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Old 06-05-2010, 01:10 PM
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Default Motivated by Nothing.

I have a dog/handler pair in one of my classes that is looking for some fresh ideas with her dog... She's raised and handled many Chinese Cresteds, but none quite like this little guy. He's a little.. "off". He has issues with shyness, despite socialization. He's never, ever relaxed, not even at home-- he's always tense, and "folded" looking. He went through a period when he was younger where not even his owner could touch him... And even now, at a year and a half, he hates it.

As far as training goes... He is motivated by NOTHING. He won't take food from his owners hands, even if it's grilled chicken. Won't even eat it off the floor. He won't play with toys, and he doesn't like to do... Anything. The only thing that I can see to possibly motivate him, is lack of touch. He probably would work to lose physical contact....

She's taught him sit, watch me, and even heel through very gentle manipulation... But down has been nothing but a brick wall. I told her since he doesn't like physical contact, teaching him down through manipulation is not a really good idea... But I'm at a loss. I have recommended tellington touch to try and help his tension, and that's going well, but she's very interested in trying to teach him "down".

Thoughts?
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Old 06-05-2010, 01:17 PM
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What are their goals for training?
Does he have behavior issues?
How long have they had him?

I wouldn't worry about getting a down. I would work on getting him more comfortable with contact/interaction and getting him to relax and to accept food/toys. Lots of quiet time just sitting in the same room with him, never attempting to invade his space, letting him quietly come to them.

Did anything happen to cause him to not want contact? Some dogs just have a huge personal bubble and it takes a while to earn their trust.
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Old 06-05-2010, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by corgipower View Post
What are their goals for training?
This is what I was wondering, too. Is it more important that he responds to "down," or that he is comfortable in his home with his family?

Does she have any other dogs? Maybe another dog - just the right dog, that's important - would help this one feel more comfortable and would teach some social skills.
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Old 06-05-2010, 03:55 PM
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Poor little guy. He does sound like something's off. If he were mine, I'd be much more interested in teaching him to be more comfortable around the house and family than any tricks or such. I wonder if he's really unhappy or if it just looks that way to humans. Maybe he's just an odd ball who likes to be left alone more than being sociable.
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Old 06-05-2010, 04:02 PM
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They've done a lot of work on getting him comfortable in his own home, and he just is content the way he is. He's gotten as far as his owner is happy with. He won't take food because he doesn't want it... Not necessarily because he's afraid.

Her goals in training is working on basic commands, mainly down. It's a challenge!

He doesn't have any behavior issues, except for the above mentioned.

And she's had and handled him since birth. There was an incident in his past that she thinks was wither at fault, or a contributing factor to his behavior- and that was a reaction to his vaccinations at about 5 months old. That's when nobody was able to handle him for a length of time.

She raised and sold the other puppies in his litter, but wouldn't sell him, of course, because of his issues. There are a few other dogs in the household, and I don't k ow how he interacts with them. He's timid around other dogs in the class. He'll go and sniff people and dogs, but that's the extent.
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Old 06-05-2010, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Doberluv View Post
. I wonder if he's really unhappy or if it just looks that way to humans. Maybe he's just an odd ball who likes to be left alone more than being sociable.
That's exactly what his owner believes, and that's certainly what it seems like. He's in his own bubble, and that's where he's happy.
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Old 06-05-2010, 04:08 PM
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He's in his own bubble, and that's where he's happy.
Nyx is like that.
Except that she does want treats and toys. But she prefers to sit a few feet away and not have physical contact. Just needs her space.

As for the down, I'd say capture it, but they need some sort of reward.
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Old 06-05-2010, 04:35 PM
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I did recommend that she with hold his food, and begin conditioning a marker (the clicker) and throwing a handful of food in his bowl at a time as the reinforcer... Or to use chicken, or whatever else. She didn't seem to think that would work with him. I just don't think he cares about food at all.
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Old 06-05-2010, 04:43 PM
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Her goals in training is working on basic commands, mainly down. It's a challenge!
But, um, why though? I mean, it stinks to tell people "My dog doesn't even know down," but seriously, is there a real reason why he needs to know down? I never actually use down with Luna, the only time we practice it is when we're just running through a bunch of tricks she knows.

Maybe a better goal would be to figure out what motivates him; what, in life, does he enjoy? Then you can use those things to improve his quality of life, which might make him more people motivated and then easier to train.
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Old 06-05-2010, 05:27 PM
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I don't mean to make it sound like she's only concerned about one little command... She is trying to figure out what motivates him. Through training of basic commands. She's trying to further his socialization, learning, and confidence through by bringing him to class. There are no problems with him, she's trying to help him along.
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