Need advice on a few behavioral things...

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Need advice on a few behavioral things...

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Old 10-14-2009, 10:26 AM
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dnb
 
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Unhappy Need advice on a few behavioral things...

OK, Hopefully I won't bore you, or over indulge in my privileges here to ask a group of experienced dog owners about my issues.

First, a little background... We just got a dog 3 weeks ago, and named him Billions (Billi for short) - he's absolutely adorable... Here's some pics!!!
He's a schnauzer mix (with what I think to be a Jack Russell), and we got him from the local rescue group in Dallas. He was a stray, had what I believe to be demodectic mange (no one can give me ANY info on this, and at this point it's not an issue - but based on my reading and their descriptions, I think it was this type) hook worms, AND heart worms... poor little guy!!! They took care of all this before we got him, so luckily his only treatment is just a simple heartworm pill at this point.

The first week we had him, I got him to learn sit within 20 minutes. I thought, "awesome, he's super smart!" I also got him to go into his crate with some coaxing with some food, and he was willingly going in and everything was great.

Week 2 comes, and I had to fly out to LA for a week while my wife stayed home. He started vomiting and had diarrhea for 3 or 4 days, and was pooping out worms... She took him to the vet, and tested negative for everything, and the vet said it's normal for this to happen when they're expelling the worms as they block the intestines, etc. Understandably, exhibited lameness, and wasn't hardly active during this period; but once he felt better my wife reported that he was a different dog - extremely lively!

Week 3, here we are, and things are MOSTLY great. I say mostly, because some things are completely frustrating, and I know it's ME who need the training.

The biggest concern of mine at this point is his elimination. As of today, he hasn't pooped in 48 hours, but is peeing fairly regularly. We take him out back on a leash, and he just stares around or chases bugs, but never goes potty. He's better without a leash, but I want him to be comfortable on a leash, and he too often runs away from me when I call him because he's either playing "catch me" or he's yelling at the dogs in the neighbor's yard. I reward him with immense praise when he goes potty, but he has yet to do it on command. Also while outside, it's very difficult for him to "come" and he gets distracted incredibly easy. It's SO frustrating! If no one is around, he'll come to me after asking 4 or 5 times (I pause for about 20-30 seconds after asking 2 times so he won't think it's good to ignore me).
When I take him for walks, he tries to pee and poo about every 2-3 houses we pass, but nothing comes out after he peed or pooped already. I figure it's a territorial thing (he IS neutered), but maybe it could be constipation?
Any ideas how to make him more prone to getting right down to business when I take him out?

The second biggest concern is his separation anxiety. He didn't have much anxiety when we got him, and now he just won't shut up. Everything I've read says to only give him attention when he's calmed down and quiet, but after 20-30 minutes of his incessant whining, I can't handle it anymore and start asking if he needs to go outside. He rarely shows any excitement when I ask him this, but I take him anyway. I want him to think that the first thing that must be done when he's removed from the crate is we go outside to potty. This has yet to work. I can be 5 ft away, and while he's in his crate he'll lightly whimper, to which I try to ignore.. If i leave the room, it's full blown crying.
Semi-related, it's impossible now to get him in his crate.... I feed him in there, play with him around the crate, and even spend 5-10 minutes a day petting him and telling him he's a good boy while he sits in the crate - but I can NO LONGER LURE HIM IN WITH TREATS... If i have a full bowl of food, he'll eventually get in, but first he'll try to eat it from outside. I don't get it; I've tried making it fun, I've tried making it personable for him, but he HATES going into it!
I crate him during the day while we're at work (completely gone for around 10 hours) and sometimes when we eat. He's only had a few accidents in the house, mostly peeing, once pooping but I caught him and carried him outside. Sometimes (like last night) when we come home and take him out, he doesn't eliminate at all... I know he's drinking plenty of water (we refill his bowl every day) and we're actually overfeeding him a little right now to try and get him to poop. What gives? He just goes out and plays.... Eventually after an hour or so of being inside, he'll go by the back door, we take him out, and then he just pees... still no poop. I've checked the entire house, no hidden feces anywhere i can find.

