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Old 09-27-2010, 06:19 PM
clownfish clownfish is offline
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Default new, need training help

Im new to the board.. been lurking for a while and there's good information.
I adopted an 8 year old dog and she is really well behaved in certain areas but some things not so much.

Things she's good at: not being dominant, calm, submissive, somewhat timid, no aggression at all with food, people, and even other dogs. Only sometimes she growls or barks if there are dogs across the street when going on walks.
She also knows basic commands such as sit, down, knows her boundary for a door way. Starting to get "lie down", and im sure she knows "stay" but she NEVER listens.

I tested her hearing to make sure everything is good and she can hear and reacs to the TINIEST sound when it comes to her squeak toy.

her prey drive is insanely high and once she's fixated on something (her toy for example, a dog across the street, some kind of noise) i can kiss getting her attention goodbye and recall is a joke. Even when i give her a big correction using the leash and keep walking at a fast pace just looing forward, she is just so captivated, I have to do it harder and harder 3-4 times before she gives up. .. for about 5 seconds. Lol
I use "tss" as a form of correction or letting her know that I do not want her to do it, and she completely understand. She however, does not obey at times. sometimes without distractions, she does listen though.

She has really smart. If she doesnt want to do something, what she will do is walk away from me. I started NILIF and resource control a few days ago and it is working a lot better so maybe im being too hard on her but yesterday i tried to get her to eat her food (she needs to eat so she can take her meds) but she refuses to eat. She knows exactly what i want because it has worked before but she was just being stubborn. I make sure to give her lots of affection when she does eat and follow up with a treat, but no go. She will eat the hot dogs (with pills inside) no problem so i know its nothing medical, she just doesnt want the normal everyday food.
I also am using resource control by using a ball because she goes absolutely insane over the ball. if she sees a ball, NOTHING can snap her out of it. She focuses on the ball and the ball alone. If she doesnt do what i ask, i dont throw it but she just doesnt do it at all, so eventually what happens is she gets tired of it and goes and lies down. Basically, she is being stubborn and won't give in and would rather not have the treat or the ball.

Low motivator: I tried all kinds of treats but food is not a motivator for her at all, and if she's distracted you can have a delicious steamed chicken in front of her and she won't eat it. She only eats it when she is not distracted.

Medium-high motivator: she loves affection. She whines when she is alone (which is actually getting much better after NILIF) but she loves it. Before i tried NILIF, she would jump up and down, and literally ram her head into my groin and legs and ive gotten bruises from her ecollar ramming into my shin because of it. I didnt know that petting her to make her calm is giving in but after NILIF, i stopped and she is much better. Not 100% but much better.

Too -high : ball or fetch. She is so fixated on the ball and fetch and i cant even get her attention to get her to do a simple thing in order for her to get her reward.

She follows me everywhere i go (except for when she goes and lies down after being stubbornly disobedient), and does not listen to "stay". i can at most walk away about 10 feet or about 5 seconds before she gets up and comes back to me.


Any help on where to start and any description of what is going on between me and my dog will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-27-2010, 11:15 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Welcome to Chazhound!


I think I'm not really clear on what your questions are.

But my first suggestion: The "Do Not Try This At Home" suggestion during certain dog training shows on National Geographic is there for a reason.... please stop trying to use those methods, it sounds like they're hurting your relationship more than helping.
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Old 09-28-2010, 12:59 AM
Maura Maura is offline
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NILIF is really good. e collar is not good. Look for a dog training class that uses clicker.

Some dogs will eat until they burst, they'll eat anything. Most dogs will eat what is put in front of them. Some dogs will only eat when they are hungry, even something they usually consider yummy. What do you feed? If it is a corn based diet, consider getting a quality dog food. As for treats, many dogs will work and train for affection, like yours.

I doubt she is being stubborn or defiant. She just needs positive training.
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:13 AM
clownfish clownfish is offline
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lizzybeth, what exactly in my post did you find that was the "do not try at home" techniques?

Btw, when i said ecollar, i was referring to her elizabethian collar from surgery. (the huge plastic white cone). When she comes in and rams her head to be petted, the cone destroys my shins. I dont use an electric collar if that's what you were referring to.

