dazed and confused! help!!!

Discussion in 'Obedience Training' started by stacypress, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. stacypress New Member

    I don't even know if this is possible, but I am not completely sure how to go about training my new puppy, Diego when our other dog, Stanley who is a little older and VERY food oriented, is around. At the moment, I am NOT using food to train Diego, this is because when i trained stanley and used food he began only listening for food (and sometimes that is still the case! 2 1/2 years later! =[ ). With Diego I am trying to use praise and attention as his reward for a job well done, and to deter him from an unwanted behavior i am using "BAAH" which is supposed to mock a dog growling and usually works quite well. BUT my issue has been disciplining only Diego has been hard when they are both in the room. I "BAAH" and Stanley quits doing what he was doing (amazing because when it is meant for him he CHOOSES to listen or not) even if it was an ok behavior like chewing on a toy. For training sessions I have been trying to pull only Diego aside and he seems to be catching on pretty quickly. also, any suggestions on training my husband how to train our dog?! haha He has almost no patience and I don't think he understands the theory behind training (not that i am an expert!). He continually tries to discipline our dogs when they have NOT been caught in the act of doing the wrong behavior. I have explained that dog brains don't work that way, and you cannot expect that telling a dog once that he can't do something (in dog language of course) will make him understand forever. It takes repitition, much like a toddler.... ALL advice is welcome!! :dogbiggrin:

  2. CollieMan Experienced Member

    The best trainers I know all train their dogs seperately. Is there a reason you can't or don't do this?

    I think many will disagree with you over using just praise and attention as reward. I think if it works for you and your dog is happy with it, then why not. Many of the top sheepdog trainers in the country refuse to use food for training and it works very well for them!

    The noise you make, "Baah", I have my doubts about it mirroring any sort of growl sound, but if it works for you, then why not. I suspect that to a dog it's no different to saying 'no', 'whoops', 'ah-ah', etc. As long as the same one is used each time, you can say what you like.

    I understand the issue you are having about correcting one dog and the other dog perceiving it as a correction but again, I return to the question why they aren't being trained away from each other. It may not be practical in your home, in which case just ignore me. :)

    As for the husband, that's way out of my area of expertise, I've never been married. :) What I can say is that you are absolutely right, there is no point at all in correcting after the event. No point at all, other than just wasting your own energy.
  3. stacypress New Member

    Our training sessions are seperate :) Thank you for the input! I am just leary about using food for reward because I don't want him to act like our pug and only REALLY listen for food.
  4. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I think that is largely down to the trainer to be honest.

    If you ensure the food is out of sight, perhaps in a pocket, or in a treat-bag behind your back, then the food becomes less central to the whole affair.

    I also like to phase the food out of a behaviour as soon as possible. I'll use a lot for the first week or so of teaching a new behaviour, but then I may only treat once in each two successful repetitions to keep the dog working harder to get the reward. Sometimes I won't use food at all, and just use praise, or a ball. I think the more you mix it up, the more you keep the dog working harder to get to the goal.

    Sometimes food is just a very handy reward so I wouldn't be too quick to rule it out. But if it just doesn't suit you, there's no rule at all saying you have to use it. In addition to the sheep dog trainers, I also walk each Sunday with a security dog and ex service-dog trainer. He's never used food either, but uses a tug toy as the reward. Whatever works best for the dog, in my view. :)
  5. snooks Experienced Member

    I agree with Collieman-don't be too quick to rule food out esp if you have a food motivated dog. There are people in my agility classes that would be in heaven if their dog were more food motivated. I used to be a non food trainer because I considered it a crutch. Yet I was constantly a little dissatisfied with what I trained and expected and the returns I got. SO I urge you to be open minded and not discount it until you try it..and try it correctly. there is a very subtle difference between luring and rewarding. and there is a lot of nuance in doing it correctly so you don't end up with a dog that "decides" to comply. So if you are luring your pug and he sees no food he won't do what you want. you've accidently trained him to respond only if you have food. your job as a human is to trick him into ever guessing is this going to be the time i get a treat? this one? this one??

    when i got over my prejudice and listened to some trainers that knew what they were talking about I realized food isn't a crutch and it is not a constant necessity. it is a random/seldom necessity. for a food motivated dog the total lack of reward will cause behaviors to go extinct. they are a what's in it for me creature. for my two dogs food, toys, play, and praise all work so I use them all as rewards.

    the reason food is the best tool at a young age especially is that they are not reasoning little beasts at this time. they are more instinct and want and survival. so while you could teach an older dog to roll over it would be very hard to do with a puppy in the absence of food-what's in it for him? praise is something they learn is good over time, they don't even know good dog is good at 3 mos they are just infants. now if you lured your puppy correctly with food you could get him to roll over. I had my puppy rolling over at 3 months on cue with random treats. research shows that especially on very important things like come (which can be life saving) that the cue reward imprints much better on a puppy brain than anything else.

