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Discussion Starter #1
Before I got Saber, I bought several books about training and dog tricks, watched a lot of videos, and read a lot. I have a clicker and treats. And now that she is here I am trying to figure out just WHAT to teach next! What did you teach your puppy at this age?

What I've done:
First week home (9 weeks): worked on bonding, housebreaking, crate training. Taught her her name.

Now she is almost 12 weeks. She knows:
"sit"
automatic sit for food, water refills, leashing, unleashing, and when she comes to me
"wait" (sit down and be patient for things like me getting her food, or our other dog drinking and she waits her turn)
"crate" (goes right in)
"touch" (touches my palm with her nose)
She also knows down, leave it, no bite, paw, and kisses (licks hand).

She just learned "take it" (will take a toy in in her mouth) and "get it" (will pick up a toy nearby) and we are still working on "roll over" (she lays on her side so far).

Now, she is not 100% with all this stuff. Some things she doesn't seem to like doing (like roll over) and whines when I tell her to, but then does it. Some of these things she only does if you have a treat on you.

So do I just keep doing these over and over til they are 100%, without adding new things? She seems to get bored with the same old stuff. Would love suggestions on what to add next. I am thinking stay and recall.
 

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FOCUS!!! FOCUS!!! FOCUS!!!

Not just in the house, but next to a busy road, in the middle of playing with other dogs, near kids, around noises, different smells, etc...

I wish I did mor focus work with Stark at a younger age. He knows all of the commands and performs them quickly but to get him to focus on me WHILE doing them is tough - he is 21 months old and still has this issue sometimes! Work in progress due to my mistake (or lack of knowledge at the time) but I do wish I would have started that and formal heel training (muscle memory) earlier.

I guess we all live and learn and apply to the next.. ;)
 

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Just wanted to add -

I started with recall training the second Stark came home and I have to say, he has EXCELLENT recall in almost every situation I can imagine.

Keep it fun and light but really I would start on this now.

Stay is a fun one to learn.. I did some fun games with this.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Elisabeth,

Oh I have had a hard time with focus with Saber! I watched the videos and I try to have her look in my eyes and she just stares at the treat or my hand. I hold the treat by my eyes and she just stares at the treat, and once I stop using the treat by my face she keeps looking for the treat. Not surprising since she is high food drive. But holy cow, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get her to look in my eyes for more than 1 second (and I have clicked and treated for that 1 second glance she gives me, but she hasn't extended it).

Maybe I need to be randomly clicking & treating for eye contact at other times? Because she DOES look in my eyes when I am not trying to train her to focus!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Oh, and she also goes potty on command.
 

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Shawn, what Elisabeth said!!! Keep a pocket full of treats on you all the time. When Saber comes to you on her own, click and treat "Good girl!", when she looks to you, at you, click and treat.

To get her to look at you when you have a treat, wait her out. sit on the floor to be closer to her, have the treat in your hand, but don't let her have it. She will try to paw at your hand, and push it around, and have a little fit, but wait her out. Eventually, she will look at you questioningly "Why can't I have the treat?", THEN be quick with your clicking and reward. Reward for the slightest glance at you, but make sure she is looking at you. At first, you can help her out by making soft noises or saying her name softly to get her to look at you. As she gets better with this, expect a bit longer eye contact before rewarding. At first, as she starts to figure it out, she will glance at you, then quickly turn her attention back to the treat, because she knows that the reward is coming, but now, SURPRISE!!! NO reward for glancing! Wait her out to look back at you, talk to her softly to keep her attention for one second, then click and reward (I don't use a clicker by the way, just to lazy to work with one, I use a verbal "yes" but that has its drawbacks though . . . ).

Mix up the hand that has the reward and the clicker too, so she does not automatically drop her head to look at your hand expecting the reward. Not knowing where the reward is coming from will help her connect that the reward is from looking at you and making eye contact, not from looking at a particular hand.

Teaching this focus is very hard on them when you first start - a great leap of abstract thinking and mental associations - so take it slow, and keep the sessions short.

And I'm really impressed with all that Saber knows already, wow! What a great trainer you are, and what a smart cookie she is!
 

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for 12 weeks old your dog knows a lot. since your dog isn't
100% with all of these commands i think you should do some reinforcement training. once your dog is 100% with one command move on to another.
 

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One thing I did with Abby early on was get her used to my touch.
I would give her massages and run my hands all over her body.
At first this resulted in lots of biting and me wearing a number of
bandaids but as she got more used to it she learned to enjoy it.

Now I have no trouble at all handling her feet to trim nails or to
swab out her ears when dirty or checking for ticks. Also handy
so your vet can do an exam without getting your dog too worked up.
 

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I started training Achilles the day after I got him home. He was house broken in a couple of days which was Awesome! But I've done most of the above training and I love Achilles/GSD because these dogs are so so smart & they learn so quick. I've been working on patience a lot. Trying to get him to stay in one place works about 70% of the time but he's getting better now. Lately I've been working with him on jumping, climbing & going through one of those toy tunnels etc & he's doing great. Super smart and wants to go go go..!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks so much guys! I will keep treats on me and work on rewarding her for coming and focusing in daily life... and throw in some other random commands here and there that she knows but not 100%.

