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  #1  
Old 07-30-2013, 07:11 PM
BigDC BigDC is offline
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Question How to start with my dogs?

Hello, I am wanting to train my dogs behavior myself at home using Clicker Training (Positive Reinforcement) and Lure Training, their behavior is getting COMPLETELY out of control. I am wanting to use the videos from Kikopuup on YouTube found here...http://www.youtube.com/user/kikopup/ I am very familiar with Clicker Training. We have 2 dogs and we got both when they were just puppies (we got them separately and years apart. We understand and accept that both my dog's behavior problems are Mine and my Wife's fault and not our Dogs, as they have learned it from us. Here is a little about both.

Simon is about 6 years old and is Dachshund/Cocker Spaniel mix about 35 to 40 lbs. He is pretty much house broken and can hold his pee and poop for long periods of time if needed. He is very lively. He is very loving.

Sam is about 4 years old about 10 to 12 lbs (vet says he is not fat just a big chihuahua) and is full blooded Chihuahua. He IS NOT house broken at all, he can not hold his bladder very long. He is extremely lively. He is very loving.

We do not have a fenced in back yard, I have to put the dogs on their leashes to take them outside in the backyard to potty, I take both dogs at the same time.

Me and my wife are very calm people and our house is very calm, there is no yelling and screaming. Both dogs pretty much have the run of the house and have not had any formal dog training of any kind. Sam (the Chihuahua) basically acts like he is KING of the castle.

Bad behavior I want to change
  • Both dogs are super hyperactive
  • Both dogs pull extremely hard on the leash to the point of choking themselves when taking them out to potty.
  • Both dogs pull extremely hard on the leash to the point of choking themselves.
  • Both get up on couch and barks at people and animals outside through window
  • Both dogs will steal food out of your hand if you aren't paying attention.
  • Both dogs will steal food from a plate
  • Both dogs bark anytime someone comes to door or comes inside
  • Both dogs bark at people or animals when both dogs are outside
  • Sam (Chihuahua) pees and poops in house
  • Sam (Chihuahua) attacks Simon anytime I try to give Simon a treat or play with Simon with a toy
  • Simon (Dachshund/Cocker Spaniel mix) tries to sneek treats away from Sam


Behaviors I want my dogs to learn and do
  1. Sam (Chihuahua) pee and poop outside only
  2. Both dogs not bark at people when they come to door or come inside (separately and together)
  3. Both dogs to come when called (separately and together)
  4. Both dogs calm inside and outside (separately and together).
  5. Both dogs to go down and stay when I ask them to (separately and together).
  6. Both dogs sit and stay when I ask (separately and together).
  7. Both dogs not bark at people or animals when they are outside (separately and together)
  8. Both dogs not fight each other over treats or toys (separately and together)

As I said before, I really want to use Kikopup's videos from YouTube to train my dogs, but I do not know which to watch first. I need someone here to PLEASE give me a a detailed plan for working with my dogs from Monday through Sunday, how many times a day, how much each time, etc.etc. Basically a detailed plan, PLEASE?

P.S. Any other recommendations?

Thank You!
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:05 PM
ForestPhin ForestPhin is offline
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While I applaud you for wanting to modify your dogs' behaviors using clicker training, the impression I get from reading your post is that there are a lot of "pack" and management issues, alongside basic training issues, that need to be dealt with.

While nothing on your list(s) is considerably unusual, you do seem to have a lot of problems all manifesting themselves simultaneously. No one is going to be able to help you address all these things at once via a message board.

I would suggest finding a reputable, local R+ trainer to come into your home and come up with a game plan. You have a lot to deal with and you're going to need a lot more help than anyone here can provide. Not because people here cant help you, but what youre asking for is more in line with being able to interact with someone one-on-one who can personally assess your environment and situation. I'd suggest starting with www.ccpdt.org, though there are also quite a few good regional dog trainer sites as well in the major metro areas.

Good luck!
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:52 AM
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chelsey chelsey is offline
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I'm happy that you and your wife take responsibility for your dog's behaviour. That's the biggest hurdle sometimes. I second the suggestion of finding a trainer but I do have one piece of advice...

