My new toller puppy!

Discussion in 'Puppies' started by fickla, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. fickla Experienced Member

    I finally got my Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever! I had posted quite a long time ago in the breed section asking about tollers, and now I have one of my own. We got him the day after Christmas and have been busy training him since! Lance, our 1.5yr corgi is warming up and they play a ton.

    I've posted some videos I've made of his training:


    and of his first week home :)

    Puppies are so much fun!!!

  2. CollieMan Experienced Member

    Congratulations. I home-board a 'toller' from time to time. Before it came along, I'd never even heard of the breed. They're a lovely breed to have around the home. I just love their deep red colour.

    I'm sure you'll both have years of fun!
  3. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Very cute! Congrats. Looks like his training is going wonderful. Keep it up! :)
  4. szecsuani Experienced Member

    Oh I LOVE tollers!!! :)
    Very cute puppy! :)
  5. maven New Member

    Wow, he's doing GREAT! Can see you've put in a lot of happy time with him :)
  6. snooks Experienced Member

    What a CUTE puppy. I love Tollers. That's also some very very nice shaping work in the vids not even to mention how young he is to have master this. Bravo!!
  7. fickla Experienced Member

    Thanks for the support guys! I am just wondering now if anyone has any advice about crate training. I think we're doing everything right, but maybe someone has some really good tips! he's great in his kennel if he can see us now (wasn't before) but still has major issues when we're out if sight, or just over 10ft away.

    So far I've shaped Vito to run into his kennel from about 20ft away and stay in it with the door open for 30seconds between treats as long as I'm within 5ft. If we build up to it, he can also be quiet for 1mn when we are out of sight (at home) and 3 minutes if we are in sight. But this has to be worked up to each time. If he is tired, he'll sleep in there just fine. Actually if he's tired, he's great and will even remain quiet after he wakes up for 2-3 minutes.

    We obviously ignore any whining and screaming and will ONLY open the door or even talk to him if he is quiet for at least 10 seconds, although I prefer 30seconds. He gets his special pigs ears, bully sticks, and marrow bones with peanut butter only when he is in his kennel. He understands that even if the kennel is open he has to eat the bones in the kennel. The problem is that when the door is closed, he refuses to chew on his bones if we are more than 5 ft away, even if he happens to not be crying at the time. He will eat treats given through the bars, but I think this is because we have to be right there to give it to him.

    I really don't think it's seperation anxiety, I think he just gets pissed and lets us know. He tends to vocalize quite a bit when shaping him when he gets frustrated, and just in general he's a talker.

    Any tips, or do we just need to keep building progress very slowly? I know I shouldn't, but I keep comparing him to my other dogs who were always fine in the kennel after the first couple days once they learned that screaming never got them let out!
  8. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    You've started out great with the right steps in mind. But here's the thing---you did get him used to staying in with the door open with you away, and with it closed for long periods of time. What you may not have covered is the in between.

    Have him enter the kennel on command, click and treat. Since he's already got this down, you won't have to do this more than a few times. Then, push the door to, open and click and treat.(If you've already done this and slowly increased the time the door is closed, then start increasing your distance. Shut the door and stand up. Kneel back down to click and treat.(Repeat, repeat....) Shut the door, stand up, and take a step away. (Repeat, repeat...) Shut the door, stand up, take a few steps away. And so on...

    Another thing that could help him is if you worked on longer distance stays from the kennel. This kind of makes the whole thing more of a game. For best effect the door could be pushed to or completely open, either way. Probably pushed to just so that there's still a "barrier" between the two of you but when you call him he can still happily push it open to head your way. If you've been trying to slowly increase your stances already, perhaps he needs smaller increments. If he gets yippy during training---Oh darn, the game's over. And off you go to do things other than play...but just for a minute or two. Then, "Oh look at the puppy! Back to work..." And the fun begins again. Or you can try using the quiet command if he knows it yet.

    He may just be testing you. If you've tried these things, disregard. ^^ Many dogs will resort to vocalizing when they get frustrated trying to learn something--this is how most people recommend teaching speak, as I'm sure you've heard. It's their last resort--fine, I'll try this!! Maybe try clicking for less of a try. For instance, if you're wanting him to step on a box(which you've already done) don't wait for him to get frustrated when he doesn't get it. Click for stretching in the direction you want. Click for leaning forward. Click for little tries, rather than something closer to the end result. If he gets frustrated easily this is the best way to go.

