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Testing limits or a donkey in a dog body?

October 18th, 2006, 09:15 PM
I'm not entirely sure when this started.. In the last month maybe. Harder commands Cider does in a second.. Easier commands not so much..

Lack of respect to the point where life should be NILF.. or over analyzing- thinking that because I asked down I may ask sit so sitting is okay.. or stupidity and having a brain fart and we need to drill the basics even though they get more than enough daily use?

Mainly the issue is sit, and down.. Ask one get the other.. or ask one get it for a millisecond and then get the other.. But if I ask come even in doggie disneyland of fun she comes to me.. Get her to do 6 commands on an agility course she's all over it..

Does this just require doing it a bunch and having it not right till she holds it? Usually I cue with 'wrong' when it wasn't what I wanted.. and I'm starting to wonder if the new command to her is 'wrong sit or something like that somehow..

Do you correct it? Down- she sits.. Move her into a down click and treat till it's fixed again?

I'm babbling right now.. hope this makes some sense..

October 18th, 2006, 09:26 PM
I'd just start from scratch.

Boo does that sometimes- he just goes into a routine without me asking. So I just stand there, wait till he's done and say whatever I want him to do, as clearly as I can..

October 18th, 2006, 10:38 PM
I can't help you at all....

but I just wanted to LOL at your title...



October 18th, 2006, 10:59 PM
She probably just got in the habit of doing certain commands, so now when you give a command she's doing the one that she EXPECTS you to ask instead of the one you actually gave. I agree with Prin, just wait until she's done and then clearly give the command again.
You could also try giving her the commands backwards. What I mean is, normally you ask a dog to go from a standing position to a sitting position, and a sitting position to a lay down. Instead, have her go from laying down to sitting, or from sitting to standing. This will make her understand the commands better. Instead of just thinking that sit means for her butt to drop down, she'll realize that it means to be in that exact position.

Oh yeah, also, try to give the commands verrryyy calmly. When you praise do it calmly not like "good girl! that's a GOOD GIRL!", but very calmly, just patting her on the head a bit and speaking in a calm voice, because the more you get her excited the more she'll anticipate the command you're going to give instead of just listening for it, and the more likely she'll be to screw up, then you'll both be frustrated.

October 18th, 2006, 11:15 PM
:D Poor Cider is thinking too much! She's becoming a herder, work work work..."Will this do??? Will this do? How about this? Okay let's try this! Come on what do you want!? Will this do??" Just your cup of tea:rolleyes:

In all seriousness, you have a few options:
- physically correct the behaviour so you say sit, she downs - you go over and place her in a sit and praise... I would NOT over-reward (treat/tug), she is too advanced and needs to learn to listen. She already knows the command, she is just being smart and impatient.
- or you can ignore the wrong behaviour and hope it will extinguish itself and that she'll start listening when the rewards aren't forthcoming
- or you can "mark" the wrong behaviour with an "ahh" (negative reinforcer) and either physically correct, wait for her to offer the right behaviour then C&T or repeat the command
- or as soon as you say sit, follow it with "wait" (or a similar command) to remind her to hold the position (the same thing can be accomplished by continuous C&T so long as she holds the position and/or by delaying the click)
- or you can capture the behaviour whenever she offers it naturally with "good sit" C&T etc....
- or like Prin says you can go back and treat her like a puppy that doesn't know the commands and build from there!

Work on stays and self-control exercises to remind her that patience is in order (and to reinforce leadership). Don't let her know when she will or will not be rewarded because dogs will get so focused on the forthcoming reward that they will run through all the static positions in the hopes of getting the reward faster!
Even though these behaviours seem to have nothing to do with agility, IMO opinion they are like cracks in the foundation - and without a solid foundation you can't keep building. And if you do, it will come back and kick you in the *utt!!:D For instance on the table, on contacts or start line stays!
Working on static positions for too long is also not a good idea (BORING!)- so throw in some tricks, heeling and recall exercises. Or add movement, so as you heel ask for a sit/down/stand in motion (at first say sit combined with hand signal, then turn into her so she has nowehere to go but put her bum down...soon enough you'll be able to keep walking as she sits!)

Now having said ALL that....what do I do? I physically place Dodger in the correct position, praise and release. I will then ask for a few behaviours (not always the one he messed up) - if he listens, he gets a reward and we end the session. If he messes up again, I ignore and ask for something that I know he won't mess up and end the session. I believe that picking your battles is in order when your dog is clearly bored and you are bound to lose patience - nothing is gained when we get frustrated because the dog will completely shut down!

I think this is common for busy dogs who have been taught to use their brain. They get used to action and get bored with the mundane drills and prefer to be challenged. Our challenge is to keep them motivated regardless of the task at hand:)

**note - does she have a better success rate with voice commands or hand signals???**

October 18th, 2006, 11:26 PM
Good call. I often don't even link them though.. Like a single down from nothing, or a sit from nothing.. We do puppy push ups sometimes because she's not listening.. but she's in Cider space again. And it's weird because her attention is 100% better on like everything else nowadays..

I think it's routine and not listening... Just she always complies after asking what I feel was too many times.. maybe because she wasn't bothering to listen..

Damn cycle of madness I tell you..

Glad you liked the title.. Some days she's like a donkey.. Stubborn as all hell :D
Took me forever to post and Lissa replied so *add*

I've tried ahh wrong.. Cider (sit/down) whatever.. it works.. but it doesn't fix her for next time.. I've tried putting her where I want her... You go down, I'll put her in a sit.. For basic behaviours she doesn't really get a treat.. or tug or anything but praise for being a good girl for listening.. She knows 'you aren't listening' and generally gets more attentive.. but it's just frustrating to have to ask 2 or 3 times for the most basic behaviour I ask for..

I think you have a good call on the wait and stays though... She's bouncing trying to give more behaviour hoping for a treat..

And we don't C&T much other than agility.. maybe we should shape this into a longer behaviour with words and c&T..

Mmmmm I think body language and hands are better for her.. but it's one of those things where you need attention.. Even the hand sign and the word for sit or down isn't getting me far lately...

And it's becoming routine to be 'sit, wrong... cider sit. you aren't listening (perks ears) Sit now' Cider then sits...

Along with adding 'now' to half the things I ask because she's moving at the speed of snail.. And I know that I shouldn't have to undermine my commands with one that means right this second not tomorrow...

We make such progress and then fall back a dozen steps....