Training Suggestions needed for Zeus
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Thread: Training Suggestions needed for Zeus

  1. #1
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    DefaultTraining Suggestions needed for Zeus

    We've had Zeus for almost 3 weeks now and overall he's a GREAT dog. Only 1 mess in the house and a few chewed up stuffed toys. For being 19 months old with very little obedience and living outside for the last year he's awesome. Temperment wise he's so different from Mocha in a good way for the most part he's more laid back. He doesn't jump up when greeting people and doesn't get all excited when we come to people on our walks really.
    Now for my issue. He doesn't have any obedience as far as sit, lay, stay...Now I've taken Mocha to 4 obedience classes and I know how to do it. I decided to take Zeus to a class too though because it motivates me work with him more so I don't look like a doof at the next class, and gives us some one on one time. We went to the third class last night and he's making some improvement but not like Mocha. She's so food motivated if she knows I have treats she's very focused on me. Zeus is not ??? I've tried Connie's garlic neuked hot dogs, kibble, wellness soft treats, Zuke's soft treats, Pepporoni, string cheese....he eats them but doesn't really care that I have them unless I shove them in his face even then sometimes he just looks away ??? I'm a little stumped. The class we're in is all positive reinforcement kind of like clicker training only we use the word "yes" instead of a click so it's very treat dependent since you don't correct them. I've tried "loading the marker" and his name like we were told to but he's just kind of aloof. He's also VERY interested in the other dogs and people in class so it's so hard to get his attention on me. I'm a little stumped as to what to try next. Any other treat suggestions that might work better or ways to get him to focus on me? I try to work with him one on one every night for at least 15-20 minutes and our class is an hour on Thursday nights. We also do random sits, downs, throughout the morning and such.

    Sorry this got long TIA

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  3. #2
    wa-lab's Avatar
    wa-lab is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Training Suggestions needed for Zeus

    I'm sorry I don't have any suggestions for you, but I wanted to tell you I'm very glad you started this post. We have similar issues with our puppy. She loves food, but she will pick people/distractions over food any day. I hope someone has some good suggestions. You're not alone and it can be pretty frustrating.

  4. #3
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    DefaultRe: Training Suggestions needed for Zeus

    You have to be more interesting than the other people/dogs. It's harder to do, but not impossible, with a dog that isn't treat or toy motivated. My daughter is going thru this with Essy right now so I can relate. Since you've only had him 3 weeks you haven't really developed a relationship yet so you need to give him some time to adjust and just focus on building a relationship.

    In the meantime, you need to get rid of all your inhibitions and let loose when you are working with him. Basically you need to act so crazy/silly that everyone else thinks you are nuts, including the dog. Talk in the high pitched voice, growl, get on the ground and roll around with him. Play tug and push him away, then tug again. Pinch him in the butt when he isn't focused on you and say "what happened?" in a high pitched voice.

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    luke from georgia is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Training Suggestions needed for Zeus

    i agree with lydia, building a good relationship with a strong bond is key!

    when a dog is highly aroused or excited, food rewards won't register in their brains.
    and of course, some dogs are not food motivated at all.
    i don't have personal experience with not using food as rewards, but my first thought was that i would try to lower the level of excitement for situations via increased exposure to those situtations.

    you know how service dogs are socialized to all kinds of places, people, sights, sounds, smells, etc. starting at an early age? notice how calm, well behaved, and terrifically trained those dogs are? maybe more socialization will be helpful.

    also, the novelty of being around new dogs may wear off on its own.

    "Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend." ~ Corey Ford

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    DefaultRe: Training Suggestions needed for Zeus

    Thanks for the responses. We are working on the bond between us I need to try to get more alone time with just him. It's hard when Mocha is my baby and is VERY attached to me, to spend time alone with just Zeus. I need to though it's the only way he will connect with me. I've been working with him outside most of the time and leaving Mocha inside but she barks and whines trying to get out to me :. I have seen improvement in the last week so at least I know he is learning just in a different way than Mocha does. I need to be patient and remember that it's taken me almost 3 years to get Mocha to where she is now and Zeus has to start from scratch after being able to do mostly what he wanted for the last 1 1/2 years. I don't think it will take that long with him once I find a way to connect with him. Maybe this weekend I can take him up to the park and take him a few places with me. It also doesn't help that class is at 6:00 and I work until 5:00 so I barley have time to get home get all 3 dogs out and fed and get him loaded and drive to class so he doesn't get any exercise first. I held his food last night until after class which helped a little.

