Boyfriends Dog Drives Me Nuts

Discussion in 'Obedience Training' started by whipple, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. whipple Well-Known Member

    She doesnt listen, at all. He doesnt listen to me at all either, but thats another topic.Anyhow, in the past few months she has turned into a hound. Shes a lab X, and as far as we know, no hound. But when shes off leash she gets a scent and her nose stays on the ground and you cant get her attention regardless. In the house and on leash shes good. But off leash shes a nightmare. She doesnt even look at you if you call her name. Help.

  2. laramie Experienced Member

    First of all, dogs don't "just listen", there is a lot of training involved. You need to give us some more information. Does she have any training? If so she needs more and maybe try some different techniques. If she has no training, there is no way she's going to listen to you when there's more interesting things to do. How old is she? Do you live near other people with dogs?
    tigerlily46514 and jackienmutts like this.
  3. Lexy88 Well-Known Member

    I will follow this thread with interest. As my ex's dog was pretty well trained - for him - but would listen to no one else! It was extremely, extremely frustrating and it never ever got better. Good luck!
  4. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Laramie is absolutely right. First, how old is she? And - the biggest question is: how much training has she had? When you call her, what's her incentive to listen to you? When she's off-leash and you call her, is she going to be put on-leash and now the party's over? :eek: Cuz if so, there's no incentive to listen -- more fun to be had if her ears are turned off.

    Maybe you could work with her on a long-line instead of just being free off-leash, get some fabulous rewards (something like hot dogs, chicken, or something really tasty), and try calling her. When she comes, she gets a reward - and then gets to be free again. Come - reward, go play. Come - reward, go play. She starts getting the idea that when you call, it doesn't always mean the party is over - sometimes you want her just to give her something great - then she gets to go have more fun. Then call her, and surprise her with her favorite toy - :LOL: - she wasn't expecting that one! Ok, go play. Repeat, repeat, repeat. And do this off-leash, also. Call her to you - reward - and send her away again. When she's constantly rewarded for coming to you (like you're asking her to), she'll start paying waaaay more attention - as opposed to you calling her when she's just caught the smell of that bunny and oh man, forget it - bunny trumps you every time, cuz you're gonna make her go inside.

    You said she's good inside the house and on-leash - of course she is, she's 'trapped' and doesn't have a choice. And in the house, she knows all the smells, it's boring. But when she's outside and free, and you call her, keep in mind that you've gotta be more interesting than that bunny, or recent doggie pee-mail, or deer poop, or neighbor's kitty, or ... the list goes on and on.

    As for her not listening to you vs your boyfriend (can't help with him not listening :confused:) - you each need to work with her on the same recall incentive. If you work at it, but he doesn't, you might find she's listening to you, but not him - or vice versa. It takes teamwork and consistency.

    As for him, well, try a clicker and a bag of chips or something - see if you can get him to listen.O_o Good luck on that one! :ROFLMAO:
    tigerlily46514 and mewzard like this.
  5. laramie Experienced Member

    Jackienmutts is giving you some good tips. One thing I must add is DON'T EVER GIVE A COMMAND WHEN YOU KNOW SHE WON'T LISTEN. When you do, it lets her know that it's okay to ignore you and it's not. Another awesome way my dogs learned recall was the name game. It's much like the exercise Jackienmutts explained. The only real difference is that you are rewarding her when you say her name. She'll soon figure out that her name means good things happen. You can practice this inside first, which will make it easier for her to get the hang of when there's not as much going on.

    First just have her in front of you, say her name and treat. Keep doing this for a few minutes a couple of times a day. Then allow her to be a few feet away and say her name. She should come to you looking for a treat and give one to her. If she doesn't start back at the beginning just saying her name and treating her. Another thing I must stress is don't ever call your dog's name to fuss or do something unpleasant (like trimming toenails or giving baths). This will teach her that her name means something that she doesn't like is going to happen and will not come to you. If you're going to do toenails or something else that she doesn't like, just go get her and don't call her to you.

    The name game is also a great way to get your boyfriend involved. Once the dog understands that her name means treat, have him stand a few feet apart from you. Call her name and treat her and have him call her name so she goes to him. She'll eventually figure out that the two of you are going back and forth and will snag a treat from you and then go to your boyfriend before he calls her. When she does this, have him (or you, whoever she went to that didn't call her) ignore her. If she goes to him, you call her back to you. Do this even if one of you have to do it multiple times in a row. Make sure you don't treat her unless you called her to you and she came. It's okay to show her that you have food, but try to keep the luring to a minimum if you can.
  6. whipple Well-Known Member

    Sorry about the lack of info. I was very quickly asking a question, I tend to get into the details when asked. Thanks for the advice.
  7. whipple Well-Known Member

    So, we do this often. I will refine it, since we reward her for just coming to us at all right now. Anyhow, unless she knows we have a treat or toy she doesnt seem to care. So what do I do then? I usually lure at first, then phase it out, but as soon as she doesnt see something she ignores us. Gah! Boyfriend and her definitely suit each other.
  8. laramie Experienced Member

    To help with the problem of her not coming unless you have treats, treat her when she come. The next time, don't treat her. Call her again, and if she doesn't come, show her that you have food (make sure it's good food, like chicken or hotdogs. Find out her favorite and use it). Lure her to you if you have to and treat her. Call her twice and treat her both times, then call her and don't treat her. Don't keep treating every two times. Switch it up. She'll begin thinking, "Hmm. I didn't get treated a few times, but I got treated other times. I think I'll go and see if I'll get a treat this time."

