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Old 08-29-2006, 11:21 AM
Zephyrpower Zephyrpower is offline
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Default Troubles with hand signals when training Stay

I don't know why my puppy has a problem with my hand signal for stay, but for some reason, whenever I hold the flat of my palm out to say "stay" He'll jump and start yapping at it and try to jump up an grab it. Sometimes he curls his lip, barks or snaps at it, usually he seems to just want to play with my hand so I'm thinking maybe it's just cause my hands are associated with playing with him.
I've never hit him with my hand of anything and even my ex-roommate who would chase him around and scare him never hit him...at least not hard enough to hurt him, as far as I know.

So anyways, as soon as I hold my hand to do that stay command, he'll jump from sitting position and get real hyper, even before I vocalize stay. What do you suggest I do about this?
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Old 08-29-2006, 11:26 AM
Angel Chicken
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A good, firm "No, Down", first off. Keep trying to get the command down. Persistance is key!

If he jumps, say "No, down!" in a stern voice. Then do the signal for "Stay". Repeat the process until he stops trying to play. Remember, praise, praise, prasie! Once he does the stay command, praise him likr no tomorrow!
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Old 08-29-2006, 11:40 AM
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i agree with angel.
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Old 08-29-2006, 12:43 PM
flyndog flyndog is offline
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Don't use the hand signal. Teach "stay" with the verbal cue only. Then, after he understands the concept of "staying", you can introduce the hand signal. Slowly - don't put it in front of his face too quickly. I think you're right. He associates your hand movement with playing.
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Old 08-29-2006, 12:47 PM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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Flyndog just took the words right out of my keyboard. LOL.

Don't scold him when you are teaching him things. Down means to lie down anyhow, right. Saying "no" will tell him nothing. He doesn't know the behavior yet. It just makes training no fun and he won't want to learn.

You can also, to help him learn the cue, "sit," (since you can't really be luring him with your hand without him playing with it) whenever he just sits spontaneously, the second you see his rear hit the ground, say, "sit" and praise/treat. Pretty soon, he'll associate the word with the action.
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Old 08-29-2006, 01:04 PM
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You could also use a whistle as a command for sit and stay. Just an idea
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Old 08-29-2006, 01:06 PM
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Hand signals can be taught at the same time as a verbal command. I've read it's actually easier for them to learn the hand signals than it is the verbals. Just don't put your hand right in the pups face where he thinks it's play time!

Tell him sit, take a step back while saying "stay" and put your hand up like a stop sign. If he's watching you like he should, the hand doesn't have to be right in his face, it can be up high.
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Old 08-29-2006, 02:39 PM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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Good ideas there. I just thought of something else. When you're playing with him, don't use your hands anymore for toys. LOL. Try to replace them with toys so he may lose this fascination with your hands as being so much fun to chase and bite. LOL. Just end the playtime if he messes with your hands too much.

I'd personally go ahead and just teach him to sit without using your hands at first. Once he starts getting that and maturing a little bit more, settling down, learning other skills, you can always start adding the hand signal in with the verbal. He'll get right onto it. Dogs do pick up visual stuff stupendously.

If he seems fine using your hand now, like Dan says, without having it right close to him, then great. If he's too distracted by the movement, skip it for now and just reward him when he does sit and then start adding a verbal cue.
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Old 08-31-2006, 01:45 AM
Zephyrpower Zephyrpower is offline
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Thanks for the replies guys.

I've been trying just saying Sit, then when he sits I praise him and pause for a second then say Staaay. As soon as I say that he jumps up and barks or starts moving in some way. I guess I'll just keep working on it....also, I've used treats for almost all of his previous tricks and it works out really well because he is VERY food-driven. But I've been told not to use treats when teaching him to stay or at least don't have them on you because that will tempt them to follow you too much.

Makes sense I guess, I just feel he won't be as willing to do that thing if he doesn't get a treat as a reward.
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Old 08-31-2006, 07:35 AM
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I don't know who told you that but most trainers today use treats. I have treats in all my jacket pockets. I went and visited my daughter in Seattle and borrowed her jacket and discovered some treats I had left in there the year before when I visited with my dogs. Treats are a paycheck for a job well done. Dogs work and enjoy working more when they get something they like. Praise is good but treats are really tasty. You know they love treats. So find a kind that your dog for sure likes and keep them on you. (be careful to hang up your jacket. My Chihuahua ate the bottoms out of several pockets when I hung my jacket on a chair)

Take baby steps when you train. Get the sit. Reward, get the sit again, reward. Then start adding the word, "sit." He doesn't understand English anyhow so you might as well try to get him into the sit by some other means...usually people lure with the treat kind of over their head. You can use a leash if you must to help you. Forget the stay for now. That's another lesson. To get the sit to be gradually held longer, start out treating the instant he sits, but gradually teach him that he has to hold it one second longer before he gets a treat, then 2 seconds longer etc.

When it is time to teach stay, break it up into the three parts; duration, distance from you and distractions. Those three things should be taught seperately at first. It makes it much easier. So, you'll stand right in front of your dog and show him what you mean and you'll only expect him to stay for 1 or 2 seconds, then 4 seconds, then 6....staying right smack in front of him. Gradually you'll lengthen that duration.

When he's got that pretty well, you can step back 6"..then 1 ft, then 2 but come right back to him to treat him. Don't worry about duration now. Step back and come immediately back to him. Don't even pause. Gradaully get further away. If he breaks the stay, you've asked too much from him too soon. Go back some steps. Replace him calmly and try again, making it easier for him so he can succeed. Always reinforce for a correct response. (praise/treat) And make it immediate, within 2 or 3 seconds of his correct response. The more reinforcements he gets for correct responses, the quicker he'll learn. So set him up to succeed.

Then when he has the distance pretty good, you can try both together, but make it easy at first. Lots of practice and patience...then you can add a small distraction...maybe a person walking by, then gradually add more.

Always, with everything start out in your living room, then yard, before you plunge them into higher distraction areas...that's with everything. Dogs don't generalize well. So, if they can sit fine at home but they fail to do it down the road, owners think they're being stubborn or defiant and so the dog gets punished or jerked. The truth is, to them sitting when told down the road makes no sense at all. It's another exercise entirely from sitting in the living room. So, add new distractions gradually.

It takes time. So it's important that you and your dog have fun. Don't get frustrated or tense. Just have fun. When you're bothered or in a bad mood, quit, but quit on something the dog can do well. Come back to it later. Pups have very short attention spans...5 or 10 minutes at a time is enough for now. You can ask for sits anytime throughout the day and ask for some other skill here and there all day long. Those little mini training times are very valuable and useful.

Good luck. Let us know how things go.

Good luck.
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