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Discussion Starter #1
I have a couple matches with Baloo next week, and I would like some suggestions on what I should do to help break him of this ring-spaciness he's stricken with whenever we compete. :rolleyes:

They're only correction matches, so anything goes, pretty much (except food, I would imagine). I have tried being upbeat and have even been downright sing-songy with my upper register in an attempt to get/keep his attention. That has NOT worked. Tried clapping and clucking at him, using his name combined with attention commands, that hasn't worked either. :eek:

So... what should I do? I want to try and use this time wisely, as I refuse to compete with him until we get this hurdle at least most of the way under our belts.

Ideas?
 

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I agree with Pat--it certainly can't hurt to try. I was going to suggest getting really still and focused. I had a great trainer who gave me some excellent advice: "Would you just shut up for a minute? You are totally confusing that poor boy. No wonder he tunes you out!" :D Not sure if it applies to you, but something to consider...
 

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My instructor has told me a couple of times now that I "chatter too much" to Emilu, and then when I shut up in the ring, she gets nervous and thinks she's doing something wrong. I think that rally had something to do with this - I DO talk a lot in rally, and then when I go to obedience I have to shut-up and Emilu shuts down.
 

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if you can take rewards of some kind in the ring, DO! (If food isn't allowed, bring a tuggy toy - canadian tire has those great tennis balls on short ropes/handholds, fit into a belt) and reward after every other station, or every station if he's really distracted. If rewards aren't allowed, use a fun trick (touch, spin) or a momentary game as motivation. Move quickly when heeling too - that was one of my biggest issues. Picking up the pace really motivated tristan.

Just alert the judge before hand what you are intending to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
LOL Nathan, I AM chattery. :rolleyes: I didn't know you and Theo competed, neat! :)

Nancy I don't even think they have judges for the rally, but I'll definitely let whoever is manning the ring know.

I didn't want to bring rewards into the ring because I fear relying on "props" too much... anything where it would be super obvious to him whether I have it on me or not, you know? But, at this point I think I'll just have to do that.

I have tried "touch" on occasion... haven't tried spin yet, he likes that one. I'll have to brush him up on it before wednesday. :)
 

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What do you do when he doesn't pay attention? That might lead to the fix it!

Do you compete with whatever he IS paying attention to? Or do you put him away and work him later?

I've learned a lot training the demon Dalmatian about attention, and let me tell you, they learn quicker to pay attention if you ignore THEM. Hapi stops paying attention, Hapi goes in the crate.

We also have a mean 'watch' game. I've also learned not to talk to him at all. I wait for him to pay attention and then I click and treat. I never give him his name. He must be paying attention in order to get his command, and thus treat. I am not going to beg him.

The problem with being chattery with your dog is he doesn't know when you are giving him something he needs to pay attention to. I talk to my dogs all the time when we're in the house. But in the ring, they ONLY get commands and subsequently praise. 'Virginia, mommy would really like it if you would sit. Come on pretty girl sit, thats a sit good sit, mommy likes it when you sit.' Isn't as precise as Gin SIT. Its a command and is presented in a way she understands. They don't field out all the crap well, so I don't offer that. Give it a go. I bet he'll respond to just commands and limited praise. Gin I don't use much food for, just a 'Yes'.

I wouldn't catter to his inattentiveness. If he doesn't want to pay attention, put him in a crate, and play with Peanut.
 

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I'd suggest having a drink beforehand, but if it's AKC, maybe not.... LOL. :D

I bet if he's soft, YOU are the one who needs to be calmer and more upbeat. Can you just imagine it being training class? I bet it'd help Baloo to take a bit of edge off if so. Anne
 

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LOL Nathan, I AM chattery. :rolleyes: I didn't know you and Theo competed, neat! :)
Oh gosh, no, I don't compete. I have horrendous timing, something pointed out to me by, oh, every trainer we've ever worked with. I just play around and take classes.

I think Melissa's advice is spot on. Structure things so that it's in his interest to pay attention to you. But then you have to be SUPER rewarding when he does pay attention.
 

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Melissa - I compete. :( BUT, only because the only other option is to leave the ring, and I don't want him thinking that pulling that stunt gets him out of work all the time (as he ONLY checks out in the ring, nowhere else). "Ho hum... I'll just stare off at random nothingness and eventually she'll give up.." Know what I mean? :rolleyes:

I don't use commands in my chatter, it's mostly to try and get his attention. It's actually rarely ever real words. :eek:

OK. So, 1) cut chatter. 2) have toys/rewards, 3) imagine we're at training.

I have three runs over two days to try different things. I KNOW if I have treats/toys I'll have attention, so maybe I'll start there and work up... hmm... must think more on this...
 

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I know a number of agility people that will enter "FEO" at trials (matches are even less common in agility) and do a short series of obstacles, praise the devil out of the dog and RUN back out of the ring to where their reward is waiting. I don't know if that's feasible or 'done' in obedience, but some adaptation of it might work?