I actually just wanted some input based on what i posted cause i like to hear different people and different strategies and techniques. God knows that dog training is something everyone does differently and what works for one person, may not work for someone else.
Ive had people tell me try this, try that and have seen certain things work wonders for their dog, but not mine.
I think time and pack restructuring from the NILIF is what I need. So i am going to be patient. She already is starting to know that I control all the resources, including food, cold water, the fan which she loves, her bed, playtime, everything. She has stopped jumping and ramming my legs and actually responds to "sit", "down", "lie down" (which for me, means i want her to lay completely on her side so she can get a belly rub which she loves). still have to work on "stay", which I think is the most important, especially as it transitions into recall as well.


Anyone have any good tips or strategies on how to teach "stay" for a dog that is very easily distracted, strong prey drive?

EDIT:
Anyone know of good ways to have the dog stop pulling on the leash when walking and constantly getting ahead of me and "leading me"? I do firmly believe that when she walks in front, its not necessarily a bad thing but it is when she pulls and has no sense of what I am doing. I tried a technique i saw on a video where you walk about 20 feet and when she starts pulling, she tug and change directions showing that you are leading. Hasn't worked all that well. The techniques I saw for "heel" involve treats and with my dog, no matter how bad she wants the treats, she never comes and follows me. She just sits there and goes down and waits patiently so having her follow my left hand and heel as i walk has not worked. Obviously, "heel" would take care of the pulling on leash situation.
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Old 09-28-2010, 09:04 AM
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milos_mommy milos_mommy is offline
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What breed is she?

You can control and limit her chasing and obsessing on things...but it's part of her personality, and you will probably never have a dog who is going to choose to come to you if there is a rabbit bolting across the yard in front of her.

For walking...I've found with very energetic, unfocused dogs, changing direction doesn't so much of anything. Instead of that, whenever the leash gets tight, simply stop walking.
You'll have to talk about an hour for a 10-15 minute walk, but after once or twice, she should catch on. Once you stop, she'll probably pull for a few seconds, maybe even a minute, but once the leash relaxes (she'll probably look at you like "why did you stop??"), start walking again. She might bolt forward, but as soon the leash tightens, stop again, even after only a step or two.
This might also increase her focus, if she looks at you once you stop, she'll learn looking at you earns rewards (like continuing to walk).

NILIF is great, especially for a headstrong dog, however, that alone isn't going to help the problem of her lack of focus.

Search for threads here on teaching a "focus" command. Do it without any distractions. Clicker training is definitely your friend in this scenario. The Book Click to Calm is about getting dogs to be calm around other dogs, but many techniques could be carried over to other distractions. Once her "focus" command is solid, start by introducing distractions from a large distant. Once she can ignore them 100% of them time from far away, move closer. As soon as she loses focus, move further away.

As for not eating, unless you think it's a medical problem causing her to not eat, or she has a medical problem where eating regularly is necessary...give her the pills in the tiniest amount of hot dog (or just put them in her mouth and hold it closed) and then wait. It's likely, that after a day or two, she'll start eating. She may be nervous to eat in front of you, or something. Put the bowl of food down, leave her have it for a half hour, then take it away. Try again later. Don't give her any treats, table scraps, etc to fill her up.
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:21 AM
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What kinds of methods are you using to teach her to lie down or stay? What have you tried? If she's walking away from you, it sounds like she's not interested in what you have to offer. Or she's shutting down. Forget the idea that she's stubborn, disobedient, "head strong," and all the other anthropormorphisms. You're trying to train her in impossible conditions. She's not in the habit of learning so she is not into it. She needs to have her mind changed. Training has to be fun, a game. Use methods which make it fun and where she can have an easy time of it. I recommend highly, that you read Culture Clash, by Jean Donaldson. It will show you how dogs think and learn and practical advice on training. You will learn how dogs really are and not what humans have long projected onto dogs.


If she's too focused on other things, that means she's more motivated by those things than by what you have to offer or historically she's experienced. If training hasn't been a joy, she isn't going to apt to "listen." If there's a limited history of being reinforced for those behaviors you are wanting, there's no way to expect her to repeat behaviors she hasn't had ample training with. She's undertrained, not that she is being stubborn. She is a dog and that's how dogs are. Simple as that. They do what works for them, not so much for us. It's a survival thing...an evolutionary advantage...to do what works for yourself. So, forget the idea that she "should" be doing things to please you.

