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Any fun ideas on how to train basic stuff?

Miss Mille
January 23rd, 2008, 08:26 AM
I have a great pup almost 10 months - she's kind, loving and in general a lovely dog.

But at the moment she's testing me a bit. Apart from the fact she's found more ways out of our fenced in garden than houdini and that she bites things apart when we're away from home, so she has to stay in the hall only with hey playthings - she now seems to forget what she's learnt - or question it.

1) She normally comes when we are out for a walk, she still does this, but somehow seems preccupied with stuff holding her nose down and waiting a bit. I try to turn around immediately and walk or run - she comes jolting - but then goes rigth past me in the other direction. So in this way e walk back and forth a bit until she remembers to come sit.

QUESTION. How can I train more on this at home?

2) She can do stay. I can walk around and she'll lovingly behave. But if i ask her to stay while she's moving - she has no idea what I'm talking about. I'd like to be able to teach her to freeze in case of an emergency, road, bike or the likes.

QUESTION. Any fun training I can do at home to teach her this?

3) She only half delivers toys back. This is a puzzle to me - my old dog confused me wih the same - but all my older dogs just found it natural to give them back.

QUESTION: Any fun way to teach her to give back a toy? I have a feeling this is an important one - when it comes to getting control

4) I got a tip from here to train her being on my side (what is it called in english) in the house running around and dancing. This was SUPERB - she now dances around with me and this stays put when we walk very well (this was a week ago)

QUESTION: Any other really useful fun ways of training, that are about control? I'm good at tricks like give me five, ten, bang you're dead etc - but woul love tricks that give me full control in any situation - you know - basics.

Thanks so much dog friends - feel free to answer in any way you have time and wish to :)

January 23rd, 2008, 08:44 AM
lol - 10 mths = the idiot stage. all training seems to go right out the window for some reason... stay strong - it does pass!

#1 - just practice every chance you get. always be excited and happy and positive. it's totally normal for them to test you like this - just continue as you always have, and do not let the pup get away with ignoring you. ask for a "Come!" and if ignored, calmly walk up to her, gently take her collar, and take her to where you called her to. get a sit and reward.

#2 - I trained a hand signal in addition to DOWN. when my arm is straight up over my head - that means DOWN! not come to me and down, it means DOWN right where you are! this is for emergencies - if out, he can see my arm instead of me having to scream. This is useful in addition to a good STAY. for stay, I hold up one finger (like "wait a minute" signal), but you can use whatever you like. hold your hand out like "halt" or "stop". using signals in addition to commands really helps in some situations. as to how to make it fun - do it when playing out in the yard - use toys and playtime as rewards.

#3 - sorry, no idea on this one. my dog doesn't fetch, retrieve, or bring anything back. I gave up on that battle.:rolleyes:

#4 - heel?

the dog will have fun if YOU have fun. no need to try to make it all fun and games. dogs naturally want to follow your lead, and very much enjoy doing so. simply keeping the training positive and rewarding makes it fun for the dog.

I like to play hide & seek w/ my dog. I use a toy that is MY toy (one that he's not allowed to have all the time, so it's more "valuable") I put him in a sit/stay in a room, i leave that room, hide the toy, make him run through some drills (touch, down, up, paw), then release him to find the toy, and his reward is finding it and getting to play with it for a few minutes. then i ask for a DROP IT or GIVE and start the game over again. it's a great way for him to get some exercise (mental) and for us to practice our training.

January 23rd, 2008, 09:27 AM
Welcome to the board, Ms Mille.

I have a couple of suggestions, and I'm sure you'll get lots more.

First, and this isn't really something you asked for, you might want to try daily grooming. Not just fur--but check the eyes, the teeth, the ears, lift the paws, and brush the teeth. Give her little treats after you brush her, again after you do her teeth, and once more when you do all the checks. Run your hands over your dog. Take a little piece of treat, give her whatever command you'd like to use to signal her to open her mouth, and pop in the treat as if it were a pill. (You'll want her swallow it whole, so make it a very small piece of treat.) Treat her with a bigger piece right after and let her chew and swallow this one. Keep the whole routine very positive. Believe it or not, silly little ditties you sing when you groom can really help a dog enjoy it, especially if you have a special silly little ditty for each dog. :dog:

What does this get you? A dog that will let you (or your vet) handle her without struggling, one that will always love to be groomed, and one that will let you give it meds easily! :thumbs up Plus, that one-on-one attention is a great bonding opportunity! Our dogs love this stuff now even if I have no treats. :D And for those inevitable times of 'rebellion', it keeps you and your dog interacting on a positive level (I've never yet had a dog refuse to come running and cooperate for a grooming session, regardless of how naughty they've been acting at other times.)

For the "Stop" while she's loose in the yard: "come" and "stop" (or whatever equivalent commands you want to use), imo, are the two most important commands to teach a dog. They can literally save your dog's life. You're right--it can be very important to get a reliable remote Stop or Come from your dog. We've had dogs on the other side of logging roads with logging trucks speeding down the road--think about how useful the stop command would be to keep them off the road--or how useful the come command would be to get them out of the way!

For the "Stop", we use "Hutt" (emphasis mostly on the H and the T sounds with little emphasis on the vowel--it doesn't sound like any of the other commands we use. It's important to make it easily distinguished from other commands because we use it at a distance.) Some people use "Whoa" but that seems a lot like "No" to me :shrug:

We start this training over dinner. It's easiest if you have two people. One person holds the food. The other controls the dog. Get the dog on a stay, have one person gently loop a hand in front of the dog's chest--not touching, but the dog will run into it if it moves forward. As you put the bowl of food down, give your "stop" command. (At first, this is just reinforced by the Stay, later you'll switch if over.) Count to five once the dog is steady (the first few times, the dog controller may have to hold it by the chest, but your goal is to have it stay there without touching chest to hand). A hand control--like a palm vertically held open to the dog--is very helpful, too. After you've reached your count, lower your hadn and give your dog the "Come" command.

