Am I cheating ? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Am I cheating ?

I've been greatly inspired by some of the IPO videos I have seen as well as videos of forum members with their dogs who have this common bond developed with their dogs. My first 2 GSDs I never really dealt with developing this focus and attention which some have trained their dogs to execute...like second nature to the dog. These dogs are intently looking up at the handler's eyes...complete focus on the handler...it seems to me they could walk over hot coals together and the dog just pays attention to the handler. So, because of this forum helping me broaden my horizons, I really took a different approach with my current GSD..."eyes" "eyes" and more "eyes"...the dog has learned to give me her eyes but I used treats as the reward, probably too much. I then progressed to using a frisbee for this focus and her stare..works great...go through the drills, she executes..still I have a frisbee as bait...without the frisbee the stare is not as intense but yet she performs. I recently started using a tennis ball on short piece of poly rope which I make easily enough....yeah, I know...I heard they sell them all ready to go....Anyway, the tug tennis ball gig gets the same "eyes" and focus but always more when it is present versus without it. I'm not dangling it in front of her but have it held against my chest with my right arm. So, now I will hide the ball and rope in my right jacket pocket without her seeing me do it, I know she knows it there because she can scent it...but she responds as if it is held against my chest...which is good. However, what is the next step so I do not need any lure whatsoever but still get the same stare and focus ? I have heard some handlers put a ball under their armpit but do not know if that is typical? Anyway, I feel like I am still "cheating" to get the dog's full stare and focus.

By the way, when my dog is fixed on my eyes when we are moving and doing drills, their marching style gait is really accentuated and a thing of beauty.

I'm not entertaining any IPO competitions but am simply a backyard Schutzhund pretender.


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post #2 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 12:29 PM
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I don't look for eye contact. The one dog I did that with became dependent on it and I never could re-train him away from it. I think of the focus as mostly anticipation. He expects the ball to be there whether it is or not. In the beginning, its like a target to teach the head up position, but later I think its a matter of them orienting themselves to the position on your body that has gotten them the reward.

Don't rush getting away from that target though, and personally, I never move with the toy anywhere on my right side, I worry about that anticipation causing him to wrap and crowd me.

Doc

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post #3 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 12:36 PM
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Watch "Malinois Training Lesson Twenty" on YouTube
Malinois Training Lesson Twenty: https://youtu.be/oP1kNAqgYdo



Staring you into presenting what he wants, 😊😊 I really enjoy this guy's videos
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post #4 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Steve....makes sense ..as always.

misslesleedavis1...appreciate the link...made me laugh at the beginning..." ...that dog wants what ya have...it wants the food, its wants ya to pet it...it wants to leave your side and go bite an agitator "...


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post #5 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 04:05 PM
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However, what is the next step so I do not need any lure whatsoever but still get the same stare and focus?
Build it into daily life by making it a default behavior. My dogs use eye contact to "ask" me for things they want, usually with a sit thrown in for good measure. I started by cuing it when they were puppies, then I'd just wait for it, and now it's pretty much automatic.

I want those things on cue as well so when I say "watch" I get immediate eye contact, but I also want my dogs' attention without having to nag them for it all the time. They know it works, so they offer it up.

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post #6 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 05:02 PM
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Well, what I was taught is to reward randomly/intermittently rather than constantly. When you go on the training field w/out the reward at a trial (some people hand it off to someone at the edge of the field quietly) the dog keeps expecting it. "Well! It didn't happen there!! When? Maybe now? Maybe after the next turn?"

Basically some of us never fade it completely. It's there, it shows up from time to time in a positive fashion.

