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Passing TDI test

This is a discussion on Passing TDI test within the Working Dogs forums, part of the Dog Shows and Performance category; Originally Posted by Shawsea The words aren't really important, "okay" or "yes" , what is important is how the dog interprets it. Yes being my ...

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Old 05-19-2014, 10:25 AM
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The words aren't really important, "okay" or "yes" , what is important is how the dog interprets it. Yes being my release, has been conditioned so intensely into the dogs they are compelled to respond. But yes has been conditioned as the release word since 8 weeks old. This is one of the fundamental reasons I don't use clickers :-)
We could explore a lot of reasons why your dog may or may not come have came, which is interesting and with the people who previously responded contributing would be awesome, but you are pressed for time, so I would do a tonne of restrained recalls and *drag recalls, there is nothing that builds desire quicker then frustration/agitation work.

*Drag recall (hopefully you have a regular harness and longline)
Basically a helper, doing a restrained recall, also has a longline attached to the harness, when you say "come" , helper releases dog, but put some tension on the leash so the dog has to exert a bit of effort to get to you. The more effort, the more frustration, within reason of course :-)
I've been working with summer sausage as bait--really good summer sausage from a local beef producer at a farmers' market I've been patronizing for years--and he's very excited about that.

It also has occurred to me that, given that there were seventeen dogs/handlers working at four different stations, one of them directly behind me when I called him, that he may have been distracted/confused by something that was going on behind me and was initially reluctant to run toward me because of something behind me of which I was unaware. Or, he'd simply had enough of going through various exercises after nearly ninety minutes of being there and after having been at school with me during the day. What was frustrating for me was that other dogs were having trouble not following their owner/handlers the moment they walked away from them and mine sat and stayed beautifully--he just didn't want to come. And, of course, it was also frustrating that he sailed through everything else he was asked to do and then suddenly refused to do something I know perfectly well he's been doing for pretty much as long as I've had him. Unfortunately, unlike you, I couldn't start him with commands at eight weeks, because he was a stray I adopted from a shelter at eight months--though he's shown zero interest in straying at all since I've had him, which makes me wonder if he was simply a dumped puppy as opposed to an actual stray, prior to being picked up by animal control and turned over to the humane society.
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Old 05-19-2014, 02:38 PM
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@Tilden I'll leave the Summer Sausage /hvr for someone else to comment on, it's not really how I train anymore, when I use food, the treat is pretty irrelevant to my girls :-)

Something going on behind could definitely have disrupted her and 90 minutes of work if your pup isn't used to it, could definitely effect your dogs performance. My girls love tracking and detection for example, but it takes a lot of 30 second to two minute interval tracks with 20 minute rests, to work up to 20 minute tracks to inevitably work up to long tracks, and my girls are genetically predisposed to the work and selectively chosen. Lastly working in a foreign enviroment, unless you've spent a lot of time conditioning your dog to working that way, can have a dramatic effect on a dog performing even basic commands, and "come" while distracted is certainly not a basic command :-) You would not believe how many covert detection scenarios I've ran at Home Depot/Walmart and my favourite Canadian Tire, bless them for their horrible store set ups lol
I still think the quickest solution for you is restrained recalls, as it builds the drive to get to you, not the treat :-)
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:18 PM
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@Tilden I'll leave the Summer Sausage /hvr for someone else to comment on, it's not really how I train anymore, when I use food, the treat is pretty irrelevant to my girls :-)

Something going on behind could definitely have disrupted her and 90 minutes of work if your pup isn't used to it, could definitely effect your dogs performance. My girls love tracking and detection for example, but it takes a lot of 30 second to two minute interval tracks with 20 minute rests, to work up to 20 minute tracks to inevitably work up to long tracks, and my girls are genetically predisposed to the work and selectively chosen. Lastly working in a foreign enviroment, unless you've spent a lot of time conditioning your dog to working that way, can have a dramatic effect on a dog performing even basic commands, and "come" while distracted is certainly not a basic command :-) You would not believe how many covert detection scenarios I've ran at Home Depot/Walmart and my favourite Canadian Tire, bless them for their horrible store set ups lol
I still think the quickest solution for you is restrained recalls, as it builds the drive to get to you, not the treat :-)
Normally, I use those tiny Zuke's training treats or nothing at all. I went with the summer sausage, because it was suggested I try something the dog would find really enticing and use it only for that command. Since he would not normally get people food, he quickly got very excited about even little bits of summer sausage.

