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Discussion Starter #1
It had to happen. Sugar is getting bored with her training. I've limited the training to 5 minute sessions a couple of times a day in the hopes of avoiding boredom, but it didn't work. She is simply not getting excited over her treats and praise any more.

I'm planning on changing treats to get her attention again, but I'm wondering how everyone else deals with this problem.
 

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Hmmmmm well what are you attempting to train the pup to do? Have you mixed that up or just focusing on one thing? Perhaps cut the 5 minutes down to 3 and keep the amount of sessions the same? If he or she responds better then maybe down the road you can expand the time of each session.

I think changing the treats is a good idea. I have several different kinds of treats that I use with Max and he seems to like the variation.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
She's mastering the basics: sit, down, stay, come, leave it. I try to do them in random order for variety.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sugar 4 months today.

I take her outside where there is some room. I usually give her a treat to get her attention and so she knows I have them and it's time for training. I start with a sit command. Then either a sit-stay or down-stay. I then walk away and either come come back and award for the stay or practice the come command. The commands are shuffled depending on where I am and where she is.

The rewards are either a shot of cheeze-wiz or a slice of pupperoni combined with verbal and physical praise.
 

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She is still very young. I know when Argos was that age, he started to look at hot dogs and liver like they were the enemy. He knew he was in for 10 minutes of watch me, sit, stand, down, watch me, stay, come, sit, down, sit whenever I broke out the treat bag.

I was told that I was not exciting enough. Puppy lessons shouldn't be like boot camp...they have to be FUN! We stopped "formal" sessions and started to PLAY with our puppy and incorporating maybe one or two commands when we played....Really super exciting voices, so that people look at you like you're stupid, and a lot of movement. Also we did not work in "sessions". We could be walking and I might have 3 or 4 treats and ask him to do something along the way. In the kitchen making dinner I might ask him for 3 sits with hot dogs and then let him go...So he never had the chance to get bored. He would start to follow me around and offer behaviors because "Hey Mom! I know you have more than 3 pieces of hot dog in there somewhere!"

We also started to use toys...Depending on your dog, toys can be more rewarding than food...After about a week of really backing off on the "obedience" and focusing on playing, Argos was much more into me and responded much more quickly when I asked him to do things.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've been giving Sugar days off. The toys a probably a good idea, but Sugar doesn't have a lot of interest in most dog toys. She prefers her toys to be alive.

I've also started using play as a vehicle for training. For example, when there is something to chase in the yard, I'll tell her to sit and then tell her to "come", at which point I chase the object and she follows along. (Yes, I'm abusing the "come" command, but she is learning that "come" means to follow or to approach and sit.)

I haven't invented a game for the down and stay commands. Those aren't much fun.
 

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My main goal in puppy training isn't the 'sit' or the 'down' or the 'stay' or any specific behaviors.

The ONLY thing I work on for the first months (year(s)) is ATTITUDE. Only and all. So with only THAT for me to look for, it helps simplify the training session.

Because my 'job' is to figure out what is motiviating TO MY PUPPY. I haven't (frankly) found that my verbal praise or many treats give the same drive and focus as say, a cat/squirrel tearing across the yard. So what that showed me is that TEACHING my dog 'toy drive' is my 100% goal in life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And so my job/work isn't to decide my puppy won't play with toys. It's for me to figure out how to make myself a whole heck of a lot more fun so they DO want to play and interact with me. When they don't it's cause I have sucked the fun out of the training and the resulting zero focus, slow behaviors (if at all), sniffing, walking off, not listening should be clear to me I have to WORK harder at this.

I've found I have an inclination to easily become the disciplinarian and authoritative when my pups don't listen, and (apparently) three out of 3 of my puppies respond very poorly to this.

So now it's all about how can I make myself more fun. More a leader they WANT to follow and be with. And so they choose to stay with me to play all these crazy fun games of 'sit' or the game of 'down' and the game of 'come' is best of all!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know the clicker worked best for me because it did really make ME have to learn something new that directly benefited my puppy. So it wasn't her fault if I was slow with the click, or getting the treat, or playing after, it was clearly MY fault. Using the clicker as a marker really improved my timing. (and a good trainer who quickly recognizes when I train to much/long and am frying my puppies brain).

