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Old 01-23-2013, 12:05 PM
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Lyzelle Lyzelle is offline
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Default Teaching Default Behaviors

How would someone go about teaching an automatic down?

Zander's doing great with the kennel, I have to ship it back, but he's more than comfortable with it and I'll have another two weeks to proof/review on things when we get to Memphis.

The only thing I'm tripping on is an auto down. I want that default behavior, but I'm having issues with him just waiting for the cue. I never treat unless he's in a down, thought it would click, but he's a little TOO comfortable, I guess, and treating the kennel like no biggie....and offering all sorts of other behaviors (spin, turn, bow, back up, sit, etc) while we work on it.

Granted, I could always just say, "Go to bed" then "down", but I want it to be default in case things get super distracting wherever we go. I would think he would be okay, seeing as how much he's comfortable with it, but...yeah. Just in case.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:46 PM
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Sekah Sekah is offline
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In what context do you want an automatic down? In the crate? My default down is for when I'm working or walking with my dog and my attention drifts (to speak to a friend, instructor, etc) and I want Cohen to stay with me and out of trouble.

I'll normally start a default down on a mat or something that's comfortable and transportable. I kneel by the mat and I start with a series of QUICK repetitions of down - release - down - release 3-5 times then I wait the dog out. If the dog genuinely doesn't know what I'm asking for I'll repeat another 3-5 QUICK repetitions and try again. If the dog is still engaged with me but simply waiting for a cue, I try to wait them out. Sometimes I'll offer some verbal encouragement to prompt them to do something (something is better than nothing). The key, in my experience, is making the repetitions fast ones, and positioning yourself low and right next to the mat. Once you get the behaviour on the mat you can move it to the crate, if that's what you want.

E: And obviously use frequent high value rewards for this exercise to build the value of the default behaviour.

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Old 01-23-2013, 02:33 PM
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Beanie Beanie is offline
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Waiting the dog out is how I got Payton to do an auto-down before I release him again to the tug (or after the ball) while playing - it is how Payton says "please" more or less. We are working on the same thing in the crate now to stop his temper tantrums, and I've just said/done nothing... just wait until he lays down to pop a treat into the crate. It was easier to get in the crate since he does a down for his toys, so he jumped more quickly to offering that one.

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Old 01-23-2013, 02:50 PM
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Ask for downs repetitively, throw food to the side to get him out of the position... then wait. If he's actively thinking, he should offer it next, since that's what was paid last.

Practice the quick downs outside of the kennel first then move into it and toss the food outside.

I'm pretty sure I have a video of Ruca doing this but I need to find it!
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