (which is not really my goal) I can see through her dogs that it's quite possible! I'm still learning how to do this and how to put things back together and love that I can come here to get insight.

Sandra

Ridley 2010
Rennie 2006
Rex 2000 - 2010
Retta 1993 - 2006
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggieRoseLee View Post
I know patience is a huge problem I have when I'm training my puppies. I want too much, too fast, and get frustrated (need I say angry?) when a session doesn't go the way I want.

The way I found help for my impatience was to not just train my puppy. But I had to train myself. Thank goodness clicker training was invented cause it's made a huge difference in ME! Great info that will help you can be found at:
Thanks MaggieRoseLee, these are good videos and I used them shortly after we brought Ridley home. I didn't have a clicker so I just used "Yes" as my marker. I still mark with "Yes" but added the clicker about a month ago.

Sandra

Ridley 2010
Rennie 2006
Rex 2000 - 2010
Retta 1993 - 2006
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