Some good ideas on how to Create a Motivating Toy are:

http://www.clickerdogs.com/createamotivatingtoy.htm

http://www.beardieagilitydiehards.org/BADagility/foodsock.html

http://siriusdog.com/articles/prey-drive-schutzhund-promotion-winkler1.htm

I always tend to over train with puppies. When I see they are slowing or losing focus, that means I went MINUTES over the training session. The goal is always to STOP training when they are fully engaged and wanting to 'play' the training game. So if I need to do 5 one-minute training sessions during the day rather than 1 five-minute session, then that's what I do.
 

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Originally Posted By: MaggieRoseLeeMy main goal in puppy training isn't the 'sit' or the 'down' or the 'stay' or any specific behaviors.

The ONLY thing I work on for the first months (year(s)) is ATTITUDE. Only and all. So with only THAT for me to look for, it helps simplify the training session.

Because my 'job' is to figure out what is motiviating TO MY PUPPY. I haven't (frankly) found that my verbal praise or many treats give the same drive and focus as say, a cat/squirrel tearing across the yard. So what that showed me is that TEACHING my dog 'toy drive' is my 100% goal in life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And so my job/work isn't to decide my puppy won't play with toys. It's for me to figure out how to make myself a whole heck of a lot more fun so they DO want to play and interact with me. When they don't it's cause I have sucked the fun out of the training and the resulting zero focus, slow behaviors (if at all), sniffing, walking off, not listening should be clear to me I have to WORK harder at this.

So now it's all about how can I make myself more fun. More a leader they WANT to follow and be with. And so they choose to stay with me to play all these crazy fun games of 'sit' or the game of 'down' and the game of 'come' is best of all!!!!!!!!!!!!!
MRL, has anyone told you recently that you are an AMAZING GENIUS? 'cause you are!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I guess I'm missing the connection here. I already play chase with Sugar and I use a towel tied to a length of rope to encourage her prey instincts which started out rather weak. She's gotten to where she loves to play chase. But I don't see how this is going to help keep her training motivated.
 

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Calipso, great to hear you are doing the towel thing, but you just didn't realize the link between WHY we teach this an all the other training. The chasing the towel is a great start, and I may have missed that the goal of this is then for the dog to catch the towel and TUG WITH YOU.

So chase the towel (and you) and tug with the towel (and you).

Can you see how I keep saying 'you'
Cause when you teach this 'game' and it's involving the #1 drive our dogs have for focus. Then you are getting the attention and focus in a POSITIVE way that, in the future, will assure when your dog sees a squirrel run but you call their name they WILL run to you instead because you have made yourself as much of a goal as a running squirrel!

And if you've seen a dog chase a squirrel, cat, other dog, deer... I know that is the drive I want in my direction and not away! This is a drive that can keep your dog's attention while working obedience in the middle of Main Street, a dog class with dogs running after tennis balls, and thru a minor dog spat from the 2 dogs next to you.

The goal with the puppies is that behaviors like play are just as much FUN as behaviors like a 'sit'. For me, the food and praise is only a quick and short term attention getting. And neither give the crazy WHOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that me running across the yard with their favorite toy gives.

And I want that WHOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!! when my puppy does a 'sit'. REally I do. I want that puppy seeing me with 'the toy' and being so excited now to work WITH me to earn the toy, she's right on top of me going, what now what now what now what now. And this training is NOT about my puppy ever doing something wrong.......................... EVER. Do I care if in a pause my puppy does a 'down' or a 'spin' ? Nopers. But when I say 'sit' and that puppy behind SLAMS down with lightning like speed (not a s l o w brain numbing motion, but a SMASHING to the floor) THAT Is right and THAT gets THE TOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Initially this training is exhausting for us and why people refuse to do it (what, me 'work' in dog training? it's the dog that supposed to work, right?). Because when you have the tugging/toy drive, you literally have the pup sit (best to have a clicker for timing but our voices are a second choice) use our marker word the instant the butt is on the ground and then RELEASE AND PLAY for about 5 minutes.