I think he's TOO smart sometimes... particularly in the fact that I can only trick him into getting into the crate once.. first it was food, next time that didn't work - then it was toys, now that won't work - i even try calling him from the other side, now that won't work... wtf!?!??!

Another issue I have is he learned to go outside, really, really well... Sounds great right? Well, only if he was going potty... He goes to the back door and just sits and stares at it, occasionally looking back at us to take him out, so I get the leash to take him out and he just wants to play with the dogs along the back of the yard, or he walks to the gate door so I can take him on a walk... WTF smart dog!?!?! I'm trying to love you and play with you, and you just want to go out!? We just went on a walk, don't go back out! SOOOO FRUSTRATING!
In likeness, he also goes to the garage door sometimes, which we think means he wants to go on a car ride? We've taken him on a few, and he's just a great lil pup when we do, so relaxed and just takes everything in. It's actually a wonderful thing to see!

Another problem is that he eats his food entirely too fast. Again, from my reading, I found the best approach is either: hand feeding, smaller portions but fed more times, or putting something large like a rock in his bowl to slow him down.... He still scarfs his food in the smaller portions - and he's incredibly impatient when I hand feed him, jumping all over the place waiting for the next bite. I have yet to try the rock in the bowl...

My last problem is brand spanking new, and really annoying. When I try to train him I hold food in my left hand, and give visual cues with my right hand.... Before he would be fine, and I'd slip a piece in my right hand (behind my back so he isn't distracted by this) and feed it to him when he did his command... Starting 2 days ago, he now completely ignores me and will jump and jump and sniff and just COMPLETELY ignore me and pay attention ONLY to the food in my hand.. his sense of smell is impeccable; if we put it on a table or hide it in my pocket, he knows it's there, 100% of the time (we've even tested this by taking him out of the room and having my wife put food on a random counter or table in various parts of the house... he finds it within seconds).. This is cool, but super frustrating in that he won't pay attention until he scarfs all the food down, and then sniffs the entire house up and down for food and eventually gives up.. This usually takes 20 minutes or so, but makes training impossible....

Maybe my expectations are too high? He learned sit and stay within hours of having him in my presence, to which the foster family said he didn't know ANY commands. Since he seems pretty smart I would think he'd learn these commands quickly, but to my dismay he ignores me a LOT and won't quit doing annoying things.

Sorry if this is too long to read, but I could really use the help! Most of my dogs were incredibly dumb, and just did what I told them... this dog is really smart, I can tell a HUGE difference, and working with him is difficult.. he's stubborn at times.

PS - We love this dog, he's super sweet and loving, and he's got a face we can't hardly say "no" to... We miss him while at work!

PPS - I've done tons of research on the net, read articles, chapters in books, etc... I feel defeated for the first time in my life, and by a dog of all things... I feel I've kept to the positive re-enforcement methods really well, giving treats, praising him heavily, and loving him even when he pisses me off. This is why I'm coming to this forum, to get real live people answering my questions, since I can't afford a professional trainer, and I'm a HUUUUUUUUUUGE DIY guy... I'm not above putting in the time to educate myself to do things 100% perfectly correct the first time.

Thank you for your time!
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Old 10-14-2009, 10:56 AM
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Hi! and welcome to the forum...thats quite a novel...lol I'll try to hit on all the points that strike me

First...as far as the mange goes...has he had his FINAL negative skin scrape? This is very very important...they can have all their hair back for weeks and then the mange comes back because its not 100% gone...I had this happen to me because I tried to skip a step (skin scrapes are painful) but trust me, you want to make sure its 100% gone.

