Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Lotta

Discussion in 'Meet the Dogs' started by myraellen, Jun 1, 2014.

  1. myraellen Well-Known Member

    My friend has a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Lotta, who is two years old. We thought that we would create a thread about Lotta.

    So we thought that we would start by telling you what kind of dog Lotta is. Lotta often acts silly. Lotta does it also when she is been trained. There are at least three reasons she is acting silly in training. One reason is that the dog thinks my friend is only her playmate. Another reason is that she thinks she'll get treats by acting silly. The third reason for her dog acting silly is that when she notices my friend starts training her, she gets excited about it.

    Lotta behaves by the ways we told also because she is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. That's why Lotta does it also when she is not been trained. Lotta is generally that kind of dog that behaves that way. So, she is a silly dog.

    Here are some pictures of Lotta:



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  2. elissa Well-Known Member

    Oh what a little darling!! :love:
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  3. MaryK Honored Member

    Lotta is absolutely adorable!:) Does your friend reward Lotta when she's being silly? If she does, then Lotta's not quite so silly, because she knows 'acting silly' gets her a reward.:)
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  4. Ripleygirl Experienced Member

    Lotta is a gorgeous little dog!
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  5. running_dog Honored Member

    Nice to see what Lotta looks like, she is a cute dog :)
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  6. southerngirl Honored Member

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  7. myraellen Well-Known Member

    My friend thought that we could tell more about Lotta's behavior and also about her training. We can discuss about it also otherwise in this thread. We told in the first message that:

    First Lotta behaves otherwise the same way as the puppy in the video does except she barks and might sit:

    After that my friend might get her to do several times some thing. Sometimes she focuses so much on acting silly that my friend doesn't get her to do anything at all. Sometimes Lotta only sits and stares at my friend, because she doesn't get that she should do something else. When Lotta acts silly, it helps when the wanted behavior is divided in small parts and she's always rewarded after taking just a little step for the right direction. My friend doesn't always get Lotta to do things she should be doing then either. My friend uses a clicker in training.

    Because Lotta acts silly when my friend tries to train her, it's sometimes difficult for my friend to figure out what to teach to Lotta and how.
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  8. MaryK Honored Member

    Lotta is acting like a playful puppy. She's not silly but playful! It requires patience, loads of patience to train a dog. Some dogs have awesome focus and others, well they're not so focused.

    First do you or your friend use a clicker? If you don't then I suggest you get one and once it's charged (there are videos on this site about how to charge and use a clicker) start using it to train Lotta.

    Secondly, how long do you or your friend train? Again the amount of time varies with how well the dog can focus. Some have a very long focus time, others and Lotta sounds like she's in this bunch, have the attention span of a Gold Fish. If, as I suspect, she's in the second bunch, then just train in short burst of say five minutes, even three a few times a day. Keep sessions short - very short if needed. It's far better to have three or four very short sessions in a day than one longer one if the dog's not focusing. That's frustrating to the dog and the handler.

    Some dogs get very excited about training, you just need to start with a good play sessions, then when Lotta calms down (which may take a while) do some training. Also remember training is meant to be FUN!!!!!!!!!!!! It's not Boot Camp and if Lotta plays, then let her have a wee play, and then direct her back to whatever it is you're teaching her.

    Teach Lotta sit, if she doesn't already know this. To do this hold a treat just above her nose so she has to drop her bottom to get it. Don't hold it way up high that will teach her to jump. Keep it virtually on her nose and slightly towards the back. The moment her butt hits the floor use your clicker or a marker word like YES and REWARD HER! Praise is good too but if she gets a bit too excited then keep that low key.

    If she really doesn't focus at all then just quietly turn your back and ignore her. Once she's calmed down then resume training. But again remember she's only two years old, that's not a very mature age and she's playful and full of fun. Use her fun to your advantage and make your training FUN!!!!!!!!!! Again I stress it's NOT Boot Camp!

    If you can give us more details other than she acts in a playful manner, I'm sure we will all be able to help you more.

    She's one cute doggy that's for sure!
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  9. running_dog Honored Member

    It is fine for a dog to think you are only her playmate as long as you both play by sensible rules. you don't have to dominate or boss your dog. You just need rules in your games, then all of life with your dog can be a wonderful game... but you have to keep the rules as well as the dog!

    Mary is right that Lotta seems to be one of those dogs who need really short training sessions. Also perhaps Lotta thinks you are going too slow with the lesson/rewards. Every dog is different. If I don't reward my dog enough he goes to sleep. If I don't reward my friend's dog enough he gets like Lotta, he barks and bounces and hits me with his paws, he dives at my hands to steal the treats. But if I tell him something new to do every few seconds and reward him I don't get any problems with him at all. He just needs a lot of pace. If I am teaching him something new I only try about 3 times and then we do some tricks he knows well very fast so that he doesn't get frustrated. I might train him for 5 minutes and give him 30 treats.
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  10. myraellen Well-Known Member

    So, Lotta is quite playful. My friend thinks it's funny when Lotta acts silly in training. We did mention earlier that my friend uses a clicker. Lotta already knows how to sit. There are also some other behaviors my friend has at least tried to teach to her. The lenght of the training session depends on how well she gets Lotta to do something.

