How much before my puppy's brain explodes? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2011, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Arrow How much before my puppy's brain explodes?

Hey folks!

For clarification, I'm not asking HOW to train my puppy. I have trained older dogs in the past and have researched training techniques. That said, I'm not closed to suggestions, just not the point of the post.

I am the proud new owner of a 10 week old german shepherd puppy. For the last week I've been working with her for 10-15 min or so three times a day. I have a clicker and have been using small pieces of hot dogs for training treats. She goes ballistic over hot dog! I'm a little concerned that I'm over loading my poor puppy's brain though. She's picking things up well, but am I moving too quickly?


We are trying to teach her all of the following. Success rates (%) assume no distractions and treats are forth coming. If I am not on the floor with her, and she is not completely attentive, assume all to be 0!


Commands
Sit - (75%)
Down - (75% so long as she doesn't have to go sit-down-sit-down without a treat)
Crate- (100%)
Stay - (50%)
Leave it - (New - She stops and stares awkwardly till I steal it.... that kind of counts)
Come - (80%)

Behavior
Eliminate Outside - 80% when taken out frequently
Scratch the door to go outside - 0% Work in progress
Chew toys not the furniture- 80%
Don't flip water bowl - 50%
Don't growl or Bark while wrestling with other dog - 80%
Don't eat the cat - (plays a little rough, but he encourages it!)
Be quiet in the crate - 80%
Don't jump on people - (30%)
Don't eat poop - 90%

Words
Her Name - Mocha (75%)
No - 50%
Outside - 0%

When you think about it, she really has a lot to learn! I think she is making excellent progress, but I'm worried I'm asking too much of her so soon. She is still a very distractable puppy. I don't want to allow bad behavior habits to take root either though. She is also starting to exhibit dominance behavior over the cat. Should I continue to work on all basic commands, or should I scale back and focus on a few till she can perform them without bribery?


Thanks folks, and I look forward to your responses!

Last edited by Cpulley1; 03-23-2011 at 11:41 PM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2011, 11:40 PM
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Everything under your "behavior" heading, I don't really consider to be "training." That's just learning the rules of the house. I also don't teach "no." It's just a weird thing to teach, to me. Why not just teach them what you want instead of teaching the eleventy-seven things you don't want?


Sounds to me like she's doing great! Are you in a puppy class yet?


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2011, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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No, we are not in puppy classes yet. blew this month's budget getting the dog and am waiting on a pay check.

I wouldn't say that I'm teaching her the word 'No', but it's something she will be expected to know. I would agree that these things are house rules, but she still doesn't understand them yet, so I don't think the word 'training' is out of place.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-24-2011, 03:24 AM
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I have a clicker and have been using small pieces of hot dogs for training treats. She goes ballistic over hot dog!

Sounds just like my Karma at 10 weeks . Sounds like you got a great little dog .

With regards training the word NO ....I have taught all ym dogs to understand NO or UH UH means "don't do it". I thought this was a widely used negative marker ?????????


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-24-2011, 07:02 AM
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15 minute sessions may be too long for such a young pup - like you said about being distracted easily, puppies have such a short attention span. I would cut it down to 5 to 10 minute sessions.

Great that she has food drive, she will really associate learning with good stuff! Good job with her! She is doing awesome for her age, very responsive to you.

Lucia


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-24-2011, 07:10 AM
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Her brain will not explode but I agree only do 5-10 minute sessions. GSD are very smart and fast learners. Training not only helps her learn the rules but gives her brain something to do besides get into trouble

Sounds like you will have a great dog when she grows up.

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Handle every stressful situation like a dog. If you can't eat it or play with it, pee on it and walk away.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-24-2011, 07:21 AM
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At that age, 5 minutes is a loooooooong time. Don't expect too much but keep at it and break it up to focus on only 1 thing at a time for short periods of time. When she has something 100% move to 2 things, etc. Looks like you are doing a great job. Congrats on the pup.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-24-2011, 09:17 AM
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UH - Pictures? I'm not seeing any pictures. We all know that pictures are the MOST important thing.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-24-2011, 10:02 AM
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I do pretty much what you're doing, except I don't worry about stay at that age. I do some other things, like work on focus and teach hand targeting ("touch") and "find it", meaning to look on the floor for a treat. All three of these attention directing exercises can be built on in so many ways that for me they're essential foundations. I have never had a puppy brain explode yet!

Do not worry about "bribing" your puppy - hopefully you're rewarding her not bribing her anyway (yes, there is a difference!), and until she's solid at a given command under all circumstances you don't want to phase out the reward. Dogs learn situationally and don't generalize well, so when she can sit on cue in your house, your backyard, at the vet's office, in the car, when she's in front of you or at your side in heel position, with you standing, sitting in a chair or on the couch or the floor or laying in bed, then she doesn't really "know" the command yet. You would also go to a random reinforcement schedule rather than rewarding every single time and then stopping cold turkey. The older and more well established a behavior, the lower the reinforcement schedule, the newer and more challenging, the higher the reinforcement schedule.

Are you using the clicker to capture behaviors she's offering up without being cued? I do a ton of that, especially with focus - the more you reward her for looking at you, the stronger that default attention will become.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-24-2011, 10:42 AM
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Their attention span at that age is probably about 3 seconds so the stay may be premature, but if she's catching on at all that's great! I use 'wait' more often than 'stay' since in a stay I expect nothing to change and in a wait I don't really care if he changes from a sit to a down, I just want him to wait where he is. You might start with that before you get a good stay. Sounds like you're doing a great job! Classes will be a breeze. You didn't mention a leash- now's a good time to get Mocha used to it. I'd start with a little nylon slip lead
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