The pooping out lots of worms after a wormers is normal, just try to pick up the poo as quick as you can

As far as teaching recall...this is not som'thing hes going to learn 100% in three weeks to be honest. Never call him unless you can reward him, don't use the recal word for other things, and when hes running at you RUN AWAY from him and make him chase you. don't call him more than once either...most people do this...and it ruins the cue

As far as "go potty" on a cue...this can take a long time to teach too so don't be surprised if hes not doing it yet. Just be consistant.


Quote:
but after 20-30 minutes of his incessant whining, I can't handle it anymore and start asking if he needs to go outside

unfortunately all this taught the dog is that he needs to whine even longer...I think your going to far to fast...I would practice for MICROSECONDS...put dog in crate, click/treat then let him out...after a few try go up to a full second....get where Iam going with this? they need baby baby baby steps and whatever you do don't look at him if hes crying (thats a reward) and if you HAVE to let him out wait for a moment of quiet or ask for a sit and let him out.


Quote:

I crate him during the day while we're at work (completely gone for around 10 hours)
Honestly this is waaay to long for any dog on a regular basis. Once in a blue moon...ok....but not regularly...And since your dog has anxiety about the crate, this probably isn't helping...I think you need to dog proof a room for him

Quote:
Another problem is that he eats his food entirely too fast. Again, from my reading, I found the best approach is either: hand feeding, smaller portions but fed more times, or putting something large like a rock in his bowl to slow him down.... He still scarfs his food in the smaller portions - and he's incredibly impatient when I hand feed him, jumping all over the place waiting for the next bite. I have yet to try the rock in the bowl...
[/quote]

the rock will work and if you hand feed him...wait him out....if hes impatient walk away for thirty seconds...reward glimmers of patience and then build on in...asking for more and more. Everytime you feed him when hes impatient you are rewarding it.


Quote:
My last problem is brand spanking new, and really annoying. When I try to train him I hold food in my left hand, and give visual cues with my right hand.... Before he would be fine, and I'd slip a piece in my right hand (behind my back so he isn't distracted by this) and feed it to him when he did his command... Starting 2 days ago, he now completely ignores me and will jump and jump and sniff and just COMPLETELY ignore me and pay attention ONLY to the food in my hand.. his sense of smell is impeccable; if we put it on a table or hide it in my pocket, he knows it's there, 100% of the time (we've even tested this by taking him out of the room and having my wife put food on a random counter or table in various parts of the house... he finds it within seconds).. This is cool, but super frustrating in that he won't pay attention until he scarfs all the food down, and then sniffs the entire house up and down for food and eventually gives up.. This usually takes 20 minutes or so, but makes training impossible....
I wrote a sticky in the training forum...https://www.dogforum.com/dog-training...ing-food-1219/

you should probably review....I would advise not holding the food...have a bowl on the table or put the treats in your pocket....

also for exercises that you might need to hold food....
YouTube - Layla does Doggy Zen

this vid shows an impatient dog learning that being impatient gets him nothing. And calming down gets a reward...notice the microseconds...but the second session the dog was probably much better.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eG-C6...eature=related


they call this "doggy zen" (google it) you hold your arms out like an airplane with treats in both hands and when the dog looks at you reward from the hand they didn't look at. This teaches the dog to watch your face.

Thats all I got for now...if you have more questions just ask.



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Old 10-14-2009, 11:09 AM
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Welcome!! he sure is a cutie!!!

For your questions:

Quote:
The biggest concern of mine at this point is his elimination. As of today, he hasn't pooped in 48 hours, but is peeing fairly regularly. We take him out back on a leash, and he just stares around or chases bugs, but never goes potty. He's better without a leash, but I want him to be comfortable on a leash, and he too often runs away from me when I call him because he's either playing "catch me" or he's yelling at the dogs in the neighbor's yard. I reward him with immense praise when he goes potty, but he has yet to do it on command. Also while outside, it's very difficult for him to "come" and he gets distracted incredibly easy. It's SO frustrating! If no one is around, he'll come to me after asking 4 or 5 times (I pause for about 20-30 seconds after asking 2 times so he won't think it's good to ignore me).
When I take him for walks, he tries to pee and poo about every 2-3 houses we pass, but nothing comes out after he peed or pooped already. I figure it's a territorial thing (he IS neutered), but maybe it could be constipation?
Any ideas how to make him more prone to getting right down to business when I take him out?
Routine is best; Try taking him to the exact same spot to potty. Going on command isn't going to happen unless he has to go, but your on the right track taking him out regularly and praising.
You could also purchase a training aid-like this brick Potty Rock Dog Training Device | Agelong Brands Basically, it doesn't smell to you, but it smells to your dog. And when they smell potty, if they have to go, they will; This helps cue them to go to the bathroom, as well as use one spot!

