Going Back to Basics, Which is Better? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-21-2013, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Going Back to Basics, Which is Better?

So I'm taking everyones advice on going back to basics when training my boys. My question is, since their personalities and drives are totally different, where do I start and which method would work best with their personalities? I will be rotating, training, and working with them separately so I can take baby steps. Now, which works best with these types of behavior types, so far I have a clicker, a prong collar, a face halter, and some youtube videos saved with a bunch of treats ready to go.

What theories do I look up? Methods? Techniques? Seminars? Conventions? Classes? Reward Systems? Colleges? Schools? Online? Books? Research Papers? And so on...

How do I train a needy/dominant/vocal/whinny dog vs. a passive/submissive/I'll replicate any nervous behavior for attention even though I'm faking it kind of dog?

(Trust me...they are attention freaks! I know my dogs and all their ridiculously smart over the top parlor tricks. They'll do anything to get your attn, even if they're is no problem at all or in sight, all learned behavior.....thank you highly nervous chihuahua from three doors down...)

And what are some basic rules every owner of any dog should know when training their own dogs for the first time?






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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-21-2013, 11:36 AM
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YOu need to train your dogs separately (generally).

And actually I'd recommend a positive based class to add structure and instant feedback. It's amazing how I THINK I'm doing something right, but when an instructor gives their tips I learn I can do much better.

Truthfully, it's always good to work on 'engagement' training as TRAINING! How long can you keep your pup focused and interacting with you without a leash to 'make' it???

Trick training is very much under rated too. It's a HUGE help with all training because we seem to calm and not get so NUTS with 'control' issues if it's a trick.

You look at this yet? Great tips for dogs of any age....---> https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...s-puppies.html




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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-21-2013, 02:07 PM
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Self control exercises will get you headed in the right direction.
Long Down Stay and "Leave it" have saved my bacon more than once.
As MaggieRoseLee said, training separately is SO crucial to being able to address their different needs and a trainer to point out where you can improve on your own skills is important.

If you are starting 100% from scratch you may have 'poisoned cues', you can probably find tons of examples online for that and they will probably explain it better then I could here. Certainly something you will want to be aware of though.

Find out what your dog finds ultimately rewarding and have them train to earn it. Some like tug, others food, some praise, fetch or like my guy who is an odd duck ...he works as long as he is promised he can work more.

Any equipment you choose to use make sure you research it thoroughly and understand how it works all the ins and outs, how it came to be and even how it can go wrong. I include clickers and head halters in this statement because they can be used horribly wrong just like any other piece of equipment.

Reading up on the four legs of operant conditioning and on classical conditioning will be very helpful in understanding how it all comes together and will help you be creative on how you teach new things.

My Favourite book is Jean Donaldson's Culture Clash.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2013, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MaggieRoseLee View Post
YOu need to train your dogs separately (generally).

And actually I'd recommend a positive based class to add structure and instant feedback. It's amazing how I THINK I'm doing something right, but when an instructor gives their tips I learn I can do much better.

Truthfully, it's always good to work on 'engagement' training as TRAINING! How long can you keep your pup focused and interacting with you without a leash to 'make' it???

Trick training is very much under rated too. It's a HUGE help with all training because we seem to calm and not get so NUTS with 'control' issues if it's a trick.

You look at this yet? Great tips for dogs of any age....---> https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...s-puppies.html
Thanks! You're right, I jus worked with them separately today, and trying a few new techniques and seeing how their energy is changing is proving progress. I have SUCH a hard time finding the right trainer, it seems that everyone has such high expectations and 'over energize' the shock collar with prong collar with three leashes with whistle with YOU GOT TO BE MASSIVELY DOMINANT view on my dogs, that I have the hardest time trusting their methods. Just seeing the replies some people leave on here regarding the double standard viewpoints of pup training has baffled me. So I guess I'm having a wicked hard time finding the right method for our lifestyles


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2013, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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Self control exercises will get you headed in the right direction.
Long Down Stay and "Leave it" have saved my bacon more than once.
As MaggieRoseLee said, training separately is SO crucial to being able to address their different needs and a trainer to point out where you can improve on your own skills is important.

