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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

Just wondering what I should do when my pup (18 weeks) ignores a command that I know he know's, for example 'down'. Recently he's started refusing to lay down unless I have a treat in my hand, and I don't want him to become dependant on treats. I will be standing about a foot away from him, looking at him, he's sitting on the floor looking straight at me so I know he's heard me, but he doesn't respond. Should I tell him again, end the training session even if that is only the 2nd command I've given, physically lower him into the laying position? If it was a new command I was teaching I would lure him into the right position and know that we needed to work on it for longer, but with commands I know he knows I don't want him to think that it's OK to ignore me. What would be the best approach to take?

Many thanks

Cat and Truffle (with selective hearing!)
 

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What we do with Mitch (same age) is lure him with a treat if necessary but don't give it unless he does it really well. At that age they're distracted by so many things as well as the stirring hormones, so it may be necessary to "up" the value of the treat to match the strength of the distraction. For example really smelly cheese or sausage bits in your pocket fairly gets their attention!

We've had a really busy month with visitors, outings etc and his one2one training has been on the back burner so it's time to focus back on the basics again.

And a good rollicking never goes amiss once in a while :wink:
 

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go back to treats, but, delay the from the time he drops to the time you give and only give it you only ask once. Make sure you use a very definate hands signal. I also find that if you put the treat on the ground instead of out of your hand, that helps to firm up the down. Then you can start standing a step or two away and step forward with one foot to drop the dog, treat on ground and step bag as dog takes it, you will be able to gradually increase the distance. Once you are a distance away, still use an over the top hand signal.
Sherry
 

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Hmm, what were you doing before this started - have you always been showing him the treats or wearing a treat pouch or something?

Is he used to the treat being a reward that's not seen first and so is now just trying it on.....or are you at the point of trying to move to a reward (ie not visible) from a lure (visible treat).
Are you trying to move to intermittent reward and maybe getting him to do 2 or 3 things before a treat and he's losing enthusiasm for what has become an easy game?

Personally if I was sure he knew it, was looking and listening AND it was in the home (ie low distraction ) then I wouldn't go back to showing him the treat or re-teaching it.
I would make sure i always have a little kibble/ treat in my pocket, just put a few in at the start of the day. That way he won't cotton on to when you go fill your pocket before a session and he won't start to hassle you because he knows you have a treat.
At 18 weeks if he knows a 'down' then I wouldn't as such be putting it in a set training session unless I was building on it say with distance, duration or distractions. Just repeating daily sessions of sits, downs and stays can become a little dull if you're not moving things on. I would however be asking him for things intermittently during the day, to keep him on his toes and stretch him, so a down while you nip to the loo or he's waiting for his food to be preapred etc.

In answer to the biggie of when he ignores the command, I have a 'nil reward' word (we clicker train). Our is 'try again'. It's usually for when you teach them a new move and they give you the wrong one, it's a word that basically signals there is a reward if you keep at it, it's not a cross word and it does mean you don't have to repeat the command....try it, you don't 'teach' it as such it just comes from use and often the dog will then do as first asked and then you can reward.
If he started to need 'try again' for every command I would ensure he does not get a treat for not performing on first attempt.
'Oi' has the same affect on a deaf adult dog :lol: probably not appropriate for a pup though.

I know he's only 18 weeks and hence people advising you to go backwards but I know from your posts he's a birght spark and you taught him commands from early on, I wonder if it's just become a little repetitive and an easy 'game' for him. Try make him work harder for his treats, so instead of 5 sits, downs etc then maybe 1 down but holding it for a while or a down with you 10 paces away at the bottom of the garden etc.

Also, just a tip from my own mistakes try to make you praise have a real value too, epsecially once he knows and can do a command, otherwise he'll become expectant of the treats. I was very slow to move to intermittent reward with my 1st dog.
 
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Basil said:
'Oi' has the same affect on a deaf adult dog :lol: probably not appropriate for a pup though.
I won't repeat what Sarah has just said but that bit made me chuckle. I don't tend to use "Oi" myself but I know I raise my eyebrows, stare at them and say "Excuse me?". Oh gosh I can hear myself saying it now 8O . How embarrassing, I'm turning into my Mother 8O :lol: .
 