Quote:
The second biggest concern is his separation anxiety. He didn't have much anxiety when we got him, and now he just won't shut up. Everything I've read says to only give him attention when he's calmed down and quiet, but after 20-30 minutes of his incessant whining, I can't handle it anymore and start asking if he needs to go outside. He rarely shows any excitement when I ask him this, but I take him anyway. I want him to think that the first thing that must be done when he's removed from the crate is we go outside to potty. This has yet to work. I can be 5 ft away, and while he's in his crate he'll lightly whimper, to which I try to ignore.. If i leave the room, it's full blown crying.
Semi-related, it's impossible now to get him in his crate.... I feed him in there, play with him around the crate, and even spend 5-10 minutes a day petting him and telling him he's a good boy while he sits in the crate - but I can NO LONGER LURE HIM IN WITH TREATS... If i have a full bowl of food, he'll eventually get in, but first he'll try to eat it from outside. I don't get it; I've tried making it fun, I've tried making it personable for him, but he HATES going into it!
I crate him during the day while we're at work (completely gone for around 10 hours) and sometimes when we eat. He's only had a few accidents in the house, mostly peeing, once pooping but I caught him and carried him outside. Sometimes (like last night) when we come home and take him out, he doesn't eliminate at all... I know he's drinking plenty of water (we refill his bowl every day) and we're actually overfeeding him a little right now to try and get him to poop. What gives? He just goes out and plays.... Eventually after an hour or so of being inside, he'll go by the back door, we take him out, and then he just pees... still no poop. I've checked the entire house, no hidden feces anywhere i can find.
I would guess he's associating being crated with you being gone. Here's what I would do.
I'd play; I'd put him in the crate for thirty seconds, let him out, make a fuss and give treats. I'd keep doing this, gradually increasing the time he is in the crate, and where I am (ie. at first, visible and right there, eventually, walking out the door and maybe driving around the block).
He needs to know it's no big deal going in the crate, it's comfortable, and you don't always leave for eight hours.
Also-purchase a Kong KONG Company - Your Pet Will Love You For It or similar toy that can be stuffed with food to keep him busy-peanut butter, kong stuffing, or your own recipe.
Keep the crate door open when you are at home, and reward him GREATLY when he goes in on his own to lay down (make that the only cushy soft place for him to lay down-and he'll go in there).

Quote:
Another problem is that he eats his food entirely too fast. Again, from my reading, I found the best approach is either: hand feeding, smaller portions but fed more times, or putting something large like a rock in his bowl to slow him down.... He still scarfs his food in the smaller portions - and he's incredibly impatient when I hand feed him, jumping all over the place waiting for the next bite. I have yet to try the rock in the bowl...
There are a few ways to address this; Have you tried the rock? That does work sometimes-or a few large rocks. Also you could feed him using a treat dispenser or puzzle ball Treat Dispensing Dog Toys He has to work to get the food out, so it's engaging and slows them down. Another method is the 'scatter' (we use this alot for rabbits who gulp food), it's a little messy. But you just scatter their food across the floor, and that will slow them down a bit.

