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  #11  
Old 09-17-2010, 06:09 PM
MJ84 MJ84 is offline
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Thank you for all the suggestions. He has been to the vet and he is happy, healthy and a really good boy. We'll continue to work on this with him for as long as it takes!
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  #12  
Old 09-17-2010, 06:32 PM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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Lizzy brought up some good points. It does sound like you've been inadvertantly reinforcing the behavior you don't want and not reinforcing the behavior you do want. It is so true that just saying "good boy" isn't a reinforcer. It has to be paired with a reinforcer....like his favorite food or favorite toy. Even praise is marginal as far as a reinforcer. It's great and you should praise him. But to really strengthen the steps forward and make him want to repeat that, he needs something he reeeeeeeelly goes ape over. If he's like the typical Lab, good food is usually high up on the list.

And I agree with CP that a mile is a long walk if he's a dog that doesn't have boundless energy. Maybe later, he'll come to loving that more. Another idea is to try and find more interesting places to walk so he can explore new sights, scents and things as he goes. I sometimes walk my dogs down my road to the little store where they can visit with people. But more frequently, I drive them in my car about 3 miles away where there are a variety of trails I can take them on. One is along side the lake, another is through the woods, up the mountain, over a creek, up some rocky places. Sometimes I take them on the gravel road that goes along side the lake. There are still other trails. They're ecstatic when I get their leashes out. I live in a unique area, that is true. But even if you can vary the places you go....maybe there's a lake nearby...that might make it more interesting for him. But I'd still start out with super short walks, just so he ends it feeling like, "Wow..that was pretty fun." Then the next time, he'll be apt to be more eager. That is the hope anyhow. LOL.
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  #13  
Old 09-17-2010, 06:38 PM
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I was just going over your original post to make sure I didn't miss anything. The first time through, I was concentrating on other things and forgot about this.

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The trainer we paid for was also unable to help as her last suggestion to 'wheel barrel' his legs does not work either.
This has me baffled. You mean the trainer said to pick up his hind legs and push him forward so he has to walk on his forelegs??? I'm sorry, but that's terrible advice. It's uncomfortable. It could injure his shoulders. It's using force. It's unnatural. It will teach him nothing except that walking with you sucks. I am really flabbergasted ....if I'm understanding what wheel barrowing means. Not all trainers are created equal. Be careful who you use.
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"If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." -- Samuel Adams 1776





"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."

Thomas Jefferson
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  #14  
Old 09-17-2010, 10:09 PM
MJ84 MJ84 is offline
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Yes you understood correctly and yes it does not work. And we realize while she appears qualified, on paper, she isnt.
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  #15  
Old 09-18-2010, 12:00 AM
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Of course it doesn't work. I can't stand it when people call themselves trainers who are clueless... and go out and mess with people who are at their wits end and don't know what to do. I just hate it. I'm so sorry you wasted your money.

Now I think your dear little pup just needs some time to bond more with you....not that he isn't bonded, but just more of it. More fun, more regular romping and playing and a little bit of walking in way where he is set up for success. Lots of reinforcement is what makes him want to repeat what he just did. The reinforcer has to come right away. You can use a marker word which precedes the reward. (or a clicker, which you can learn about) It helps communicate to the dog just what it is he's being rewarded for. (important)

You can even keep a part of his meal ration in your pocket and whenever he comes around close to you, pop him a piece. (unless you don't want your dog following you everywhere you go. lol) Later, you can spread out the treats so he doesn't get one every time. Or sometimes just make it really fun when he comes down the hall with you and watches you fold laundry. Then take it out on the drive way, then out on the road with a leash. See if he can generalize that behavior a little bit of walking along with you in different locations, different contexts. When he's not coming along side you...at other times, don't make it as much fun. Try to show him that all the good stuff, the best attention etc happens when he walks somewhat near your side. Or when he does other behaviors you like.

Training has to be fun and rewarding or it isn't worth a dang. Dogs and people don't exactly speak the same language and learning to communicate in ways that a dog can understand is something that goes a long way. The more you learn about how dogs learn and think, the better you two will be able to communicate to each other. If you want to understand beter how dogs really are, I highly recommend reading the book, Culture Clash, by Jean Donaldson. There are other great books too. The Other End of the Leash, by Patricia McConnell is a good one too. But Culture Clash really puts it in a nut shell and can help with lots of training techniques which make good sense. These people are all about using gentle, non confrontational methods based on science. I really hope you stick around and share what's happening in your life and your pup's. Best of luck!
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"If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." -- Samuel Adams 1776





"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."

Thomas Jefferson
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