To have success with positive training, management is your key. That involves constant supervision or confinement (crate) especially when it comes to housetraining. You might want to get the younger chihuahua in for a check up/urinalysis before setting expectations in case his issue is medical.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:15 AM
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Maxy24 Maxy24 is offline
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I'll do my best to give advice on all your questions but I agree because your issues are so many a trainer would be most helpful. Taking on so many issues by yourself maybe very overwhelming as it will likely require some lifestyle changes, both for you and the dogs, and that can get very frustrating for all of you. I apologize in advance for the book I'm about to write, it imght take multiple posts.


Quote:
Both dogs are super hyperactive
How much exercise and what kind of exercise do they get? That's always the first thing to consider, dogs need exercise and walks often aren't enough, they need to run. I know my dog often comes back from walks more hyper than when he left. But if we play chase and tug he crashes afterwards. Also find ways to help them occupy themselves. Feed them their meals out of toys instead of bowls, it'll take 20 minutes instead of 30 seconds for them to eat, and that can be tiring for them. Buy chews like bully sticks, Himalayan chews, antlers, or hooves so they have something they can do when they are bored but not tired.


Quote:
Both dogs pull extremely hard on the leash to the point of choking themselves when taking them out to potty.
Both dogs pull extremely hard on the leash to the point of choking themselves.
My first suggestion would be to use a tool like a no pull harness (I used an EZ walk) so that they are at least not choking themselves and you can have better control of them. But to stop them from trying to pull you'll also need to do some training. No pull training can be very frustrating. For my own dog he's allowed to pull in the yard but not on walks because everyone in the house takes him to potty in the yard and were not willing to do the training, but only I take him on walks and so was able to be consistent on training. Plus I didn't really feed like training on a 2 minute potty break as no pull training can turn it into a 15 minute potty break. Everyone who takes the dog out on leash must follow the rules for their training at all times if it's going to work.

No pull training can be frustrating and embarrassing because there is a LOT of stopping and starting. The way I do it is if the dog pulls I walk backwards (still facing forward) until the dog turns and walks towards me enough for the leash to be loose. Then we go forward again. Another way you can do it is to simply stop moving when the dog pulls and wait for him to loosen the leash before you start moving again. Remember that for a while the dog will immediately rush to the end of the leash again when you start moving, it will take a while for him to realize what's making the walk stop and what's making it start up again. If they get frustrated they may try pulling harder for a while to see if that works. As you can imagine stopping and starting can make the walk take a while so don't do it when you're in a rush.

To speed things along you can also use positive reinforcement and bring treats along. If the dog walks on a loose leash for a couple of steps click and treat. Over time you can require the dog to walk more steps on a loose leash before he gets his click and treat. If used in conjunction with the walking backwards method of correction you can start the rewarding off by walking backwards until the dog catches up to you and if beside you. When you start walking again the dog will be right next to you so his first few steps will automatically be on a loose leash, reward these and he may stay on a loose leash for a while looking for more treats. The only down side to using treats is that the dog may start staring at you instead of sniffing things and going to the bathroom which sort of makes the walk less stimulating for the dog. My own dog didn't have this problem, he will walk at heel staring at me sometimes but will also break off and sniff poles and go potty when he wants, all without pulling.

There are other methods to teach loose leash walking, and other tools. Another method a lot of people like is called "silky leash". You teach the dog to give in to leash pressure by gently pulling the leash tight and clicking/treating when the dog moves towards the pressure and makes the leash loose. I have not done it myself but here is a blog post with videos to explain it (the bottom video is first)
http://ahimsadogtraining.com/blog/20...2/silky-leash/

Choose whichever methods you think will fit you and your dogs best and then be consistent. You must not give up or be constantly switching methods around.