    Hope this helps!
  9. fickla Experienced Member

    Thanks. But unfortunately I have tried the babysteps, that's how I can work my way up to a couple minutes of quiet when he's not tired.

    I think you are right though about the vocalization during shaping. He is definitely frustrated when he starts grumbling during our shaping games as it's always right after a bump in criteria. So far I've just been ignoring it, but still clicking when he gets back on track. I think I'll start ending the game for a bit when he starts to whine and do smaller steps. I kind've feel that I've been making too big of leaps in our shaping, but at the same time after he grumbles, he usually makes a huge leap and goes even further than I was expecting!

    And I guess I'll just keep doing the tiny steps for our crate work! Luckily he's good in there when he's tried so bedtime isn't an issue :)
  10. fickla Experienced Member

    Here is the progress we've made at 11 wks! Vito turned 12 weeks yesterday :)

  11. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Lol, so maybe he's saying, "You wait, I'll get it!" and exceeding your expectations just to 'rub your nose in it.' might have a little show off on your hands. ^^ What a cutie. Love the Lance ear peeking in front of the camera(4:48), lol. Vito's learning quite quickly! Keep up the good work. Looks like you guys are having loads of fun. :)
  12. yvonne Well-Known Member

    Oh WOW!

    You have a great puppy there! Well done for all the excellent training, he is a credit to you!
  13. snooks Experienced Member

    Maybe the grumbling is his little vocal way of thinking. I see a slow sometimes as my dogs' brains wind up then they get something. After that it's fast and ah-ha. So cute and such nice work.
  14. fickla Experienced Member

    Here's his 12 & 13wk videos:


    But we're still having kennel issues. I think he has a slight case of separation anxiety. I've been taking video of the few times I've actually had to leave him alone for real and he starts panting like crazy, and shakes when i take him out. But the good news is that we're making a lot of progress at home with the kennel. he stays quiet now as long as he's somewhat tired, even if not sleeping, for several minutes, even if we're out of sight.
  15. snooks Experienced Member

    Both of my Goldens were really tweaked to be in their crates at this age too so I would hesitate to say SA but maybe just lack of the ability to self entertain comfortably or to self calm when alone. Remember more of his life up to now was spent with the other puppies and mom. Panting a lot is okay, yowling some is okay. True SA is total panic, physical freaking and really a pretty obvious strong reaction that usually happens in the first 30 minutes.

    Puppies take a while to mature enough to self calm. Teaching self control exercises and calming things can help take the edge off. I can video my puppy now and she sleeps the entire time I'm gone without a peep. She used to deafen me so maturity def plays a key role in the process. You can also do crate exercises with her like click for any quiet, click for prolonged quiet, work your way 1 foot--3 feet--6 feet and sitting down while clicking and tossing treats into the crate.

    Just some ideas that helped me. Hope it helps. This seems like such a smart confident puppy that it could well be a tantrum for attention which mine is very good at. While it may seem like SA it certainly is not, its a thinking dog's try for what she wants in my case. :dogtongue2:

    More great training!!!!
  16. fickla Experienced Member

    Thanks Snooks. Yeah I was reluctant to call it SA, especially since he is quite good at tantrums :) I'm still not sure, but he definitely pants alot, paces and jumps on the bars, shrieks, and refuses to eat his bones. We've been doing a ton of crate work with him. Starting with staying in there with the door open with me calling him into and out of the open crate. Then quiet with it closed while I am right there for up to 15mn, then quiet while I go increasing distances away and come right back, and then quiet with time and distance. At home he's pretty good now, unless he's not remotely tired then we have to work our way up slowly. At the club we train at he is an absolute wreck. I've been skipping my other dog's classes to just go with Vito and spend an hour working on the kennel there. We never make much progress. But we'll keep trying!!! It's good to hear that he's not a lost cause ;)
  17. snooks Experienced Member

    Try upping your rate of reinforcement for shorter durations. Instead of 15 minutes do a session in between of just a minute then out to tug or play. Do click/treat or cue/treat every 3-5 seconds for quite. A bark only lasts a second or so, so you have lots of time to click/cue. This may engage him more instead of bemoaning this horrible ordeal he may start thinking what is getting this treat in here. I noticed a HUGE jump in my puppy's focus and engaging me in many things when I upped the reinforcement rate. Not forever but just until the situation is a bit more controllable. If he's working himself into a state-which my girl did tonight with a new puppy in class and BARKED BARKED, I just upped my cue and rate of reinforcement for a loose leash walk. That way she stopped working into the brainless barker state and started looking at me and thinking and having fun.

