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We got Bear 4 days ago, he is roughly 9 weeks old. By day 2 he understood his name, and responded to "Bear, Come". Now at day 4, he'll respond...unless something else peeks his interest and becomes selective on when he will come to us.

We have not been using treats with the basics, he is very smart and enjoys positive reinforcement. Any time he does what he is told, its GOOD BOY! And a lot of petting, smiling and enthusiasm. I may make the adjustment to treat based when it comes to him being selective.

We need to break this habit before it goes too far. He needs to understand when his name is called, its not a choice....Any suggestions?
 

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Don't expect more from a 9 week old puppy than you would from a toddler that has been uprooted from their parents and home and plunked down in a totally strange environment among unknown people.
 

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Don't expect more from a 9 week old puppy than you would from a toddler that has been uprooted from their parents and home and plunked down in a totally strange environment among unknown people.
This. Only to add-- a very very young toddler!

If you want your puppy to have 100% success then be sure you only say his name or call him when he will be 100% successful. Don't call him when he is distracted or farther away than he can succeed. That's stuff you have to teach him as he grows.

Clapping your hands and saying "puppy, puppy, puppy," in a happy, inviting voice while moving away from puppy to invite him to chase you and catch up is my preferred method of getting a puppy to come to me. Most of them come running. Then I feed them something delish when they arrive. I only call them like I mean it if I'm positive they will come running and I have something awesome to reward them with. I never call adults like that so who cares if it ever gets a slow response once in awhile. I teach the real recall separately

The habit you want to prevent is YOUR habit, not your puppy, who is just a baby. YOU don't say "bear, come!" over and over in ways he won't know how to respond, because you are teaching him to ignore you by giving a formal command that a baby can't possibly respond properly to all the time.
 

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Mostly all i do with a baby puppy is teach them that I am the greatest thing in the world, all the best things come from me, and then start free shaping and/ or luring with food all the foundations for things I want to have later.

And, puppy should not have more freedom than is in his best interest. sometimes they need to be on a long line even in the house or in an ex pen.
 

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We got Bear 4 days ago, he is roughly 9 weeks old. By day 2 he understood his name, and responded to "Bear, Come". Now at day 4, he'll respond...unless something else peeks his interest and becomes selective on when he will come to us.

We have not been using treats with the basics, he is very smart and enjoys positive reinforcement. Any time he does what he is told, its GOOD BOY! And a lot of petting, smiling and enthusiasm. I may make the adjustment to treat based when it comes to him being selective.

We need to break this habit before it goes too far. He needs to understand when his name is called, its not a choice....Any suggestions?
A few weeks ago, this was a helpless, blind puppy rooting around for milk.

You talk as if he’s six months old. THAT is when the expectations can begin, and when the serious training starts, and even then, they have a short attention span.

Your job right now is to bond with this puppy and make everything fun. Be a human Pez dispenser with the treats, have him realize you are the source of all things wonderful.
Never call him unless he is on a drag line and you can gently tug and start him toward you.
Mark behaviors you like with lots of praise and treats. See him sitting? “ GOOD sit!” — treat.
I see he is a down position? “ GOOD down!” treat.
I like to teach the “Come” command when he is already running to me, almost there. Then, he gets toys, treats, praise...
Enjoy your puppy, and relax the strict regimen. You will both be far better off.
 

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I would not expect it from a 9 week old. I pretty much used food for everything at that age. It doesnt mean they wont do anything WITHOUT food later. It's a period of bonding, getting their focus. Look up luring for puppies.
 

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We got Bear 4 days ago, he is roughly 9 weeks old. By day 2 he understood his name, and responded to "Bear, Come". Now at day 4, he'll respond...unless something else peeks his interest and becomes selective on when he will come to us.

We have not been using treats with the basics, he is very smart and enjoys positive reinforcement. Any time he does what he is told, its GOOD BOY! And a lot of petting, smiling and enthusiasm. I may make the adjustment to treat based when it comes to him being selective.

