How Do You Get Your Dog To Be That "into You"?

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by kcmetric, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. kcmetric Well-Known Member

    I've been browsing more freestyle videos on youtube and there is one of a girl and her dog in the middle of a busy town plaza (looking) place. Her dog off leash of course... How do you get your dog to be that into you? I feel like if I went to the park Chaplin would rather wander off and play with other things; namely other dogs...
    MaryK likes this.

  2. brody_smom Experienced Member

    Make being with you more rewarding than anything else. Play lots of tug games, engage his drives and reward his self-control with more play.
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  3. southerngirl Honored Member

    Work with little distraction and slowly add more.
  4. ackerleynelson Well-Known Member

    To start up with the little things and then to add little more be good.
    kcmetric likes this.
  5. 648117 Honored Member

    If it's a park that you regularly go to then it should be relatively easy to get your dogs attention.

    There is a park that me and Holly often end our walks at (we often see one of her friends there, but I like to do the on-lead walking before off-lead). She likes the park, she loves to sniff around, run, play etc. But if I ask her for some heelwork, tricks, set her up for a formal recall, etc, she is very very happy to do as I ask. In fact she does it with even more energy than at home (not sure why to be honest). Once we are done I send her to play again (could be some premack?) but she often will continue trotting along next to me for a bit until I tell her again that she can play (I also always have treats on me on walks - but they are not high value as I don't want my pockets to stink).

    So part of it could be that the dog is used to the location, perhaps if the location was completely new the dog might be more distracted.

    Another thing that I think is very important is that the dog has been trained in many different locations before (I think the dog should have been trained/practice in new locations not just visited them. This will help them expect to recieve a command at any time and to realise that you want them to do what you ask).

    Holly has had to listen to commands in many different places as she does a lot of classes and competes (although we have not yet had a competition in a completely new place as we don't travel out of town). In an average week she has obedience class, agility class, and rally-o class all in different locations and the location of the class does not always stay the same (eg, our obedience trainer moved, we move to an indoor equestrian centre for winter agility etc), also practice at home and sometimes on walks (we don't do stuff on walks very often though). So she knows that a command means the same thing in many/all locations and around distractions (also that I probably have a reward for her if she does what I ask as even if she doesn't see it as I usually have treats in my pocket when out with the dogs).

    I think it would definitely be easier to do all this with a young dog, but an adult dog could get used to focusing in different locations too with some patience (I'm currently in the process of getting Lewis used to working in different places and he's 4)

    Hope that helps.
  6. Gordykins Experienced Member

    Recently I just looked up "Focus games" on youtube. I'm still slowly combing through the videos, but I have found some things that seem like they might be helpful. Also, our training facility offers a focus games class that I am thinking of signing up for with Gordy. Just gotta get my work schedule to work out with that! Anyway, Gordy and I started rally as a stepping stone to get some teamwork things down before trying freeestyle (we still haven't tried freestyle though!) and I'm finding that different types of focus games help with the rally training, and rally really solidifies our teamwork.

    I see that this post is a couple of months old too, and was hoping you could maybe share some things that you might have found that are working for you and your dog... I'm always looking for good ways to practice getting Gordy to be excited about working with me in distracting environments.
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  7. kcmetric Well-Known Member

    Still here Gordy?
    MaryK likes this.
  8. Gordykins Experienced Member

    Yuppers! I still read up on here a few times a week. Been kind of slow lately though :/
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  9. kcmetric Well-Known Member

    At meal times we switched up our environment and just did basic obedience. I'd go when there was no one at the park for instance in the beginning so he would be distracted by other dogs (because he loves them lol). First on leash obedience, then off leash obedience. Once we did off leash whatever trick he knew we worked on. Then we went when it was a little crowded but worked from afar on leash and rinse and repeat.

    We also spent a lot of time just 'hanging out' outside in relatively busy places and every time he turned his focus on me he got rewarded.
  10. freedomdreams Well-Known Member

    you know, I never thought of doing that-but I like that idea.. I'll definitely have to give that a shot.
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  11. MaryK Honored Member

    Holly's Mom and Kcmetric have given you very good advice, along with Gordykins.

    Remember, all dogs are different and have different personalities, even those of the same breed and/or litter.

    Getting a dog to be that 'into you' does take time and patience. Plus, as has been said, working with your dog in all manner of different places and enviroments.

    Take your dog to as many places, different events (like fairs etc.) as is possible. Always though make sure you have your dogs back, any sign of nerves back off, plus as has been said Reward Reward and then some more every time your dog looks at you. Work on 'look' at home too, make it part of home training sessions. It takes time and patience to have your dog right into you. Plus, don't forget, dogs are individuals, like Zeus and his late sister Tiger Lily. Zeus was always 'into me', whilst Tiger Lily took a bit longer and more training to get to that point. Same litter but totally different personalities.

    And a good point was made, that dog may be very familiar with that area, so he/she isn't interested in exploring.

