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  #11  
Old 04-05-2011, 05:31 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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I agree with the others, it sounds like this trainer is a little out of his/her league with your dog. I'm suprised, for example, that you haven't taught any kind of "watch me" behavior.... In all the classes I've been to, this is the very first thing that's taught. If you don't have your dog's attention, how will he listen to your cues?

I also agree that the dog will NOT become "dependent" on treats. The book "Click to Calm" does a good job at explaining clicker training and how to fade out the clicker and treats as the dog learns the behavior. I HIGHLY suggest you read the book.

Along the same lines:
Quote:
Originally Posted by acer925 View Post
He was taught by lead training. Like sit=pull up on lead with command. down=pull lead down, etc. no clicking, or treats.
What do you do when he doesn't have the leash on?

The thing with positive reinforcement training, is that there's ALWAYS a reward around.... Praise, petting, getting to go sniff the grass, it's EASY to find a reward for your dog's good behavior. But with this method, if he doesn't do the behavior and he doesn't have a leash or collar on, what tool do you have? I don't understand how the dogs don't get dependent on the equipment in order to do the behavior.
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  #12  
Old 04-05-2011, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danefied View Post
You're going to have to start with management - keep him away from other dogs as much as possible until you both start learning some new tricks.

My guess is that the heavy handed training is exacerbating his fear issues, plus he may feel more vulnerable anyway because of impaired vision, though as long as its been I'm sure he has learned to compensate for it.

Watch me is a great command, and pretty easy to teach. I teach it with a clicker or marker word. First you will have to load the clicker, then once the dog is associating that the clicker means good job, you can start using it to teach watch me. Start in a low distraction setting - living room or somewhere quiet. Say the dog's name and when he looks at your face, click and treat. Often dogs will figure out the treat is coming from your hand and will stare at your hand, so you may have to hold your hand near your face and really watch for any eye movement towards your face.
Once he's reliably looking at your face, you'll want to delay the click so that he holds eye contact longer. Gradually increase the length of time he holds eye contact before you click.

Now add distractions. Wait until the dog is not paying attention to you in the house, say his name and reward for eye contact. When that becomes reliable, go out in the yard and repeat. Then on the street, then with a dog really far away, then gradually decrease the distance. Anytime you get to where he can't make eyecontact with you, back up a step and re-build reliability where you were successful before.

This is a really rough explanation of building attention, I like "Control Unleashed" by McDevitt and also "Click to Calm" for more details. I believe Michael Ellis also has some videos on youtube about how to build attention that you might like.

HTH
Thanks, I think Im gonna give it a go. It will take a lot of patience on my part, but hopefully it will be somewhat enjoyable for both of us. I really do just want him to learn to listen, I just never thought it would take this much. I think it will be a faster way to success than what Im doing now though.
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  #13  
Old 04-05-2011, 06:15 PM
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[QUOTE=Doberluv;1792531]
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It's neither here nor there if he becomes reliant on hot dogs. The point is that what needs to be happening is that the scary thing is assoicated with the good thing. (the food) Dogs learn VERY strongly by association. He won't become reliant on treats anyhow. Much later, down the road, as his outlook on other dogs becomes more favorable, what will be in his mind (pleasant associations with other dogs) will be a virtue in itself rewarding. In other words, you'll go onto a variable reinforcement schedule at some stage and it will strengthen his opinion and behavior around other dogs. The treats will be phased out in part. I don't know what kind of trainers you have, but they don't sound very savvy in actual animal behavior.

If the hot dogs aren't interesting enough to him, take him out right before dinner time when he's hungry. Try another kind of treat. Try lower distraction areas where the environmental motivators or triggers to his reactivity are less intense than his love of a treat or other reinforcer. A reinforcer must be something he LOVES. And without motivation, there's no training.

Remember....distance is your friend for now. Anything that your dog has trouble doing needs to be done in a low distraction area for now. Prevent unpleasant situations that upset him. Don't let him practice this reactive behavior. Prevent it.

Thank you, I understand. Thats what I thought would happen but I just took the trainers word for it at first.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Tucker&Me~ View Post
Personally, I think your trainer sounds he like doesn't know very much...

