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Old 08-23-2008, 08:20 PM
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Gena Gena is offline
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Default Switching methods

I'm not satisfied with the training method I've been using with my year old min pin, Pedro. We took a basic obedience class several months ago that was taught using prong collars for all dogs. Aside from feeling rather pathetic having to use a prong collar to control a 9lb dog, the main problem is there was no "weaning" instruction. So, we both were frustrated in the process and I kind of gave up on him for a while.

For the past few weeks I've been using some Cesar Milan ideas (the exercise, discipline, affection equation and being in a "calm, stable" frame of mind) coupled with some Victoria Stillwell ideas (dogs work for things, distracting through noises, treats/luring and pointed ignoring for bratty things). I'd like to incorporate clicker training into all of this. I think they would mesh well together.

He knows sit, down, stay, wait and such. Loose leash walking pretty much doesn't happen anywhere but home turf AND if no people or animals are around. He still is nippy when we play and barks A LOT to get my attention (this is getting better as I ignore it more). He also cannot greet a person without being a total spaz dog. He just LOVES everyone and can't sit still for pats. Being the breed he is, I'm pleased he loves people. I did do the early socializing a LOT and it shows.

What I'm hoping someone(s) can help me with is a training plan (in nice small words and steps...I'm so overwhemled by trying to get it ALL right). I'm most concerned with achieving loose leash walking/heeling and quiet as soon as I ask for it. The greeting nicely is also pretty high on the list as eventually I'd like to take him along on therapy visits. He LOVES going to the assisted living facility, but I have to be super selective about who he greets due to his over excited ways.
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Old 08-25-2008, 03:38 AM
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adojrts adojrts is offline
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Hi Gena welcome to Chaz.
Wow, a prong collar on a pup and a small pup at that, how sad for that trainer, not to mention the dogs.

Great that you are looking for other better methods!! Clicker training is awesome, I love it as do many folks here. I would recommend that you do some reading on how to use it correctly because as with any method if done wrong you don't get the desired results or as quickly. Here are some excellent sites:
www.clickersolutions.com
www.clickertraining.com
www.clickertrain.com

Before starting the clicker has to be loaded or charged (if you read even one of those websites you'll know what that means) and I also have already trained the dog for eye contact.

For loose leash walking I use two rewards, one is the life reward of the walk and the other is treats. You also have to be altra aware of the leash and how tight it is. Because dogs need one thing to pull on leash and that is something to pull against. I generally start in a yard with little distractions. Dog is on my left, leash is looped around my right wrist and down through the my palm, holding the rest of the leash in the left hand, treats in my pockets on both sides (open easy pockets to get treats out of quickly). I start with the dog sitting with a loose leash, take a few steps and as long as the dog has not taken up the slack I'll say Yes!, C/R, keep walking don't stop, but keep up a high rate of c/r every few steps, as the dog gets better you don't reward as often but progress to every ten steps or so etc until you are only rewarding every once in a while but that takes a bit of time. The only time I stop is when the dog has forged ahead or moved laterally away from me. If they do that, then I stop and gently take up the slack and bring them back into position, I do NOT reward at this time. And we start again. One of the keys to loose leash walking is catching them before they get too far out in front of us. Note: Keep all treats in your pocket and none in your hand, only bring one out after you have Clicked or said Yes. If you have the treats in your hands that is luring and research has proven that dogs focus on the treat and can't learn as well, plus it becomes part of the cue and when removed they don't understand what is being asked of them. And give treats from the same side that the dog is on, never the opposite hand because that makes the dog try to come around in front of you, seeking that treat. With small dogs YOU have to bend your knees even when walking to give them the rewards because if you don't, then they start jumping up to meet the hand.
With this method, it doesn't take long for a dog to bring itself back into position when I stop, its like they say 'oh yeah, forgot for a second, sorry.'
So when you go for a walk, if he starts to pull or forge, just stop, bring him back nicely, start again and only c/r when he is walking with a loose leash, but remember its your responsiblity too to keep that leash loose.

Greetings, ask a friend to help at first. Ask not to speak to him and to certainly not touch him, until you give THEM permission. Let him spaz, when he finally stops, c/r and then ask your friend to take one step forward, guaranteed that he is going to spaz again, when he does they take a step back. When he finally stops on a loose leash c/r. When the person can be within a couple of feet of him and he remains calm and sitting on a loose leash, THEN give him permission to greet, but only with four on the floor. Which of course, means that you will have to go the extra step of training him to remain sitting, calm and loose leash while your friend kneels before giving him permission.
Don't get frustrated with him, you did a great job of socializing him, but I would expect without teaching him all these rules lol. It wont take long for him to learn the new rules on greetings and you can use his desire to meet these people as a life reward.

Ignoring barking is a good method and you can also teach him with a clicker to bark and then to not bark without a cue. This covered on those sites.

When he nips when playing and isn't careful, all playing stops but also make sure that he can't go and play with other toys. You control the game and the toys/bones etc.

I also have another method which I really like, but I need to get so more sleep right now, if you want to know it, let me know.

Good luck
Lynn
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:09 AM
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Gena Gena is offline
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Lynn...thank you for taking the time to type all that out! I want to respond to all of it, but only have a few minutes right now. I'll ask/reply more this evening

The loose leash walking is a little more of a struggle because we don't have a fenced yard because of living in an apartment. He gets a little better every day as long as there are no distractions, but he just can't NOT want to greet someone/another animal. I also have another dog that I take out at the same time on potty runs. She's old and blind so I've pretty much given up with teaching her to walk nicely. She doesn't really pull, but she's out at the end of her flexi hurrying to the potty spot.

When he's distracted by another person or animal, NOTHING is going to get his attention back to me that I've tried so far. Even the yummiest treats ever pale in comparison to sniffing the resident stray with no fear of dogs. I think a lot of this boils down to me needing to get his focus on ME instead of everything else. My clickers should be here in the next day or so. (Living in podunk sucks sometimes...nothing available locally) Hopefully I can REALLY get the "mom is really cool with yummy-ness" drummed into his head with the methods I'm reading on that.

We were making HUGE progress on the barking until last night. My sister, and I love her to death, makes me want to smack her sometimes. She had him so wound up he was barking and being a total spaz. Then she wants to gripe because he's barking like a fool at her when she's done playing. I told her "Thanks, now you just undid DAYS worth of training that was teaching him 'barking doesn't get me to play with you' " Ugh.
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