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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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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Discussion Starter #4
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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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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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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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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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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@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!
 

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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!
None taken.
I totally know the value in it but at times it can be cumbersome, so seeing that the OP is newer - the reminder can’t hurt. Even after a decade here I try to provide backstory.... or a link to one.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
!

Point taken, I will try to remember to provide backstory.

I did not ask for the down, but whenever he laid down on his own last night and this morning I praised him profusely with a "good down!"

I will do that for now while working on things he does do very well.

Great points, all of you, thank you!
 

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Point taken, I will try to remember to provide backstory.

I did not ask for the down, but whenever he laid down last night and this morning I praised him profusely with a "good down!"

I will do that for now while working on things he does do very well.

Great points, all of you, thank you!
We all just pick up on different things in threads. I don't have any special skill or knowledge, I just happened to read this a little different then Fodder, but in all honesty, its tough to ask a question on a forum. Its hard to really phrase it in a way that accurately describes what you mean.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I don't know how I got that exclamation point in my last post... hope it doesn't mean anything.

Reviewing older threads on clicker training, just wondering, if I say good during the process and "yes" to what I want, with the "yes" being a release then giving a treat, am I on the right track?

I also saw a great video of obedience and focus. I don't necessarily need the intense focus but ...for now anyway... would it be ok for a goal with my awesome new dog?

History: picked up Sam from the pound on June 2 with a kennel cough. He's finally over it and, while I did some basic obedience with him while he was sick, I am beginning to ask a bit more of him.
 

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Reviewing older threads on clicker training, just wondering, if I say good during the process and "yes" to what I want, with the "yes" being a release then giving a treat, am I on the right track?
I'm not a clicker fan, just one more thing to misplace LOL! But I've been using the method described by you above for years with good results.

I also saw a great video of obedience and focus. I don't necessarily need the intense focus but ...for now anyway... would it be ok for a goal with my awesome new dog?
I don't do any kind of dog sports, which is typically where you'll see that intense focus being important, but it's still important in any scenario to have some command for requiring your dog to pay attention. So yeah, I think it would be a great goal. With my dog I just say "hey", but the command used doesn't matter, the focus does!
 

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I personally would not use the marker word as the release word. Get the behavior, mark the behavior, reward the behavior.... then release. The marker word is a “promise to pay”... otherwise, the release itself is the reward. But I’m also not a fan of having to back everything up with “stay”. Sit means sit until I release or give another command. Harder to do if they’re released the moment they sit..... or you could gradually delay the marker. To each their own.

One exception I make is the place command... I toss the treat off the mat so that they have to return to the place to get the click.
 

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I taught Inga 30 commands without using any food treats. She started as a puppy however.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you, understood about "Get the behavior, mark the behavior, reward the behavior.... then release."

I will go research the "place" command in the other area. I'm not familiar with that one. Thank you!
 

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Thank you, understood about "Get the behavior, mark the behavior, reward the behavior.... then release."

I will go research the "place" command in the other area. I'm not familiar with that one. Thank you!
It’s really just a more versatile version of “go to your bed”.
 
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