We need to break this habit before it goes too far. He needs to understand when his name is called, its not a choice....Any suggestions?

My suggestion is get a trainer. There is no way that a 9 week old puppy knows his name. You are expecting way to much of him and not rewarding enough. That's not a "habit" to break. That's an untrained puppy.

And why aren't you using treats? If I got to work and at the end of the week I only get an Atta Girl, I'm not coming back. You have to pay them. You start with food for the first few months, transfer to a toy and eventually there should be so much value to work with you because you are fun. That's how dogs think.

I would find a trainer that is balanced, uses proper motivation and can teach you how to make the training a game for them.
 

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My pup is 16 weeks now and we started recall when we got him at 9 weeks. But remember that at this age it’s all the prove you are awesome. Engage and bond. Be and become fun.
I did this by doing what other are suggesting, so the following is basically seconding everyone else. Be the BEST thing ever. Build that bond. I like the pez dispenser analogy. I feed most of my pups rations out of a treat bag. He works for basically everything. Make it so the sun rises and sets with you. While working him, set yourself up for success and always leave him wanting more.

For recall, I become super interesting when calling him. I know I probably look like a fool when doing it. At 16 weeks, I’m still super interesting during recall. I move in fast jerky movements, instigate his prey drive. When he comes, it’s treats and a party and high pitched praise. Coming to me is so much fun. Say his name and only add the ‘come’ if you have his attention. Like Sunflowers said, say ‘come’ when he’s already on his way to you. We run, he chases after the treat, luring the come. If he’s super into it, I dart to the side and say come again. Call him, toss him a treat behind your legs and while he’s eating it run away and call him again. Make it a game where he always wins.

It sounds like you want an obedient dog. We all do. Recall is important. But I would suggest that you use the tools you have right now. Don’t be stingy on treats/food rewards, soon enough he’ll be an adolescent and being a jerk will be more fun for him than treats and praise. Then you’ll have to rely on the bond you built during his impressionable and ”innocent” stage.

Good luck!
 

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Just because he comes to you most of the time when you say his name, that doesn't mean he fully understands it. He has a very short attention span at this age, so it's totally normal that he's easily distracted and quickly loses focus. Keep your expectations reasonable!

He's also going to learn in context, so he may respond to a command consistently in a low distraction environment such as in the house, but then not at all in the backyard. I like to train a little bit every day, in a different room in the house each time. He sits on cue in the kitchen? Great! Will he sit on cue in the garage? How about if you're sitting in a chair or on the floor? Will he sit on cue next to you in heel position or just facing you? How about if he's across the room from you? To us humans, "sit" means just one thing - plant your butt on the floor/ground. To dogs, these are different situations and must be learned separately until he begins to generalize the command.

I agree with everyone else who said you should be using treats. If you want an immediate, happy, recall, he needs more than just praise, pets, and smiles. Those things are great too, but not enough by themselves. I always keep my demeanor happy and upbeat. You can use his kibble as training treats if you want, just make sure you measure out his next meal and whatever you don't use goes in his bowl. You don't want to overfeed him. If you use other treats, keep them very small, (pea sized or less) and preferably soft, and if he's getting a lot of them, cut back his meals slightly if he starts to get chubby.

One thing I really like to do is reinforce behavior I want. That includes looking at me, coming towards me, automatic default behaviors such as sits and down, usually with eye contact, etc. I don't use a cue at first - he doesn't know what the words mean yet anyway. This is called "capturing" behaviors, you're just reinforcing what the puppy is already doing, you're not actually telling him to do anything in particular. Once I get a consistent behavior, THEN I add a cue right before he does it, so the word becomes associated with the behavior. So, I'll hang out with puppy, usually sitting on the floor while they're small, and just observe. If puppy looks at me - Yes!, or use a clicker, and toss a small treat. Wait for puppy to look at me then mark and reward again. Eventually, I'll name that "watch", but I don't tell puppy to do that until I can be sure that he's going to start looking at me on his own. For the recall I'll toss a treat a short distance away and when puppy gets to it I say the name, and he comes back to me to get another treat. Rinse/repeat. I'm looking for an immediate "whiplash" turn of the head when I say the name (I'm not saying "come" or "here" or anything, just puppy's name), and an enthusiastic return to me. I've never had a puppy that didn't love playing this game. From there I'll toss a treat and run to a different room as I call the puppy. If you have other people to help, you can each sit on the floor around the room and take turns calling the puppy to you for a treat.