    For example my dog is 14 mos old now and in full adolescence, testing the boundaries, and at that age where they forget everything they learned for a while. I don't have much trouble with it because i am home all day and very tricky myself but hubby has a horrible time. The other night he let them out on our fenced patio to potty and she took off barking at a herd of elk. Deep snow and she wouldn't come for him and I knew exactly what she was doing even without seeing. We have a 3 story house to i came down-got the field retriever whistle, went down to the basement and gave her a 3 burst blow for come. She came running.

    The reason I tell you this is I haven't used that whistle in over a year - b/c the neighbors don't really appreciate it (really LOUD). Why did it work when hubby was out there with cheese and a toy? Because from the time she was born the breeder trained the whole litter to come to the whistle using food. It is so imprinted on her brain that even though I never use it she remembered when all the cheese and squeaky toys were ignored. She also turned from a herd of elk and ran to me so that says a lot about the imprint power of food on the puppy brain.

    the strategy for food training follows. teaching new behaviors like walking on leash lure by holding the treat in position and periodically rewarding. if puppy loses interest you are waiting too long to reward. lure to a sit by moving the treat slowly up in front of puppy's nose and his butt will hit the ground as he raises his head to get the treat. the second his butt hits the ground click/treat. keep this up until he gets it.. mine got it after 3-4 times. Then hide the treats out of site on the counter or in your mouth. do the same luring hand motion. if he sits click grab the quickly accessible treat and treat within 1-2 seconds. no fumbling in bags or pockets. if he doesn't get it use lures a few more times until he gets the hand signal. at 80% success you then add the word cue. do your hand motion and just before he goes to sit say "sit." by this i mean just before he shifts his weight back and bends his back legs preempt the movement with your cue. when his butt hits the ground click/treat. practice and treat at 100% until he gets it and you can drop the clicker pretty quick.

    the food you fade slower over time. when puppy is doing a great sit start giving him a treat every other time then every third time. as long as you get good compliance you can fade. do random numbers to he can't predict when. if he stops sitting you went too fast, up the treats again. If you continue to treat 100% all the time you guarantee your failure because the dog will eventually reason- "I'll sit when i want to after i sniff that and pee on that because I always get a treat anyway, I can't lose."

    If you fade the treat the dog goes through what is called a pre-extinction burst where he will offer the behavior so willingly and just be obsessive about it. If no further treats follow the behavior will go extinct. Meaning he'll stop sitting. So where you want to keep your dog is somewhere in that hyper compliant stage. give enough random HIDDEN treats to keep the behavior alive. This is where also using play and toys and praise in addition to food is important. puppies need to be taught that all of these things are rewarding too and they should be used intermittently during training to teach and help you judge what works best.

    my golden puppy did not want to come inside after pottying because the smell of elk, deer, coyotes, other dogs, and woodchucks etc. were in the yard and much more interesting than even a piece of liverwurst or hot dog. So i hid a toy in my coat (one she didn't like much but was plush so she didn't get it often or she'd destroy it...so it was a novel thing for her). So when offering food didn't work I realized I am in competition with this yard, how do i become more interesting? Offering that toy did it. Working with her instincts and pulling out the toy and tossing it to her was magic. She pranced back up to the door and "retrieved" it for me and then gave it to me for a treat and we went in. My other Golden would love to tug a rope ball back to the door. The 4yo I trained with food and now don't use it much but she'll turn away from the herd of elk and go to the house when I ask so I can handle the puppy. One barking dog is a lot less confusing for all of us.

