need some advice on obedience
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Thread: need some advice on obedience

  1. #1
    Canula2000's Avatar
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    Defaultneed some advice on obedience

    so little pixie is my last hope...lol. Anyway, I have her in beginning agility (watching other dogs more carefully this time) and advanced obedience. Our advanced instructor is very good and will let us work at our pace. Our first class was Wed. and I immediately notice a problem. By the end of class she will stop complying with commands. We have done only treat, and positive reinforcement with training. I wonder if she is ready for some corrections? My issue is this, she has a bit of a nervous personality. We have worked really hard on this with positive reinforcements, praise, treats, toys and play and sometimes just ignoring her behavior. She has been positively socialized as a pup and I continue to take her to as many places as possible. She will even run the dog park on occasion. But from time to time she will get nervous. I feel like she stops complying with commands because she is bored or done but I don't want her to get in the habit of thinking she doesn't have to work just because she doesn't want to. I have tried clicker this last week, and even with a pen but having an object in my hand makes her nervous (she actually ran and hide in her crate). I haven't been able to use a direction stick for this reason either. Any suggestions? She heels really nicely when engaged and sits and downs, although downs are a little slow for me.

    "Every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one"
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    debjen is offline Senior Member
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    How old is Pixie and how long is class? If she is nervous I certainly wouldn't start corrections. If she is doing well through class I would stop before she starts not complying. I have found with Flyer that if I spend too long working on something especially if he is doing well he starts to do it wrong. I'm not sure if its because he gets bored or because he thinks she keeps making me do it I must be doing it wrong and he tries something else. So I have to be very careful on reptitions of things.

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    Obedience work is boring. It bores me. It bores my dogs. I do not drill it.
    It sound to me like you need to make the "jackpot" more exciting for her. Whatever treat you are using, you need to up the ante. If you are using cheese, get some roast beef from the deli. You need to make it as exciting and fun for her as you can.

    Concerning corrections. I'm of the old school. I firmly believe a dog needs corrections to make it clear in the dogs mind that there are consequences to his actions. I certainly don't beat my dogs, but a correction can be a simple "No", or "Aa-ah." for timid dogs. For more hard-headed dogs a good leash pop works wonders. I've been training and working with all kinds of dogs and breeds for nine years now. I know that's not a long time in the big scheme of things, but it's been long enough for me to have witnessed things that happen with dogs on a pretty regular basis. From what I've observed, a lot of the dogs that have been schooled in positive reinforcement only have a LOT more difficulty when they reach the higher levels of obedience. They fail their sits/downs, they don't maintain their heeling, they don't work well away from their owners. I'm not saying ALL dogs trained with positive reinforcement do this, but I've seen enough that makes me keep on with corrections for blantantly breaking a command. Especially in the sit/down/stay area.

    Anyway... I think you need to work shorter sessions, set your dog up to be a winner, and use treats that are of higher value to your dog.

    Have fun!

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    debjen is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3TailsWaggin View Post
    Concerning corrections. I'm of the old school. I firmly believe a dog needs corrections to make it clear in the dogs mind that there are consequences to his actions. I certainly don't beat my dogs, but a correction can be a simple "No", or "Aa-ah." for timid dogs. For more hard-headed dogs a good leash pop works wonders. I've been training and working with all kinds of dogs and breeds for nine years now. I know that's not a long time in the big scheme of things, but it's been long enough for me to have witnessed things that happen with dogs on a pretty regular basis. From what I've observed, a lot of the dogs that have been schooled in positive reinforcement only have a LOT more difficulty when they reach the higher levels of obedience. They fail their sits/downs, they don't maintain their heeling, they don't work well away from their owners. I'm not saying ALL dogs trained with positive reinforcement do this, but I've seen enough that makes me keep on with corrections for blantantly breaking a command. Especially in the sit/down/stay area.



    Have fun!
    I'm not against corrections either..I guess when we start talking about corrections we need to determine what type a person is using..I've been doing this for about 10 years too and started out with the good old pop and jerk method and to some extent will still use a small pop when I think my dog is blowing me off..I do use a lot of the oopsie or ah-ah to mark when a dog is doing something wrong..I really had to be careful when I first started working with Cedar as a raised voice could send him running to his crate..and he would melt if you just touched him..so even our corrections had to be a little upbeat so he wouldn't meltdown..so that is when I started using the oopsie a lot...

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    hmmmm...you gave me something to think about. Pixie is 2 1/2. I can't tell if she is really bored or just doesn't want to listen, but sometimes she will get nervous and when that happens I pull her aside and play. It didn't seem like she was nervous at class on Wed. I don't know...she is kinda hard to read sometimes. by correction I did mean a pop from the leash....I haven't done this with her before because of her soft temperament.