    It doesn't help if my friend ignores Lotta and turns away. Then Lotta just goes to the other side. If my friend goes to another room she might follow her. If she after that starts to do something else and later goes back to continue the training, Lotta behaves the same way.

    We can tell more about things if you for example have questions.
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  11. MaryK Honored Member

    Sorry didn't see you already use a clicker, not too much time at present on D.T.A.:)

    Running Dog has made very good points. With my girl, who has amazing focus andalthough very young (18 months) learns very quickly, I have to change up tricks and reward often too. If I don't she either gives me her default trick, or just sits there and looks at me as if to say "I know that trick already don't you?". Her normal training is 30 minutes and usually she's wanting more, it's me who says 'enough'

    But on the odd occasion, like to day, she doesn't want to work at all. We do a lot of practice on the beach, loads of distractions ranging from other dogs, people to seagulls etc. Yesterday she worked well, actually got applause from some people watching from the board walk. Today, different story, no real distractions but she just wasn't in the mood to train all she wanted was to play. When she has those odd days (not wanting to train but play) I stop training and just play.

    Possibly Lotta needs some 'time out' if you train every day.

    Although training should always be fun, laughing too much when she's not attending to what you want, may be the cause of the problem. She's getting attention and that's what all dogs want, but of course, you want to train and have her focus.

    I would suggest training 'look at me' - get her to focus on YOU (or rather your friend). She does seem to lack focus and without focus she will play instead of training.

    You say, if I have read your post correctly, that if your friend does turn away, or walk away, Lotta is still playing not training. Keep doing it, but don't walk into another room. Just turn your back and if she comes around the other side, turn again. And don't make eye contact with her - ignore her completely. You may have to do this over and over again, but she will learn that when you want her to focus (also as suggested above train her to 'look at me') she will get absolutely NO response from you at all. And don't laugh keep a poker face.

    Is it possible for you to video your friend training Lotta? It's so much for us to spot the problem if we have a visual of what's actually happening. Your friend may be giving Lotta unknowingly the wrong signals. Not hard to do as dog's have a very good 'eye' for body language and pick up on the tiniest signals we give out.
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  12. MaryK Honored Member

    Ooops, I'm tired sorry I meant 'it's so much EASIER if we have a visual etc........
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  13. myraellen Well-Known Member

    You told that:
    You are saying that my friend should ignore Lotta. However, we have told that it doesn't help. Besides, it's difficult to ignore her, because she often looks at my friend. She has sometimes teached Lotta to look at her. She hasn't needed to teach that much though. We have written about following things in another thread. My friend thought we would discuss more about it in this thread for now on because it relates to subjects of this thread:

    We told in that other thread that when Lotta notices my friend starts training her, she gets excited about it. Then she starts barking. Lotta barks usually only at the beginning. She behaves this way also in training:

    Here is another video:

    My friend tried to get Lotta to touch her hand with her snout. Someone told elsewhere that my friend could teach Lotta to touch some objects first. My friend could follow that piece of advice.

    When my friend starts training Lotta, she does stop barking. So, she stops it on her own. It's also so that when Lotta acts silly, it helps when the wanted behavior is divided in small parts and she's always rewarded after taking just a little step to the right direction. My friend often gets Lotta to do things if she just starts training her. Is it a bad thing to just start training although Lotta barks at the beginning? My friend has seen Donna Hill training one of her dogs in one of her tutorials. That dog starts barking about in two minutes. Donna Hill kept going and waited if the dog would stop barking on her/his own. He/she did stop...

    Here is the tutorial my friend has seen:

    However, you are saying that my friend should just ignore Lotta when she starts barking. If she should wait that Lotta would stop barking and acting silly, she couldn't do anything with her. Besides you had told earlier:

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  14. running_dog Honored Member

    Those videos are really helpful, thank you so much for posting them it makes it much easier to have an idea of what is going on with Lotta. I honestly think Lotta is frustrated with the pace of the training. That is why when you split things down into little steps she learns better.

    That second video of teaching Lotta to hand touch your friend rewarded Lotta 3 times in almost 2 minutes. As I explained in my previous post:

    I would be rewarding Lotta 10 times in 2 minutes.

    In this case the licking is frustration too, you need to use the click to interrupt the licking before it really starts, Here is where I would have clicked and treated, in bold is where your friend rewarded Lotta: 0, .04, .17, .20, .22, .28, (by .35 she is frustrated and starts to "act silly"), .40 (reward her! she stopped licking for a millisecond), .47, .50 (interrupt that lick before it happens), .57 (you rewarded at 59 I think sooner would have been better).

    You want the dog to be working so fast that she is not thinking about licking she is thinking how quick she can bop your hand with her nose and look away to get the treat. So at first you accept some licking but you are working so fast that soon Lotta will stop licking.

