Self-control Games

Discussion in 'Dog Tricks' started by dog nerd, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. dog nerd Well-Known Member

    I’m starting a new thread on self-control games

    Self-control games can be a very fun way to work with our dog but can also help some dogs that have problems with their impulsion/obsession. Whatever, it’s an obsession with food or toys like balls or take off and run like maniac after squirrels. Also some dogs can get over reactive or over stimulated in certain situation and it can easily get out of control; intensive barking, pulling, jumping, even nipping.

    So this thread is for all people who are working on a particular problem or just wanting to have or share something fun to work on.

    I’m starting:

    Running dog have suggested me some very cool trick to work on, so I will keep updating my progression in order to keep me motived and to get some advice when I fell that something is not working

    Like I said in a previous thread, my dog Frida (Labrador) has an obsession with balls. , on one hand it a very good things that she is motivated by toys, but on the other hand I really want her to have a better control around balls. My goal is to be able ask Frida to perform tricks whatever it’s in agility or simple ground work and leave the ball on the ground while Frida keeps focusing on me not the ball.

    Step 1) I worked today with a VERYhigh value toy: the squeak ball. I just cover the ball with my foot and let her decide. If she back off a few step or if she looks at me, I let her have the ball. This trick is very hard for her sometime she gets it sometime she doesn’t the closer the ball the harder it is for her.

    Step 2) I’m already working on that trick, putting the ball out of reach (on the top of a fence where she can’t reach it) or in a bag. I’m stepping away not too far and a let her decide. I’m waiting without saying anything I’s her choice. In the first attempt she finally decided to come to me after a few minutes, I rewarded her by throwing the ball. It finally got better a few attempts later the more we did it the faster she came back to me. I will be working on these tricks for now and probably increase the difficulty later on when I fell that she is ready.
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  2. running_dog Honored Member

    Here's a treat dropping self control/attention/eye contact game I've been working on with Zac. I drop treats while Zac maintains eye contact (mostly), when he has his eyes fixed on me I release him to get the treats.

    Not sure what I'm doing with Gus, LOL, I've not done this with him very much before but he was sitting there waiting so I involved him but as I wasn't really sure what I was doing with him he definitely wasn't sure what I wanted (hence the spin). He found the "leave" quite easy once he understood, again I released him when he gave me eye contact.

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  3. dog nerd Well-Known Member

    Good doggy !!! (y)
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  4. dukey_boy Well-Known Member

    I love Susan Garrett's "It's Yer Choice" game. It has helped my dogs tremendously.
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  5. southerngirl Honored Member

    I love love this thread:D I need to do some self control games with crazy crazy Piper. Who is by the way trying to play ball with Missy after she just went on a very tiring bike ride.:cautious:
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  6. dog nerd Well-Known Member

    We are still working on Suzan Garett's "It's your choice" but I tried the same trick with a target , I think Frida is actually doing better with the target. When I cover the ball with my foot she has to go touch the target and then I let her have the ball. I am not using any word , I just let her decide. I tried the same trick with food and it worked very well.

    I have also tried the treat dropping trick and Frida was actually pretty good !! Eventually I will try this trick with the squeak ball !! :cool:

    I think she is getting better with her focus when she knows there is a ball somewhere, I still have to hide the ball in a bag or putting it out of reach but it's getting much better

    I would like to eventually try to videotape our training games but I need to find out how to post a video ....:unsure:

    Does Piper has problems with control and impulsion around balls or food ??

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  7. southerngirl Honored Member

    Food, and frisbee. Plus people and dogs... Trying to teach tricks is hard because she tries doing everything in super speed for a treat. She spins while I'm scooping her food and pokes my other dog with her nose continuously.
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  8. dog nerd Well-Known Member

    Frida is or was doing (she is much better now) the same thing with balls. She use to to spin , jump even bark !! And just like Pipper it was hard sometimes to get her attention on me. It's a good thing that our dogs are motivated by toys and treats. But they need focus and attention otherwise it can easily get out of control.

    I am not an expert , but I did a lot of target games with Frida. You first start teaching your dog to touch an object with her nose ( it can be a Tupperware cover). This trick teach your dog that moving away from the toys is actually more fun then barking , spinning and poking. It help your dog to redirect her attention on something else. I hope everything that I rote is clear !! :confused:
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  9. dog nerd Well-Known Member

    Here is a video that I really like. The trainer is using the target games mostly for agility but it can be very useful in all kind of situation, moving your dog away or send you dog somewhere or just wanting to do some brain games with your dog, you can increase the difficulty by placing the target further away and even teach her right and left !! :LOL:

    running_dog likes this.
  10. dog nerd Well-Known Member

    ...wrote :barefoot:
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  11. running_dog Honored Member

    Interesting that Frida is doing better with the target. Do you have any idea why that might be?

    I've also worked It's yer choice, particularly with Gus because when he was a pup I could see he had a tendency to be obsessive and impulsive. I still use the principles in a variety of ways with both dogs most recently for door manners and waiting politely in the car.

    There are times when no command is good (waiting politely in the car for instance), other times I find it is helpful to give the dog a hint as to what I intend - I use luring so I don't actually want the dogs to think they always have to stay away from food in my hand also I drop lots of treats on the ground and most of the time I want the dogs to get them - because it's part of a reorienting game I play with them.
  12. running_dog Honored Member

    I have a problem with Zac and Gus and I need to work on their self control to overcome it (especially Gus's).