    Once they get there the anxiety feeds itself and it truly can be impossible or very difficult for a young dog to stop. I don't know if u use a clicker but for puppies I think it works better because they are more instinct than thought. So a primary reinforcer like food has a huger effect than a secondary reinforcer. A clicker is a bridge to the primary reinforcer and becomes itself a primary reinforcer. I try not to push them on people since some don't like them shoved in their face all the time. I thought I saw you clicking in ur videos tho.

    :dogrolleyes: I sympathize with the puppy angst.
  18. fickla Experienced Member

    I do use a clicker (love it!), but I haven't been using it for the kennel (unless we're working on going to the kennel) since he had started to cry and get jumpy as soon as I clicked and came back. He will then be quiet once I stop my forward progress at his whining and continue on. But I wasn't sure if it was fair for me to stop and delay that treat when I had already clicked. Does that makes sense?? I suppose I could go back to using it, since he's better now at not getting jumpy and whiney when he sees me coming back. But if he does start that I always stop my forward progress and wait him out again. Do you think that I could still use a clicker even if I don't deliver the treat right away if he "msibehaves" bx click and reward? Generally when teaching other things I treat regardless of behavior in between, but I don't know if that would be good in this case!?!?

    Generally I do have a high rate of reinforcement for when I'm working on distance and out of sights. When I'm right there, he's better so I vary the time between treats from 3sec to 15mn, as unpredictable as possible. Working on distance, I again vary it to going 1ft coming back and treating, to whatever distance we've worked up to. And sometimes I add in time while away, but not a whole lot of that yet.

    And again, thanks for the advice. Even if I"m already doing some of it, it's good to reinforce what I"m doing and a good reminder for me to emphasize certain things more!
  19. snooks Experienced Member

    Don't delay the treat. Ideally for a puppy the click should be followed by a treat w/in 1-2 seconds for them to relate it.

    I guess what I'm saying too is that you can't really have the rate of reinforcement I'm referring to at a distance unless you can throw at 3-5 second intervals accurately from out of sight or around a corner. Go for the quiet and distance/time separately. I tried the same thing you described and had similar results. You are in a sense by your presence whether proceeding to him or not, reinforcing vocalizing while in the crate because you are there and may be looking at him or he perceives he's getting attention.

    By clicking quiet at a high rate while standing by the crate you are able to bam bam bam deliver. If you are close there is no need to delay the treat then when you click because you don't need to get there to deliver it.

    I really think at this age that it's just too much to expect total quiet because he's not yet mentally able to self calm or self control all the time. 1-2 minutes is a long time at this age. 15 minutes will seem like months to a puppy this young. I'm betting a little maturity solves a great deal of this. :dogbiggrin:

    At this year’s clicker expo one of the topics was delaying treats after a click. After about 5 seconds the dogs in the tests offered more wrong/random guessing or no behavior after a few times of having their treat delayed more than 5 seconds. A delay poisons the cue.:dogbiggrin: 1-2 seconds for a puppy is still better regardless if he already started barking again. He'll get it if there is consistency. After all if you accidently click or click the wrong thing you still must give a treat so that the click ALWAYS means treat.

    If he does get barky or whiny when you return I might turn around and walk out of sight until quiet instead of risking clicking just right during a bark-fit and making the clicker less effective. When you return he sounds less likely to really be thinking under threshold in the excitement of you coming back.

    I came up with this with the help of my clicker trainer. She's a Karen Pryor trainer so very positive and as well versed in clicker as anyone could be. It was just a different approach though very similar to what I was doing. But the subtlety worked for this puppy. Hopefully I didn't explain that in a confusing way. It's hard to describe the slight difference.

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