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Old 05-28-2012, 01:05 PM
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Applebear Applebear is offline
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Default The watch me game

My chow/husky, Rolyx is a shelter baby...overall, good dog but he definably has come with some challenges. Indoors I have a well behaved and seemingly well balanced boy...I honestly have very few problems indoors. Outdoors, he's the complete opposite.

This weekend, I sat on my steps for close to a half hour, maybe a bit longer and not ONCE did he look my way. Not even a glance. Entire time he is focused on everything else...he just sits there literally staring off and waiting for something to move. I do think he's watching a little from the corner of his eyes, as if I move...he will follow most the time, assuming there is nothing there demanding his attention more [such as thumper grazing in the grass across the street and trust me when I say, I keep a tight grip on his lead at all times, even though it's loose most of the time].

I thought maybe the 'watch me game' would be a good place to start over. My question is how do you play this game if the dog won't even look at you? From my understanding you sit in a area with low distractions and wait for the dog to look at you. Then 'click' and toss a treat slightly off to the side, forcing him to break his look and then have to look back at you. Rinse, repeat. My yard is the best place I can think of, other than inside...should I start the game indoors? Then move it out to my front step? And what if that doesn't work? Also I should mention, he has a low food drive outdoors...even for the good stuff.
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Old 05-28-2012, 01:51 PM
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For me I would have Yoshi in the room with me while I was playing on the computer or watching TV. Everyonce in a while I'd say something like 'Yoshi look!' if she made eye contact she'd get a treat.

I started inside because it was a familiar area and there were fewer distractions for her.

It only took about a week before I could reliably call her to me or get her attention. That being said if we go outside and there is interesting stuff going on she will check it out before checking on me she won't always glance over either. But it did help in getting her attention if I need it.
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Old 05-28-2012, 02:32 PM
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I tried the game inside just a bit ago, and he caught on extremely fast like I thought he would [couple minutes and he was grasping the idea]. I'm not nearly as confident when things go outside...they are two extremely different worlds for him.

Also from what I understood, you don't call the dog's attention for the game...you wait until they look, click and toss treat. Am I misunderstanding this? Or should I try calling his attention?
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Old 05-28-2012, 03:59 PM
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For me my dog can be pretty independent and I just wanted to know I can get her attention and then an immediate reaction but that's just me. I know some of the people on here definitely need a dog that constantly pays attention to them. For me and my dog who is just a pet getting her attention quickly is good enough for me.
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoko View Post
For me my dog can be pretty independent and I just wanted to know I can get her attention and then an immediate reaction but that's just me. I know some of the people on here definitely need a dog that constantly pays attention to them. For me and my dog who is just a pet getting her attention quickly is good enough for me.
What kind of dog do you have...I love that scruffy face. Everyone has such beautiful dog families here. And yeah, I understand independence in dogs...Rolyx does have two very independent breeds in him. He has wonderful focus in the house, I am just hoping to get us both to broaden our horizons in the outside world. Just going to take time.
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Old 05-28-2012, 04:08 PM
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You're trying to increase the distraction level too quick! Keep playing the game inside for about a week, that way you are building value for eye contact. You can eventually put it on cue if you want, with "look" or whatever you want to call it. You can also increase distractions inside first, then try playing the game right beside the front door, then go outside just to the other side of the door, play the game there, a foot away from the door, etc.

You want to make it easy for the dog to succeed by slowly adding distractions in. By the time you try it around major distractions he should have enough reward history that he thinks the game is pretty cool and wants to offer the behaviour.
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Old 05-28-2012, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panzerotti View Post
You're trying to increase the distraction level too quick! Keep playing the game inside for about a week, that way you are building value for eye contact. You can eventually put it on cue if you want, with "look" or whatever you want to call it. You can also increase distractions inside first, then try playing the game right beside the front door, then go outside just to the other side of the door, play the game there, a foot away from the door, etc.

You want to make it easy for the dog to succeed by slowly adding distractions in. By the time you try it around major distractions he should have enough reward history that he thinks the game is pretty cool and wants to offer the behaviour.
The times I mentioned outside were me taking him out to potty and watching him as I sat on the step enjoying the day and I didn't try the game at all in these cases. I'm a little confused to how I'm increasing his distractions too quickly when I have only tried the game once inside today?

I do thank you for the tips though, as I wasn't sure on whether you started indoors or not, as well as some other things you mentioned...I have a better idea now of things I can do to add distractions inside as we progress.
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Old 05-28-2012, 06:57 PM
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Sounds like you're doing it right. I'd not give a cue just yet, and when you go outside I'd also not cue just yet. To me, teaching the dog that he only needs to look at you when you cue him kind of gives him permission to be super distracted. IMO even the average pet dog needs to learn to check in with you every now and then no matter where you are.

You mentioned that he doesn't have a high food drive while outside, so you can use other things as rewards. Even just getting to go out into the yard and sniff around can be extremely rewarding. You can do what you're doing - sit on the steps with him on leash. When he looks at you, click and run a few feet out into the yard, let him sniff around, etc., praising him the whole time. Then quietly and calmly take him back to the steps, sit in the same place you were before, and wait for him to look at you again. You can intersperse some treats as rewards, some petting if he likes that, etc., but for probably more than half of the times he gets a click, take him out and let him explore. If there's something that's especially interesting that he's really focused on while you're on the steps, then go to that place as your reward.

Also when you start outside, start in a place that he spends a lot of time in anyway. For example, if he goes out to the backyard 4 times a day to potty and play, then start your outside training there; it will be more familiar to him and less distracting.
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:33 AM
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Thank you so much for the advice Lizzy.

Below is a picture of what Ro typically looks like outside...He's always watching and listening for things [Definably the chow in him]. When I first got him, we worked on some basic obedience and he would actually do the commands but the entire time have his head turned like this...it was like, "I'm listening, but yeah not really."

Now I was going to tell you, he never looks at me outside...but late last night, he gave me a good look while we were waiting for my other dog, Knarly to finish his business...it was so unexpected that I fumbled for a brief second before I gave him a click [I click with my tongue, just works better for me] and a 'good boy pet' to go out in the yard...which he did very happily as he bunny hopped along my side. Who knew something so simple could make both our night. Course, he didn't look at me again...lol but hey I'm not complaining.

I can all ready see this is going to take time, but hopefully it's a step in the right direction. Thank you all for your help.
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Old 05-29-2012, 07:25 PM
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Yay! Keep us posted!
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