Quote:
My last problem is brand spanking new, and really annoying. When I try to train him I hold food in my left hand, and give visual cues with my right hand.... Before he would be fine, and I'd slip a piece in my right hand (behind my back so he isn't distracted by this) and feed it to him when he did his command... Starting 2 days ago, he now completely ignores me and will jump and jump and sniff and just COMPLETELY ignore me and pay attention ONLY to the food in my hand.. his sense of smell is impeccable; if we put it on a table or hide it in my pocket, he knows it's there, 100% of the time (we've even tested this by taking him out of the room and having my wife put food on a random counter or table in various parts of the house... he finds it within seconds).. This is cool, but super frustrating in that he won't pay attention until he scarfs all the food down, and then sniffs the entire house up and down for food and eventually gives up.. This usually takes 20 minutes or so, but makes training impossible....
He's figured you out He was fine before because he didn't know where the food came from!! LOL
My dog is exactly like this-and what worked for us, was non-treat training. We train him completely with no treats (he does GET treats, just not as a reward). I have *never* trained a dog like this before, but it has worked wonderfully!!
You train as you normally would, but don't give treats. Instead of food, you give pets and praise-especially the first time they do something-go crazy with praise. We've found it works exceptionally well, he's very obedient etc.
Maybe try doing some tricks with just praise, and see how it goes?
The only other thing I can think of-is getting someone to help you, they could hand you the treats, 'off camera' so he doesn't see where they are coming from.

Quote:
Maybe my expectations are too high?
I don't think so-It's absolutely perfect to find issues when they are not huge-and work on them. It's when we ignore them that they blow up and we have to call the Super Nanny's, the Dog Whisperer's etc in to fix the problems
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Old 10-14-2009, 11:24 AM
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Awesome feedback guys... That was my thought, maybe I'm just expecting things to happen too quick... And I need more patience...

As for the dog-proof room... I've thought about that, but since we have carpet throughout the entire house (ugh, yes... entire), I worry about constantly cleaning up messes. I'll look more into this though...
I've been leaving him out of the crate at night, but he keeps jumping up on the bed and I have to tell him "off" (which btw he is GREAT at that command). But he still always jumps up on the bed, and on us when we get out of the bed.

I'll try the rocks in the bowl first, but might also try the scatter method.

After reading Criosphynx' post about bribing, I think I'm doing that entirely too much... Must stop immediately!!

My second biggest failure is using the "come" marker too frequently... I've mostly stopped using it when I'm mad and want him to stop barking at a dog or invested too much interest in a frog or something...

I guess at this point is that I just can't get him to focus on me while food is around - even if it's 6 ft up on the breakfast bar.. he smells it and won't budge except to see if I have any in my hands, and then goes right back to the spot he was at and stares up at the counter.

Also for the peeing/pooping, I try to keep in him a single spot, but again he just stares around or sniffs the ground and does nothing, and even pulls on his lead. I have a HUGE back yard (considering the metroplex has small yards), so I want him to be on a leash at first so a) I know he's actually going potty, and b) he knows that I want him to get to business... If i let him out back by himself, I really only care for that to be when he wants to run around by himself, but most likely i'll be out there with him playing as well.. It's so damned cute to see him charge at you, it just makes me melt - and that doesn't happen often (ask my wife! lol)

Another question, does clicker training improve training times? I try to use my fingers as a clicker, but I often find I keep trying to use it to get his attention... I don't think this is the right thing to do, but instinctively I keep doing so. I'll have to do more research on clicker training to get the rules down.

My hardest part of training a dog is consistency.. Like I said I say "come" too frequently and I snap my fingers too often. Guess I just need to take a step back and just realize even though he's smart, we can't freely communicate so I have to read his cues.

Last question for this post, if I'm calling him and he just stares at me, what should I do? I call 1-2 times, then wait for as long as I can before I think he's going to lose focus and jog off, then I call him again... Sometimes it takes 2-3 times of doing this, and eventually he'll just run at me after I haven't said anything for a few seconds.. He's gotten better, but he likes to sniff around and ignore me the first few times; I ALWAYS give him major props when he comes on command.

