Help with the 'out' command for a shelter dog - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Help with the 'out' command for a shelter dog

Hi,
I am working as a volunteer with a gorgeous shelter dog (GSD/pit-ish mix we think) who is very toy (ball especially) possessive. Not at all aggressive about it but just will not let go even when I immobilize the toy or tug to stop making the game fun.

He had a pretty ugly early life as I understand. He won't let go to take a treat as he seems to value the toy above everything else and just wants to chomp away on it...that pit jaw just holds on! I can trick him I suppose by using two toys and some sleight of hand but that I fear will just make him lose trust quickly and hold on even more. He likes the keep-away/chase-me game as well...so long as he can hang onto the toy. Normally I would let it ride but he is so motivated by the toy that I think we can use the 'the power of playing tug' to push on with his training. All the advice I have come across seems to use treats or immobilization to teach him that if he releases the toy the game will continue...but that only works IF he ever lets go of the **** thing.

Ideally I wouldn't have started from here but this is what I have to work with. He is such a sweet dog that I would love some suggestions...
Thanks.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 09:01 PM
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have you been able to identify any type of toy that seems to be lower value to him? one that he'll readily take but doesn't love, or one that he can't do much with on his own. if the ball is of highest value to him, I would not use that to train an out, and for the time being I'd probably restrict access to balls... find other ways to work with and engage him that don't result in a battle.

easier said than done I assume in a shelter situation, but it's the first thing I thought of.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 09:11 PM
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How about teaching the leave it command with treats,no toys in sight while you practice.When he's mastered that,use two identical toys.Put toy #1 on the ground,Leave it!Reward with toy #2 Ok!or Take it!
Scoop up toy#1.Practice makes perfect

Someone else may have a better idea and more experience with pitty personalities.

Terri

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 09:20 PM
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I used two squeaky balls. I kept one in behind my back so he would not know it was there. Then sqeaked the other one to get his attention and threw it. The dog will chase the thrown ball and pick it up. When the dog looks at you take a few steps backward so he will naturally chase with the ball in his mouth. When he gets close take the other ball and hold it up and squeak it. The dog will drop the first ball because what you have and are playing with is obviously more important and fun. Now throw the second ball. As he runs after the ball pick up the one on the ground and then repeat this process a few dozen times. When the dog is catching on to dropping the ball when you squeak the other one stop squeaking it and start using the word out. It will take a few days but this can be easily shaped into a good retrieve and he will learn the out while having fun.
My dog will now out the first time off a sleeve or will drop anything in his mouth.

Jason

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Last edited by DobbyDad; 01-16-2016 at 09:23 PM.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 09:31 PM
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Remember to say "Yes" as a marker when he drops the ball.

Jason

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 11:20 PM
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The dog sounds like he has some intensity. Unless you want to sit in a chair for a half hour playing the immobalization game (I have done this, it takes some upper body strength), its quicker to use some pressure especially since he isnt a sport dog and points are not a consideration.

Method 1: Back tie the dog on a flat collar, put a prong on him with a 4-6foot lead. Give him the tug. Play a bit then say "out" one hand on the tug the other on starts popping the prong firmly repeatedly until he finally lets go. The minute he does: Mark and reward with another bite and some play. Let him win a couple times then repeat above steps.

Method 2 (This one is the best imo): Put the dog on a long line and remote collar (after you have collar conditioned the dog). Give the dog the tug, play a bit. Give him the "out". Apply the collar at a medium level and wait until he lets go. The minute he does mark and reward with another bite. Play and let him win then do it again. Sometimes have him out in your hand sometimes on the ground. Use the line to prevent him from touching the object until you mark.

The key with both methods is the dog cannot run away from you with the toy. The dog does not always get outed every time he brings you the toy or you touch the toy. Its unpredictable but always he has no choice in the end but to out the toy.

Sometimes you end up with freaks of nature. I had an x Malinois at one point that was super posessive, no trades or immobalization for him. In order to get him to out, I ended up using a Dogtra set to max. I would still have to wait sometimes for 3-6 seconds for him to out even with the collar on continous. Once he got it though things progressed quickly and his object drive greatly sped up the training.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 12:11 AM
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We adopted a GSD that is 12 months old, he was at the shelter for 4 months, the only toy that he had was a chewed up tennis ball while being outside for a few hours a day. Before we could take him home during the process I worked with him every other day and noticed the same behavior that your seeing. I let it go while he was there and made a plan.

When he got home I had a plan. First I made sure that he learned two things.
1. Leave it
2. Watch

Leave it was with two treats. Leave the first treat and you'll get the second one. after a day of this I was able to throw a bunch of treats on the ground and tell him leave it and he would.

Watch was trained by using a clicker. wanted him to focus on me and not on an object. started with a one second watch, click. Then worked up to a ten second watch with a click.

Now he was ready for a ball. Took him outside and used a very high value treat. Turkey Bacon. I threw the ball and saw the same reaction as he had at the shelter. I slowly walked up to him and just gave him the turkey bacon, figured he never had something that good in his life, he loved it. Then I played leave it with the ball and the turkey bacon, worked very well. Just have to mix in the regular treats with the leave it command and he should be good.

It can be done but a lot of prep work needs to go into it, not to mention a lot of patience. Good Luck!
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 12:21 AM
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Blitz did you see that this dog is at the shelter and OP is a volunteer? I very highly doubt prong and remote collars are options as well as back ties techniques etc.

TILDEN: Male: Blk/Red LHGSD: DOB: 12/24/06 65lbs of Love
KEYSTONE: Male: Sable: DOB: 2/11/13 55lbs of Go!!!!!
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice.

Yes, we have pretty primative resources so the prong/remote collar suggestion wouldn't be realistic. He is also pretty soft apart from his tendency to hang on (ever so nicely as I have stuck my hand into his mouth without anything happening to me) like grim death. So I suspect he isn't ready for pressure and might shut off. I like the idea though in principle..

Leave it and Watch it and employing two objects sounds the route. We have too many dogs to exercise that sitting there for 30 minutes until he gets bored isn't too likely

Work in progress....
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 05:30 AM
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can you work with 2 identical toys? that can help with some dogs.
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