You need to set up an environment where those triggers are not present and teach her the skills in a way where she is guaranteed to be successful so she can be reinforced for each correct response. A reinforcer is something she LOVES a lot. Praise is marginal as a reinforcer so find something that is over the top wonderful....(tiny, pea sized treats...hot dog, white cheese, chicken meat or whatever else she loves more than life itself)

Every behavior has parts to it. It's not just one big behavior. Break behaviors down as far as you can into many parts. For example: Stay involves duration. (how long does she have to stay) It also involves distance. (how far is she from you) And distractions. (how distracting is the environment) All these things make staying more or less difficult. You need to set her up so it's easy for her at first and GRADUALLY build on all those things. Those three D's (duration, distance and distractions) should be worked on separately. When one part is being worked on, the other criteria is to be relaxed.

Practice NOT where there's another dog across the street having a wee of a good time, not where there are squirrels racing around the yard or a cat climbing up a tree. But begin training in the most boring room of your house where nothing else is going on. Dogs aren't stubborn. That's anthropomorphizing. They're too often, simply not set up for success.

Sit/stay:

Duration: stand in front of her to start out. Have her sit and stay for one second. Furnish treat. Let her get up, turn around, sit/stay again. Two seconds, reinforce. Do not walk away from her. Stay right there. After she gets onto this, you can turn your body to the side, very your position relative to hers so standing in front, facing her doesn't become part of the cue. In other words, you want her to sit/stay, no matter where you are later on. So, build duration but don't start on distance yet.

Then when she's up to staying for 10 seconds say....start working on distance, but relax your expectations of duration for now. So, you're going to step back one step and immediately return...no hesitation. Reinforce. Step back two steps and come right back to her like you're on a bungy cord....no duration. Three steps and so on.

Then add a distraction. Ie: Drop a ball or toy or have a family member walk across the room. Relax those other things to the easiest denominator. Stand fairly close while you ask her to stay. And don't ask her to stay for more than a few seconds. Make the distraction something you think she can succeed with....mild. Reinforce. Have a party. Then gradually raise the pressure on her. This all sounds like it would take a very long time. But it doesn't. It goes fast once she's onto the game.

That's just one thing to teach. Nevermind about dominance, calmness, submissiveness. (why would anyone want a submissive dog???) Forget "tsssss" and alpha...leader of the pack and all the other pack crap Cesar Milan touts. Dogs aren't even pack animals. He is NO dog expert, can't read body language worth a dang, and has set dog training back decades. If you want to learn about how to train a dog on TV, watch Victoria Stilwell on her show, It's Me Or The Dog. She's wonderful. The Dog Whisperer is nothing to emulate. Run, don't walk from that Hollywood Schmooze.

Here's a link to some good training articles...most of them are: ClickerSolutions Training Articles Contents
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Old 09-28-2010, 11:33 AM
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Saying a dog knows a command but doesn't listen is kind of an oxymoron. If they don't listen, it means they don't know the command.

Don't ever let give your dog a command and let her not follow through. Don't force her into doing it, but don't let her do anything else. Example, if you ask her to stay, and start backing away, and at 10 feet she gets up, step towards her, put your hand out, and say "ehh" or something like that.

Ask her to stay, go to 9 feet away for four seconds, and then go back and reward her. Do this throughout the day, until she's 100% reliable. THEN go to 10 feet, and if she gets up, go back to 9 feet again. If she gets it at 10 feet (these are, obviously approximations...you should notice at what point she starts to get uncomfortable with staying), keep doing it, and then move to 11 feet. When she's solid, add a distraction. If she can't stay with a distraction, it means she isn't ready for that.

