Breakthrough With "look At Me"

Discussion in 'Obedience Training' started by running_dog, Dec 22, 2014.

  1. running_dog Honored Member

    Until this week I've never managed to get Zac to do a steady look at me, his eyes were always flicking from my face to the treat, whether I clicked a glance or I waited for a steady look he always broke just before I clicked (and often at such a split second that it was too late for me not to click).

    Frustrating! :mad:

    Then I realised something that is maybe obvious to all of you reading along... Zac was noticing my thumb tensing on the clicker... and breaking off in response not to the click but to that tiny movement. So I've started to hide my clicker hand behind my back and in a couple of days we've been able to build up to a 10 seconds steady "look at me". I know that isn't long for most dogs but it is a fantastic improvement with Zac. :cool:
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  2. kassidybc Experienced Member

    Yay! Happy to hear that!
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  3. MaryK Honored Member

    Great result and observation on your part Running Dog:D(y) I'm currently reading a book my partner gave me on dogs and it really does go into detail about how well dogs observe our slightest movements, quicker and better than we observe theirs that's for sure!

    I'm having problems with Ms. Blossom, she's got eyes for the bait bag only! Seems I may have to make my face look like a tasty treat to get her attention. Have tried the usual one, holding the treat to my eyes, but that just causes her to jump and try to get the treat. Cannot keep her butt on the ground long enough to click. Even just paws on the ground will do but she's that fast! Have tried just using my finger, to no avail. Any suggestions???
    running_dog likes this.
  4. running_dog Honored Member

    Yes Zac is certainly very observant!

    With Blossom why not try really really baby steps? Let her fixate on the bait bag but just stand there and ignore her until she gets bored and realises nothing is going to happen, when she glances away from it (anywhere as long as it isn't the bait bag) then click and treat. A kind of "It's Yer Choice". It'll take a long time waiting her out the first few times but then she should start to get the idea. Once she has the looking away part figured out you can start jackpotting her if she looks at your face and fading rewards for when she looks anywhere else. Bait bag fixators are great because all that focus will switch to your face once she realises that's the way to get the treat.
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  5. MaryK Honored Member

    Thank you Running Dog will do that. Ms. Blossom has very good focus, LOL just not always were I want it, so this should work really well!
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  6. kassidybc Experienced Member

    If that doesn't work you could try keeping the treats in your mouth (as long as they are treats that you don't mind having in your mouth :p). I never had to do that with Chloe, but our obedience trainer had one dog who would not make eye contact with her, only with her treat bag, so she started holding the treats in her mouth, and it worked well for her.
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  7. running_dog Honored Member

    Good thinking, you're right, this is a great way for teaching a dog that really WON'T look away from the treat. (y)
    I seem to remember that Tigerlily taught Buddy to do heelwork with eye contact using this method, she used cheese for treats.
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  8. MaryK Honored Member

    And that idea WORKS!!!!!!!!!!! YEAH I used it with Blossom, thought I still wasn't getting anywhere until the other day. Blossom has got the idea she's like to try to chase cars!:eek: So as soon as I heard/saw a car I said "look at me' just holding her treat up to my eyes (I used cheese in my mouth but I'm not putting her usual 'walk' treats in my mouth UGH) and WOWEE she looked at me and forgot about the car!

    Of course I have to be fast, very fast, because once she's spotted the car, NOTHING so far works to distract her!:eek:

    Am working on sitting at a safe corner of a busy road and using the "look at me' every time a car goes past, LOL used half a bag of treat but hey if it stops her desire to chase cars well worth it!

    Any ideas would be appreciated.
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  9. running_dog Honored Member

    Sounds like you are doing great at redirecting Blossom's "look at me" (y) Zac's still stuck at about 10 seconds but we've been working on so many other things that this one has fallen by the wayside a little :(.

    For the cars I wouldn't actually try to use "look at me", You are making her choose between you and the car and that, when the temptation is really high, brings a level of conflict into your relationship (at least I find it does with Zac).

    I'd start with just shoving treats into her mouth as fast as she could swallow them all the time the car is approaching, passing and disappearing, like she always gets popcorn when watching a movie :rolleyes:. Make her feel that she is owed those treats when there are cars there. At some point when you are a little slower in delivering her a treat and the car is not too close she'll actually glance away from the car at you, "Hurry up with my treat!" and then you've got her.

