Two Masters?

Discussion in 'Obedience Training' started by brenda taulbee, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. brenda taulbee New Member

    Hello again,
    So our latest issue with Kenzii (who is 6 months old already!) is the fact that she is only listening to me and not my partner. Sara was the one who originally found Kenzii, we equally split training time and who does feedings every day.

    Still, whenever I am around Kenzii is very focused on me, and will sometimes outright ignore Sara's commands. Sara says when it is just the two of them on walks she listens perfectly, and it is only when I am also present that she starts to act up.

    Any advice from two people/one dog households? This issue is becoming more obvious as she gets older, and I don't want her to only listen to commands from me. She needs to be able to listen to anyone in any situation. Any advice would be wonderful!

  2. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    In these situations, YOU should ignore her entirely, and Sara should bring an unbelievably AMAZING treat to Kenzii's nose and lure her into a sit, using the command as well. Even though she may already know this trick without luring, the reminder will just serve as a refresher and get her attention off of you and onto Sara. For each trick, go back to "retraining" as if she never knew the command in the first place. A good treat to try is Pet Botanic's rolled dog food. It serves as a great training treat and is AMAZING for distracted dogs. Man does it stink, but dogs love it!
    Do lots of work using this method with MANY people, not just you and Sara.
  3. alee New Member

    Its true that a dog should listen to more then just the owner, I remember in dog obedience we had to switch dogs sometimes. Although I do believe a dog has one owner, and he usually will listen to the one with the best leader energy.
  4. snooks Experienced Member

    ur partner needs to change the way she interacts with the dog because it is actually she that decides how their relationship grows, not the dog. does she just allow the dog to ignore her or what does she do? do you intervene or does she just repeat sit sit... i agree treats might go a long way in making her a convincing person to listen to. I am home all day with our two dogs and they both listen a lot less to my hubby. he gives up pretty easy too. so i usually say...you asked her to come she needs to do it. I ignore her and make a few suggestions. go get the beef out of the fridge, walk a little closer and touch her lightly on the side and get her attention. talke to her good girl, clicks, treats, praise, play, squeaking a toy!!

    if the dog can get away with ignoring her then he will, there's not enough reward in listening to her yet. how can she make that more rewarding? by having treats, using a clicker and training with it, doing short 2-3 minute clicker training sessions every day. unless she does engage the dog and interact, and make it great to listen the dog will continue to disregard her. dogs are "what's in it for me" creatures.

    spending more time pleasantly brushing or interacting with dog, petting or massaging at night, playing with toys are all things that will create a bond with the dog. unless she works on that the dog may not see a reward in the interaction. i think a little involvement would help a lot. what does the dog find so enjoying about you and how you react to him? do you talk or pet more, play? are you more consistent on not letting him run off and ignore you?

    sometimes it's hard not to take it personally, but it's really not personal. the dog may just love her to pieces if she starts to forge that bond and takes the lead role in being consistent, positive, rewarding, fun, and making herself very desirable to be around and listen to. it sounds like she might be a little discouraged but you can offer suggestions and ignore the dog when she is interacting. nothing is worse than having someone come in and supersede what you were trying to do. she's going to have to do a little work to make it work though. good luck, and tell sara it's not personal---really.

    one last thing start this training in a very low distraction place-i.e. not the park. leash up if necessary to keep pup from wandering off. be up and positive and yay!!!! puppy party GOOD DOG! dogs really go for drama.
  5. drivingtenacity New Member

    I kind of have the same situation with Zena. She is obviously mine.:msngiggle:
    She loves her Billy, but listens only to me. She's angelic on our walks...unless he come along, and then it's bark-pull-run time.
    The ironic part is, he's the one who's always talking about being 'dominant' and 'a leader.'
    Do you spend more time with your dog than your gf does? That might be part of it. (edited to clarify, you say you split training time, but what I meant is, are you just home more often?)
    Or, maybe the dog just relates to you better?
  6. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Yeah, i have this same problem, Buddy follows me, leans against the bathroom door if i am in there, and Craig has trouble getting the dog to follow him around. It can be done, but Craig has to work very hard to get Buddy's att'n if i am available. I tend to tiptoe outa sight when Craig plays w/buddy, or, i have even gone into other rooms and shut the door to keep Buddy away from me, so Craig can "have" buddy. In the early days, i even put lil peices of ham on Craig!!:msngiggle: EVen when Craig fell asleep in his chair, Craig might wake up to being licked (where the ham was) and Craig just thought the dog was just loving on him!:msngrin: this did help Craig, way more than the dog actually!

