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Old 08-18-2010, 08:04 AM
Matt74 Matt74 is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Ireland
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Default Adopted Dog - Half trained

Hi All

I could use a few pointers with my new family member, Molly. She is a 3 year old french mastiff. She is half-trained - poor recall, poor leash manners, sit and down when you actually push her down but not otherwise.

She is a good girl, a little bit stubborn but very affectionate. I reckon that with a dog like this I need a really good recall, decent leash manners and good manners where sitting/staying/down are concerned, as she is quite a powerful dog.

I am making progress with her leash manners, thanks to a combination of an anti-pull harness, the kind that goes under the legs, and left-over roast chicken. She now starts to look up when I say her name to see if any is forthcoming, and is generally starting to pay attention and is getting used to walking at my knee.

Her recall is improving as well, but I am wondering how much is her reacting to chicken and her reacting to the command.

Does anyone know a good method of training a bright but rather independent dog, whilst avoiding her simply obeying when there is chicken?
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Old 08-18-2010, 01:40 PM
filarotten filarotten is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 8,800

Lots of patience and good yummy treats. It sounds like your off to a good start with getting her attention.

Give her a good reason to want to do things and she will. I think French mastiffs' are so adorable. How is the drool?

Pictures would be wonderful.
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Old 08-18-2010, 02:00 PM
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noludoru noludoru is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 17,730

I'd do a search on this forum for clicker training and some good training books. I'd also definitely google clicker training, as there are a lot of websites dedicated to it. She sounds like a smart, motivated dog who would respond well to it.

The thing you need to work on when she's solid with her commands is phasing out the treats - and that you can find loads of info about on this forum, online, or in books on training using positive reinforcement.
Originally Posted by Samantha's pet View Post
And it's a turbo so it gets good mileage.
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Old 08-19-2010, 04:22 AM
Matt74 Matt74 is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Ireland
Posts: 14

"Lots of patience and good yummy treats"

I was hoping someone would say that yummy treats I can do, and patience I apparently won't need. This mornings walk was a huge improvement already. I walk her off leash in a fenced-off field, and she is already coming without ignoring me first, and has mastered sitting yesterday afternoon. I take it all back - independent-minded she may be, and used to pulling at the leash, but stubborn she is not.

I play her off Daisy, my Saint Bernard. She is a good ole girl, and tends to stay a bit closer. As she invariably arrives first when I tell them to come, she gets lavish praise and a treat even though she doesn't need the treat anymore. It got me a 100% no ignore rate and a very fast reaction, for a mastiff.

I will also look into clicker training - that could be fun. I have never tried that before, but a new challenge might be just the thing.

Oh and as for the drool - what drool? That isn't drool, that is merely damp breath. Daisy is the queen of drool. She can make a good drool shoelace last half a day and pick up small sticks with it
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:24 AM
Matt74 Matt74 is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Ireland
Posts: 14

Wow - clicker training is cool! I actually have to keep myself from trying to do too much of it in a day. Thanks for the tip!
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