    You can build that first voluntary glance into "Look at That" (aren't you clever you looked at that car!!!!) and once she's expecting the reward for looking at the car you can move on to "Look at Me" (Oh you looked at the car but you look at me because you think I owe you a treat, go on then if you must look at me I suppose I could give you a treat), you can start narrowing the time and distance when the car is passing where she is too distracted to take treats, and you can start adding criteria (Oh yes, maybe I do owe you a treat, but what about you sit pretty for it first?).

    LOL I'm afraid I'm rather sneaky.

    Also just playing with her (or trick training) in a place where there are cars moving in the distance and gradually working closer and closer to them, then moving away if she glances at them then moving closer to them again is one of the surest ways to convince her that cars are furniture rather than toys.
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  10. kassidybc Experienced Member

    I love that R_Dog!! So sneaky! :p

    I wish you the best of luck with getting Blossom out of her car chasing habit Mary, that is a subject that is close to my heart, we had to rehome a dog at one point because of a horrible car chasing habit. We tried as hard as we could to fix it and redirect it, but we live on a busy road (cars are going by constantly, there's very rarely a break in traffic, and they are going at least 55 mph) so it was near impossible (and it was very dangerous for her, and us, since I had to run after her into the road multiple times to try to catch her, I'm lucky neither of us were ever hit by a car). We tried everything under our belt, but she was insanely obsessed. There was never a minute in the day where she wasn't trying to chase cars. When she was in the house she would run window to window trying to chase them. Even if we put her in her crate where she couldn't see the cars, she would bark every time she heard a car go by (which was pretty constantly). It was horrible. I cried for weeks when we had to rehome her, but now she is on a farm way out in the country (No cars! :D) and with SHEEP! She's loving it up, that's for sure. ;) I keep in close contact with her new owner, she is an experienced border collie owner, and I know my dog is in good hands. I am messaging her constantly for updates. :p
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  11. running_dog Honored Member

    I have a sneaky dog so what else could I be other than a sneaky owner :LOL:

    Sad you had to re-home your dog but I'm glad she got such a perfect place to live.
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  12. MaryK Honored Member

    Thank you so much RD:) I actually read this post when it arrived via email, just haven't had time to get over, and am already putting into practice what you suggest. It's working too! Small steps of course, she's very obsessive with cars, but I have noticed a difference. For example, she was sniffing the other day, usually a car comes past and up comes her head and the 'chase' is on - not this time she continued to sniff the ground and just glanced at the car. She got a JACKPOT of course.

    I do still have to be fast though if she's just walking along, but even there I can see some of the time, an improvement.

    I totally understand what you say about conflict and a car certainly out weighs me to 'look at' that's for sure.

    Will try to find somewhere were she can be far enough away to do tricks. Not easy in this area as it's very built up. I may try doing tricks on the wider footpaths where there are less cars, as it's a good idea, keep her mind on something other than cars.

    So appreciate all your help, never had this problem before with any of my other dogs. Will build to the last part of your post as she improves, which I am sure she will.

    LOL sneaky ways are often the best that's for sure!;)
    running_dog likes this.
  13. MaryK Honored Member

    Thank you Kassidy:) That's so sad you had to rehome your doggy, I sure don't want that to happen with Blossom. I too would cry for a week. You both were so lucky not to be hit, someone was watching over you.

    She is improving thankfully, and as she's just started it, didn't when first walked, I feel she will learn not to chase cars. It is so dangerous and means she can never be trusted off leash even in a car park if she doesn't learn not to chase. Not, I may add, that she'll ever be off leash were I live, it's way too built up and besides against the law. But sometimes it's nice for them to be off leash and so far the beach is the only safe place for Blossom and even then she's leashed going down to the beach from the car park as I just cannot trust her as I can Leaf.

    Would it be the BC in her? Or is it just one of those things some dogs do? Never had it happen before with any dog I've known.
    running_dog likes this.
  14. kassidybc Experienced Member

    Not sure, I know that it is common in border collies, but it may just be a doggy thing. It may depend on how she's trying to chase them, can you tell if she is chasing them like a squirrel/prey (or those dang seagulls ;) ), or is she trying to herd them? Or, like in Chloe's case, she occasionally will chase cars (very very rarely luckily) but that is out of her trying to protect her home. For example if a car drives down the dirt road on our property, Chloe will chase it, barking at it, until the car goes past our house, after which she comes back all proud because she chased that nasty old car off our property (bad habit, I know, we are working on it, unfortunately every time she does it she gets reinforced because she thinks that it is working.).
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  15. MaryK Honored Member

    Thank you Kassidy, yes I've been told by others it tends to be a BC thing (as well with some other dogs just a 'doggy thing').