    Also, another way of getting her to come to you is try running around and making loud, stupid noises to get her interest. This may work for you; it just depends on how high her prey drive is.

    If you aren't doing agility and flyball with her right now, start back up. Do your best to let your boyfriend know how big of a deal this is. What happens if she runs out into the road and you can't call her back? If he doesn't care and doesn't want anything to do with her, he shouldn't have her. If at all possible (with his consent) claim her as yours, or at least take her with you if you aren't staying with him for whatever reason. If he doesn't care about his dog, he should not have gotten her in the first place. I can almost guarantee that, while you were gone, he did things you told him not to do or didn't continue with the things she needed to be doing. My family did this to me when they thought I didn't see it. They would feed them from the table, not make them wait at the door before going outside, and let them jump up. I had to pretty much start over with the training. I'm guessing that this is what happened with you (his) dog.
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  9. running_dog Honored Member

    It sounds like you could be trying to phase the rewards out too quickly. Recall needs high rewards because freedom is it's own reward. Zac can't always see that I have a treat when I call him BUT he knows I WILL reward him in some way.

    Also an idea I got from reading about deaf dogs. Only call her when she is looking at you, if she is looking at you at least part of her mind is thinking about you. Then the trick is to make her look at you to check in more often (run away, hide, dance, do handstands, wave a toy, bounce a ball, stamp your feet, wave your arms, etc), running away and hiding are the best, don't always give her warning but always give her big rewards when she comes. Call her more and more quietly, so she is straining her ears to hear that magic "come" that means you're going to try and lose her or/and give her a treat. If I call "ZAC COME!" he ignores me - a residue of our old training :(. If I say, "Zac come" he races to me :), the problem is that if I need him to come quickly I forget and shout and he ignores me, I need more training than him :rolleyes:.

    BTW, dogs are perfectly capable of understanding that different people have different standards. Just ignore the boyfriend and get on with what you want to train.
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  10. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Great tips here on how to sharpen a dog's recall. And yes, you want to use treats every time while training. Once the dog solidly comes when you call the dog in all situations--------THEN and only then--------- can you start to make the treats sporadic.

    Also, some dogs are better if you do NOT use their name for "come". They hear their name 100 times a day. Some dogs much prefer it if you use a specific word or whistle to call dog to come. If you have worn out the word 'come', you might want to consider using new word entirely, teaching the dog that "here" or whistles, or whatever, means "treat + love". I tricked my dog into thinking the word "come" means "treat" + love and only good things.

    When Buddy heard the word, "Buddy, Come!"
    he thought i said, "Buddy, Treats!"

    (later, much later, i slowly faded out the treats to now and then, after he was solid, after he had made the association in his mind very firmly, that "come" to me IS A GREAT THING to do, and that DOES take time, time, and more time, even for adult dogs)

    I started inside the house, said "come" and handed him a treat...
    and slowly slowly advanced along, room to room,
    then outside in his yard,
    and then, adding in distractions
    and then, slowly, adding in distance,
    then slowly adding in distractions with distance. I did this, slowly, in increments. I did not just put him outdoors amidst distractions and expect him to come if i call. I set him up for success.

    I still practice his recall almost every day, and my dog STILL gets occasional treats for showing up.

    and such a great point made up above, about do not call when you know dog won't come, such as times the dog is doing his pre-urinination sniff. It's a rare dog who will come when he is about to pee, "when you gotta go, you gotta go". Wait til he is done with leaving his pee-mail, and THEN call to him, you both win.

    Long distance recall usually has to be worked up to------that is asking a lot of dog. Practice short distance recall and reward heavily, and ever increase distance. Be MORE INTERESTING than whatever the dog is sniffing.

    NEVER scold a dog who shows up late. The dog WILL remember that, and be LESS likely to show up. Why run over to you if he gets yelled at for finally showing up? Reduces their motivation to show up at all.

    BEST OF LUCK!!! and remember, you dog is not being "bad", he is being a dog. It's up to you to teach him what you want him to do. And he will---------- IF HE KNOWS and understands, if he gets practice to become good at it, and if he gets motivation to do those things.
    running_dog and laramie like this.
  11. laramie Experienced Member

    Tigerlily is very right. If you're in a bad habit of saying his name, don't worry about using his name. This is simply how I learned it when I had my dogs in obedience and I find it works for me. The only reason this worked was because one of my dogs was a puppy and I hadn't started overusing her name. Sometimes it's very hard not to lecture your dogs like you do a child (at least for me), including saying their names. This can make them uneasy about coming to their name, so if it works for you, by all means go ahead, but don't freak out your dog.

    You must give your dog time, just like Tigerlily said. Be patient, he will know if you're frustrated and you'll hit a roadblock. There are so many ways to teach your dog any one thing, so keep trying suggestions until one works for you. As long as it works for you, that's all that matters.
    running_dog likes this.
  12. whipple Well-Known Member

    Thanks! I will keep trying. She definitely listens better to me, but I just gotta work on me now.

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