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Training, not just the basics

January 11th, 2006, 08:17 AM
Wondering if some of the members can help me on this. I am looking to get Bailey into a refresher obedience class as I think it wouldn't hurt to reinforce some of the training he learned as a younger dog.

However, I would also like to learn how to teach him other skills like how to behave at the door not only with people coming over but when we are getting ready to go for a walk etc. How to settle down and how to take a piece of food gently (consistently) from a personís hand.

What is a good method to use to teach these other skills? The classes I have found in my area simply cover the basics which I think is pretty standard. Iím open to other training methods besides an actual class however I really like the socialization aspects a class provides Bailey.

Any suggestions, tips would be appreciated.

Thanks as always.

January 11th, 2006, 08:52 AM
That's funny that the training facilities near you don't cover those things, they are covered in puppy and level 1 in my classes. The reason I cover them is because many have decided to take them to training for those reasons so if I didn't cover them in class I would have each student ask me to show them what to do anyway. I may as well do it all at once.

January 11th, 2006, 09:16 AM
We also cover all of these in our first class - they are part of the basics in our minds.
Teaching to take food gently - instead on handing a cookie to your dog as he snaps it out of your hand. Bury the treat in your hand and make a fist. He knows its there and will sniff at your hand, he will start to lick to your hand and then your slowly open your hand as you say 'gentle' in a slow, low tone. If he goes to grab it then you snap your hand shut and can give a verbal correction too. Then start again. He will quickly figure this game out. He only gets the food if he has manners.
Our 'out' drills teaching great manners at the door. It is a matter of creating boundaries that he must respect before he just flies out of the door, and he must look into your eyes to ask permission to go out before you release him.

January 11th, 2006, 09:47 AM
StaceyB - I find that a lot of training facilities do not do this - and when they do, its at the higher levels of obedience - which to me is when it is harder to teach such things!! I was pleasantly surprised/impressed when Spencer and Sydney's Mum told me what she had to do in yout puppy class - I wish I had known about you last year:D!

Dodger and I have been to 4 different training schools and like the OP, I found that Dodger was amazing with the basic commands but we couldn't even walk down the street without him pulling etc... In other words, sure we could do all this great obedience stuff but couldn't do the "everyday" activities without pulling, jumping up or barking... Basically, we were left on our own to figure those things out...

Bernerlver - When people would come over, I would make sure that Dodger had a good walk beforehand...Then I put him on the leash - sometimes we would do a sit-stay until everyone had come in and gottent their shoes/coats off and other times we would walk toward/around/near them so he could greet them calmly... Basically, you need to be "rude" to the guests and be totally focused on your dog, especially if you are asking him to do a sit-stay. Because you need to correct him the instant he makes the wrong move - it's hard for our dog's to not be excitable when visitors come so you need to praise and reward for good behaviour.

The same can be applied when you are going on a walk...I would ask for a sit/down/stand stay before getting the leash out and slowly increase the amount of time your dog stays stationary while you both get ready...

If your dog doesn't already know it - teaching the "wait" and "watch me" command's would be very useful in those situations.:)

January 11th, 2006, 10:36 AM
Thank you, that's nice.

The reason why dogs get sooo excited when someone comes to the door is because they get rewarded every time someone comes over, they offer good things and company rarely gets them to do something to get these rewards. There are a couple of things you can try. You can teach your dog that they never greet at the front door. Find another place in the home that is the greeting place. While you are teaching this set up a hook down the hall or in a different room and before you answer the door hook them up and place them in a cue such as wait. Once the person is in the house and settled you then unhook and set the dog up for a greeting, sit.
Another thing you can try is place a cookie jar outside your front door with a sign that says, please make rover sit. You will need to do your part by taking a second to leash them before you answer the door. Step down on the leash when your company is entering so that even if they try to jump up on them they can't. The dog will get used to what is expected of them when someone comes in and will begin to set themselves up before they come in. I also suggest the cookie jar for dogs that are nervous of strangers entering the home. They learn that strangers give them good things.

January 11th, 2006, 01:27 PM
Don't wait until you have special guests coming to teach this - set it up with a few friends and tell them what to do while you are training the dog.
A big problem is people come over and the dog goes nuts and the people stay 5 minutes or 5 hours but there was only 1 greeting and it was failure. So repeat the scenario over and over each time giving the dog a new chance to make a better choice, reward that and then repeat it again to make sure that he understands what just happened.

We like to set this up with someone at the door and start with a simple knock at the door. Have the dog on the leash and approach the door but stop the dog about five feet from the door (boundary) and you move forward to the door. He might try to break the boundary in his enthusiasm but you catch him and correct him and reset the boundary. This could take a few tries to get him to understand. Now open the door and go through the same routine. he will get excited because the scene changed (doors opening) and test you again. Be consistent and clear. Make sure he holds that boundary. Open the door and make overt gestures and greetings to the person on the other side (but don't let them in yet). Make sure he continues to hold the boundary. Then let the person in (same rules), but they shouldn't engage the dog yet. He needs to be calm and patient to be invited to greet. They shouldn't make a fuss over him but be calm and soft in their energy. Energy feeds into dogs.

If by chance he jumps up on them - take the him by the leash away from the person as you say "off" in a sharp tone. Have the person stand tall and still as you approach him with your dog again. Anticipate that he might jump up and correct him just as you see him thinking about it. If he makes a good choice and sits calmly then let them pet him calmly. If not then start again. When he makes good choices reward him with calm, loving energy. It will typically only take 3-5 tries to get the message across and your dog starting to make good choices.