If you ask her to sit, and she doesn't listen, don't keep saying it, don't yank on her leash, don't push down her bottom, just stand there, ignoring her, and not letting her move away to find something more interesting. Eventually, she's going to want your attention and permission to move, so she will sit. Reward her when she does. After time, she'll realize not listening is a waste of her time.
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Old 09-28-2010, 12:00 PM
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If you ask her to stay and she doesn't, it means you're asking too much too soon. If you follow the method I described, there will be nearly zero chance of her breaking the stay. You won't have to replace her to feel like you need to say, "eh-eh." You want to avoid having a dog make a mistake in the first place by setting them up to succeed...not to fail. Asking for more than one second of duration or one step back for distance when she hasn't succeeded at less, is asking for failure. Increase by tiny increments, only when she is successful at a previous level...only when she's had ample reinforcement at easier steps in the process.
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Old 09-28-2010, 05:13 PM
clownfish clownfish is offline
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Thank you, this helps a lot. Because she is a big dog, about 80lbs, tugging on the leash she does not even notice unless I do it really hard. But "hard" is relative, she's huge. A simple flick of the wrist for a 20lbs dog is not goign to cut it. I will try the stop and go method.

She's part GSD, siberian husky and what they call NAID.


As for the post about Cesar Millan, I appreciate the input. I wouldnt have asked otherwise but I am a believe in Millan and his work. There will always be supporters and non-supporters for anything for whatever number of reasons but his method and psychology not only make sense to me but are in line with what i have learned throughout the years studying psychology and human behavior and body language. I know he is not a dog "trainer" but a behaviorist but I think that many times, training errors and trials stem from behavior and respect issues.
I also have to disagree with the dog not beings pack animals. I think what you are saying is that dogs are not pack animals in the wild "pack for survival" sense like wolves, but they are still descendants of wolves and have many things that are hardwires into them. And all animals including human beings, may not be a traditional "pack animal" but have things that are hardwired as a result of evolution. Things like "fight or flight" and adrenal stress response, which cesar is extremely good at explaining and dealing with, as well as "alpha roles". The idea of alpha is misunderstood by many. Many people confuse as being ONE top dog that rules everything, like it is a clear cut dog that demands and makes other dogs do certain things. While this may be true in true, bona-fide pack animals, the idea of "alpha" is clearly present among all animals, especially humans. Ive studied human body language for a long time and many human behaviorists and psychologists have written books on what human beings do to "out alpha" one another to take a leadership position. I lived in a fraternity and when you have 70 males "fighting" for few females, you can see that although human beings have different civilized social constraints to follow, many things are mirrored from the animal instincts within us. males spread their legs wide when sitting to take up more space, deepen their voices among other males, block out other males when talking to females by turning their back and widening their stance, etc. and don't make eye contact or give attention to those that are deemed as "lower rank pack members". In human terms, it is labeled as "value". celebrities and "hot girls" do the "no touch, no eye contact, no attention" that directly correlates with millan's concept of higher ranks/values and who is "allowed" to demand attention. Rather than seeing it as the alpha has the authority to force attention, it can also be seen as the higher valued individual has the option to pick and choose what he wants to do, where he wants to do it, what he wants other to do, all because it is evolutionary beneficial for the survival of the group.

There is a reason why alphas exist. They can be the strongest, or the biggest, or the most intelligent, or all of the above. Certain individuals that people (or animals in general) feel comfortable being led by because they have what is required to doing so, are put in that position. and because of their ability, they have more value than others that do not. Same with dogs. Even with humans, "alpha" isnt necessarily a position, it is a state that you earn and you keep. I saw an immediate transformation in my dog the minute I let go of sympathetic energy resulting from her minor surgery, and after starting resource control, she knows exactly where she stands in this household. When i walk, i walk like this is my house not hers. I walk through her and not around her because this is my place. Little things like that are big things in the animal kingdom. Not everyone however, has this in their personality. It comes easy to me and studying it as given me a meta analytic POV that allows me to tweak my mistakes sometimes, but oftentimes i watch the dog whisperer and see many people who are not capable of being "alpha". it is just not their type of personality. individuals with weak voices, extremely unconfident body language (slouching, walking narrow, standing with feet together, weak and mellow eye contact) etc. People like cesar have the certain x factor that allows them to come in, take control and lead. Not just among dogs, but working in the business world you often see born and raised alpha males and they are completely different than the rest. Millans techniques teach those who lack this trait for whatever reason, to emulate and learn that kind of behavior. It is not a win-all situation and only goes so far for actually TRAINING a dog though.


