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Old 15-04-2015, 03:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Understanding the difference

How do you start to train a puppy/dog to understand the difference between training and play/relax time?

I would love to be able to go training and have the confidence that his head isn't going to go down and the grass and smells don't become more important than training with me.

He's 5 months old which I know is young but the last training session we had outside I could see him occasionally switch off for a couple of seconds as the grass tasted nicer.

I want to be in a position where on a recall he runs straight to me and not half to me then a smell of something nicer distracts him.

I'm using higher reward treats now and I'm also trying to keep things really fun and mix training up so he doesn't get bored.

I guess time plays a big part but with having one of my other dogs getting bored at training after he did so well I want to prevent this from happening.

Is there a certain way to teach them and to get them to understand the difference of when to work and when not to work and play? If there is how do I start?

His focus at home inside and outside is perfect for training.

Any advice would be great

You see this with police dogs etc where they understand work is focus and play they can switch off
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Old 15-04-2015, 06:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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How do you define "Work" to a dog?

All Working dogs enjoy what they do and believe it's a great game and that they are going to get a great reward. Ok it's a game they might have to follow a few man made rules to get their reward, but it's still an enjoyable game to them.

No amount of "training" in the world will get a dog doing everything you ask it, if it isn't thoroughly enjoying it....Well unless you want to beat it into submission to get it to do as it's told, but personally, I wouldn't recommend that one. It tends to ruin a good bond

Working dogs have "work" time which involves them loving doing whatever they are doing with their special person and Just Go Be a Dog Time, which I don't doubt a lot enjoy, but they love working with their person best of all, if they didn't they wouldn't work.

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Is there a certain way to teach them and to get them to understand the difference of when to work and when not to work and play? If there is how do I start?
Usually the dog builds up an association with a special collar, harness, jacket, etc, which tells them "Now we're going to have Fun together", or "Get To Work" in human terms So as soon as that special collar (or whatever) goes on they know what's coming...FUN!
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Old 15-04-2015, 07:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi Jules,
Thanks for your reply

I'm hoping to take part in rally o competitions and just wonder how people manage to get that 100% attention through the many stations with no food or toy till the end.

I guess by using a favourite special toy that he only gets at the end would be the best option but then keeping him working for however long it takes to get through the course could be hard.

It just always seems other people with their dogs at training have the full attention from the dog where they constantly watch the owner. For instance if the dog is in a down stay outside on long grass I feel it's always my dog that gets distracted by the smells and yummy taste of the grass which may lead them to get up and wander off, even when they normally have perfect stays.

I try and mix up the training, make it fun, lots of different treats toys but that doesn't always work

Is it best with only one type of toy or one type of treat and stick with that?

I just always wonder how police dogs always know to stay in one frame of mind until they get their toy, how do they not get distracted?!
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Old 15-04-2015, 07:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Ah now I agree with Jules answer but to answer the second part about Rally-O change your title or ask separately because Laura (Luna-Tuck) is the one you need she competes with her two
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Old 15-04-2015, 08:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It just always seems other people with their dogs at training have the full attention from the dog where they constantly watch the owner.
Ah, but you don't see the thousands of other people who have failed to get that constant attention and have given up and left the classes, do you .

Not ALL dogs can achieve Working Dog status. Just think about Guide Dogs for a minute, they breed from their own carefully selected lines mostly, and still they only get 8 out of 10 (roughly) who go on to be Guide Dogs. Some just don't have it in them, can't concentrate for long enough, don't get enough out of the job to make it worthwhile, etc, etc, etc, so end up as pets instead.

It's the same with Police Dogs (I think their failure rate is higher), Gundogs, OB dogs, Agility Dogs, Sheep Dog, whatever job dogs.

I know a lady who is doing very, very well (2nd in the country I last heard) in Obedience with one of her Border Collies, yet she has several other BCs and a GSD which she can't/won't compete with. They just don't have it in them. So don't go comparing your one dog to all those successful dogs, because behind each one of them there's hundreds of others who don't make it for one reason or another.

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I'm hoping to take part in rally o competitions and just wonder how people manage to get that 100% attention through the many stations with no food or toy till the end.
With any training, you have to build up slowly, little by little adding time and layers and every time the dog fails you have to go back a step and build up again. You must always try your hardest to set your dog up to succeed, even if it means doing things a bit differently to how they show you in class, or breaking the task down into smaller pieces until the dog has Got It. If you constantly set the dog up to fail, all the fun of the game goes out the window and the dog gets sour.

You also must remember that each dog learns at a different rate. Some take an age to work out Sit, whereas others get it first go, so you have to teach at the rate they learn. Going too fast for them is a great way to make them disinterested.

Keep training lessons short, if the dog is losing interest and getting bored, then you've gone on TOO long. You must always try to end on a high note, leaving the dog wanting MORE. This way he'll look forward to training next time and he'll feel good about himself knowing he's doing well. If you do this you'll gradually find you can stretch out the lessons, tasks for longer and longer without him losing concentration.
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Old 15-04-2015, 08:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks Jules

This is why I love this forum really helpful responses that make you feel so much better I think it's all to easy to put pressure on ourselves especially if we want to do more with dog training whether rally-o, working, agility etc plus if you tend to spend time around others at training that always seem to have that perfect dog and your dog is the one switched off that day then it can be quite disheartening.