    Thanks again we'll keep at it.

    On a side not he's a Gooser anyone know how to stop him from doing that. He knocked my mom down last weekend (she's ok just bruised) He does it all the time though.

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    DefaultRe: Training Suggestions needed for Zeus

    I think withholding food until after class is an excellent idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by bacatherine

    On a side not he's a Gooser anyone know how to stop him from doing that.
    Umm...I think once a gooser, always a gooser. Talk to Sharon (wigwag) about her experiences.

  9. #7
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    amazongold is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Training Suggestions needed for Zeus

    Your obedience does not teach corrections? Then how does the dog know they did something wrong? This is a new one for me, can you explain the process a little more? And what if the dog is not food-oriented?

    Our trainer does not allow treats until the dogs have been given a release - we are not to treat for obeying a command. We give positive reinforcement with a "good job! good boy!" and a pat instead. His feeling is that once the dog learns to do something for treats, they will only do it for treats and will not comply when they know you don't have anything.
    Jackie, Champ, and Buddy

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    DefaultRe: Training Suggestions needed for Zeus

    Umm...I think once a gooser, always a gooser. Talk to Sharon (wigwag) about her experiences.
    LOL he's terrible about it especially to women but he's done it to SU too... :
    I just don't want him knocking my mom down again. She was stepping over a gate with a load of laundry and he goosed her mid leg lift she landed on the gate and got kind of bruised up.

    I'm going to try working with him every day a little more and spending more time with him just one on one. Mocha won't like it but hopefully it will help. He really is a good dog he just needs to learn some basics.

  11. #9
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    DefaultRe: Training Suggestions needed for Zeus

    They only treat for correct responses and not correct for non compliance. The trick is to only give the command when you are 90% sure they will respond. This class is quiet different from the ones I did with Mocha but I think it will work it's just going to take me a bit to get used to it.

    For sit - First Week we were to take a treat and lure the dog into a sitting position (not saying anything) as soon as they had their butt on the ground give the "YES" marker and treat. Repeat
    Same thing for down and stand
    The next week we started using a hand signal using a similar motion as the lure for each command when the desired position was assumed you mark and treat. Eventually you will add the word sit after the hand signal, then you will start to phase out the treats by marking ever correct command but vary when you give treats and eventually just use the marker with occasional treats.

    You can also do a correction marker I use "AHAH" but they don't really do any leash corrections and only allow buckle or nylon meratangle collars, or Gentle Leader type /Easywalk Harness.

  12. #10
    luke from georgia is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Training Suggestions needed for Zeus

    Quote Originally Posted by AmazonGold
    Your obedience does not teach corrections? Then how does the dog know they did something wrong? This is a new one for me, can you explain the process a little more? And what if the dog is not food-oriented?

    Our trainer does not allow treats until the dogs have been given a release - we are not to treat for obeying a command. We give positive reinforcement with a "good job! good boy!" and a pat instead. His feeling is that once the dog learns to do something for treats, they will only do it for treats and will not comply when they know you don't have anything.
    verbal praise or petting is only postive reinforcement if the dog considers those actions to be rewarding. some dogs simply don't care about either. some dogs don't like to be touched and petted too much. in some situations, petting and verbal interactions would be considered negative reinforcement, because the dog doesn't want to be interrupted in that instant. ie, playing fetch: when the dog brings back a ball during retrieve sessions, normally, the reward for that behavior is to have the ball thrown again. petting the dog in this situation would probably not be something the dog wants to have happen. speaking from my limited personal experience, verbal praise and a pat on the head has no effect in dog training.

    editied to add: a lot of people would disagree with me on this point, but my opinion is that the real driver behind training in this manner is the use of corrections/punishment for non-compliance. if the dogs are truly not being positively reinforced by praise and petting alone, then something else must be the cause of getting the dog to react properly to specific cues like Sit, Down, etc. the dogs are learning to perform specific behaviors on cue in order to avoid being corrected, not to gain praise and petting.

    i can teach my dogs to do just about anything with food rewards, and once they learn what it is i want when i say certain key words, they decide to perform those behaviors based on the reward history behind those actions. sometimes they get a treat. sometimes they don't. i turn them into gamblers or the actions have been repeated often enough that the reaction to a command becomes a habit, a natural and conditioned response to a stimuli. other times, they decide that performing certain tasks are enjoyable in itself, so it becomes self-rewarding and likely to be repeated regardless of the presence of the external rewards.

    "Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend." ~ Corey Ford

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