    Here's the problem:

    Zac's retrieve is shaky at the best of times and Gus really doesn't help!
    So basically they need to take turns, which is good as Gus may have a thyroid problem so we have to make sure he doesn't get too tired and Zac likes to rest between runs anyway. Zac is okay with this:

    Gus is another story entirely, I couldn't even video him it was so hard to restrain him when he thought I was going to throw the ball. I'm not using an exact It's yer choice because I did want to throw the ball for whichever dog wasn't in a down waiting. I leashed Gus between runs this time and faked some throws until he would stay in a down some of the time, hopefully next time I work on this I'm going to use a lamping slip - basically a leash you can release without the dog knowing you have released it, that stops the dog focussing on the lead and makes it focus on your release cue. I'll try to video that, hopefully the video will be better than these!
  13. dog nerd Well-Known Member

    Clever dog indeed !! Zac did bring the ball even if Gus was chasing it !! I do not know what to say about Gus self control , chasing ball is part of most lab temperament and drives , they just LOVE to retrieve especially tennis balls. I know some labradors that can and would retrieve all day long if they had the chance !! Some Labradors are so "high driven" by anything that roll on the ground especially balls, that it's does make it hard to control their appetite for chasing. Breaking such an habit does take a LOT of patience. It is very interesting to watch both of your dogs behaving differently. From what I can see in this video , they both look like very cool and happy dogs !! :love:

    I think , it forces her to wait and be patient. She knows that when the target is on the ground it means : treats and rewards as soon as she touch it , we practiced this trick over and over again. So that's why it makes it a little bit easier with the target when I am working with balls.

    I set my agility obstacles in the back ward, this weekend (finally spring is here) and I intently drop a few tennis balls on the ground. I set a small sequence: jump , tunnel , jump. The first attempt she stop and sniff the ball , called her and when she came back I drop a lot of treats on the ground. After a few attempt she didn't even care about the tennis ball she just kept following me (I had no ball in my hand). I kept adding obstacles to the sequence, chute, slalom, tire. Next weekend I will place a tennis ball in front of every obtacles. :ROFLMAO: I think it's really getting better, my goal is to teach Frida that she doesn't have to rush for the ball , she just need to pay attention to me in order to have it !

    Beautiful beach !! :love: Frida would be SUPER HAPPY if she could run on that beach !! Lucky you !! Where is it ??
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  14. running_dog Honored Member

    Gus snapped the lead last time I tried to hold him back :rolleyes:. I think I'm asking for too much at once. I need to start going out with them earlier so we have 10 minutes to work on self control and heeling when we get back to the car park (keeping Zac's attention is a full time job when we are actually walking). I'm thinking of using the car like a crate to build Gus's drive for heeling and control around tennis balls.

    Although Gus is an honorary lurcher they are both very different from each other and they do sometimes have different challenges. The problem is that dogs seem to catch problems off other dogs! Thank you, they are usually happy dogs although they have me at my wits end at times!

    That is really good. I've done something similar with Zac and treats. It would also be a great thing to do with Gus heeling. I've been walking him round Zac as that way I can keep an eye on and involve both of them, next time I get a chance I'll put a ball on the ground too.

    It is Saltburn-by-the-sea, you are right it is a gorgeous beach and the dogs love it. Dogs are excluded from part of it for part of the year but there is still loads of space! This is a video from youtube of Meg, a border collie who does tricks and surfs at Saltburn :cool:
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  15. running_dog Honored Member

    Oh dear, I'm sorry I forgot this thread was about self control games... that video of Meg was quite a derail, but you have to admit she is fun!
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  16. dog nerd Well-Known Member

    amazing video !! Border collies are so smart !! They can do just about anything ! (y)

    I did a LOT of focus games lately, healing and a LOT of recall games , I practiced everywhere , in the field , near a soccer field , baseball field, near a dog park. Then I started to add tennis ball and her favorite toy ; THE SQUEAKER BALL, on the ground , it's a work in progress we are not there yet , she still wants to go for the ball but when I call her back she is coming back to me at a much faster pace leaving the ball where it is. And even if sometimes she doesn't get it , she is doing much better. I went to the agility club for one last practice this year and I left the squeaker ball on the ground outside the ring. We ran two courses and she never tried to get the ball. Good doogy Frida !!

    Same thing here !! :p
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  17. running_dog Honored Member

    Fantastic! It's amazing what progress dogs can make once we break things down into smaller steps for them to learn.

    I'm still working at the quiet end of the car park with just an ordinary tennis ball and getting Gus to stay until a release cue while I bounce, drop, juggle and fake throw the ball. He's getting a bit better at heeling near the ball and is realising that he isn't going to get it if he dives. He's also getting better about other dogs coming through the carpark without feeling the the need to go and say hello. I've been working a bit with Zac too, he will stay while I roll the ball past him and I want to start explaining to him that I want him to call off a moving ball, I think I'll have to start by calling him off a toy he doesn't really want anyway.
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  18. dog nerd Well-Known Member

    Good idea !! Starting with less valuable toys is much easier. Step 2 : increase the difficulty with high value toys. They need to figured out that they don't have to rush for their favorite toy they just need to pay attention and slowly they will learn to control themselves. Easy to say but much harder to do in practice !!
    running_dog likes this.
  19. running_dog Honored Member

    Must try to get a video of Gus... today he stayed in the back of the car with the boot(UK)/trunk(USA):D open while I threw the ball for Zac. AMAZING progress for him!
  20. dog nerd Well-Known Member


    That's great !! (y) It is amazing how they can learn and surprise us !! For me and probably for a lot of people out here , training is just an excuse for spending more time with our dog. Whatever if we have success or not on a particular problem or trick at the end it doesn't really matters, must of us will keep training anyway. But when we do finally achieve something no matter how long we've been working on it, the felling is just amazing !! :LOL:

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