At the moment I'm tending to do 2 or 3 10/15 minute training sessions a day plus a short walk, on the walk he has a bit of off lead time, recall him to whistle, he has a wander sniffing the long grass then we will do a few minutes close lead work. He's really switched onto learning and has learnt so many things straight away, it's now trying to stay one step ahead to keep him interested

What toy would be a good toy to use as a reward that's small enough and easy enough to have in a pocket as his reward but fun and interesting enough for him?
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Old 15-04-2015, 09:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What toy would be a good toy to use as a reward that's small enough and easy enough to have in a pocket as his reward but fun and interesting enough for him?
Do you play Tuggies with him? If so, you could get him a special (as in he only gets to play with it as a reward while training) rope or fleece toy. I used to use a small knotted rope ball with a handle, so I could tug it or throw it, as mine would do anything for either, or a plaited fleece; both would fit neatly in my pocket.

http://www.vetuk.co.uk/dog-toys-rope...dog-toy-p-4849

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Fleece-Tug...-/131317072913

For my more tricky dogs (namely the Pesky Poodles...lol) their ultimate reward is a chase of a thrown rabbit skin ball. I have to be quick to make sure the little b***ers don't tear the skin off and eat it though. LOL

http://www.sportingsaint.co.uk/product/678/category/152
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Old 16-04-2015, 12:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi,
I am absolutely no expert!

There is more than one organisation to compete at Rally O, Talking dogs which I've not experienced.... yet! Pet Dog Rally Obedience which we absolutely LOVE! We can compete with treats in my pocket and the dog can be treated at the end of a stationary sign. Perfect! There are some courses in the harder levels that mean the dog gets very little rewarding opportunity but in the early levels reward opportunities are more often Kennel Club Rally O there are no treats in the ring at all but toys and treats can be left just outside the ring and on finishing, the dash to reward can happen! My 2 are not as motivated but do better than some other dogs and worse than some other dogs, they often qualify if I don't mess up or if it's not too hot for black dogs in the burning hot sun!!

I think I tend to say 'Are you Ready' to my 2 before we work at anything. Generally they pick up from body language and increased attention on them from me that I need their attention. I work hard! I try to make it very clear when I'm asking for undivided attention and when they can relax generally in life in general. Food of any sort generally gives me undivided attention with mine! Luna would train until utterly exhausted, Tucker can only repeat something a maximum of 3 times before getting worried so it's about asking for little bits of effort that leave them wanting to do more, rather than flogging them until tired. If sessions are normally short and sweet and treat laden then that one time you ask them to do it with no treats or for a little longer than normal they are more likely to accept that and not tire.

Agility O is a brilliant fun thing that Pet Dog Rally Obedience does. We trained this on Monday evening and I found the treats weren't needed as just having jumps, tunnels, weaves and planks to walk through, between and over was intrinsically rewarding for both of mine!

I'm afraid that I am very lucky with my dogs and the bond we have carries us through the things we compete at as training tends to be haphazard and irregular! Success we have often feels accidental! I don't like to do anything competitive too seriously as I feel that builds up self inflicted pressure and anxiety which I don't want to have in my relationship with my dogs. I want them to be smiling at me and happy and I want them to be making me laugh and smile with their antics! I often start to say when talking sometimes 'just think how good we'd be if we actually dedicated ourselves and worked at one thing', but then I have to stop myself because that kind of relationship wouldn't necessarily allow my dogs to accomplishment what they do!

I'd say relax, don't compare yourselves with others ever, celebrate when you reach a new milestone, have breaks from training of a week or so sometimes to let the brain and body relax! And if you aren't smiling and that tail isn't a wagging then figure out how that can be changed!!
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Old 16-04-2015, 02:52 AM   #9 (permalink)
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An old trick I learned at working trials training, related to playing tuggy, and also as a retrieve reward, is to hold the lead from time to time. I use their lead as a reward, and get them to hold it, or (if a leather one rather than rope slip lead) tie into a knot, and use as a retrieve article. What some people do, is clip their leather lead around their neck, and to get the attention of their dog, hold the lead, sometimes even just holding the hand where you would normally hold the lead can get the dog's attention, as if you are about to offer them a game of tuggy, or a retrieve. When I take my youngest girl out to the pub as an example, if I give her the lead handle to hold, she'll parade round completely absorbed in just showing everyone what a wonderful prize she has got.
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Old 16-04-2015, 07:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Tarimoor View Post
When I take my youngest girl out to the pub as an example, if I give her the lead handle to hold, she'll parade round completely absorbed in just showing everyone what a wonderful prize she has got.
That's interesting, I've never deliberately played with my two with the lead but both do the same as your girl they are very proud of being the holder of the lead
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