    ETA: class is 45 minutes but we are rarely working the whole class.
    Last edited by Canula2000; 05-14-2010 at 10:33 PM.

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    If she is really soft or timid, I'd avoid the leash pop and use some other correction that would work better for her.

    You can actually use clicker training to help a timid dog build confidence, by marking the confident behaviours and ignoring the timid behaviours. If you've never worked on stuff like this before it would be good to work with an instructor who has.

    You might get a lot of information from the book, Control Unleashed.

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    I stared training Emilu at about age 2 also. She is also a "nervous" dog, although not at all shy of people. I find that after 5 years of training, she still doesn't really even have a 45 minute tolerance for training in class. She also doesn't do well with doing something over and over - she starts to think that she must be doing it wrong and starts to get weird. It has taken me a really long time to figure out how to work with Emilu. I found that she doesn't do well with some corrections, which I used very carefully to our advantage. For instance, when we were teaching her the "stand for exam", she would start to move . I gave her only one or two well timed "corrections" (ahh,ahh in her case) and she never moved her feet again. But I find that it is easier to train her to NOT do soimething this way than to get her to DO something. I once corrected her for going around a jump, and then she became shy of going over the jump at all. Then, even if I praised her while she was doing it, she would stop, because she thought she was doing something wrong. On the other hand, she can also be a little stubborn, so I DO correct her sometimes, and also use "friendly correction". I think with a dog like you are describing - "friendly military" might work. Sometimes we are TOO nice and sweet to our dogs when giving them commands (especially with a shy dog) and they don't recognize it as a command from their leader. Also , a shy dog needs to know that you are in "friendly control" and know what you are both to do - this gives them the confidence to do it. You also need to learn what kind of praise to give. Emilu is VERY treat oriented - way too much so, but I didn't know anything about training when I started with her, and made alot of mistakes. I did find that making too much fuss when she did something really well sometimes made her more nervous - especially at a show. If you dog gets nervous for whatever reason, they react differently to things that they normally take in stride. Aslo, when giving a "correction", just make it matter of fact, and then praise briefly when the right behavior is performed. I didn't use a clicker to train Emilu (although I will use some clicker trainin with my next dog), but I do have a bridge word to use like a clicker "YES!" means she is doing it right. It's not easy to train a "nervous dog", but you'll work it out. Listen to yourself and your dog, and don't do something that you know your dog would really react badly too, even if an instructor tells you to do it. Some dogs blow stuff off a lot easeier than other dogs, but our dear little 'nervous Nellies" often take things to heart too much - so firm but friendly.

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    Canula2000's Avatar
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    thanks Patm...what you said made perfect sense to me....and now that you said it, I think maybe the 45 minutes is too long just because there is so much extra stimulation going on, and not just working one on one, because she works really well at the beginning of class and always fizzles out. I guess I am worried she is getting in the habit of wanting to quit even though I need her to perform to the end. I will work on some ideas I have in my head now and see if I can get her more excited about performing. Thanks for all the ideas.

    "Every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one"
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    I certainly would NOT start with corrections. Peanut is a nervous type as well, and any kind of correction throws her right off. When we first started training, even me sighing and/or rolling my eyes was enough to start the shut down and I got in trouble for it numerous times with our instructor, lol! Taught me a lesson in managing frustration, thats for sure.

    She's much less sensitive now, but will start to "check out" either when she's not being adequately "paid" for her efforts, or when she's stressed and/or tired and/or unsure of what I want. So its about managing the situation. If I need her to be "on" and can't take a break (eg. at a show) I have to up the rewards and praise, but if I can we either take a break or just stop for the day altogether.
    Kate
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    Just wanted to add that because we need our dogs to "work till it's over", it's important to stop training while they are still up, or if you missed the cues, or you just need to train a little longer, then make sure you end with your dog doing something correctly - end with something they do well and automatically, and then treat and praise and "all done!". And while our show dogs have to "work till the end", remember that your trial for you and your dog is usally only a couple of minutes at the most - they don't have to be "on" that long. The trick is to not wear them out before you show - and that's a whole nother ballgame! You can spend a lot of time figureing out how your dog does best at a trial - I have found that I don't let Emilu go outside except for a quick pee - all those starnge dogs scents get her nervous and she is paying no attention to me outside. I also don't "practice" much anymore before the show - just enough to let her know we are here to work. I am thinking more and more about practically taking her to the ring "cold" and see how she does with this - no time to get nervous and poop out!

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