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Old 05-24-2010, 08:52 AM
PWCorgi's Avatar
PWCorgi PWCorgi is offline
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Default ANOTHER question: Leave It, LLW and trees.

I know I said I was done, but I feel like I have more questions every day

So Frodo's biggest issue that keeps him from loose-leash walking is that he LOVES LOVES LOVES to sniff/pee on the trees on our walks. I've been trying to work on it be treating when he is in a LLW, Premacking him being able to sniff the trees, and using Leave It on the trees.

Here are my questions/issues:
-He doesn't have a generalized leave it command. I can put a bunch of kibble or a stuffed toy in front of him and tell him to leave it, and he will. But it's not extended to the trees. What I have been doing is using a really excited voice while saying leave it and he will generally turn to look at me (probably to see why the heck I am using that voice, lol) and I click and treat, hoping eventually I can use a regular tone and he will understand. Is this a decent way to go about this? I'm not sure whether I should expect it to work or not.

-I use a higher value treat on the Leave It than I do for rewarding capturing him in a LLW. I figure with the Leave It I have to use a higher value treat to beat the environment (the trees), wheras with the LLW capturing I am not in competition with anything at the moment. But then again the LLW is what I am ultimately looking for. Is this a correct way of thinking?

-I am not sure that the way I am Premacking is going to do anything. What I have been doing is making him sit when he is interested in a tree and then releasing him to go sniff if he sits. The problem is that he tends to show interest by trying to drag me over to the tree. So he starts to pull, I make him sit, then I release him. If I ask him to sit and then release him before he is pulling toward a tree, then when I release him he looks for a treat instead of trying to get to the tree. I don't want to be encouraging him to pull and him to think that I am rewarding him for pulling. Is there a way to teach him to show interest without pulling, or will that just come with more rewarding of a LLW?

-If I ask for a sit and he doesn't, I usually have to drag him past the tree he wants to sniff. He sits most of the time, but is there a more effective way to deal with him when he doesn't sit?

I think that is all I have for now. Thanks for reading!
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  #2  
Old 05-24-2010, 01:09 PM
Maura Maura is offline
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Not all of us are up on current lingo. You need to explain LLW (loose leash walking?) and Premack.

Your dog is not listening to you outside. Use leave it, using a normal tone of voice, on lower value items that he may wish to sniff. Reward with praise and a small treat at the beginning, phasing out the treat. Go everywhere with him you can find with no trees (or trees far enough away) so that you can work him outside with lower level distractions. When he is responding well to leave it for a couple of days, then introduce the trees. If trees are near your front door, start there. Tell him, in a normal tone of voice, leave it. If he does, praise and give treat, keep going. If he doesn't leave it immediately, turn around and go home. Try again in ten minutes.
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Old 05-24-2010, 07:23 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Maybe instead of using leave it after he shows interest in the trees, you could use a different cue to keep his attention while you walk past the trees. I use hand touches a lot in situations like this (though with a short dog you could use a touch stick or something if that's easier); a "watch me" cue would also work.

I also do a lot of about turns, where I turn 360 degrees in toward my dog. Make it a tight turn, where his front feet don't even really move, they just pivot; since you're on the outside of the turn, you will break his visual focus on any distraction. Then you can walk forward again and reinforce him for paying attention to you.

I do think that the way you're using Premack - when he pulls, ask him to sit and then release him to sniff - does reward the pulling. Since he knows that he will get a reward for the sit, cueing him to sit actually reinforces whatever he was doing before that. A more effective use of Premack would be to wait until Frodo is walking nicely with you, with his attention on you; then ask him to sit, THEN release him to sniff the trees. And don't let him sniff every tree he seems interested in; IMO this would be the equivalent to him begging at the dinner table.

To teach leave it, the way I teach it it's just like another "watch me" cue, except with distractions. So the way I do it is, I click/treat the dog for making eye contact with me, and practice until that is reliable. Then I put a treat in my hand and close my fist around it, and put it at the dog's nose; he sniffs, paws, mouthes, whatever, but eventually he'll make eye contact with me (because we did a great warm-up session of eye contact before I introduced the treat in my fist), and when he does I click and give him the treat in my hand (many trainers give a different treat than the one in your hand, IME it doesn't really matter). I continue with this until I can present my fist and the dog automatically looks at it, then makes eye contact.

Then I do the same thing, but with the treat in my open palm (ready to close my fist if the dog tries to steal the treat!). I still wait for eye contact, and c/t that. When he's good at giving me eye contact when there's a treat in my open palm in front of him, THEN I add the cue. Then I progress by placing the treat on the ground in front of the dog, dropping the treat in front of the dog, and LLW past treats on the ground. Then I generalize the behavior first with toys, then with other objects that might be interesting.

I think it's also important with leave it that you give the dog a chance to do the behavior when you cue it. Too often I see people LLW their dog, and say "leave it" but keep walking and just pulling the dog along behind them. A more effective method would be, when the dog is interested in something, stop and say "leave it," and wait for the dog to give you eye contact. Use your leash or body block to make sure the dog doesn't get to the object, but just wait for the behavior and then c/t it.
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