So for an instant of 'sit' your pup just earned 5 minutes of play. Now, do it again. One 'sit' and 5 mn of play. And again..................

As the training goes on and you finally learn your job is the MOTIVATING, then the better you do your job, the faster and more interaction you will see from your puppy. Cause they learn to love this new game full of 'sit' 'down' 'stay' 'whatever'.........

And as they get the motivation, you'll see you can ease up on the play (but watch the puppy, less motivation means you went to fast and too far) and get more training done. And the timing for this is crazy slanted (but changes fast the better do we at teaching the play/tugging) with if I do 5 minutes of 'obedience' we would have actually spent over 30 minutes total training. Cause at least 25 of that was with motivating play and tugging...

This is Bretta at about 7 months....at agility training. A room full of other loose dogs running the course, no fencing to divide us from them and the horse poop everywhere cause it's a horse arena!


 

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Discussion Starter #13
Sugar is still a bit reluctant to do a full aggressive tug of war. I have tried to teach her. The problem is that her self confidence is still not there yet, but it is improving. (She was yanked from the litter too young.) I've been allowing her win most of the tug-of-war and chase games to help her confidence.

The good news is that she has learned to jump over objects now. She wouldn't do that before. She would just stop and whine. One day while playing chase I kept jumping over the obstacle and finally she went over without thinking (She was involved in the chase). Problem solved.

I try the sock in the tennis ball again. This time I'll rub some meat juice on it to make even more appealing. I can't get too rough for a while. Sugar is starting to get her adult teeth so her mouth is sore.
 

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Some dogs are naturally soft or submissive like that. Instead of pulling aggressive, you can drop down to her terms and act like she's pulling like a monster truck even though she might not be pulling at all. In other words, play as though you're playing with a three year old kid. Make a huge deal when she wins. It's good you let her win most of them.


Good confidence builders are things similar to what you've discovered with jumping over objects. Teach her to walk across logs, over funny bridges, take her to the playground and encourage her to follow you over some of the easy stuff (but always stay close so you can rescue her), things like that. Each success will build her confidence. How is her nose? Have you tried playing search games? If you feed kibble, you can scatter some kibble around a room, some in the open and some barely hidden and encourage her to search while you help her find them. Learning to trust her nose is a big boost.

MRL is alluding to the idea that there is no separation between training time and playtime- it is one and the same. For example- if she LOVES ball, you can teach her to sit before you toss the ball or have her give some eye contact before you toss the ball, etc. She doesn't realize it's training time because she's having fun fun fun but little does she know she is being trained.
Is she big on meals? You can feed some of the meal by training her. She'll be hungry so probably quite motivated, then you can take a handful, do a short session, and then she earns the rest of her meal. In fact, it's best to limit training sessions to just a couple minutes several times throughout the day. Teach her to sit and give eye contact before going outside, teach her to sit at EVERY street corner and before crossing the street, teach her to hold a long down while you eat (after a good romp in the yard to tire her out, then feed her afterwards), things like that. Basically, stop making training akin to going to school and make training a part of life and keep it FUN. If you convince her that training actually is playtime, everything else will fall into place.

When she gets older, training can get more serious and more regimented, but even then the idea that training = fun must remain.
 

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Hey, DianaM is BRILLIANT!!!!


Just do what she recommends and you will be amazed! I know when I backed off the 'rushing' to train and instead focused on the 'rushing to play' ...................... wow, did my pups then really start to learn!
 

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Quote:Hey, DianaM is BRILLIANT!!!!
Oh I wouldn't go that far, but thank you.
I've just noticed that I go much farther with Renji's training when I'm treating it like a game than when I'm being Little Miss Authoritarian Ass.
Even when he gets the position for fuß, I'll correct him in a fun, upbeat tone as if to say "come on now, you can do better than that! Let's see what you've got!" And he jumps back with even more gusto and flair than usual.

It helps train me too to keep a positive attitude. Dog training is easy. Human training is a PITA.
 