    And NEVER try to get a hound/sight hound to work of the lead - once their onto a scent NOTHING deters them!
    jackienmutts likes this.
  12. kcmetric Well-Known Member

    You should take into account your dog's stress tolerance though. New areas can be overwhelming. Signs of stress in a dog are lip-licking, scratching, yawning, excessive panting, whale eye (where you see the whites of their eyes in a moon-like shape), and some other things.
    jackienmutts, Gordykins and MaryK like this.
  13. running_dog Honored Member

    I agree with all the rest that you have said Mary but I honestly don't think that the above quote is the case, in fact it is a lazy excuse for those of us who have pet sight hounds. Working sighthounds can be trained to call off a rabbit mid chase. I've personally seen one call off a deer. I know of one trained as a mountain search and rescue dog (think off leash, long distances, sheep, deer, rabbits). One of the Sue Garrett recallers testimonial videos showed a whippet completely ignoring another dog that was badgering it to play. That really challenged me. I had to think about how that can be possible from an 8 week course that takes 5 minutes 5 days a week (okay I know some dogs will take longer but you get the idea). I wish I could use Zac as a perfect example but haven't really trained much for a long time and that has been showing in Zac.

    This is what I learned from looking at the free Sue Garrett materials and trying to apply them to Zac over the last couple of weeks, I agree with all the other suggestions from previous posters but these are a few that haven't been mentioned (at least I don't think so, sorry if I missed them):
    • The key for me is to set small incremental targets and have a clear training plan.
    • Work out what you want and what you will reward. Work out how your body language/cues are affecting your dog - if your dog is uncertain of what you expect he is more likely to choose the certainty of an exciting distraction, I can't over emphasise how much this uncertainty has impacted on my dog's behaviour.
    • Don't reward half hearted attempts, confused yes but not half hearted. Increasing the reward to try and increase the dog's enthusiasm is completely counterproductive. The exception is when you are working close to a major distraction, but once your dog is glancing at you for a reward raise your expectations for attention quickly.
    • Fasten the dog lead to you and don't hold it, use your voice to keep him with you, once fastened the lead is irrelevant to training.
    • Look for gaps in training - will your dog work with a juicy treat or exciting toy on the ground? If not don't expect him to ignore a dropped ice cream, a bike or a brass band.
    • As for the above point set up a controlled distraction - for example I'm working with a friend who has a dog with a tennis ball obsession (serious, he has to be muzzled because if he eats another it could well kill him), I hold her dog while she walks away, I offer the dog a distraction but don't let him take it, she calls, I remove distraction, he goes to her and is well rewarded. When he is doing that well I don't remove the distraction but he goes anyway, then we increase the level of distraction. We take turns holding back each others dogs. My plan is, no distraction, kibble, good treat, amazing treat, still tennis ball, squeaky tennis ball, tennis ball poised to throw... somewhere up the hierarchy with Zac I'll get to my sister's cat. Because you are controlling the presentation of the distraction you can make progress really quickly.
    • If you are not making progress in training your dog then you are not playing the right game with him.
    Oh and... hi again every one! :)
  14. brody_smom Experienced Member

    Well said, Running_dog! My response was much shorter, but also based on Susan Garrett's methods. I had actually signed up for the Recallers course, but had a computer problem and was unable to continue. The little that I was able to complete was amazing, and I have no aspirations for competitions. It has greatly improved my relationship with Brody and my abilities as a trainer, being able to work with a world class trainer like Susan.
  15. running_dog Honored Member

    Hi Brodys_mum, must have been horrible for you to have to give up Recallers, even from the outside it seems an amazing course. The snippets that I have picked up have been fascinating and have really made me think.

    For those who aren't convinced... Here is the testimonial about the little whippet I was talking about...

    and here's another one of him and a new puppy...

    The point is not for me to advertise for Recallers but to suggest that the only thing different about sighthound and scenthound and any other dog recall and work around distractions is the the excuses we make to ourselves. Of course some elements of training might be harder but Ruby and other recaller dogs suggest that if the training really isn't progressing then we are simply not playing the right games.

    I don't say that lightly, some of you may remember that Gus our puppy (now 2 years old) nearly destroyed me mentally and is still a struggle sometimes.
  16. running_dog Honored Member

    I just had to sit and watch through Ruby's Recallers testimonial all over again... and again... look at him RUN :)
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  17. brody_smom Experienced Member

    You are so right. It is we, the owner/trainer, who are the problem most of the time because we are stubborn or set in our ways, and don't keep our minds open to different ways of doing things. Pretty much every issue that has been raised on the Say Yes! boards has been solvable simply by the trainer adjusting their thinking and trying something new. We need to remember that these are dogs, not people, and that we shouldn't impose our human restrictions on them. I believe they are much more willing to learn and try new things than people are, if the reward is good enough.
  18. MaryK Honored Member

    I will bring all this regarding recall to the attention of my vets, as they are the ones who have been saying never let a sight hound off the lead, due I think at the time to the fact they had to euth. a very beautiful sight hound who'd been hit by a car. Thank you for all the information.
  19. running_dog Honored Member

    Thank you Mary :). My current vet is absolutely superb regarding the health of my dog but he sends his own dogs to kennels run by an old school dog trainer - a trainer who told me Zac and Gus were dog aggressive (in reality Gus is reactive and Zac plays rough).

    It seems a pity to let lack of training keep all pet sight hounds on leash for life. Jean Cote was told he would never be able to let Onyx off leash because "Siberian Huskies can never be let off leash", he believed differently and put in hours of necessary training and was finally vindicated. As Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right."
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  20. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Really nothing more to add to this, a relationship is always a work in progress. Excellent videos Running dog! Good to see you back, we've missed you!!
    MaryK and running_dog like this.

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