If you are starting 100% from scratch you may have 'poisoned cues', you can probably find tons of examples online for that and they will probably explain it better then I could here. Certainly something you will want to be aware of though.

Find out what your dog finds ultimately rewarding and have them train to earn it. Some like tug, others food, some praise, fetch or like my guy who is an odd duck ...he works as long as he is promised he can work more.

Any equipment you choose to use make sure you research it thoroughly and understand how it works all the ins and outs, how it came to be and even how it can go wrong. I include clickers and head halters in this statement because they can be used horribly wrong just like any other piece of equipment.

Reading up on the four legs of operant conditioning and on classical conditioning will be very helpful in understanding how it all comes together and will help you be creative on how you teach new things.

My Favourite book is Jean Donaldson's Culture Clash.
Oh thank you! I just bought the book on my kindle, thank you for the recommendation

When working today, I noticed how differently they respond to my command cues and I'm quite baffles by their responses when they know the command (I thought) then do some sort of 'buffer' action to prevent from completing it.

Example: I say, "Wolf, sit." He bows, moans, looks at me, and does not sit. If I have a treat, surrreee. But his focus isn't on me.

Now if I say, "Wolf, good boy!" He uses that phrase as a 'Get away with murder card.' All of my old/basic commands have been taken on as a open to interpretation to my dogs. And I'm having such the hardest time getting a grip on how far I should start over


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2013, 08:42 AM
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Oh thank you! I just bought the book on my kindle, thank you for the recommendation

When working today, I noticed how differently they respond to my command cues and I'm quite baffles by their responses when they know the command (I thought) then do some sort of 'buffer' action to prevent from completing it.

Example: I say, "Wolf, sit." He bows, moans, looks at me, and does not sit. If I have a treat, surrreee. But his focus isn't on me.

Now if I say, "Wolf, good boy!" He uses that phrase as a 'Get away with murder card.' All of my old/basic commands have been taken on as a open to interpretation to my dogs. And I'm having such the hardest time getting a grip on how far I should start over


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First I would say you need to determine if your dog really understands the cue or if they are just throwing out behaviours until one of them earns the reward. If that's the case then you first need to teach the behaviour so that they truly understand it in more than one setting with a minimum 80% success rate. Then you will know they 'get it'. The buffer action you refer to could be that they actually believe its a required part of the behaviour. If you ask for a down does the dog always bark before down? If you ask for a sit does the dog always spin in a circle before they sit? Watch for the patterns.

I have a dog who gets so amped up about the treat I could potentially have for him that he loses his mind! I say 'down' and he barks and bows and spins a circle offers me "Ten" THEN he downs...... So my second suggestion is to keep the treat off your person, no pockets or treat bags some dogs just get too excited. If your dogs are totally food crazy use something low value like their kibble (if that's what they eat).

When I train I train a release cue, mine is very unoriginal... "OK!"
This cue tells the dog that he is done his behaviour or training and he is free to do as he wishes. My Beardie saunters off and goes smelling, Ozzy my GSD takes off like a shot and zips around the garden doing happy gazelle jumps through the yard. Sounds like "Wolf Good Boy" is your guys release cue even though you may not have meant it to be. Avoid saying it to him and I think you will keep his head in the training for a bit longer than usual. If you are using "Good Boy" as a marker to let him know he did something right then this is where you may find a clicker very useful.

If you cant find a trainer locally that can work with you maybe video tape your training. Then you can review it yourself and others can review it as well and provide feedback.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2013, 08:59 AM
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If I were going to re-set a dog, which I do whenever I have gotten a foster, I start with the 2 week shutdown - not in a punitive way (some people see it like that), but in a let's see what we've got here way.

I couple that with non-isolative NILIF.

I would crate one dog, have the other dog out tethered to me. I would ask for sits. See Dr. Sophia Yin's website. I would then rotate to the other dog.

It would not be punitive, I would be fun, engaging and working on relationship. See Suzanne Clothier's books and articles on her site.

In order to clear up the communication, I would hit Karen Pryoer's site and look at how to capture and click to "talk" to your dog. Removes all the bad cues you may have and allows for pathways to shape new.

But first I look at me -

*I* need to be calm, upbeat, and clear. I need to recognize that if a dog is failing to do something, I have most likely failed to explain it well to them.