I also did clip her nails once by clicking & treating each clip (which was crazy hard to get the first one but after that she got the picture) and we also work on brushing without eating the brush :)

This is a lot of fun! Love having such a smart pup. I just found 3 options for puppy classes... trying to decide if I should go with the more freestyle one or the STAR Puppy class :)
 

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Try the treats in your mouth rather than holding in your hand so you can spit them out at her and not have her try to follow where the treat dispensor (aka hand) is going.
 

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Just wanted to add -

I started with recall training the second Stark came home and I have to say, he has EXCELLENT recall in almost every situation I can imagine.

Keep it fun and light but really I would start on this now.

Stay is a fun one to learn.. I did some fun games with this.
argee 100%:thumbup:
 

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Are you doing this?


I fed much of Halo's lunch kibble this way. I'd sit on the floor with her and hand feed her the treats. It didn't take long for her to understand that the hand only opened when she backed away from it and looked at me. We'd do the same thing with some treats on the floor between us - if she ignored them and looked at me I'd give her treats out of my hand. Sometimes I'd pick them up off the floor and give them to her, or put them in my hand and put down some different treats on the floor.

In addition to this I clicked and treated any time I caught her looking at me, or if she started to come towards me, or if she laid down on the floor, whatever I wanted to encourage. I'd release her and toss a treat. She'd get up to get it and I'd wait for her to lay down and look at me again, or to come back towards me. Rinse, repeat. :) Once Halo was consistently giving me eye contact I put it on cue to the "watch" command. I want to be able to get them to look at me when I ask them to but I also want focus to be a strong default behavior too, and randomly rewarding her for looking at you on her own will help build that.

I'd toss a treat across the room and when she got to it I'd call her name and click the second her head whipped around toward me (the "whiplash turn"). She'd run back to me and I'd give her a treat then toss another one across the room. I had her charging back and forth right next to one of the cats who was sitting on the floor nearby and she didn't even glance at Emmy.

I taught her "find it", meaning to look for a treat on the floor - at first right at her feet, then a few feet away. We'd do a "find it" and then I'd run into another room in the house, calling her name and "come!". A treat when she caught up to me, another "find it" and I'd run away again. Never had a puppy not LOVE this game! Work up to an automatic sit in front before marking and rewarding and tossing another treat on the floor to find.

Expand on "touch" so she'll walk towards you to do the nose bump, with your hand in any position (over her head so she has to jump up to it, down low near the ground, with her next to you in heel position, held out to the side, etc.) and then teach her to target something held in your hand (I use the "target" command for this, to differentiate it from targeting my hand) like a small plastic lid. Once she's targeting it no matter where you're holding it, start lowering it to the floor and then finally set it down. When she'll target it on the floor, move further away so she has to run to the lid to target it.

Teach her a "place" command - I use "go to your mat". Click/treat for initially looking at it, then moving towards it, then stepping on it, then cue her into a down. Release off each time.

For me, "watch", "touch" and "find it" are important attention directing exercises I like to teach my dogs from the very beginning - look at me, targeting, and look at the floor/ground, can be used in so many ways to direct them where you want them or where you DON'T want them looking (find it is great for that!) Touch and find it can also be alternate, less formal recalls. If they're across the room and I hold out my hand and say touch, they have to come to me to bump my palm. If they're in another room and I yell find it they come running to see what goodies they may find.

This is Halo, week 2 of puppy class at 14 weeks old - I have treats in both hands and she's laying in front of me off leash staring intently at me:



And with food on the floor in front of her:



If you spend a few minutes several times a day working on the game in the video I posted you'll have that kind of focus with Saber in no time!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Debbie,

I'd seen that video and have done *some* of that... though I was using the Leave It command with her. Right now I can put the food in front of her and tell her Leave It and she will, and I work out of an open container. Watching it again, and reading your post, I see some things I can work on. Thank you very much for your detailed post. It's very helpful!
 

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when my dog was a pup we went to the Vet 3 or 4 times
a week for treats, mock exams and rides on (up and down)
on the exam table. we also did dome training and socializing
while we were at the Vet. everytime we went to the Vet i
say "want to go to the Vet" or "let's go to the Vet". during the car ride to
the Vet i would mention the Vet. now when i say mention the Vet my
dog gets all excited.

you could teach your dog "go to your crate"
or "go to your bed". this comes in handy when someone
is at the door or in the house. you could teach your dog not to leave the house when the door is open even if there's a dog on the steps or if someone is calling her to come outside. you could also teach your dog
not exit the car without a command. i taught my dog to lay down
automatically (no command) when i exit the car.
 

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I get my pup on saturday and he will be 10 weeks. I hope I can get him to do half of what you have done! Sounds like you are doing an excellent job. Keep it up. I also think having pup used to your and others touch is a fantastic skill for them to learn from a young age.
 
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