Here is an intro to clicker training:

YouTube - Clicker Training - How to clicker train your dog

If you want to teach a watch me command, I really like this method:

YouTube - "Watch me" Game

That woman also does a segment on taking the 'watch me' command and putting it into loose leash walking, which would be great for you

When your trainer said that your dog won't do it unless you have treats, that is a really big red flag to me on what kind of a trainer he is. With clicker training, your dog has to use his brain and THINK to try and earn the reward. In the type of training your trainer does, your dog uses no brain power and simply complies with being manipulated into various positions. Also, on the subject of treats, your dog will not develop a dependancy on them. However, I frequently do reminder sessions with my dogs and reward occasionally with food. At the end of the day, would you go to work if there was no paycheck? No. So, if the dog is doing something right, your rewarding of his behaviour will just make it more likely to reoccur. You only reward every time and use the clicker when the dog is learning a behaviour, and once he has it solid, you slowly fade out the rewards and only give them every second or third time. Eventually, the idea is that your dog will have a complete understanding of what you would like, and you will only have to reward every once and a while to keep the command strongly associated with good things.

At the end of the day, clicker training is all about making your dog WANT to learn, and exercising his brain It really is super fun

Thanks for the videos, very helpful. I hope it is fun like you say.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:30 PM
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Just a little info. on the current trainers we go to. The head trainer trains dogs for police work, etc. as well as basic obedience, intermediate, and advanced classes (using the phoenix system). They gave us the prong collar first day to help with walking and also told us when he stares at another dog to just give a little pull on it and say "leave it", in a solid voice to avoid further barking. I went to one intermediate class, and they had the trainers walk the dogs across some wood boxes, then built a pyramid of boxes for trainer and dog to go over and then put each dog onto their own box and had one dog along with the trainer walk over each dog. My dog wouldnt even get onto the same box as the first dog. Then they had each dog sit on their own box, then every trainer weave in and out walking around all of the dogs. My dog wouldnt stay on his box. So they suggeseted the beginner class so thats what were in now. We went to one class out of 6 so far. Heres a link to their site. ::Essex County K9::

They are very knowledgable, but for my dog, I think what you all are saying is what he needs. I dont really know what to think, but I guess I will continue to take him to these classes but also work on the clicker and positive reinforcement at home.
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  #16  
Old 04-05-2011, 06:37 PM
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Can someone tell me why he is good at the trainers place around the dogs, but bad when at the park? I know if I figure that out, thats the ultimate reason for everything hes doing. He will still snap at another dog there if they come close enough, but he could sit/lay down 5 feet away from another dog and be fine.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:39 PM
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When you use food to desensitize and counter condition a dog, you are not creating a dog who is dependent on treats, you are changing the dog's emotional response. Right now he has a fearful emotional response to other dogs, and the food - primal for all animals - creates a positive association with a fearful stimulus. If you keep the fear at a minimum (by GRADUALLY decreasing the distance), the food will win out and counter condition the dog to a different emotional response when seeing another dog.
Add to the equation a specific command - "watch me", and now the dog has a different emotion, something to do OTHER than react (bark and lunge), practice practice practice, and you end up with a new dog. And depending on how consistent you are, it really doesn't even take that long.

Another command that works well for reactive/busy dogs is "touch" - a nose touch to your palm. Again its something for the dog to do instead of react to the scary stimulus, plus it keeps him close to you or draws him closer depending on where you position your hand.
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  #18  
Old 04-05-2011, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acer925 View Post
Can someone tell me why he is good at the trainers place around the dogs, but bad when at the park? I know if I figure that out, thats the ultimate reason for everything hes doing. He will still snap at another dog there if they come close enough, but he could sit/lay down 5 feet away from another dog and be fine.
Without watching the dog, I can only guess, but my guess is that he is shut down at the trainers. Not really being "good", just totally suppressed. Did you train him there or did you send him there to be trained?
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  #19  
Old 04-05-2011, 06:49 PM
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I had a dog reactive Doberman. He was perfect when he was in class and reactive when on casual leash walks. My take is that in his case (and it could be in your dog's) when in that context, he was in "working" mode. It was more formal to him. (in a dog's translation of formal. lol) And when having a more recreational, random kind of walk, he somehow thought it was a free for all. I don't know. He would do a long down stay, side by side with a bunch of other dogs, keep his eyes straight ahead on me and not pay any attention to them. I'm not sure though, if this sounds like the same thing with your dog.

It could also be like Danefied describes.
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  #20  
Old 04-05-2011, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danefied View Post
Without watching the dog, I can only guess, but my guess is that he is shut down at the trainers. Not really being "good", just totally suppressed. Did you train him there or did you send him there to be trained?


we always go with him there. the only reason I come up with is because he's excited to go to the park/walk so he is more lively which would make him hyper not afraid and defensive, whereas, the trainers is not a good place for him so he is fearful? Sort of like a kid going to the candy store compared to the dentist office. I really dont know..
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