For sit and down, I simply wait until puppy does it then mark and treat. If you toss the treat a short distance away the puppy has to get up to get it, so you can get more reps in. Wait until he sits or lays down, mark and toss a treat again. When he's getting up to get the treat and then sitting again right away, say "sit" right before he does. Same with down, if he's enthusiastically throwing himself into a down to get another treat, say the word right before he does so. The more he's rewarded for doing something, the more he's going to offer the behaviors.

You can also lure sits and downs with a treat. I don't like to use a treat in my hand for too long, sometimes during the first or second brief session I can phase out the food lure and treat with my other hand. The lure motion can become your hand signal for this behavior. Once the puppy is consistently following your empty hand into position for a reward, you can add the verbal cue right before, and then eventually phase out the hand motion so he's just responding to the word. Don't rush any stages though, he's going to progress at his own pace and it will be more fun for both of you if you don't expect too much and get frustrated. Because he's got such a short attention span, it's much better to do several 5 minute or less sessions than to try for a half hour at a time. Even a half dozen repetitions of something is enough if that's all you have time for or that's as long as he can maintain focus.

When I have good default sits, downs, and eye contact, I start to require those for the puppy to earn what he wants. My dogs have all learned that the way to make me open the door so they can go out to the garage where I feed them is to sit and look at me. If they break the sit when I start to open the door, I let the door close again and wait. If they rush out before I can get the door shut I let them stay out there by themselves for 30 seconds or so while I remain in the house. Then I calmly open the door again and wait for them to come inside, sit and make eye contact again. Any time I walk up to a closed door and just stand there doing and saying nothing, they will automatically sit and watch me. Once I have the door open, I release them to go through. The "reward" in this case, is they get dinner, a real life reward rather than a treat or a toy.

Engagement, as CeraDean mentions above is extremely important. You want your puppy to WANT to engage with you. Figure out what he finds most reinforcing and teach him what he needs to do to get it. The more you can get him happily working with you, the less you're going to have to correct him for not doing so later.
 

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Recall: I put my puppies on a leash initially, throw a piece of food to get them to go away from me. Once they snatch up their food, I call their name to get their attention (they don't know their names yet but your voice will get attention), as soon as they look at me I call them to come. I may need a light tug on the line in my direction to help them. As soon as they start running towards me I encourage them with "good boy/girl" and feed as soon as they get back to me. It won't take long and they will be flying back to you.

It's important to not pair their name and recall command. If you call Bear! Come! as one command then he thinks the command is Bear Come. What if he's crossed the road and you don't want to recall him? Instead you want to down him in place and you start with Bear! And he zips across the road in front of a car. Or you want to recall him quickly and now you have a two word command instead of just Come! Make sure you have a pause in between those words so it's black and white to him.

Engagement: there are a couple of games I play for engagement.

First is to throw a piece of food to get him to go away from me. I quickly come up behind him and tap his rear while saying his name and then back up quickly so he has to follow me. Reward when he comes to you.

Once he understands that, then show him a piece of food and jump back away from him. The goal is to get him to follow you and interact with you. Once he starts to follow you then jump away and turn your back. You want him to come around you to your front to interact with you. If your dog is not looking at you, you can't train him. These games help to teach engagement and put value on you instead of everything else in the world.

Crate Games: buy the DVD. It will help you teach him to go to the crate and relax. Even if you don't use a crate this exercise teaches them to cap and control themselves. I teach this initially and it's transferred to everything from going thru the door (I could care less if they look at me as long as they don't break thru the door), to getting out of the car to the escape bite in protection work.