    Buddy does like Craig, and is very affectionate with Craig, too, but follows me. buddy does listen to Craig's commands-- IF Craig does them the way Buddy learned them from me, which Craig does not always do. If Craig can imitate the way I do the command, the dog will do the command for Craig. Does your partner use the same voice tone, "tune", or gesture YOU use? See, Craig sometimes alters it a bit, and Buddy does not seem to recognize the command if Craig alters it some.

    I had sorta thought this was almost normal for border collies, they do tend to be one-person dogs. Like Snook, i do what i can to stay outa their bonding time and give encouragment/pointers, to Craig to keep at it. cuz it DID hurt Craig's feelings, it did, bumme dhim out for a lil while there. It's okay now, though.

    ONe thing i did, was, Craig taught Buddy "Kisses?" all by himself, and i have never ever asked Buddy "kisses?" only Craig does that trick with Buddy. I kinda wanted that to be just for them two, to sort of make up for Buddy follows me 24/7.

    Ha, the other day, a friend of mine who Buddy really likes and is very affectionate with, bent down and asked, "Kisses?" and Buddy ran to Craig and licked Craig's face!!:msngiggle:

    Another thing i do, is, i have taught Buddy to bring things to Craig on command, Buddy totally enjoys this trick immensely, running back and forth between us. It might be Buddy's favorite game of all.
    Eee. just realized i offer hardly any tips, but only empathy, it is the same at our house...:msniwonder:
  7. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Ha, just remembered another thing Buddy does, it does seem sometimes Buddy does cut out some time for Craig, and does pester Craig if Craig has not paid much attn to Buddy for a lil while, but one game we do, is, i toss a toy, Buddy brings it to Craig, and vice-versa, Buddy will keep this going a long time, way longer than he usually enjoys fetch.
    We sit in a special spot for this game, and play no other game in that spot, so Buddy knows right off, "Oh, we are gonna do reverse fetch!!" Buddy loves that game, and soon enuff, it is wordless, and Buddy brings the toy to the OTHER person, and never ever messes up!! Amazing.
  8. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    BRENDA-- i just thought of another thing i did, i sometimes insisted that Buddy is bored and Craig oughta take Buddy around visiting people, i stay home--and this helps Buddy realize, "I'm with Craig, i'm his dog." as well as Craig feels all warmly that Buddy THEN follows Craig around at other people's homes.
  9. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Ooh, i remember something else i did to help foster Craig/Buddy bond....i can't recall now who sent me this idea, or where on this site i came across this trick...but here it is, it's more an excercise than a trick.

    I taught Craig to do this. Craig stands with his arms outstretched in "T" position, with treats in one or both hands, that are easily visible to Buddy. Even had Buddy sniff the treats first, then outstretch his arms.
    Buddy of course, will stare at the treats...soon as Buddy glances at Craig's face, he gets treat.
    Overtime, we lowered Craig's arms downwards, which makes it more difficult for Buddy to resist staring at the treat. Overtime, we then started bringing the treats closer to Buddy's face, and wait til he looks to Craig --when he does, he is rewarded. It was amazing how quickly Buddy learned to watch Craig's face, not the treat!!! Craig LOVES doing this with Buddy.
    Overtime, we even waited a bit, so Buddy reeally had to watch Craig's face for a moment longer to get treat. Buddy figured this out pretty darn fast, and it helps him learn to focus on Craig.

    this might help you and your partner get your dog to focus on Sarah more, too!!!
    THERE IS ALSO A GREAT "LOOK AT ME" lesson in the "classroom" which is way valuable trick for a dog to know on command.
  10. brenda taulbee New Member

    Thank you everybody for your suggestions, and especially your empathy! Sara has really stepped up with the trick training and it has helped a ton. With Sara's help Kenzii has mastered Kneel and Wave and their bond has improved.

    Tigerlily, the Look at Me game sounds like a great idea. We may have to give that a try!

    Thanks again, everybody, for your suggestions
  11. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    On the contrary, Border Collies are multi-person dogs! Lol. They always have a special, special bond with one person, but anyone in the household is SO amazing to a BC. They love being with people and are definitely people-pleasers. BUT, they are so attentive and tune in so well with their main TRAINER that getting them to listen to others is like starting training all over again if the person doesn't use the same commands/cues as the trainer. With Mud, as long as they use the same cues I do, she'd jump over the moon if any person asked her to. With Zeke, he could care less if a cat told him to sit--if that cat was offering a tennis ball, he'd do anything for it. Border Collies will do anything for anybody, provided they know the cues. But if their best buddy comes around, it's awful hard to stay with whoever's working with them. Lol. :doghappy:

    Anywho, glad things are going so well Brenda! Keep up the good work. :dogsmile:
  12. snooks Experienced Member

    Look at me is a great suggestion. It's great for so many things, esp the arm's length look at me. It teaches patience, confidence, trust, and forms a positive emotional response for the dog. We also do a round robin target in class but here the two of you could do it. Teach targeting a hand with nose. Fido Touch and hold out the hand. Take turns and click treat for touching. After our 4 dogs caught on they were really keying on both their names and other people who were essentially strangers. My dog was going to whoever called her to target and I was amazed. Doing that with you partner will reframe how the dog listens to both of you for the better.

