My dog gets frustrated when we train. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-21-2014, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
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My dog gets frustrated when we train.

Just as the title says my dog is getting frustrated when we do obedience training. I'm going to try to be as detailed as I can so I get helpful advice.

- He is 4.5 years old, I've had him since 9-10 weeks. We did structured obedience up until he was about 2 and to be honest he reliably did everything I wanted of him 100% of the time so I stopped doing actual sessions.

- Recently (but not recent enough to cause this behavior, it was 1 year ago at this point) a traumatic event happened and he isn't reliably obedient in distractions so I decided to start from ground zero with marker training, Leerburg as my bible.

- First handful of sessions were just charging the marker word and getting him to learn "yes!" - 2 minute sessions or so. He did fine then.

- For the past 2 weeks we've been doing training with only commands he 100% knows without fault: sit and down. These commands even in light of recent events are proofed in distractions

- After about the 5-10th command he just shuts down. Starts whining, gazing around the room, or wandering and sniffing even though we're just in our house in a familiar area. Not normal behavior for him.

- I've been properly engaging him and he's ready at the beginning but loses interest. I'm making a huge party of it when he does right and trying to make it as fun as possible. We are using varied, super high value treats (he isn't interested in toys as a reward).

- We end the sessions when he gets frustrated/stressed but on a positive note with him doing a last command or two and is rewarded and highly praised for.

What gives??? He used to LOVE obedience with me and was always eager to perform known commands and even more so to learn new ones. He's fine if I randomly ask him for commands but seems to get so stressed when we do a session. I taught him a brand new command during tonight's as he was giving an offered behavior for it so I went with it, and I was SUPER! proud of him but he wasn't having any fun.

I'm fair, clear and positive during all of our training sessions and its a no punishment zone so it's not that he doesn't know what is expected or is getting corrected for wrong behaviors.

Will this get better as we continue practicing? Is it just because he hasn't had sessions in so long? Or Is it something to do with his age? I'm really enjoying training him again, but I want him to enjoy it too!


Edit: also, I've tried training when he is hungry, after he has eaten, before exercise and after exercise all with the same results.

Last edited by jsca; 12-21-2014 at 10:54 PM.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-21-2014, 11:03 PM
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how are you doing the sits and downs? Are you making a game of it? how long are your sessions? Why 5th-10th?

It sounds like he's confused. You spent 4.5 years doing it one way and now are asking him to do it a different way.




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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-21-2014, 11:09 PM
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Not knowing your dog or seeing what you mean by 'losing interest', I would suggest what I (we/trainers) do with horses: stop before he gets bored... So if he does 3 responses excellent and is excited about it, end there, don't push it. Stopping when he is bored or frustrated just ends him on that sour note. Ending before that frustration comes, leaves him excited for the next lesson... Just a thought
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-21-2014, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jax08 View Post
how are you doing the sits and downs? Are you making a game of it? how long are your sessions? Why 5th-10th?

It sounds like he's confused. You spent 4.5 years doing it one way and now are asking him to do it a different way.

Asking for them in the same manner, just a different reward delivery. He knows them verbally so I just speak the command, he follows and instead of me saying "good boy" he gets a "yes!" then a treat and then I do additional praise usually.

I'm not asking for anything different or new and he's getting a high value reward every time now, where as he was only getting them occasionally before we re-started the obedience. He's getting verbal praise and like I said I'm making it as fun and engaging as possible.

I don't know why it's after the ~5th to 10th that it occurs but the only logic I can apply to it really is that he's used to only getting that many or fewer commands at once as again we haven't been doing structured training.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-21-2014, 11:14 PM
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The one word missing from your original post is "praise."

Was that an oversight, or do you find yourself mechanically saying "yes" and giving the dog a treat without pausing to really lavish real praise and affection on him for a job well done? I ask because I've seen a lot of people in various classes doing that, and they wonder why the dog isn't "into it." Watching them, it's like the person is doing a mechanical routine -- there's no energy between them. Once the trainer tells them to start lavishing praise on the dog for everything it does right, the dynamic changes and they reconnect.

I'd lay off the training and work on more play and games together--which can incorporate some OB on the sly. Work on the bond, and get your energy back in sync, and the rest will be so much easier. Some of the behavior you describe sounds stressed, which makes me think something is off in the technique, energy, or delivery for him. I'd want to make life fun to get rid of the stressors.

Last edited by Magwart; 12-21-2014 at 11:17 PM.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-21-2014, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Hineni7 View Post
...stop before he gets bored... So if he does 3 responses excellent and is excited about it, end there,
My breeder told me to "quit before he quits". It's a fine line when you are pushing to the next level. But I make it fun. I throw the treat and call him back. Platz! Throw a threat to send him out and call him back. Back! Throw treat. Platz! Then grab a tug and do healing.

I don't do 5th-10th. By that time, I'm frying him and losing him.




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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-21-2014, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Magwart View Post
Watching them, it's like the person is doing a mechanical routine -- there's no energy between them.
Then energy you put in will be the energy you get out. If I'm blah when I'm training, I can see the difference in Seger. His step isn't as high. He's not as fast. And he doesn't last as long.




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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-21-2014, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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My dog gets frustrated when we train.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magwart View Post
The one word missing from your original post is "praise."

Was that an oversight, or do you find yourself mechanically saying "yes" and giving the dog a treat without pausing to really lavish real praise and affection on him for a job well done? I ask because I've seen a lot of people in various classes doing that, and they wonder why the dog isn't "into it." Watching them, it's like the person is doing a mechanical routine -- there's no energy between them. Once the trainer tells them to start lavishing praise on the dog for everything it does right, the dynamic changes and they reconnect.

I'd lay off the training and work on more play and games together--which can incorporate some OB on the sly. Work on the bond, and get your energy back in sync, and the rest will be so much easier.

No I totally didn't mean to make it out that way! It's a total party when he does right and nothing negative if he doesn't oblige, just a "nope!" We have a super tight bond, he's been with me 4.5 years and we definitely play as well, he is just way more motivated by treats and praise

Edit: in the original post when I was saying "making a huge party of it" - what I meant by that was highly praising.

Last edited by jsca; 12-21-2014 at 11:22 PM.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-21-2014, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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Then energy you put in will be the energy you get out. If I'm blah when I'm training, I can see the difference in Seger. His step isn't as high. He's not as fast. And he doesn't last as long.

Like I said though, I'm really enjoying training him, I'm keeping everything positive and trying to make it as fun as possible for him. It's not something I dread or bring ill-feelings into at all.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-21-2014, 11:29 PM
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Do you have video?




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