I do not train when I am feeling sick, tired, or frustrated.

I do talk to myself before training sessions - what I want to accomplish, how I want it to look on my end, and how I will end it if it's not going well.

I can be clear positively. If I can't, I stop and regroup, because I need to out-think the dog. Not that they are trying to out-think me, just I am not getting across to them well enough.

So that would be my plan. It helps to have a trainer, but if you can't, keep a log of all of it. Keep track of articles, videos, etc, as you use them, in your log.

Good luck!





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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2013, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so I rounded up all the articles, bought (4) of the recommended books, printed out the online resource papers by those noted, annnnnnnd cleared out a space purely for training. One dog was in one crate, and the other on a 7ft rope leash I use for training.

So far, I REALLY like the two week period idea, I created a schedule of eating, bath rooming, walks, and play time.

Wolf. Does. Not. Like. It. Lol

He did not like being the one who didn't decide what we do, how we play, walk, anything. So I know it's working. However his constant barking and whining has gotten out of control.
If I get dressed, put on my shoes, work with the other dog, get the leash/training collars, or walk past his crate he throws a fat GSD tantrum. His body get's stiff and he's ready for me just to say a word...any word...like a 'release' cue and he goes wild.

How should. I handle the back talk/whining/fight back?

Especially since now every time I try to get him to do something he 'bows' and looks at me while doing it...then does his cat stretch thing...the fuh???

Why Wolf?! Whyyyyyyyy????

Preparing for day two tomorrow. Bear did great, but he keeps licking his paws and lips constantly as an attention getter, even if I'm working with him...how do I get him to stop while we're training together?

Oh, and I got a new clicker, some tennis balls, and a treat box they have to work to find the snack


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2013, 12:36 PM
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He did not like being the one who didn't decide what we do, how we play, walk, anything. So I know it's working. However his constant barking and whining has gotten out of control.
If I get dressed, put on my shoes, work with the other dog, get the leash/training collars, or walk past his crate he throws a fat GSD tantrum. His body get's stiff and he's ready for me just to say a word...any word...like a 'release' cue and he goes wild.

How should. I handle the back talk/whining/fight back?

Especially since now every time I try to get him to do something he 'bows' and looks at me while doing it...then does his cat stretch thing...the fuh???


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I suggest looking up displacement behaviours and start studying body language in dogs. That may help you understand why Wolf stretches out of context when you request another behaviour.

As for the whining in his crate, he is prob confused and frustrated because it is not what he is used to. I would ignore for a while and see if it subsides. Only let him out when he stops. It may help to give him a frozen kong to occupy himself while he is in there too. If the crate is present in the room you are training your second dog try moving the crate to another room it may help.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2013, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by SageDogs View Post


How should. I handle the back talk/whining/fight back?

Especially since now every time I try to get him to do something he 'bows' and looks at me while doing it...then does his cat stretch thing...the fuh???

Why Wolf?! Whyyyyyyyy????


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Bowing like that is your pup showing it's excitement. He doesn't want to work, he wants to play. He has YOUR attention and he wants to make the best of it. To us, it looks like, "Oh, you again. You and your rules bore me to death." But he's really trying to get you to engage in what HE wants to do. Because HE knows it more fun for him, it's gotta be more fun for you.

The good news is he IS engaging with you. If it's become a habit - or a learned behavior - I'd ignore it. Ignore him. If you know that every single time you try to get him to do something new he's going to do it, then try a different approach.


I can see you doing this: "Ok, Wolf! Com'ere! We are going to try something new!" Wolf picks up on you being nervous because you're doing something new as well as your attempt to get him excited about something new. So, he says "I know! Let's play!!!!"


Next time, try not saying anything at all. Or sitting on the floor or a stool. Try just keeping eye contact with him until he settles. Or even not look at him. Make that your game. How can you engage your dog without bringing out the unwanted behavior. Have patience. Let the light bulb click in his head. Try to read what he's trying to tell you. He's become accustomed to coming up with all the ideas of what y'all are going to do. He doesn't see it as a bad thing. You just have to let him know that YOU are the one who will decide when play is play and when work is work.

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