Quote:
Both get up on couch and barks at people and animals outside through window.
Both dogs bark at people or animals when both dogs are outside.
These are both issues I have and have not been able to completely fix in my dog so I might not be much help. The reason I believe we have been unsuccessful is because my family is not willing to do the management required for this to work. To be completely successful you need to block their access to the window when you cannot be there to train them. So if you are in another room, are asleep, are going out, or even just going to the bathroom you need to block their access to the window somehow. That way they cannot practice this behavior. When you are there and ready to train you need can start giving the dog treats as soon as they see the people/dogs that they want to bark at. At first you'll have to give the treats almost constantly as the dog/person goes by but over time you can wait a few seconds (and then more) between treats, requiring they stay quiet to get them. If the dog does bark you have several options. You can simply wait until they are quiet again and start rewarding again. You could give a no reward marker (a word that means they made a mistake) right when they bark and then take them to time out (I'd use a slip leash to remove them, they may redirect if you attempt to pick them up). I personally started using a squirt bottle but that is obviously not a positive training method. With my own dog if I get the treats to him before he starts barking he usually stays quiet, but once he starts barking it's hard to silence him again. Maybe someone will have some better ideas.


Quote:
Both dogs will steal food out of your hand if you aren't paying attention.
Both dogs will steal food from a plate
This is going to require you to be diligent. This is a habit and it can be broken but the dog must never be able to succeed at stealing from you for several weeks. If you need to leash him near where you are eating so he can watch but cannot reach your food. He needs to learn that he cannot be successful at stealing. He needs to be able to watch you eat without the ability to steal the food. Do not leave food unattended if he can reach it. If you are eating and he is not tied up/crated then you must be keeping an eye on him so he can't grab your food. I really think it's just a matter of habit breaking. NEVER feed him your food from the table/your plate (I don't know if you do, but just in case I wanted to mention it), you want him to stop expecting food from you while you are eating so he will eventually leave you alone. Teach him a leave it command (I'm sure kikopup has a video on that) that you can use when he's getting too close for comfort.

One thing I do want to mention is that you need to be careful with this dog that you don't teach him to guard stuff from you. My dog was a chronic stealer (not food, but other items) and because we would take what he stole back and often would yell at him when we did it he learned to guard these items from us. I have been able to mostly fix this problem, though it's a battle when I live with people who still punish him and chase him around when he has something he shouldn't (though his stealing is 99% gone, he only steals from the trash now, he used to steal every single thing from every possible place). This is why it's so important to be diligent. If you want to give some sort of punishment (verbal "no!", time out, whatever) do it as he's going for the item, not after he's already gotten it, you never want him to get it.



More in the next post
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:17 AM
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Maxy24 Maxy24 is offline
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Quote:
Both dogs bark anytime someone comes to door or comes inside
You have a few options here. The first thing you need to determine is whether the dog like the guests or are barking out of fear (aggression) as that might change what you do a little. You can always do the same thing that I suggested for the window, give lots of treats as the person enters and slowly increase the time between treats. Again you can either cease treats when they bark and resume when they are quiet or could remove to a time out when they bark and let back out when quiet.

You can also train some sort of alternate behavior you want them to do when someone knocks. For example you can teach them that a knock at the door is the cue to run to their crate or mat and lie there until released. Once they run to their crate/mat toss them treats for staying and being quiet. Here's a video of teaching go to mat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_go0gRU7ydQ . You can either train a verbal "go to mat" cue and then use it after someone knocks, or you can make the knock itself the cue (so when you practice you knock on the door instead of saying "go to mat"). Or you can teach both cues. Using knocking as a cue might work better to stop barking as it changes the dog's emotional response to the knocking sound. Knocking becomes a cue to run to their mat, not a cue to bark. I would have the dogs on leashes if possible so that if they break their stay on the mat you can bring them back to the mat and wait until they lie back down, then start rewarding again. They can only get off the mat when you release them (and only release them when they are lying quietly).

You could have guests toss treats at the dogs when they enter so the dogs like guests more and won't try to scare them away by barking (if that's the sort of barking they do). don't do this if you think the dogs will fight over the treats you toss.

Quote:
Sam (Chihuahua) pees and poops in house
You'll have to go back to housebreaking 101, just like he was a new puppy. ALWAYS supervised. He should never be in a room without you. If you leave or sleep he should be crated. he must be gated in the same room as you or leashed to you and you must keep an eye on him during this time. Take him out VERY frequently and reward him for going potty outside. Make sure he is on an eating schedule so he potties at a predictable time. Clean accidents well with an enzymatic cleaner. The key to housebreaking is supervision, it's another one of those habit behaviors where they key to breaking it is preventing it and teaching a new, better habit (going outside!).