Now, today, he seemed happier to come simply because I called, so I'm not sure what's really going on. He's always pleased to play hide and go seek--that is, to be put on a stay, have me leave the room, and then have to come find me after I call him. Sometimes I take a toy with me, and when he succeeds in finding me, I throw the toy for him. In fact, he enjoys that so much that once I couldn't seem to find him and he didn't come when I called, so I went looking for him and found him behind the dining room door (somewhere I've frequently hidden from him) with a toy in his mouth. When I found him, he dropped the toy at my feet and wagged his tail. I swear, if he could have said, "Good girl!", he would have.

Maybe he just finds a conventional recall dull after all of that.
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Old 05-20-2014, 01:27 AM
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@Tilden, without ruffling too many feathers, that is the flaw I find with training with food, the food is the reward not you :-( So there is the never ending search for the higher value food, I use Zukes as well, and herring and kibble, and I am dead serious when I say it makes no difference to my dogs which I use. They work at a very high level of drive, for anything Food, tug or ball. When you stop using the food as the reward, make the reward an event, you become the reward.Now you can train with kibble, tug, ball, herring, it doesn't matter to the dog, because it's the interaction with you that is High Value.
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:00 AM
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@Tilden, without ruffling too many feathers, that is the flaw I find with training with food, the food is the reward not you :-( So there is the never ending search for the higher value food, I use Zukes as well, and herring and kibble, and I am dead serious when I say it makes no difference to my dogs which I use. They work at a very high level of drive, for anything Food, tug or ball. When you stop using the food as the reward, make the reward an event, you become the reward.Now you can train with kibble, tug, ball, herring, it doesn't matter to the dog, because it's the interaction with you that is High Value.
I actually don't disagree. I had phased out treats some time ago, and he hadn't needed any for the entire TDI course until he suddenly didn't come on the last exercise of the last day, when it was suggested to me that maybe I should try going back to a special treat, just for that exercise, for a little bit and then start phasing it out again. I'm still not really sure why he chose to balk at that point on that particular night, because, for instance, when I let him go out to relieve himself this morning in our fenced yard, when I returned to the door to let him in, before I could start to call him, he saw me and started running to the door.

Fortunately, I can practice with him on recall elsewhere before the test too. For instance, the college where I work is fine with dogs, as are a couple of local businesses, so he can work somewhere besides our house.
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Old 05-20-2014, 10:21 AM
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@Tilden on the other hand I never totally phase food out :-) or tug or ball once ball has been added, it is the last thing I add as a reward. Frawley actually makes a great comparison between dogs and hunters, A hunter doesn't need to shoot an elk or moose to go hunting every fall, but needs to know there is a chance of shooting one.
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Old 05-20-2014, 10:47 AM
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@Tilden on the other hand I never totally phase food out :-) or tug or ball once ball has been added, it is the last thing I add as a reward. Frawley actually makes a great comparison between dogs and hunters, A hunter doesn't need to shoot an elk or moose to go hunting every fall, but needs to know there is a chance of shooting one.
I will still reward at the end of a session, but since the TDI test won't allow food to be used during the test, he can't be expecting anything then. And, fortunately, he seems to have no problem with the "leave it" command, so people offering him treats or seeing food on the floor during the practice test didn't phase him.
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Old 05-20-2014, 06:16 PM
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@Tilden sent fr add me so I can send pm :-)
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