Due to the stomach problems with the worms, we've stopped giving him his normal kibble and are using a chicken and rice mixture (from a can) per the vet, and I we're currently slowly working his kibble back into his diet - but don't want to over do it since I use the kibble for his treats while training... He loves the stuff, it's like crack cocaine for him or something, lol!

Again, thanks for the feedback, I hope to learn more from the forums and eventually give feedback myself!
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Old 10-14-2009, 11:41 AM
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My second biggest failure is using the "come" marker too frequently... I've mostly stopped using it when I'm mad and want him to stop barking at a dog or invested too much interest in a frog or something
Never use come when your mad A better command for distracting him from a frog or that type of thing is 'leave it' (this is different then 'wait' =wait means wait then you get it)-leave it means you never get it.

There are a few ways to teach this. We taught in obedience; there was always beef jerky on the ground and they could not touch it-even when playing off leash after class. When they smell, or look at it, we say 'leave it' -this is also good to teach them never to take anything off the ground (prevents poisoning)-
I would do something similar, put a treat on teh ground and walk him past it on a leash, when he looks/sniffs/tries to grab it-say leave it, correct with the leash and walk past. heres a video on how to teach it.
Train a Dog to Leave It: How to Train your Dog | eHow.com


Quote:
Another question, does clicker training improve training times? I try to use my fingers as a clicker, but I often find I keep trying to use it to get his attention... I don't think this is the right thing to do, but instinctively I keep doing so. I'll have to do more research on clicker training to get the rules do
The basic principle in clicker training is that the 'click' is a marker-the click has to occur at the exact second the dog does what you want. The reason you use the 'marker' is that a treat, when training, often comes seconds *after* the behavior which can cause confusion and slower learning time. The click marks the exact second the behavior occurs.
When just treat training, the dog sits, you give a treat. The dog may have sighed, looked at the door or looked at you, or down-in the seconds inbetween sitting and getting a treat. This is more noticable with tricks that involve being further away from you-like wait, stay, roll over, target etc. With a clicker, he knows exactly what he did that's right.
Also every 'click' =treat. Golden rule
You have to start by 'loading the clicker' -which basically means you just click and feed, until he knows click=treat. It works well-but you have to do it right! Heres some further reading: Karen Pryor Clickertraining| dog training and cat training info, books, videos, events
Clicker training - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
ClickerSolutions Home


Quote:
Last question for this post, if I'm calling him and he just stares at me, what should I do? I call 1-2 times, then wait for as long as I can before I think he's going to lose focus and jog off, then I call him again... Sometimes it takes 2-3 times of doing this, and eventually he'll just run at me after I haven't said anything for a few seconds.. He's gotten better, but he likes to sniff around and ignore me the first few times; I ALWAYS give him major props when he comes on command.
Set him up to succeed. Put him on a long leed or rope. Then give him 'sit' and 'stay' and walk away. Then say "come" and immediately 'reel him in' using the leash and praise/treat when he gets there. IF you are teaching come without a lead, he can choose not to come=which translates to him-"I can come when I please, if I please". Instead teach on a line (start with a short line, then work on a longer one) so he thinks you always have an invisible line on him and he HAS to come.
Never call come when your mad, or to punish EVER. You may need to call 'come' to save his life one day-it's not ok for him to think he has a choice, or to think he'll get in trouble for coming.
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Old 10-14-2009, 11:51 AM
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Don't ask him to come to you unless you are 110% sure he will do it.... OR have him on a leash and reel him in.

Best thing to remember is never ask for a behavior your not sure they will do. So practice inside...then the yard...then the street...Iam still proofing (adding distractions, changing situations) recall with som' of my dogs a year later...its an elaborate behavior since there are so many distractions to proof for.