Quote:
Sam (Chihuahua) attacks Simon anytime I try to give Simon a treat or play with Simon with a toy
Teach them to take turns. Once they both learn sit/stay or down/stay have them both do it a few feet apart. for safety you may want Sam on a leash that you stand on so if he does go after Simon he can't reach him. Then just give them each treats one at a time first Simon, then Sam, back and forth. Eventually you can wait a little between each dog. So give Simon a treat, wait a few seconds, then give Sam a treat, wait a few seconds, etc. So they need to have a bit more patience. If either dog tries to go towards the other dog give a verbal correction "eh eh, no" and block their path with your body. Once they stop trying to get at the other dog, ask them to sit or down again and resume taking turns. Keep the session short and be VERY careful when you release them as Sam might try and go after Simon at this time so be ready to block (or be stepping on that leash).

Later, if they do great at that, you can practice taking turn less formally. Randomly through the day hand Simon and Sam a few treats one at a time, taking turns. Just do 3 little treats or so. Sam just needs to know that if he waits his turn he will get his treat. Never give Simon a treat while Sam is watching unless Sam is going to get one too.


For playing I would tie Sam to something or crate him so he can watch you ply with Simon but can't go after him. Play with Simon as low energy as you can (enough so Simon will play, but we want to make this is easy as possible for Sam and if you're super exciting he's going to get more upset). Frequently toss Sam a treat for behaving. Keep these sessions super short, a minute maybe to start. If this is too hard for Sam you may need to start by just wiggling the toy around yourself, without Simon, to start, and once Sam is calm for that try with Simon again. You can also use a taking turns format and if Sam is good have Simon wait while you play with Sam for a little bit. You have to do what woks best for Sam. Taking turns might be too hard, simply waiting and getting treats might keep him more calm.


My dog had this problem with the cats (he wouldn't attack if they had treats, he'd steal them, but he would attack them if I played with them) and I have done the taking turns for treats, and being crated while I play with them (and getting treats for watching calmly) and both worked VERY well. He never takes their treats and is able to tolerate their playing with me (though he still won't let them play with each other, it's harder to practice that one).


Quote:
Simon (Dachshund/Cocker Spaniel mix) tries to sneek treats away from Sam
Taking turns will help with this. What sort of treats are you talking about though? Small treats they eat quickly or large chews? You'll always want to actively supervise when they have treats so that if either goes after the other dog you can block them and redirect them back to their own things. If you think it will help have them on leashes when they have high value items so you can step on the leash and move the dog away from the other dog if he tries to go for his treat. ALWAYS supervise. It is another habit you need to break.


Quote:
Both dogs to go down and stay when I ask them to (separately and together).
Both dogs sit and stay when I ask (separately and together).
Both dogs to come when called (separately and together).
I'm certain kikopup has videos on these things, as do many others. But it takes a lot of practice, schedule daily training sessions. Keep all training sessions short, not more than a couple of minutes each, but you can have several each day. Make the treats very small and for training things like sit and down you can use their meals as training sessions if they are willing to work for their regular food. harder things, like those behavior problems you have, should be taught with better treats.


Like chelsey said, a big part of successful positive training is management and supervision. You want to train the dogs new behavior to replace the bad behavior and prevent them from rehearsing the bad behavior in the mean time.


I would suggest training each dog separately at first, then when they are each doing well (and you are doing well too!) start working them together. You may be better off trying to tackle a couple of things at a time and just managing the others for now (prevent them for now using leashes/crates/and gates but don't actively work on them yet) so you don't get overwhelmed. But it's up t you what you can handle. I would definitely get to work on the housebreaking now though.


If you want me to clarify or expand on anything let me know and I'd be happy to.
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Old 08-01-2013, 12:18 PM
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Maxy24 Maxy24 is offline
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Sorry for the typos, I was typing too fast given my poor typing skills lol.
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Old 08-02-2013, 02:23 PM
BigDC BigDC is offline
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Thank You all for your support, help, and advice.
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