Some say to focus on the eyes, others say to have the dog focus on your face...
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post #7 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 07:13 PM
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SuperG; if you look at it that way then the whole exercise is cheating. It looks like the dog is paying attention to you, that is because he is looking you in the eyes. Nothing else is more attentive then the dog looking to one in his (her) eyes. Right? Wrong. If you train the dog like this then him looking in your eyes has nothing to do with him being "attentive" to you. He is just looking at a "spot" which is a trick he learned which will give him reward. In the same way you could teach him to look at any other part of your body or at carrot on a stick. You think that you are teaching the dog to pay attention to you but instead the dog - the master manipulator ( which they all are) is conning you so that he can get his toy. Thus the look you into your eyes has nothing to do with being attentive to you as a human being - entity with soul.
This exercise is based on the theory that dog wants something I have thus I give it to him if he gives me what I want. It looks great, but all the dog wants is to please himself and you do not matter to him that much except as a pez dispenser. You all have seen video of a pup sniffing to a trainers hand for tasty treat and heeling in an amazing way.
But all that has nothing to do with the handler the handler could be anybody even a mechanical robot like here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00DLuw6s8YE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SF08zZddPUs
This training is designed for enhancement of precision and not that much for an enhancement of a relationship which you have with your dog.
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post #8 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 07:26 PM
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I always want my dog to be aware of the surroundings and not just focus on my face or eyes. But that is points lost in sport.
I think a GSD(which is not a Malinois!!) should always be on guard, alert to the world and the handler is just a part of the world....handler is of course most important, but I've seen dogs in training,tracking or even protection, that are so tunnel visioned on a reward, or the track, they have no clue what may be going on around them. Of course, balanced in the awareness, and not overly suspicious or low threshold in the 'on guard' character, but at least aware of the world around them.
Love the scenarios where you have to call the dog off a bite to get another 'threat' before the threat can reach the handler.
Multi-tasking is a great asset.

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post #9 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 07:39 PM
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I always want my dog to be aware of the surroundings and not just focus on my face or eyes. But that is points lost in sport.
I think a GSD(which is not a Malinois!!) should always be on guard, alert to the world and the handler is just a part of the world....handler is of course most important, but I've seen dogs in training, tracking that are so tunnel visioned on a reward, or the track, they have no clue what may be going on around them. Of course, balanced in the awareness, and not overly suspicious or low threshold in the 'on guard' character, but at least aware of the world around them.
I don't think its necessary to allow a dog who isn't being used for legitimate personal protection to be queuing on generally non threatening surroundings, and I wouldn't call a dog with well trained focus a 'Malinois' just because its focused. I don't need a dog to be suspicious of whats going on around them because I'm not (and neither is the great majority of the dog population) using a dog for real life protection purposes.

My dog has drive for days, but that doesn't mean she's jumping off a cliff after a ball. I have met very few dogs who I actually think would, and theres quite a few people on this forum who seem to make it out like any dog with drive can't even think. I've had enough traveling and personal experience with plenty of dogs to know at this point how untrue that really is.

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post #10 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 07:50 PM
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I don't think its necessary to allow a dog who isn't being used for legitimate personal protection to be queuing on generally non threatening surroundings, and I wouldn't call a dog with well trained focus a 'Malinois' just because its focused. I don't need a dog to be suspicious of whats going on around them because I'm not (and neither is the great majority of the dog population) using a dog for real life protection purposes.

My dog has drive for days, but that doesn't mean she's jumping off a cliff after a ball. I have met very few dogs who I actually think would, and theres quite a few people on this forum who seem to make it out like any dog with drive can't even think. I've had enough traveling and personal experience with plenty of dogs to know at this point how untrue that really is.
Nothing in my post suggested a dog isn't thinking when it is in drive or jumping off a cliff for a ball. I was posting about the Mal comparison, and what I see of the breed, they are very cued in on their handler, needy to the communication and aren't independently in their thinking as a GSD tends to be.
I did post that the dog should be balanced in the awareness and not overly suspicious, no? My opinion is just that, your opinion is yours.
Drive doesn't equal stupid, my dog has drive, but has balanced drive and still can multi-task, that was the gist of my post.
Thank you for sharing your traveling and training experience, point taken. I don't rack up enough miles, I guess.

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Last edited by onyx'girl; 04-03-2015 at 07:55 PM.
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