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Old 04-19-2008, 11:28 AM
-Eagle- -Eagle- is offline
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So my friends farmdogs had puppies. The father was black lab, and the mother was an Australian Shepherd. We had it get its shots and everything, so its all good. But I have a few questions about it.

(1) Is it normal for him to be distracted by everything? For example, teaching him tricks and bite inhibition has been difficult. He learned sit easily, but when I work with him on stay, lay down, shake, etc. he get distracted. If I'm using a treat, he sits right away, but when I attempt to teach him to stay, or to lay down, he always turns his head frantically, trying to find the treat. If I keep the hand with the treat open all the time, he just lunges for it. How do I teach him these tricks without him being distracted everytime he sees my other dog, or hears someone else in my family, or a bird chirp outside, etc. And how do I teach him to not lunge for the treat?

(2)Bite inhibition. This is similar to the last problem. He has made pretty good progress since I started teaching bite inhibition. But he could have made much more if he wasn't so distracted by everything. To teach him how to not bite hard, I've been offering him my hand as my other one pets/plays with him. I let him lick it, and lightly chew on it. But if he chews too hard, I yelp, or say "Ow" in a firm voice, and look away for 10-15 seconds, and repeat. The problem is, in those 10-15 seconds, he finds something else to do. How do I keep him feeling like the game is over for those 10-15 seconds?

When we are lightly playing, he's good about biting hard. But when he gets riled up, he forgets all of that and bites hard whenever I try to take away something he can't have, or bring him inside. How do I reinforce his biting inhibition during these times?

(3) Finally, I know Austalian Shepherds are the kind of dog that always has to have a task, so what are some I can give to my dog when I don't have the opportunity to play with it?


Thank you for these answers, and i'm sure I'll have more questions soon enough. Thank you all.
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Old 04-19-2008, 12:05 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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How old is your puppy now? Most puppies learn a lot about bite inhibition from their mom/litter mates, but if they have been taken away from their litter too early, they will not learn this. About 9-10 weeks old is a good time to take the puppy away from its litter mates.

It is perfectly normal for puppies to be very distracted. Puppy raising is very difficult and tries on your patience! I hope you had an idea of this when you entered into this task.

I would highly suggest clicker training. This method works well with puppies where some other methods are not as effective. You can search this forum for tips on clicker training, or check out www.clickertraining.com.

I would not worry about teaching a formal stay to a puppy less than about 6 months old. You can certainly teach him to stay while the crate door is opening, wait at the doorways to go outside, etc., but keep your stays short and don't make a big deal out of them until he gets a little older.

About lunging for the treat - it is a good idea to keep the treats out of sight while you're training. This will solve the lunging right off, but also if your dog learns to listen to you when you have a treat in your hand, the treat will become a bribe and he will not do anything unless he can "see the money" first. You can keep treats up on a shelf/counter, or in a treat bag clipped to your back (so he can't see it). If you're doing a lot of teaching using lures, it's a very important step to get the treat out of your hand early on in the process, and teach your dog just to follow your hands or hand signals.

What you're doing for bite inhibition is ok (yelp, ignore), but since you know he's going to get distracted anyway, I'd suggest just getting up and leaving as soon as he bites. That way it is very clear that it is YOUR decision to end the playtime, not his. Then it will also be your decision to resume the playtime after the break.

And try not to get him so riled up that he forgets about biting. If you see his energy start to escelate to that level, get up and leave then. You might want to keep him on a leash outside at all times, so you can bring him in without having to pick him up or physically touch him, if that is what is causing the biting.

As far as keeping him busy whenever you can't play with him, treat dispensers are an excellent tool. Many trainers even suggest (and I agree) that a puppy should not have a food bowl until a certain age, that he should get all his food from treat dispensers. Treat dispensers can be found at most big petstores (they're usually hard plastic, in the shape of a ball or a cube), or you can just use empty plastic bottles. Put your puppy's whole meal in the dispenser, and just give it to him. He has to use physical and mental energy to figure out how to get the food out - that's physical and mental energy he won't have to chew on things he shouldn't or do other things to make your life difficult. Kongs are also excellent, and natural bones (not rawhides, bones) also help with the chewing.

