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Old 08-02-2008, 01:47 PM
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Default Too obsessed with ball, not motivated enough by treats...

Soooooooo I want to take Doom, within the next six months (that's my goal, any way), to try for a CGC. He sits and stays very well, his down is horrible. We've been TRYING to work on it, buuuuut we can't find the right motivator for it. When he was really young treats worked great. He doesn't care about them any more, and I'm not sure why, so we tried using the ball which was a big mistake. He freaks out and won't do anything but SIT and stare at the ball. He gets up and moves around for a few seconds and sits back down. (Video of how he reacts to the ball, not while training, but during play time you might want to turn off your volume) Its. Driving. Me. NUTS. That's not to say I'm losing my temper or yelling (this is the reason I'M working with him on this and not Aaron, he can't control his temper). When it gets to be too much I walk away.

Here's how we're learning:

First I put him in a sit
Then I show him the treat
Next I lower the treat forward and toward the floor (In an 'L' shape)

Here's the instructions I've been using:

If anyone has any suggestions or input, knows what I'm doing wrong, or another way to teach him, I'd REALLY appreciate it. I've never had so much trouble teaching a dog something.
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Old 08-02-2008, 02:11 PM
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Romy Romy is offline
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Wait to give him his "treat" until after he is finished working for it. So:

"Doom, down"

You may have to help put him in a down the first couple of times until he gets the idea. If he gets up, keep putting him back but make sure you put him back within three seconds of him breaking or he won't understand.

Start out having him stay in the down for something like 5 sends, then give him his release word and have a little party with the ball. After a few times he will begin to understand that he needs to do it to get the ball. Maybe keeping the ball out of sight until he has done his trick and been released will help him stay focused on working, instead of the reward.

Also, if you do the down/stay training after he's been run into the ground it will be much easier to convince him to stay.
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Old 08-02-2008, 02:12 PM
Sch3Dana Sch3Dana is offline
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First thing I would suggest- stop feeding him from a bowl. Start feeding him only by hand, even just for sit and other things he does well. After a couple of days, he should be much more focused on working with you for food (and keep the ball out of it for now). Then, get some extra yummy treats and try teaching down. Since the method you are trying isn't working well, try another. Maybe shaping it with a clicker. Or luring in a different way.

With big dogs, you can often teach it easily from a stand- put the treats at his nose, slowly move them to his toes (between his front paws). Let him nibble the treats in this position for a while and he may lay down on his own just to get comfy. If he does lay down, praise him like crazy and make sure there are plenty of treats in your hand so he can keep eating while he lays there. Feed him for a long time and then get him up and try again. He'll learn that down is the laziest way to get lots of yummy treats If he just stands there and eats the treats, try moving them even further back between his front legs or practice when he is totally tired out.
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Old 08-02-2008, 04:17 PM
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Dekka Dekka is offline
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the previous ideas are good. But if you want to be able to use treats, reward treats with the ball. Hide the ball, feed him a treat.. then produce the ball. (likely will only be good for the first rep or two)
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Old 08-02-2008, 04:38 PM
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Why not use the ball just like a treat?

Instead of holding the ball, put the ball on the floor between his front feet and hold it there.

if his head goes down to it, throw the ball for him.

He will quickly learn that getting his head down gets him the ball. Then make it harder. Wait for him to bend his elbows, or some other tiny movement towards down.

You can shape the down USING the ball, you just need patience and the right place to hold the ball.

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Old 08-02-2008, 06:05 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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I'd teach down by capturing - hide the ball; wait for him to do a down, click, and then throw the ball. Yes, it will take a long time, since you'll have to wait for him to finish his play session before you can do another rep, but if nothing else works, it's worth a try.
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Old 08-02-2008, 08:30 PM
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Maxy24 Maxy24 is offline
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I would do what Reyre said, it's just like clicker training. For a dog that does not think about downing at all you have to really break it down for him. first reward for dropping the head to the ground to look at the ball, then for any movement in the downward direction/bending elbows/paw sliding forward. And then just slowly build up the amount she needs to go down until she goes all the way. Try and fade the ball from the sequence quickly, continue it as a reward but don't make her have to see it first.

Lizzy's way also works well but depending on the dog it can take much longer, you would not have to worry about phasing out the ball though as you would never lure with it.

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