    Later on, when Lotta is rushing to touch your hand and looking away instantly for the treat, if she doesn't naturally stop licking you go on rewarding with one treat when she licks but the few times she touches without licking you reward with a whole handful of treats (a jackpot) and you give lots of verbal praise, soon she will start touching without licking to get the jackpot. That is when you stop rewarding licky touches.

    Now I can see the videos I am sure you should not be giving her a time out. You should just be rewarding faster, much, much faster. You are not alone, this is a mistake that I think everyone makes when they start clicker training.

    I hope this helps!
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  15. MaryK Honored Member

    Thank you for the videos. I too can see clearly what is happening with Lotta. And I saw, before even reading Running Dogs post, exactly the same thing, Lotta is frustrated with the pace of training i.e. the clicks/reward.

    Running Dog has already broken down the time frame, which matches perfectly with mine, so I won't repeat same.

    I'd only be repeating all Running Dog has said. You don't need to give her time out, you need to reward her much faster!

    My dog, especially with a new trick, is constantly rewarded the nano second she does what I want, even if it's not perfect (who can do a new thing perfectly the first time). Then we build on 'getting it perfect' and that means click/reward the second she does it almost right. I go through loads and loads of treats, bags full on a training session. And if you're worried about weight problem, then calculate how much she has had in treats and feed her less for her meals. Or you can use her meals as treats, giving a piece at a time of course.

    There's an exercise you could use to improve your click time. Work with a friend and get some small toys, the type which wobble, or some very small balls (different colors or use texta to write a number on each one). Start with just ONE toy or ball, have your friend move the toy and the SECOND it stops moving you click. You'd be surprised just how long it can be after the toy stops moving before you click. Once you can click very quickly with one toy, have two toys moving and click when first one stops then the other. It's a training trick we use at Dog School to improve the click response for people new to clicker training and it's amazing how well it sharpens up their clicker timing.

    It's a mistake not clicking quickly enough or rewarding enough, as Running Dog has already said, that most new clicker trainers make.

    As to saying play time then train - have you trained Lotta to know when it's 'end of play'? Because of course you play, then when she's tired, start training. But from the videos, as has been said already, Lotta is one frustrated dog because of the length of time it takes for you to reward her. She doesn't need time out or play time, just a much faster response from you and much more rewarding.
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  16. running_dog Honored Member

    Myraellen, in case you don't think I (and Mary) understand how to work with a dog like Lotta this is a video of me training with my friend's dog. I'm not an expert. I know other people could train him much better but I hope seeing the video gives you some confidence in our advice and suggestions. As you watch the video...
    • You will see moments when the dog "acts silly" and I keep going with training.
    • But look carefully because I don't reward him for "acting silly" but I do make what he has to do easier by luring or giving him an easy trick to do so he can get a reward quickly.
    • Look at how I am not asking him to fully "roll over" or do a proper "take a bow" as he is only just learning these. I reward anything however small that is a step in the right direction.
    • See how I mix in tricks he knows well to settle him down and keep the rewards going to him.
    • Try and count how many treats he gets in this 2 and a half minute training session.

    I'll try and do a video of me shaping something like touch with my dog (I don't get a chance to shape with my friend's dog) so you can see how to reward quickly when beginning to shape a trick too.
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  17. running_dog Honored Member

    I just worked out my dog gets over half his nutrition in "treats", just as well his "treats" are actually a high quality kibble!

    I need to try this, my timing is awful.
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  18. MaryK Honored Member

    Same here. If we do have a 'day off' with training, mainly due to Leaf deciding she needs a break, I have to increase her evening meal quite a bit. Can be a bit of a juggling act at times, but she's maintaining her correct weight for her size and muscular development.

    Her treats are all natural, as she's fed a raw or home cooked diet.

    You'll be surprised how it does increase your click timing, as you don't have to worry about what the dog is doing, and it's fun too!:D
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  19. MaryK Honored Member

    Great video Running Dog. LOL lost count, but I did have 'help', Leaf heard the 'good dog' and thought it meant her!!!!!!!! So she was looking for 'her treat' - smart lassie!:rolleyes:
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  20. myraellen Well-Known Member

    Lotta is not frustrated in that video. It doesn't show so well but Lotta is acting silly in it. When Lotta is acting silly, she behaves like a small puppy that would only like to play.:p Here is an even better video about it:

    In that previous video Lotta is concentrating so much on licking that she doesn't notice or understand that my friend is trying to teach her something. Lotta likes my friend so much that she licks her sometimes even too much. :LOL:

    My friend often gets Lotta to do things better than in the video in the previous message. She didn't know then how to get Lotta to touch her hand with her snout without licking it. We told in that previous message that my friend was adviced to teach Lotta to touch some objects first. The idea probably was that Lotta would first learn to touch them, she probably would learn better to touch a hand without licking it. Here is a video about it. My friend was also teaching Lotta to bow:

    My friend has some questions about your video :) :
    Are you saying that your friend's dog doesn't know all of those behaviors yet?
    Why are you using those cues although you don't get him to do all of them completely?

    My friend has read and heard that one should not name the behaviors before s/he gets the dog to do them properly. So, she is just interested in knowing...

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