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Old 01-11-2009, 08:47 AM
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Default Dora questions

Hey guys; feel free to linky me to the threads that answer my questions; I searched and couldn't find it; so here are my questions.

Dora is doing pretty good I think for a 7 mos. old mastiff (south african); however we've hit a sticky point and it might just be a growth stage.

She's got a bit uppity, wanting to be on furniture, sleep next to bed; whining to be out of her crate. (my fault; maybe I let her sleep next to me; have more freedom than she's ready for)

Obedience has gone downhill.

She looks away for recalls (may take 120 seconds to actually click on and stand up and meander over), can't do a finish to save her life, stands are like the tinman when rusty.

Sit and down are still fast. I'm upbeat in attitude, the food rewards are rockin' and she's very food driven. She still performs commands like I'm going to beat her (and no I haven't).

I'm going to go to a clicker; maybe there is simply too much going on in her head -- I am very careful not to nag; one command and wait. But maybe the clicker will make it easier to grasp - command; response, click (no good girl, good dog - maybe she can't handle too much information at this point) and a quicker reward.

She also performs better in class than she does at home; so maybe the dominance thing is kicking in.

I think I remember both my other dogs going through this; sticky responses; my old APBT and Kim.

Should I throw in more NILIF to help Dora want to respond?
I don't want to depress her more; but she seems to want to ignore me and pay more attention to anything except school (reminds me of my daughter).

I work with my trainer; so on Monday we will be talking to her; but since she exhibits very little of these behaviours in class; we may not be able to show exactly what is going on.

Suggestions are very welcome; Dora is going to be doing competition obedience and hopefully Schutzhund. Tracking training will begin in the Spring; but I would like to get her over this hump of mastiff disdain or unplugged brain.
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  #2  
Old 01-11-2009, 08:53 AM
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You get what you tolerate, so stop tolerating.

Get more motivated. Find out what motivates your dog and use it. Keep things upbeat and high energy.

If your goal is competition, enthusiasm on the part of the dog is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!! You get back what you put in, generally, in this case.

What kind of work on attention have you done?
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:59 AM
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I think going to a clicker is a good idea. Clickers allow you split-second reinforcement of the exact behaviors you want to capture, which gives you the precision you'll need for competition obedience work.

I also think you should go back to strict enforcement of NILIF. NILIF should not be stressful or depressing to the dog, though. On the other hand, it should actually make the dog more comfortable and confident because he will have clear, consistent, and reasonable rules. He can still choose to not follow the rules, and not following rules simply means that he does not get what he wants.
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:54 AM
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Hey Red; thanks for the tolerating - that was one area where I'm concerned about just working her through this accepting crappy slow responses - I'd rather not work on the mopey commands (stand, recall, finish) than have her programmed into sure; a 50 second delay is adequate. I'm not sure about motivators lately; she's really going through a mental growth stage; she's punishing Kim and looking to take top dog spot away; it's gotten bad enough that I don't let them play anymore; Kim has gotten very defensive. Dora is becoming very pushy when people are eating; she's bugging the cat; I recalled her outside the other night and she goofed me; play bowed and backed away; never in 5 mos. has she done that; so I think she's testing boundaries.
I'm known to be a hard person; so I have to be careful to not squelch drives; but she sure is trying to press buttons.
I really haven't done much focus work (up until now she's been very self-directed to make eye-contact, she has heeled beautifully from the get go; recalls are hardly necessary since she's usually sitting on your foot); I'm going to combine look at me; with the clicker; I think it'll reward faster that way.

I think I may have given her too much responsibility too fast; I think she's trying on her big girl pants and figures she doesn't need my direction -- her mom did that around 6-7 mos. as well.

That's why I'm going back to NILIF - which btw pisses her off - she sulled right up last night when she had to be on lead the whole time, and this a.m. she came out of her pen for some recall and finish practise and then her breakfast; then put back in her pen; wouldn't look at me; right p.o'd.

I'm at work on the wireless right now; so looking forward to more responses; and tonight I'm going to work on her some more.
She likes the flirt pole; so I'll integrate that into the equation some more; just have to be careful due to the ice.
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Old 01-11-2009, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
I think I may have given her too much responsibility too fast; I think she's trying on her big girl pants and figures she doesn't need my direction -- her mom did that around 6-7 mos. as well.