    Yes much empathy. Hope things continue getting better.
    :dogwink:
  13. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Ah, Tx, you are completely right, i do agree, Buddy WILL do his tricks for anyone who asks correctly the way Buddy understands and is used to. I didn't mean that he won't do tricks for anyone but me, i was not clear.

    Buddy follows 1 person, me, just like our last BC, Toby, followed Craig. Oh, Toby loved me, too, and Toby followed me--til Craig got home!! :dogbiggrin: Both dogs loved and obeyed either one of us, but each dog FOLLOWED/FOLLOWS only ONE of us, see?

    Buddy is this same way, too. He loves and follows Craig--til i get home! After that, Craig has to put some effort into KEEPING Buddy beside him if i am not also in that room. If we are all in same room, Buddy will play with, or do tricks for, or maybe even love on, anyone who asks. If Craig hasn't spent much time with Buddy that day, Buddy might pester Craig a bit for some att'n and love, which Craig adores Buddy doing that! But if i leave the room, Buddy follows me.
    This was kinda a bummer at first for Craig, i can understand that, is why i did what i could to foster some special "just Craig and Buddy" things, that i do not get in on= it's THEIR thing. Like Snooks, i kinda gave some pointers to help things along between Craig and Buddy there, too.

    Buddy has become very outgoing, everyone is his friend, he sure enjoys meeting new people, he'll do anything he understands for anyone. (btw, i chuckled out loud at your line about your cat there,:msngiggle: ha ha!!!) But he follows me, and only me. If Craig leaves the room, Buddy may go check on him, briefly, but soon returns to me, and he stays by me. Craig has to be doing something REEEALLY interesting to keep Buddy beside him for any length of time if i am not there also. It was this way with our other BCs in the past.

    It is this way with all the BCs we know of personally, they FOLLOW 1 person, BUT, honestly, we do not know many BCs in real life, only a small few. And, like we all notice around this great website, EACH DOG IS UNIQUE!!!
    AND, we have only had BCs, and some BC mixes, but not other breeds, not for a long long time anyway, so this might be true of all or most dogs, not really a BC thing at all, i might be stereotyping!!

    See, what i mean is, Buddy does not really divide his time evenly between us here, nor did our last BC. That is what i meant by i think this "1 person" thing may be normal for BCs, and i may very well be wrong!!! :msniwonder: And it might be how Brenda's dog is going to be, too...?
    I still wonder if Sara did the tricks a lil differently than Brenda did, but at any rate, i'm glad it's coming along for them.:msnohyes:

    But Buddy is my lil caboose all the time. He is not "my" dog, but i am so lucky and thrilled to bits to be "his" person!!
    This is very humbling to me, it makes me think of that line that goes something like, "I'm trying to become who my dog thinks i am!"
  14. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Lol. ^^ Of the BCs I've met, some are incredibly clingy to one person, some are happy to be with anyone, some are close to a few people, and some aren't very particular at all...but still love people. ^^ One of my family friends has a female BC who bounds right up to any vehicle that stops(in the driveway), fully prepared with a ball at her feet. Anyone with a foot to kick it or a hand to throw it hung the moon. She's starting to get a bit more lovey with me, slowly. Another friend of mine has a male, and he likes just about anybody who'll scratch him behind the ear. He did take a particular liking to me when I first met him, but his Shepherds cling more to him than the BC does to anyone. The BC I recently got done training didn't really have a whole lot of interest in anyone. Don't get me wrong, she liked people, but for a BC she didn't have much personality. She was very intelligent and enjoyed training, and had no trouble paying attention to me. Nothing distracted that dog when she was training--and she was a mere 8 months old.

    Zeke is very shy, and very picky about which people are "acceptable." If he's not sure about them, then he'll just kind of ignore them. They can pet him but he doesn't care much. He sticks to me like glue, the typical clingy BC that most people envision(even though he's only half BC). Mud loves me to pieces, but she's pretty mellow. If it's just the two of us, she'll tag along around the house, but it's mainly just curiosity--"Hey, Mom, where you going?" "Mom, Mom, Mom, what are you doing?" "Mama, mama--where we goin'? Hey a toy...hey Mom, wanna play?" But when everyone's home, she'll just pick a spot to lay or chew at her Kong and just be happy. Or, she'll roughhouse with the boys outside. Of the BCs that I've met, they vary quite a bit, but they do have one thing in common--they all really enjoy PEOPLE, and are very loving. :doghappy:

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