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Training a 5 year old dog

This is a discussion on Training a 5 year old dog within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I used to use liver cooked very slowly in the oven to dry it out and sprinkled with garlic....my dog used to lOVE it!...

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Old 12-19-2008, 09:59 AM
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I used to use liver cooked very slowly in the oven to dry it out and sprinkled with garlic....my dog used to lOVE it!
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Old 12-30-2008, 07:03 PM
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Put making eye contact on cue (I use "watch me", but you can pick anything). When he looks in your eyes say your cue and give him the treat. He will learn by association. Slowly build requiring that he look longer and longer before he gets the reward and then to not getting a treat every time (praise is good).

He may be showing his border collie heritage -- they like to 'give eye' to other animals. They focus intently, may lower head and really stare. It is useful for them to intimidate sheep they are bred to herd, but other dogs don't take kindly to it. It's a good thing for you to get control over. Sometimes just moving quickly (e.g. heeling off in another direction) is enough to get them refocused on you. It makes you and the training more exciting.
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Old 12-31-2008, 02:43 PM
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The best way to work on getting his attention is the clicker training way in my opinion. If you have a clicker it will be best and you can research on the internet how it's done properly. Have a look at Karen Pryor Clickertraining| dog training and cat training info, books, videos, events

What you do is hold the treat out in your one hand, your dog will naturally look at the treat. Then call your dog. If your dog just so much as moves his head/eyes away from the treat then click if you have a clicker or say good girl and treat. Then slowly start working his head to turn all the way to you and then slowly increase the time.

You can find a lot of information about clicker training on the internet if you google it. They will be able to explain it a lot better because it's actually quite in depth and too much to write here in one post, but very very easy and you will see results within the first lesson or two.

I also have a border collie x and she is such a wonderful dog, I just love her to bits!
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Old 12-31-2008, 03:37 PM
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I am also a fan of clicker training and if you decide to go that route you can accomplish a lot with free shaping. Once your dog understands that the click means "that behavior will be reinforced", you gain a tremendous conduit of communication. To free shape you can just wait for eye contact at any time, then click and treat it. With some dogs you may only get a split second, but that's the beauty of clicker training (you do need good timing). After some repetitions you associate the cue and you have a powerful connection to build on. I have used clicker training to teach eye contact to all of my fosters and rescues as well as my own dogs.
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Old 01-04-2009, 12:35 AM
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Welcome to the world of 5 year olds, lol. I just recently adopted Chloe, my 4.5yo Sheltie. Even though she's new to me, she's got pretty good focus. The gal that doesn't have as much focus is my Nell, she's a 20 month old BC. What I've been doing with her is doing what they call Flat Work in Agility. It's where you have your dog on leash, and be really excited, running one way, then reversing direction and get your dogs attention on you. Keep doing it til the dog is right with you. Also, if you hold training sessions that are too long, the dogs will eventually burn out, unless he's one like my Betty that just goes, goes, goes, lol. For lack of attention, keep training sessions very short, as in 1-3 minutes each, but several times a day. Don't force the dog to do anything. Also, you want really good reinforcers. I like using hot dogs, my 3 girls love them. You can even change up the reinforcers as well, like hot dogs one day, cheese another, peanut butter another, a toy another, etc, etc.

Other things you can try, if you've done some clicker work, is targeting and eye contact. Take the treat and place in your hand with fist closed. The dog will try to get the treat. The instant the dog stops and looks at you in the eyes, click and give the treat. It won't take long and the dog will look at you instead of going to the hand and sniffing, trying to get the treat. Once this is accomplished, then do it while standing, then while walking.
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