General obedience: I lure positions. I don't have the patience to wait them out until they do the right thing and, since I'm in sport, I want a very specific motion in the sit and down. I want 100% focus from them at this point so I reward a ton here. If you want pet obedience then you don't need to worry so much about if his sit is tucked or if he's dropped straight down for a platz. You can lure the sit and from the sit, you can lure the down. The important part is making it very clear what he's done right. I'm a great fan of the clicker when I'm teaching obedience. For this, I would very much urge you to find a good trainer (not a petsmart trainer), that can teach you a motivated method for obedience.

All of this is dependent upon treating him. You can do it with his regular food if he has enough food drive. Eventually, he will engage with YOU and not just for food. I'm at a point now that if I have no ball or food I can just call them to me and play with them. Playing with ME is the reward. The food and the ball are just pathways. when I use the ball, the reward is bringing the ball back to tug with me because I am the reward not the ball in itself. The ball is no fun without me. The food is no fun without me.

If you reward your dog, he will be easier to train and you will have more fun doing it.
 

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... All of this is dependent upon treating him. You can do it with his regular food if he has enough food drive. Eventually, he will engage with YOU and not just for food. I'm at a point now that if I have no ball or food I can just call them to me and play with them. Playing with ME is the reward. The food and the ball are just pathways. when I use the ball, the reward is bringing the ball back to tug with me because I am the reward not the ball in itself. The ball is no fun without me. The food is no fun without me.

If you reward your dog, he will be easier to train and you will have more fun doing it.
The remainder of Jax's post is spot on, but the above bears repeating --- especially the bolded portion.
 

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I didn’t read the whole thread so probably repeating, recall is often the last thing to come (no pun intended) In the basic puppy obedience toolbox. This doesn’t mean they don’t understand what you want them to do, they just ignore you! It will come with age. I’m down the two “comes” and he does at 6 months. The first one he stares, I stare back, we have a 5 second standoff and then a second come with a little bit of grit teeth. You will get there.
 

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I didn’t read the whole thread so probably repeating, recall is often the last thing to come (no pun intended) In the basic puppy obedience toolbox. This doesn’t mean they don’t understand what you want them to do, they just ignore you! It will come with age. I’m down the two “comes” and he does at 6 months. The first one he stares, I stare back, we have a 5 second standoff and then a second come with a little bit of grit teeth. You will get there.
Back up your training and start making it a game. If there is hesitation then you should be calling in a happy voice and running the other way so it's fun. Once he gets to you, you reward. If you are angry because they don't come they will know and that will create hesitation or refusal. They are reading your face and body. He knows when you are gritting your teeth. Sit down with him and start making happy and mad faces and watch his reaction to you.

Come and Down are non negotiable safety commands. They must do these without hesitation and the only way to get past that is to make it a game and fun unless you want to use 100% compulsion with an ecollar, which I do not recommend.

I only use compulsion in my proofing after I've played the game, they 100% understand what I'm asking of them and they have just decided what I"m asking is not on their agenda. If you do it right, you should need very minimal proofing.

@BearNecessity - this post is only directed at Frisco because his dog is much older.
 

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Back up your training and start making it a game. If there is hesitation then you should be calling in a happy voice and running the other way so it's fun. Once he gets to you, you reward. If you are angry because they don't come they will know and that will create hesitation or refusal. They are reading your face and body. He knows when you are gritting your teeth. Sit down with him and start making happy and mad faces and watch his reaction to you.

Come and Down are non negotiable safety commands. They must do these without hesitation and the only way to get past that is to make it a game and fun unless you want to use 100% compulsion with an ecollar, which I do not recommend.

I only use compulsion in my proofing after I've played the game, they 100% understand what I'm asking of them and they have just decided what I"m asking is not on their agenda. If you do it right, you should need very minimal proofing.