    Hope this helps..sort of stream of thought burbling forth. Have you considered a clicker or puppy class. I strongly suggest a positive training puppy class. It's the best way to socialize a young puppy and help them learn canine manners and to deal confidently with all things they encounter in life. Right now this pup is a little fearless so it's a good time to imprint new things. :dogbiggrin:

    since i'm not there and i can't see what you're doing i'm guessing at some of this. i usually always have treats on hand. because with a dog's nose they know we have them. the question they have to ask is now ? now? now? so i often have can cheese on the counter or a cheese stick or jerky in my pocket but i don't give it out that often. you don't say if you use the clicker with your pug but I bet you would get better results if you used one for a while.

    separate training sessions as you are doing are good and i would keep that up until puppy is solid on most of the things you want to train. I do separate and group sessions where I ask name sit, name down, and for both dogs puppies down. so they learn that I am asking for a dog to do something and only he one asked is rewarded. the other is ignored but given a chance very soon to earn the treat too.
  6. snooks Experienced Member

    By the way show this to your bf. HE IS WRONG. Nothing personal but all the research with thousands of dogs and professionals says that he is. Puppies have memory of about 2-10 seconds at most. Punishing after the fact does nothing but scare the puppy and make it not trust people. It could be the reason your dog is seeking out affection or comfort with your clothing and not his. He represents something to be feared. He gets mad for no reason the dog can determine so there is no comfort in his presence.

    I saw this vid and thought it was sad. The woman shoving the camera in the face of this clearly terrified dog is laughing. The dog is sending off warning signals preceding a bite because it cannot escape since it's being held. Camera's are like giant eyes to some dogs and very scary. Notice also that every time the talker does a mock growl the dog's growl gets louder. More scared and more warnings- I am going to BITE. It's really sad that she thinks this is funny.


    An adult dog's memory is only about 5-10 minutes max. If he is punishing after the fact I suspect you'll see more problems with obedience like your pug's reluctance to comply. Dogs that don't trust don't listen very well. There's nothing in it for them because there is no relationship but fear with that individual. Ask him how it's working? Has any of this after the fact punishment fixed a single thing?

    If not time to go to plan B. As humans it's is out job to guide dogs where we want them to go. At most they reach the level of a 3-5 year old human. Teaching a toddler with scary things doesn't work well. I recommend a great book in understanding what your dog is telling you by Turid Rugaas called On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals, this one comes with a DVD http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=A251 It's also probably on Amazon if you want to check prices. :dogbiggrin:
  7. stacypress New Member

    wow again thank you for all the input. I think i am slowing making progress. the weird thing is, my new puppy Diego who is fearful of things, is not at all fearful of people. Just today the cable installation guy came in, and Diego went right up to him wagging his tail and sniffing. but ona walk, a dog barks or a loud car goes by and he is inbetween my legs again! i think i am going to consider clicker training. I almost did with my pug who is now 2 & 1/2 years old, but so many relatives who have had dogs all their lives said it was useless. And now he definately chooses when to listen.... although i must admit i didn't really know what i was doing with him. I know a LITTLE bit more now... but that is reason i am here! thanks again!
  8. snooks Experienced Member

    It's very good that he is social and approaches people. The scared of noises part you can fix with teaching confidence. I was paging through one of my favorite books this week, Click to Calm by Emma Parsons (she is a Karen Pryor clicker trainer). This brought to mind the part of her book where she talks about how clickers themselves build confidence. The dog focuses on the clicker and what it means, food, and is less worried about the other things around. He can focus on you and what you are asking him to do and come to rely to looking to you for what to do. The clicker is recognized in the part of the dog’s brain that reacts before it gets to the reasoning part that thinks about how should I react. So the sameness of it and that it means food sort of bypasses a fear or reactive response. She explains it better than I do, and it's backed up by research.

    The nice thing about Karen Pryor's books and trainers is they explain why it works and the timing and reasons for it. I suspect all the people you heard say clicker training was useless never picked up a book on it. There are some great short good books on Pryor's site that you won't find in a book store. Most good training books aren't in book stores. So there is a bit of an art to it but you can learn it in 15 minutes and be successful. There are other than the ones I recommend but some are rather advanced and some lacking in detail and explanation. So I named the ones below considering that and your needs.

    Click to Calm is great and has a great reference section of other books in the back. Click for Joy, Don't Shoot the Dog, and anything on Pryor's site are good. www.clickertraining.com. Some of the books might be cheaper on dogwise or amazon. BTW clicker is the most recognized way to teach almost any species including horses, killer whales, and fish. Dogs learn things so much faster that once you start you'll wonder why you ever did it another way. :dogtongue2:

    By the way I was paging through b/c I remembered something in the book my puppy is doing to hubby. Him sitting in his chair and crossing legs has become a cue to her to bug him for attention because it means "no more attention for a while I'm watching TV" to her now. There's a clicker answer in the book I thought reading would communicate better than me telliing him. Since she's already done this to me and I already fixed it for me. It's a do anything type of training approach.

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