I'd highly recommend getting into a puppy training class now while your puppy's young and most bad behaviors can be prevented before they start. It's also great for socialization, which he'll need a lot of before he reaches 3-5 months old! I'd also suggest reading a lot about puppies and training - "Outwittng Dogs" by Terri Ryan is good. Dr. Ian Dunbar also has a good puppy book but I cannot remember what it's called - but a google search should find it quickly.

Good luck, and keep us posted!!
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Old 04-19-2008, 12:07 PM
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Oh, and also please read this sticky - "What to expect when raising a puppy" http://www.chazhound.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7205
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Old 04-20-2008, 06:46 PM
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Thanks for the answers. They help alot.

I knew full well what I was getting into when I bought a puppy. I've had two dogs before, and both were calm most of the time, but the new one was the bully of the litter, so I expected him to be more aggressive than normal. Thanks for the reassurance.

Also, we first got him when he was 6-7 weeks old, and he is 14 weeks now. We picked him up early because he was a farm dog, and he was being kept with all his litter mates outside in a barn, and we wanted him to get out as soon as possible because of unexpected snow storms and freezing tempertures.

One more thing. He doesn't respond that well when I don't show him the treat. I've been thinking that he's still too young to start training, but I wanted to get started as soon as possible.

And are there any alternatives to puppy training class? Is it okay if I just have him interact with a lot of people regularly and with other dogs, or do I need an actual classroom setting?
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Old 04-20-2008, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -Eagle- View Post
One more thing. He doesn't respond that well when I don't show him the treat. I've been thinking that he's still too young to start training, but I wanted to get started as soon as possible.
Like I said before, the treat is becoming a bribe. Work on suprising him with treats often when he happens to do something good - he happens to sit, he gets a treat; he happens to toilet outside, he gets a treat, etc. He'll quickly get the idea that treats could come at any time, whether he sees them or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by -Eagle- View Post
And are there any alternatives to puppy training class? Is it okay if I just have him interact with a lot of people regularly and with other dogs, or do I need an actual classroom setting?
Well, the main reason I suggested puppy classes is for you. Getting personal advice from a trainer and watching other people interract with their puppies is so much more valuable than just talking to us here or reading a book. As far as socialization, of course you could do it outside of puppy class, but then again many people intend to do a lot of socialization but then end up too busy or have other priorities at that time, and before they know it the socialization period is over. Not saying this is you, of course, but many people do this.
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Old 04-20-2008, 09:12 PM
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Puppy classes for me? I don't think that's necessary. I'm not trying to sound all cocky or whatever, but I have a friend who got a puppy about 9 months ago, and he's helping me out with it. I just wanted to double check with someone who knows for sure what they are talking about.

My other dog, when she was a puppy, she was the runt of the litter, so going from that to this was a change. But I had a pretty good idea what I was doing, I just wanted some other ideas. And our new puppy is so random and crazy, one of my friends was positive it had ADD.

So thank you for the reassurance. I'd do puppy classes, but is there classes that allow you to come whenever, and not be a strict regular attendance thing?
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Old 04-20-2008, 09:22 PM
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Yeah, there are, there are training clubs and differently scheduled classes out there. There are actually tests going on about whether the strictly #-week classes are as effective as classes with more open schedules, so they're becomming more common.

ALL puppies have ADD. ALL puppies mouthe and MOST have no bite inhibition. In a class you will be able to vent with other puppy owners about how annoying it is, and you will also see that there are puppies worse than yours. I taught puppy classes for years, and I met a lot of people who didn't think they'd need them, but ended up loving the classes and getting a lot out of them. Please just consider it. You can find a good trainer search on www.apdt.com.
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Old 04-21-2008, 07:06 PM
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Classes aren't just good for learning how to train - they are EXCELLENT for socialisation.
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Old 04-21-2008, 09:48 PM
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Enrolled today. Thanks for the help guys, I'll bring this thread back up if I have anymore questions. Thanks especially to lizzybeth.
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Old 04-22-2008, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
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Enrolled today.
WOO HOO!!! Keep us posted on how they go!!
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