    Hard to say as, fortunately, she's always leashed. But my guesstimate would be it's a 'hey they move, I'll chase them' thing. She does try to chase birds too and those seagulls, well they're fair game! Leaf also tried to chase all birds but now only tries, more half heartedly of late, with the seagulls no other birds when on or off the lead but she never tried to chase cars. So with Blossom, who's just discovered she's almost a teenager and is now really 'testing the boundaries' big time, I think it's more play or herd. Don't think she's protecting the house as it happens any time along our walks.

    She is improving though, provided I can get treats into her mouth quickly enough, or she's more interested in sniffing the latest peemail. Plus does depend a little on the car. For example a quiet car doesn't arouse as much interest as a noisy one, or one driven over the speed limit (maybe she's thinking of becoming a Police Traffic Dog:giggle:). But strangely a very loud motor bike didn't evoke any interest. Possibly because we were on the busy road, we cannot totally avoid that as 'all roads, ways etc.' lead to it with the motor bike it was just 'another noise' and she's not afraid of loud noises etc. We have two major roads surrounding us so this is something I really have to work on and stop now!

    Not helped either the other day by the two kids who live in the front unit. We'd just got to the bottom of the drive way, two cars one coming around the corner and the other coming up the road, so Ms.B, who does tend to let the world know she's off on her walk, was kicking up quite a fuss. One of the boys decided it was 'fun' to lean over his fence and go 'WOOF' 'WOOF' right in Blossom's face!!!!!!!! Whilst his darned mother stood in the door way and laughed! I did tick him off, couldn't help myself. And they wonder why kids get bitten by dogs!:mad::mad: I told him, politely and quietly but very firmly to not torment my dogs and how stupid it was to do so. Hope he's learned not too as this is not the first time those kids (their twins cannot tell them apart) have teased my dogs. They actually threw a hand full of road grit from the verge at Leaf's hind quarters. I didn't, unfortunately, see them do it but heard the stuff drop and of course saw Leaf 'buck' as it hit! I did turn and glare at them but seems they think tormenting dogs is funny, along with their mother:mad::mad:!

    Sorry for the rant but I was and still am fuming, as it's the dogs who suffer from this idiotic behavior, not the kids! Don't torment my dog or any dog or animal if I'm around, because I cannot keep quiet!
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  16. kassidybc Experienced Member

    Those kind of things frustrate me so much. I wish people would just educate themselves and their children!!
    MaryK likes this.
  17. running_dog Honored Member

    I think the chasing cars thing is often herding or hunting related.

    Sounds like you were quite restrained under the circumstances.

    There was a boy in the street who pretended to be afraid of Zac (who was standing quietly, held on a very short loose leash, with me between him and the crowd of children who were completely blocking our path). Then this foolish youngster ran past on the narrow pavement screaming in a silly way. I rarely shout but I did shout at him! I told him that he would get bitten and would deserve it if he went on behaving like that. I still can't believe he was so stupid, he wasn't really scared, I know children who are really scared, they don't behave like that. Zac is dead calm in that sort of situation but many dogs would have lunged after him under the circumstances.

    I hope your neighbours kids learn better ways soon. If you could face having anything to do with them maybe you could get them to give Blossom treats, that might give them an opportunity to learn better ways and perhaps some liking and empathy?
    MaryK likes this.
  18. kassidybc Experienced Member

    I'm glad Zac remained calm, Chloe probably would have lunged in that situation. I babysit a kid who, though I tell him over and over not to, always takes off running through the house screaming and laughing (which makes Chloe herd him, and then he starts crying when she nips at his heels), and whenever she goes up to him to say hi (I am so proud of her and how gentle she is when she says hi to him, most people she just runs up to and jumps all over them, but with him she just sits calmly in front of him and looks up at him, waiting for him to pet her) he screams and puts his hands in front of him to push her away when she walks towards him. Which doesn't make much sense to me because he's always telling me how much he likes Chloe and how cool she is. :confused:
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  19. running_dog Honored Member

    People are far from logical. Dogs are always logical it is just we are too illogical to understand them :rolleyes:.

    How Chloe makes allowances for the kid you baby sit reminded me of a story someone told me about a pony at a riding centre she used to go to. This pony was a bit of a monster and would play up the experienced adult riders so he was rarely allowed to have children riding him. However one day he did have a child riding him and through no fault of the pony the child started to fall off, just as the child got to the point of no return the pony bucked once, the child flew up and... landed exactly back in the saddle. Somehow the pony knew the exact moment, force and angle to buck. After that no one worried about letting children ride that pony because they knew he'd look after them even if he always tried to get rid of the adult riders!
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  20. MaryK Honored Member

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