Watch as many youtube vids and read as many articles on "doggy zen" or impulse control (its yer choice game) as you can get your hands on...I know it seems impossible now, but your dog can and will get it. You have accidently rewarded the wrong things which is why hes acting how he is lol. Its never too late to fix it.

its yer choice demonstrated http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipT5k1gaXhc


I started "its yer choice" on Tippy about three months ago...we practice only about once a week..YouTube - VTECsqznN2O's Channel (may take a sec to load) the more they like food the faster they get the game.

its all about baby steps...the more you break the behavior down the faster you can progress...this started by rewarding any microsecond that the dog wasn't freaking out over the food.



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Old 10-14-2009, 11:54 AM
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Another way we worked on 'come' or recall was this-this is what we did in the very beginning.

I sat on one end of the hallway with treats. Dave sat on the other end with treats. And we just called him back and forth. He thought it was an awesome game and quickly learned the basics.

Like crio said-it's very complicated, and you have to start small then work up. It's a wonderful thing to have a dog who will always come-it's a safety aspect too!

I hope all our advice helps you!! Keep us posted on his progress
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Old 10-14-2009, 12:04 PM
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Excellent advice guys, my intuitions are everything you've told me, but it's hard to discipline myself... I'll be reminding myself of this regularly!

OOOONE more question, then I'm done for today, I promise

I've been trying to keep his training sessions down to 15-30 minutes to not bore him, is this a good time frame, or should they be shorter/longer?

Also, would it be wise to work on a single command per training session, and even more-so a collection of training sessions, before moving onto another command? i.e., should i wait to teach him "heel" AFTER he's mastered something like "crate" or does it even matter? I don't want to confuse his cute lil mind.

If it's a "1 at a time" thing, I think i'm going to teach the self control first, lol! then work on potty... or vice versa, not sure yet :S

thanks again guys, feels good to have quick communication with experienced owners!

I'll let you guys know how things go!
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Old 10-14-2009, 12:10 PM
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you can work on lots of behaviors at once...personally I work on about three new things at a time.


Shorter sessions are better...the best length is honestly about 30 sec to 2 min or so (for learning)...just more frequently...also the dog takes 2 hours to process what they've learned. So teach for a few minutes then try again in a few hours. Once the dog knows lots of things, you can increase the time dramatically.

can't wait to here how it goes.



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Old 10-14-2009, 02:03 PM
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i just read through all the posts here...great great great training advice....

i just wanted to add a few things...

first...what kind of food are you feeding? you said the vet switched him to a chicken/rice can food? does he seem more satisfied with this food than he did with his kibble? i may of read your posts wrong, but did you say he looked like he was trying to poop, but nothing was coming out? have you been able to find poop at all? is it possible that he is defecating during the day and eating it? do you think it is possible that you need a different food, and some of this behavior is associated with just being hungry? i'm not saying this is the issue, just something to think about...and definately use all of the impulse control training that was advised...

next, i'd stop snapping fingers as a clicker...i habitually use it to get my dog's attention also so it will cause confusion if you are doing that too. you can purchase a clicker for a few dollars from just about anywhere these days or you can use one of those bottle tops that pop up after it is opened...snapple lids work really well and make a softer sound than lots of clickers do...you can also just use your voice...common reward marker words are "yes" and "good" just make sure that it is a word you will only use for your marker.

if you can't designate a room, what about an exercise pen instead of the crate? atleast then you would only have one small area of rug to clean, and if you use an enzyme cleaner like "nature's miracle" it really does work to clean up pet messes... you can also put it on top of a tarp/plastic and cover it with newspaper to try and prevent the mess soaking into your carpet in the first place. i'd keep the crate in the x pen and some toys and things to keep him busy...kongs are great and you can stuff them with all sorts of good stuff...canned pumpkin/peanut butter/canned dog food....freezing it makes it take a bit longer for the dog to lick the stuff out...

finally, i'd just like to recommend routine and exercise...some of those little dogs can just go and go and go and go....they need a bit of a workout to burn of energy (and it helps to get things moving in the bowels too) scheduled feeding times are also good (it sounds like that is what you are doing already but) it will help you to predict when he may need to eliminate....

good luck



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