That's why I'm going back to NILIF - which btw pisses her off - she sulled right up last night when she had to be on lead the whole time, and this a.m. she came out of her pen for some recall and finish practise and then her breakfast; then put back in her pen; wouldn't look at me; right p.o'd.
Sounds about right. Just remember what I said about NILIF - it's her decision whether to do what you ask or not, and she has to take the consequences.

And I would NOT accept a 50 second delay before starting the behavior you cue! I don't even accept a 5-second delay, and I'm not training a dog for competition. If it is taking that long then maybe your training method is not the most effective, and it might be a good idea to go back to the beginning and re-teach the behaviors until she understands what is expected. Kim and the cat could also be adding extra stress for her, so make sure to do your training sessions with them out of the room so she can concentrate better. Aren't mastifs known for being a bit animal-aggressive?
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:31 PM
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I would go back to square one. She sounds shut down. Don't allow the freedom that she's not able to have yet. Crate, confine, keep her on the floor.

Meanwhile, PLAY with her. Get her motivated, make yourself motivating. If you want to do Schutzhund with her, she should be playing tug and this should be one of the most exciting things for her. Play tug with her, get goofy, get silly.

Take the obedience back to the beginning. Break it down again. Something went wrong somewhere. Retraining it can help you find that point. Keep it all fun but firm. Don't allow a minute delay. At her age, she might not understand what you're looking for. Set her up to succeed.
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:35 AM
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Thanks guys; we have success; using the clicker now; Dora is very food driven; didn't take her long to associate what the click is for. Got a couple decent finishes out of her; broke it up into moving from the sit; to returning to the heel position.

Had some nice bouncy, drivey recalls.

Went out with a squeaky toy in my pocket (really winds her up); yummy kolbassa and lots of fun; she's way happier.

Helps that we work on it before dinner and breakfast and after she's been in her pen for a while.

Thanks again, we have class tonight I'll see if my trainer notices the difference,
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:39 AM
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I don't think she's so much "shut down" as hitting the 8-month old "you're not the boss of me!" teenage stage. Good luck with her though and keep on her with the clicker and NILIF.

Virgo went through a delayed "8 month old" stage about this time last year. Blew me off any chance she got, gave me the finger when I called her, just basically testing me every which way she could think of. We were using a tennis court for exercise at the time since we lived in an apartment and the bottom of the door had sagged to the point she could slip out and she would do so every chance she got. We went on a super NILIF program, which she hated, but it got the message through, especially when we brought out the clicker in addition.
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pitbullpony View Post
Helps that we work on it before dinner and breakfast and after she's been in her pen for a while.
Yep, that always helps

Glad to hear the improvements. Keep it up!! Keep us posted.
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoom View Post
I don't think she's so much "shut down" as hitting the 8-month old "you're not the boss of me!" teenage stage. Good luck with her though and keep on her with the clicker and NILIF.
Zoom, that may be. It may well be a combination of a teenage phase and shutting down, confusion, under motivated.

The key issues indicating possible shutting down are in bold:

Quote:
Originally Posted by pitbullpony View Post
She looks away for recalls (may take 120 seconds to actually click on and stand up and meander over), can't do a finish to save her life, stands are like the tinman when rusty.

Sit and down are still fast. I'm upbeat in attitude, the food rewards are rockin' and she's very food driven. She still performs commands like I'm going to beat her (and no I haven't).
Quote:
Originally Posted by pitbullpony View Post
I'm known to be a hard person; so I have to be careful to not squelch drives; but she sure is trying to press buttons.

I think I may have given her too much responsibility too fast;

That's why I'm going back to NILIF - which btw pisses her off - she sulled right up last night when she had to be on lead the whole time, and this a.m. she came out of her pen for some recall and finish practise and then her breakfast; then put back in her pen; wouldn't look at me; right p.o'd.
__________________
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puzzles, poetry and so much more ~ Doggy Puzzles created by me
sleep!!!
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proud member of the MUMS 2009 7th place team CISRA 2009 1st place team SUMS 2009 2nd place team
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