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I think the clever ones (or should that be cunning?) get used to exercises quickly and then start pushing their luck by ignoring them and seeing if you will go back a step and return to luring.

I learnt the hard way how difficult it is to get a dog off using lures. :?

These days when I start something new first couple of sessions I'll have treats in my hand as a lure, but then very quickly I switch to having nothing in the 'lure' hand but giving the treat from my other hand. That way the dog is not looking for a treat before performing the command. Eventually I move the treat either to be on a table or in a treat bag, out of sight.

I also clicker train like Sarah and find this really helps prevent the dog from expecting lures.

Another tip - verbal praise, stroke on head and THEN the treat when they do well. This then adds more value to verbal praise meaning later on you can just use that and cut out treats. Though aside from loose lead walking I still use treats with Cadbury, but just move the goalposts and expect perfection if he wants a bit of sausage.

Good luck with Truffle, love that name :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all that. I think I've lured him for too long, and he's come to expect the treat. If I do the hand signal for down (closed hand with a finger pointing at the floor) he'll be trying to eat my hand to get at what's inside, and if that's nothing he refuses to lie down, and often then I give in and put a treat in my hand :roll: Will try the extra praise and a pat on the head first, and start to hide the treats so he has to wait longer. I often make him do two or three things for a treat, like sit, down, roll over, so I'll get into doing more of this too. I clicker train, but I've found that he really expects the treat everytime I click.

Sarah - hadn't thought about the seeing the treats so playing up. I often just put the treat bag on for training sessions, so of course he's worked that out! (I think he's training me here!!!) Must get some trousers with pockets!!!

I think we're both a bit bored with training at the moment, hence we're struggling. I don't know what to teach him, and as we're starting training classes in 10 days I think I'm half waiting for those to see what she suggests training.

Just out of interest, how long is it realistic to ask him to sit stay for? At the moment he can sometimes do 2 minutes, but more often we go for 1.

Choccie - Cadbury was on our shortlist, but Truffle is part of his kennel club name hence we went with that instead (even though his breeder, who gave him the name, thought we were mad for using it).

Thanks

Cat and Truffle
 

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I think a 1 minute sit stay is fabby at his age :D

You could stretch it by asking for a greater distance, ie can he do it with you 10 or 20 paces away? First by you walking away and then by you asking him for a down without him running into your feet first but by staying at a distance to go down. Then when you've cracked that can he do it with distractions - what happens if you turn your back, do a silly dance, do it in the park with a pedestrian close by, a cyclist etc.
Just remember to build it up slowly so he succeeds.
The idea is he will be able to down anywhere, anytime, not break it until you ask and not just do it with the treat pouch on in a home training session.

With the move from lure to reward, one thing you could try is just rub a little of the treat on the palm of your hand first so it still has a whiff, even if he checks then he should *think* you have a treat and perform. Then when he does open your palm to show it's empty, give lots of praise and let him see the treat come from your pocket or whatever. Do this a few times until he is less interested in checking your hand as he is confident the treat will come afterwards.
You can then start to move onto asking for a down and then maybe a sit, paw etc for 1 big fussand treat.
One you've happily moved from lure to reward you can then shake the rewards up a little, sometimes just a 'good boy', sometimes a little treat and sometimes a jackpot of a handful of kibble - this keeps them guessing and working for you.
 

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Choccie - Cadbury was on our shortlist, but Truffle is part of his kennel club name hence we went with that instead (even though his breeder, who gave him the name, thought we were mad for using it).
Great minds think alike :D I was allowed by Cadbury's breeder to help choose his KC name so he is - Poolehall Cadbury Choc.

But Cadbury suits him perfectly. Of course, before I went to see him he was going to be Hunter. But I was told by the family that was too pretentious, so he became Cadbury instead.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Oh Sarah, you've made me feel so proud of him :D His 1 minute sit stay is with me moving to about 5 meters away, so I'm feeling super proud of him now :D :D :D . Time to add some distractions I think.

Will start working without the treat bag on now, but have some treats handy so he still gets the reward but he has to wait a moment for it after the click.

Thanks so much for all the excellent advice.

Cat and Truffle
 
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