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I have always trained combined with play sessions. We are playing ball, then I will ask for a sit before I throw the ball again. Few more throws then I will ask for a down before I throw the ball. few more throws and I call for the fuss position before I will throw the ball. My dogs always think it is some different part of playing ball, they really don't realize they are learning. I mix it up some my dogs don't start anticipating what I am going to ask for. The we will some times play tugs some times not.
 

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As I have nobody to train with I use to film some of my training to critique myself. Here is a piece of training of my pup of the same age, maybe it can give you an idea of the playing in training: puppy obedience
 

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If you're doing the same things over and over with her she's probably bored because it's not challenging enough. At that age I wouldn't worry too much about long sit and down stays, but there's a lot more you can do to make training sessions fun. Change it up, make it interesting.

She knows sit, but does she only know sit facing you with you standing in front of her? Start working on generalizing sit so that she'll do it with you sitting on the floor or standing on a chair. Try it with her sitting next to you, or with your back to her. Does she know both the verbal cue and a hand signal? If not, work on that. Will she sit at a distance? Work on distance commands.

She knows down, but does she know down from a stand, or only from a sit? Does she know both the verbal cue and a hand signal? Will she drop into a down when she's at your side, or across the room? If you haven't taught her the stand command, start now, and you can work on sit/down/stand in random order, linking several commands before the reward.

Teach a watch command, teach her to trade stuff for treats, or for other stuff. Teach her to target your hand with a nose bump to the "touch" command. Hand targeting can be used to work on heeling, the recall, and all sorts of other stuff. Play recall games where you toss a treat on the floor at her feet and run away, calling her name. When she gets to you, big praise and a treat, then toss another treat on the floor and run away again.

Does she like to chase balls? Make her sit until released before throwing the ball for her. Have her sit at the door until released before going outside, and with her food bowl on the floor before meals. Incorporate training into daily life so she gets real life rewards like play, and access to the outdoors, or anything else she likes.

Think short, fast paced, and fun, for training sessions. I tend to do quite a bit with my puppies from a very young age, more than a lot of people, and I've never had a problem with boredom. Doing the same old thing that they already know over and over is boring! But mix it up with some new stuff, and some variations on old stuff, and it's a lot more interesting. I started training both Dena & Keefer at 9 weeks old, as soon as they came home. All their training at home was off leash, with very brief sessions, lots of happy enthusiastic praise, and yummy treats. In a 5 minute training session we would work on several different things, maybe just a dozen repetitions of each before moving onto something else.

With Cassidy, who was 20 weeks old when we got her, I taught her even more. She was SO smart, scary smart, that every time we learned a new skill in class she had mastered it the next day at home, so I had to think of ways to make it more challenging, or she would most certainly have been bored.
 

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LicanAntai's video is a perfect example
of what we are trying to say. You can see how the handler is FUN to be with! Looks like the treats are coming fast, and the PLAY is very obvious.

More importantly, look at the duration of play for the reward and WHEN. She's doing a perfect job of asking for the behavior (she does a 'sit' as well as a 'down' and she IMMEDIATELY starts playing with the toy. So not a 'sit' then a long BORING waiting period before playing (sucking the life out of any puppy I have).

Instead she asks the 'sit' and the second that puppy behind hits the ground she PLAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Same with the 'down'. And the duration of the play when we start this up is long, you can see she actually edited some of the play out of the video. So for a quick sharp and fast behavior she did a ton of play. Then asked for something else with a ton of play.

I also mix up the treats with the play, but the treats are to teach something new cause it's NOT as liable to get they so crazy over the top they don't think (which the toy can and will do IF you have made it the proper motivator). So first I teach the behavior with REAL treats, and then when they seem to 'get it' we add the toy to get the motivation and the WHOHOO going!

And though people can argue with me til the cows come home that they shouldn't have to use treats/toys to train........ I say WATCH THAT VIDEO. Because the focus and attention of that puppy at 4 months old is exactly what I want in training. That puppy isn't interacting because it has to..........it's listening/learning and behaving because it WANTS to.
 
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