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  #1  
Old 10-13-2008, 07:04 AM
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Default Minding when distracted

I have a 6 month old Aussie Shepard that I just adopted. She sits and comes and is loose leashed trained pretty well UNTIL she sees something she really wants, then ALL the training goes out the window.

She is a pretty stubborn pup and seems used to getting her own way. She would certainly run across the road if not leashed if she thought it would get her what she wanted.

How do I stop this puppy from ignoring my command?
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:32 AM
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IN order to have a dog who listens in distractions you'll have to teach him all his commands over again in distractions. Start in your yard and go over everything he's learned taking the time to re-teach every command (remember it will not take NEARLY as long as she will pretty much know what you are looking for). Once she does well in the yard take her to a very calm, minimal traffic park where there are a few people and maybe a dog and work on training her there. Slowly increase the levels of distraction by bringing her to different places.

She also sounds like a good candidate for clicker training. In clicker training the dog learns how to work to get what he wants (a treat) and you get to make what you want, what the dog wants, so everyone is happy. Read up on clicker training and see if you like it. Clicker training also allows for you to go to someplace distracting and not say the command over and over. You can simply stand and wait and as soon as the dog decides to sit you can click and treat. Soon the dog will sit over and over and then you can start adding the command (if she'll listen). Eventually the dog will pay attention to you because he wants to play the clicker game. After many session of the clicker game in distracted areas, the dog will learn how to pay attention and ignore distractions in order to get what she wants. Once you are at that point you can stop using the clicker and start giving the treat without the click. THEN you can start varying reinforcement (sometimes a treat, sometimes praise, sometimes petting, sometimes a toy etc.).

Another great thing you can do in a distracted area with the clicker is simply stand there and wait, try making an odd high pitched noise. If the dog looks back at you click and treat. If you can't get the dog to look at you then simply wait and eventually she should, you might even try doing something like jumping up and down, sitting etc. to make her look and see what is going on. Eventually it will become easier to make her look at you and she may do is periodically to see if you'll give her a treat, Then you can start adding a command (like "focus" or "watch me") and be able to get her to look at you in distractions. You should teach this inside first with no distractions.

Your pup sounds normal to me, most dogs (most animals actually) will do what works best for them, why wouldn't they. They don't have morals like people that make them make sacrifices for other's benefit unless doing that benefits them. So it's important you make the dog think what you want her to do is the best thing in the world and eventually she'll learn that listening to your commands is so great that she should always do it because it is better for her.
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Old 10-13-2008, 08:02 AM
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Great response Maxy, thank you.

My puppy wants to meet other dogs for playtime. This seems to be the single worst case when she will not come, sit or anything else. She LOVES other dogs and not even a Hotdog will bring her back to reality.

How should I handle this? Try to get her to respond when another dog is far enough away, then move the other dog closer and closer while commanding/clicking/treating as the distance decreases?
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:01 AM
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At six months old, you're smack in the middle of Aussie Puppy ADD.

You have to put in a lot of work with proofing her commands. Just because she knows what "sit at home when there's nothing going on" doesn't mean that she realizes it still means "sit at the park with 199998 things happening". Maxy gave you some great advice.
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:15 AM
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Maybe you can start training with distraction in an area that is a bit busier then home, but not as disney land as the park. WHen Vic and i had to learn to down stay with distraction we worked near the door at petco. THen we took it to the parking lots and the street. THe we went to local parks, not dog parks.
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Old 10-13-2008, 10:25 AM
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Yes, along with what the others have said, if the dog will not even take a treat when near a dog work further away and move slowly closer once the dog masters each distance. If at a certain distance the pup won't pay attention move away and try at the last distance that worked. You can also work on a calm greeting by having her walk to a dog calmly for a greeting. Walk towards the people with the dog and if she starts flipping out with excitement walk away, when she's calm walk forward and continue until you get close without her loosing control, then let them greet. If that's too difficult for now, just get her to sit first (even if that means you just stand there and wait until she gets tired and sits, it'll take a while so using a friend and her dog might be best) and as soon as she sits say "Good girl!" and your release command and let them meet even if after the release she bolts right on over to the dog, any measure of control around other dogs will help her be able to have more focus around dogs in the future. Later you could work on walking up calmly once you can have her sit and wait calmly. Of course that adolescence stage can be difficult! Do keep us updated
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  #7  
Old 10-13-2008, 10:52 AM
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That;s great advice everyone.

I'll start with the sit until she calms down and does not pull. She greets everyone cautiously, does not jump around until she's sure. She does get fixated on dogs and wants to meet ALL of them. She pulls on the leash and if off leash she runs right up to them, then goes into slooow sniff and feeling out mode. Once she feels comfy she then goes into "play mode". Her ears must get stopped up at that point because she does not hear me at all.
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:09 PM
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zoom I love your aussie ADD comment LMBO! PERFECT description!

I have found, having two aussies after years of having GSD's, who would 'die' for their owners),,that aussies can be pretty self serving,,my female at almost 9, still doesn't have a serious bone in her body, except when it comes to chasing birds/wildlife and then she is on a mission which no one can deter her from)))

I love her to death, but she does have her own agenda ALOT )...Food is her main motivating factor in life, and luckily FOOD rewards work really for her,,Clicker training her was a breeze, but I'm not sure aussies ever really 'grow up' )
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Old 10-15-2008, 07:57 AM
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Yesterday, we played "the look at me" game when walking. When she got distracted I told her to LAM, then clicked and treated when she made eye contact. I had marginal success as we walked by people. She would break her fixation, get her treat and get fixated again.

This morning we went out early without a lot of distractions and it was MUCH better.

I think she needs to get out more and we need to play the LAM game often. Her new world is so exciting to her it seems and I think sometimes she does not know where to look.
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Old 10-15-2008, 09:43 AM
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Aussies are incredibly smart for the most part and it just takes dedicated work and patience to make them into the amazing dogs they have the reputation of being. I'm still working on some attention stuff with mine as far as listening to me when squirrels and rabbits are about.
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