@BearNecessity - this post is only directed at Frisco because his dog is much older.
That game carries over. My younger GSD is 4.5 now. When i call him he comes trucking at me with the SAME look of glee on his face that I saw as a baby puppy trucking at me. He had so many repetitions of racing in to me for all the best things in his world as rewards, it has been so heavily reinforced for so long that it is a conditioned association now.

I still, and always, reward every single recall however I can. Praise if I have nothing else. it's maybe the most important thing he knows because it could save his life in so many ways.

I have had to proof it during adolescence (for mine 10-12 months) but the amount of compulsion proofing I ever did was like maybe 5% compared to the 95% motivational reward based training. So yeah, he knows it isn't optional, but he still comes as fast as he can and with joy.

He peeled out so hard hard on a formal recall in an obedience ring one time that he kicked the ring matting completely out of place. Not the best ring footing but you get the idea.
 

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@Thecowboysgirl - exactly!!! If you do it right, the proofing is so minimal. I don't remember even proofing Seger's. Faren needed a little but she's so independent so also needed the engagement and game upped for her to start with.
 

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Thecowboysgirl's suggestion " call him when he will be 100% successful. Don't call him when he is distracted or farther away than he can succeed."...IMO this is the way to go...."success breeds success"



One other thought.....with my current dog......I paired a visual/physical cue with most every verbal command/cue......always using both in the beginning.....eventually the verbal commands were mostly phased out and we communicated via my body/arms/legs/hands/head nods/ facial gestures etc. I believe by doing this it made it much easier for the dog to give me her focus awaiting the physical cue since they have to be looking at you.


At 9 weeks old however.....I think I just primarily focused on being the most entertaining creature my pup had to play with and explore with......lots of fun and bonding.




SuperG
 

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@Thecowboysgirl - exactly!!! If you do it right, the proofing is so minimal. I don't remember even proofing Seger's. Faren needed a little but she's so independent so also needed the engagement and game upped for her to start with.
I've never had to use compulsion for anything other than deer with that dog. His engagement is really good in a trial setting and I was able to get reliable recall off absolutely everything except the 5th deer he encountered in the forest.

AT least I've never thought twice about letting him off the leash in a competition ring or really anywhere, because he is basically the same exact dog on the leash that he is off. I've never feared my dog would run out of the ring or anything like I see other dogs do. Of course it pays to maintain and I've been taking him for granted for awhile now so I probably should proof some engagement just to be sure!!
 

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I didn’t read the whole thread so probably repeating, recall is often the last thing to come (no pun intended) In the basic puppy obedience toolbox. This doesn’t mean they don’t understand what you want them to do, they just ignore you! It will come with age. I’m down the two “comes” and he does at 6 months. The first one he stares, I stare back, we have a 5 second standoff and then a second come with a little bit of grit teeth. You will get there.
Never give them a chance to blow you off. That is teaching them that it is an option to come to you.
Now you will have to unteach it.
Have a drag line on him, and make him follow through, every time. If there is a chance he won’t listen, don’t call him.
This is a life skill that is very important, can mean life or death. It should be one of the first, if not THE first, to teach.
You have a lot of work to do.
 

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Back up your training and start making it a game. If there is hesitation then you should be calling in a happy voice and running the other way so it's fun. Once he gets to you, you reward. If you are angry because they don't come they will know and that will create hesitation or refusal. They are reading your face and body. He knows when you are gritting your teeth. Sit down with him and start making happy and mad faces and watch his reaction to you.

Come and Down are non negotiable safety commands. They must do these without hesitation and the only way to get past that is to make it a game and fun unless you want to use 100% compulsion with an ecollar, which I do not recommend.

I only use compulsion in my proofing after I've played the game, they 100% understand what I'm asking of them and they have just decided what I"m asking is not on their agenda. If you do it right, you should need very minimal proofing.

@BearNecessity - this post is only directed at Frisco because his dog is much older.


Thanks Jax. Very helpful.
 
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