Cycling & Not Listening

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by achieve1dream, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. achieve1dream Experienced Member

    Wow I didn't realize how long it's been since I've been here. *sheepish grin*

    I'm having problems with Jackal and I know it's probably all my fault lol. When I ask him to do one of his tricks he just cycles through everything until he gets the right one. This happens less often when I use hand signals, so I think it's the vocal cue he just doesn't listen to at all! I don't know if I'm being sloppy with my cues or if it was faulty training to begin with. I have a tendency to work on something until he gets the idea and then move on to something else because I get bored easily. So how do I proof new behaviors and how to I fix the ones he already knows? The cycling through behaviors gets really annoying. He also has a tendency to default to his newest trick. Thank for any help.

  2. bellesmom New Member

    I have the same exact problems! Can't wait to hear some advice!
  3. fickla Experienced Member

    well I think most clicker trainers have that problem with our shaped dogs! We encourage our dogs to think through problems instead of just sitting there blankly afraid to get something wrong.

    Since it happens most often to my dog when I am teaching them something new, I tend to believe the dog doesn't really know what I want. It takes quite awhile for my 2 to learn vocal cues. When I am teaching them, let's say beg, I make sure to say "Beg" wait 2 seconds (or maybe only one second if my dog responds quickly to try something else) and then immediately follow through with the hand signal. I also make sure not to say "Beg" unless we have already done a couple warm ups with the hand signal to make sure that the dog will offer the right behavior. I do use my hand signal without a little warm up once I am sure the dog knows it. And of course I never introduce any word until I have the finished behavior and either have a hand signal or know my dog will offer it at that moment (like if I have a prop).

    At other times that I am sure my dog knows the word and is just randomly guessing, I turn my back. Lance often gets too excited and doesn't really hear what I am saying but I am 100% positive that Lance knows the words for sit, down, rollover, front, etc. So if I ask for a sit and Lance lays down I immediately turn my back before he has time offer anything else. I then turn around after 2-3 seconds and ask again. If Lance fails twice in a row I look at the level of distractions around me and ask why he failed. If there are truly no distractions and Lance isn't having a bad day, I might just say "too bad" and walk away, ending the training session for a few minutes. Since my Vito is younger I rarely turn my back or end the training session. I tend to chalk up Vito's mistakes to either distractions or a lack of knowledge. Even if thought he knew something, I am less likely to assume that he does when he makes a mistake.

    Now Lance also likes to test new people on commands. With me Lance 100% knows the difference between the words and hand signals for bang and rollover. But he likes rollover much much better. So with new people who want him to play dead, Lance almost always rollovers instead. Usually people think it's cute and throw him a treat so Lance has figured that this works. If I am there, I tell the person no, ask him to do it again, don't reward the rollover since you didn't ask him to do it. I am sure this is not what Jackal is doing, but it's another reason dogs go through other tricks- they have favorites :)
  4. fickla Experienced Member

    oh, and I think I said this already, but just to be clear...

    when I am transitioning a new trick from needing a prop or a lure to now doing it randomly I move very slowly. Example, when I first taught Vito to lift a hind leg I used a book for him to target. I was quickly able to get Vito to do it without the book as a target. So then I started mixing it into the middle of a training session. I might do a few marches, rollovers, etc, and then immediately bring back out the book and ask for him to lift his leg. I bring back out the prop so I can guarantee his success since we hadn't done it without a little shaping warmup. Not all tricks have props, but if they don't I might reuse a treat lure or in some other way make it much easier for the dog to succeed.

    But overall I think a lot of the trick cycles are due to not knowing the word. Some dogs learn words very quickly, but most dogs not so much. I think Lance maybe knows words for 30% of his tricks and Vito less then 25%. I get them to do most tricks through hand signals or simply the sight of a prop.
  5. achieve1dream Experienced Member


    Wow thanks!! I never thought about turning my back! I actually do that quite often when I'm free shaping and he decides he would rather bark at me, so I don't see why it wouldn't work when he's cycling! Thank you so much! The answer was right in front of my face, I just needed someone to point it out for me. :)
  6. achieve1dream Experienced Member


    Wow, thank you for your response Snooks. I like the idea of training the voice and hand cues separately. I'd never thought of that before, but when you explained it, then it makes complete sense. No wonder he ignores my voice commands!! I'll give that a shot. Thank you so much for the information. :)

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