(FEO - for exhibition only - slightly cheaper entry fee, no legs/points awarded)
 

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When all else fails keep moving, and move quickly like you know what the heck you are doing.

When you practice elsewhere and he's not paying attention, run away from him. Seriously. I did that to Rhys a lot. He pays very good attention now.

I wouldn't compete with whatever he's looking at. I'd give him a command and then MAKE him do it. If he doesn't want to, crate him. The reward for him has to be staying in the ring with you. He'll figure out that if he wants to play, he has to play with you.
 

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I used the Koehler method of dog training for obedience and actually enjoy it at shows when unusual things happen. The more distractions there are the harder my dog pays attention to me.

Kelly and Amber
 

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Controlled Unleased...the give me a break game. This would help work on motivation and could be taken to the practice ring. It works to make the activity so intrinsicly rewarding that the dog then becomes motivated to do the activity. All you need is a chair and a small room that can be closed or contained. Initially ask Baloo for the behavior-make a big deal (maybe even use a marker word such as yes) and then say "all done" or "enough" something to that effect and sit down in the chair and don't make eye contact with him. Don't call him to you. Wait him out. When he engages you again-comes to you, paws you, licks you etc. Get up. Have him do your same comand. Judge by his enthusiasm time, maybe once, maybe twice then disengage from him. Say "all done" in a neutral voice, turn around and walk to the chair and sit down. What you want for him to do is to develop enough motivation around the command that you barely have a chance to sit down before he re-engages you to play again. Repeat a few more times at this motivation level and then stop. Giving treats at the end of each command or exercise is just fine. I have taught many things this way. Weave poles, learning to play with a tug toy, obedience commands. It works. I have seen it work with many dogs while in the Controlled Unleashed Class I took. Just a thought.
 

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I used the Koehler method of dog training for obedience and actually enjoy it at shows when unusual things happen. The more distractions there are the harder my dog pays attention to me.

Kelly and Amber
Yes and the one thing that I remember best about this is that the dog must come from a NON WORKING environment and be put to work, and so, I do this everytime. Dog goes in crate, and then is let out only to work, then goes back into crate. If even for a minute or two. So the working is their freedom.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Some great ideas here guys, thanks. :)

I'll let you know how it goes! I'm also taking Peanut in Rally novice, so this should be an interesting experience!
 

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I dont' normally post and read in here but I'm bored today waiting for it to get warm enough to run and walk the dogs :rolleyes:

First, yes you are allowed to use food in correction matches (but not in sanction matches).

Second, if your dog acts differently in the ring than he does in practice, you have to first take a look at your handling. Very likely, your handling is different in the ring than in practice. If so, important cues are missing for Baloo and although it looks like he is acting disinterested, he is likely stressed because he doesn't understand what you want without the extraneous cues and because you are likely rewarding less in the ring (most people do). Remember, your handling has to be consistent whether you have food and toys or not and that is very difficult for many people.

You could also be inadvertently training him to be 'spacey' in the ring. Handlers who are in the habit of taking food out of their pockets or putting food on their dog's nose when they look away are not teaching them to pay attention (although this is commonly done). What you are doing is pulling the cookies out every time he looks away and you are actually teaching him to look away.:p

Remember, dog training is about providing consequences. If instead you focus on giving commands, you will be very disappointed unless you are a very, very good trainer with very, very good timing (and few of us are). Instead of giving him commands and 'making him do them', I would focus instead on what he is capable of offerering you at the moment (do not put all the responsibility on him because he will only do what he is trained to do and only do it as well as he been trained to do). I would take him in the venue an hour before his ring time and don't even start to work with him until he can offer you eye contact freely. Simply walk him around the venue and click and feed (or yes and feed) every time he offers you eye contact. Keep going until he doesn't peel his eyes off you.

If you can't get to that point, he is not ready for the focus necessary for the ring. If that is the case, what I would do is take him in the ring and just do set ups. Set him up for each exercise, then feed and release him without doing the actual exercise. That will begin to counter condition any bad experiences he may have had in the ring and will start him on the path to bright, alert set ups which are absolutely necessary for focus in the ring.

You could likely also do the recall if you are doing Novice, and even the stand but unless he can freely offer you eye contact and left side position, he is not yet ready for the ring. By putting him in when he is not ready, you will both have a bad experience and believe me, it is hard to get past those initial impressions. Remember, the first behaviours your dog does will be the strongest and if you allow him to wander his way around the ring or worse yet, leash pop him in the ring, he will not be a happy camper the next time.

Never set your dog up to fail. Sit down and write what he is good at and what he has a very good chance of offering you in the ring and only ask him for what he does best. When he does it, reward him profusely and in this way you will build his confidence. Your goal is to give him confidence and to set him up to win. Be objective about his abilities and yours and don't put him in over his head. This is your money and you do not have to do full run thru's, rather only what you want and what your dog needs at the moment.:)
 
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