7 year old Knows but Ignores Down - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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7 year old Knows but Ignores Down

So, the good news is he's feeling better! No more kennel cough. The bad news is, he's ignoring some of my requests. All listed below is off leash other than heeling.

Sit is good

Heel is good, not perfect but no pulling on the few walks we've had.

Recall is good - unless he has a frisbee then all bets are off and I have to say "here" in order to get the frisbee. But if he is just roaming the backyard, I can say come and he immediately stops what he's doing, comes and sits at my feet.

Leave it is really good

Down is bad...When I ask him to down I have to ask over and over escalating my voice. I don't like doing that.

What am I doing wrong?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 02:55 PM
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Stop asking down unless he is on leash and you can reinforce it. If you ask 7 times before doing anything about it, to them, they assume they have 7 chances to ignore you.

Ask once in a neutral tone and make sure he does it (without asking again), and reward.

How do you know he knows (and has generalized) it? Could he be in pain? My 11yr old stopped responding to sit and downs as he’s aged. Now I only ask if absolutely necessary and I let him take his time.

It doesn’t sound like all bets are off when he has a frisbee - it sounds like you’ve inadvertently taught him that “here” is the cue word for returning with a frisbee.

They really are pretty simple.
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Last edited by Fodder; 06-26-2018 at 02:58 PM.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 03:22 PM
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You haven't had him very long, down is a little bit of a submissive position for a dog. I'd work with him separate of anything else on it. Make sure he's ready and you have his attention, and calmly work on it. I'd approach it as he doesn't actually know it, and go all the way back to luring him into it for the chance to reward him when he does before I'd try enforcing it because he didn't down. Basically the same as what Fodder's saying, just a little different spin.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Great responses, thank you.

I will get more focus before I ask HIM to focus lol .. Leash work, got it. He is super food motivated, so I can use that to my advantage?

I think he knows down because he did it no problem when he was sick... I could certainly be wrong.

He could be in pain, but he doesn't act like it... who knows though right?

Thanks again
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 06:48 PM
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I felt down was super hard to generalize. I thought my pup understood "down" and low and behold, he absolutely did not. He would only down when in the house, and half the time he ignored me. Apparently it was because he didn't understand as well as I thought he did. So one afternoon we went out on the deck, and practiced "down". Lots of treats were involved. Then we went to the yard, then the front porch, until he would "down" on just about any common surface. Now we practice anywhere we go, the river, the football field. He KNOWS down. Maybe better than "sit" now. 😂
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 07:15 PM
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That is how you generalize a command- performing the command under increasingly distracting circumstances I like to pull up to the dog park when there is no one in one side and throw the hoops, tubs, and boards over the fence. Then take Inga in and have her do her circus performance while a bunch of fence fighting loose dogs bark at her from the other side. Then we leave.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Awesome thanks to both of you!
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 11:53 PM
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IMHO Steve, as he often does, nailed it! This is a 7 yr old dog that has been with you for a month! Down is a sort of submissive position, so rather than press him or insist he obeys, I'd also be much more inclined to lure (Bet you didn't expect that from me Steve!) praise and show him how much you appreciate his compliance, rather than trying to "enforce, or even reinforce" it for now. If age or pain is keeping him from complying readily, you'll notice that. But for the next month or two, work only on stuff he's good at and likes, build some more trust and respect. Down is probably something he knows, but you can't assume that, and that's where luring and praise can win him over. Especially with an older dog, I would never advise "enforcing" anything until they've had ample time to adjust...which can take several months in my experience. He sounds like a great dog though, it'll come, just give him time!
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-27-2018, 12:50 AM
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Nice of both Steve and Tim to read previous posts. Whole heartedly agree with their suggestions. OP, keep in mind that in the future, a brief summary will get you more accurate advice

That said, enforce can also mean a light collar gesture or cue in the direction you want. Even using a lure.... once he lays down and you realease the food, that’s reinforcing the behavior you want. Bottom line is to say it, and be ready to do something (besides repeating the command).

For a 7yr old that you’ve only known a month.... yes, I’d stop asking all together and lure it when you want it... then love him up while he’s down.
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Last edited by Fodder; 06-27-2018 at 12:54 AM.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-27-2018, 02:35 AM
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@Fodder no disrespect meant nor intended! Steve actually pointed out the value of looking at previous posts to me some time ago,and I've never forgotten it. Steve knows his stuff! I would have given the same advice save the history....it's all good!

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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