It is very possible for a dog to know the command but not to be obedient. A command that has proven true time and time again to the point where you know that if you say sit, she understand the meaning, is a command that the dog understands. So when the dog understands what you want, but makes the decision not to listen, that is being disobedient. (for example, she knows sit. I know she knows it. and she does it all the time. But once in a while, without any distractions, she will hear it, look up at me, stare me in the eyes and then just walk away). that is disobedience, and something I am seeking to learn how to correct. In my personal experience, at least with my own dog, when she reacts that way, her behavior is indicating that there is a lack of respect for me and that no amount of "treats" will correct this problem. (she isn't motivated by food remember?) And if she somehow does want a treat badly enough in this scenario, the lack of respect will still win when she doesnt want the treat or the positive reinforcement. Basically, she has become the picker and chooser and that does not fly. I'm reading all sorts of materials and asking around to find all kinds of methods that vary, to see which one ends up working for me.

What are people's experiences with training on the leash to have more control of the dog so she doesn't have the option to walk away from training (compared to just a confined training area with no distractions)?

Basically, id love to hear all sorts of training methods, techniques, concepts ranging from millan's primitive ideals to Ian dunbar's positive reinforcement (almost humanistic) form of training. I dont believe in BLINDLY following one person. I'd love to hear names of famous dog trainers.

The ones ive seen are on youtube. One guy named "The amazing dog training man" and i think a lot of his stuff is great. He's a 100% positive reinforcement guy. Another is K91training in NY and they post youtube vids of police training, heel training, obedience training, training with a timber wolf, etc. and also use high energy positive reinforcement.

Thanks for the welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by milos_mommy View Post
What breed is she?

You can control and limit her chasing and obsessing on things...but it's part of her personality, and you will probably never have a dog who is going to choose to come to you if there is a rabbit bolting across the yard in front of her.

For walking...I've found with very energetic, unfocused dogs, changing direction doesn't so much of anything. Instead of that, whenever the leash gets tight, simply stop walking.
You'll have to talk about an hour for a 10-15 minute walk, but after once or twice, she should catch on. Once you stop, she'll probably pull for a few seconds, maybe even a minute, but once the leash relaxes (she'll probably look at you like "why did you stop??"), start walking again. She might bolt forward, but as soon the leash tightens, stop again, even after only a step or two.
This might also increase her focus, if she looks at you once you stop, she'll learn looking at you earns rewards (like continuing to walk).

NILIF is great, especially for a headstrong dog, however, that alone isn't going to help the problem of her lack of focus.

Search for threads here on teaching a "focus" command. Do it without any distractions. Clicker training is definitely your friend in this scenario. The Book Click to Calm is about getting dogs to be calm around other dogs, but many techniques could be carried over to other distractions. Once her "focus" command is solid, start by introducing distractions from a large distant. Once she can ignore them 100% of them time from far away, move closer. As soon as she loses focus, move further away.

As for not eating, unless you think it's a medical problem causing her to not eat, or she has a medical problem where eating regularly is necessary...give her the pills in the tiniest amount of hot dog (or just put them in her mouth and hold it closed) and then wait. It's likely, that after a day or two, she'll start eating. She may be nervous to eat in front of you, or something. Put the bowl of food down, leave her have it for a half hour, then take it away. Try again later. Don't give her any treats, table scraps, etc to fill her up.

Last edited by clownfish; 09-28-2010 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 09-28-2010, 05:21 PM
clownfish clownfish is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doberluv View Post
If you ask her to stay and she doesn't, it means you're asking too much too soon. If you follow the method I described, there will be nearly zero chance of her breaking the stay. You won't have to replace her to feel like you need to say, "eh-eh." You want to avoid having a dog make a mistake in the first place by setting them up to succeed...not to fail. Asking for more than one second of duration or one step back for distance when she hasn't succeeded at less, is asking for failure. Increase by tiny increments, only when she is successful at a previous level...only when she's had ample reinforcement at easier steps in the process.
I will definitely give that method a try. Im very patient and I can outwait my dog anyway I'll go slow and in small increments. thanks!
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