As the dog gets steady, increase the count before release. If they 'break' before they are released, bring them back to the exact same spot they were told to stop at and start over.

Most dogs catch on quick. It is, after all, dinner that's at stake here. :dog:

Once you've got meal times down pat, go outside and start training there. At first, you give your command to stop from very close--basically a stay. And it again will be very helpful if you have someone help you. If you don't, PM me and I can give you pointers on how to rig a leash to give you remote control. Give your verbal and hand signals, then step one step back. Basically a 'stay'...but you'll be doing it from further and further away. Your partner makes sure the dog is steady. If it breaks, bring it back to the starting point and give your command again until your dog is steady.

Work your distance from the dog further out in small steps. Have your partner stay by the dog, then nonchalantly wander away from them and give your commands from a few feet away. Your partner steadies the dog and do a short count before reward.

A point about the reward. Since you're trying to instill a remote stop in your dog, don't give a release command from a distance until the stop is pretty steady in your dog. In other words--when you have your dog stopped during the early training, never release it from that stop until you've walked back to it and it's been steady while you approach. You want to let you dog know that the idea is to plant its feet and not move. So you reward it for not moving. Once you're confident your dog knows that the "Stop" means stop, you can start on the remote release.

How is this different from stay? I use "Stay" indoors and when I want the dog to stop at a barrier--say to keep it from following through a door. I use "Hutt" when we're outside or further away and I want that dog to freeze in its tracks. They're basically the same command but one is used at a distance.

And I agree with jessi. If your dog doesn't show much interest in fetch, you're likely not going to be able to teach it. Sometimes, you can do it with a Come and a Give command, but many dogs just don't think it's fun. You can force-teach a dog to fetch, but then it's really not fun for the dog and I'd never do it. But try working on "Come" after they've picked up the toy, and "Give" when you happen to be near the dog when it has the toy, separately, with whatever reward your dog really trips its switch over, and eventually combine the two into one routine.

Ach...didn't mean to run on so. I guess ol' hazel is just a novelist at heart! :laughing:

But best of luck with your dog. And take heart--all dogs go through their little relapses. Patience and consistency are key to getting them through their rebellious phases. :thumbs up

January 23rd, 2008, 09:32 AM
My suggestion is that you enroll in obedience classes. Even if you are able to teach your pup every thing you'd like the biggest distraction for her will likely be other dogs. The classes will have other dogs and teach you techniques for getting her to concentrate on you instead of them. That goes for enticing scents and other visual distractions as well. You can read all sorts of ways to train but first hand instruction from a qualified instructer can't be beat, in my opinion.

January 23rd, 2008, 10:42 AM
What kind of dog do you have?

First obtain a 20 foot training lead and some rare ultra tasty treats that are only fed during certain training.

Here's a book

The Canine Good Citizen: Every Dog Can Be One by Jack and Wendy Volhard.

What I love about this book, is that it has a profile test where you can figure out what drives your particular dog. Whether it mainly has prey drive, pack drive or defense drive. Depending on how the dog scores determines what kind of training methods are best suited to the dog. The test is also online at the link below.

It has many examples of training so every dog can be a "good citizen." Here in North America they have certification tests. Not sure about Europe.

It explains:

Long sit/stay
Leaving the dog while you walk away out of sight
Leaving the dog with another person while you are out of sight, and will behave
Dealing with friendly strangers

There's more but I haven't finished reading the book yet. Here's a website that explains more of the requirements needed to be able to pass the test. If this program isn't in Europe, you can still follow the training.

And there are other more difficult specialty certifications you can get in tiers (level 1, 2 etc) that will train the dog how to leave food alone, even when it's soooo tempting. I wish I could remember what it was called. The title is in another language. I saw it on TV, either on Animal Planet or National Geographic. It's one of those shows "Dogs with Jobs" or something like that.

For recall, a good game is to have family members play hide and seek outside and take turns calling the dog. Once the dog reaches each person, he/she gives a mega tasty treat that's not normally given and of course lots of praise.

For retrieval, some dogs don't want to do this right away because they see at first every time they bring an object back, you take it away. Let the dog see that although you have total control over the object, you taking it away doesn't always necessarily mean that play stops. Can do this by tossing multiple objects. Let the dog bring back towards you, then when he/she is close to you, toss another one. The dog should spit out the first object and go after the next object.

I agree with Hazel's suggestion. When dinner is a concern for a hungry doggie, it will learn awful fast.

For example... I have a young pup. She learned to give paw in about 10 attempts. All because dinner was at stake. Just taught her that yesterday. :D She chooses which paw, but I don't care. :laughing:

For additional training stuff, look into dog agility, field/hunt training, and specialty training for certification. I discovered that while looking on the internet for various training tips, there wasn't much available. And that was because I was not looking in the right places. If you search for more specific certification training tips, there are tons of websites out there. Plus don't forget YouTube and other free video websites. You can literally spend hours and hours watching all the training example videos online. Plus it's fun... when there's noise coming over the speakers your dog might react. My dogs both run into the room and cock their head from side to side, trying to figure out the sound. It's a riot and I often end up with a sore gut and tears streaming down my face from laughing so hard!