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Discussion Starter #1
So I feel like Echo's training is becoming a bit repetative for both of us. Part of this is my partner being away for 3 weeks means I have less time and energy to really investigate new games and so on. I've also noticed that I have trouble remembering all her cues and I've been lazy about going into training sessions with a plan, which slows it down a lot.

What do you do to make training exciting?

I'm considering getting the controlled unleashed book because it seems to have activities in it that would be good, has anyone had experience with this one?

Edit: she's still enthusiastic about training and seems to enjoy it.
 

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I recommend CU: Puppy Program if you can get it. Hands down my favorite dog training book.

It outlines the ideas and exercises a little bit better than just the Control Unleashed book. I have both and they are both really good books.

I make training exciting by using toys and games in our training a lot. We keep the training rather fast paced. High rate of reinforcement, clean criteria. Good training has a plan and is fun for both the dog and the person. I recommend filming yourself if you can or having a buddy who can critique you. It can help you focus on areas where you are weak.
 

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I'm glad you posted this. I've been feeling the same way the last few days. He's still interested in training but things could definitely be more fun, and my downfall is not always having a plan.

I try to use toys and games. We play things like tug and fetch while working on 'take it/drop it/bring it' and chase for recall, all of which he seems to enjoy. I use tug as a reward instead of food sometimes, or letting him sniff around or run in the grass after a great walk but I'm not sure if that's what you mean. I'll look for that book. We start classes on the 26th so I'll be able to have someone critique me soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I recommend CU: Puppy Program if you can get it. Hands down my favorite dog training book.

It outlines the ideas and exercises a little bit better than just the Control Unleashed book. I have both and they are both really good books.

I make training exciting by using toys and games in our training a lot. We keep the training rather fast paced. High rate of reinforcement, clean criteria. Good training has a plan and is fun for both the dog and the person. I recommend filming yourself if you can or having a buddy who can critique you. It can help you focus on areas where you are weak.

I will try to find the puppy program!

I like to make as much of training into a game as I can like making sit stay go into a toy grabbing race, she always wins that one:p. I also ask for things during play just to strengthen the cues. I have more trouble coming up with a plan and having clean criteria than anything else. I'll have to see if I can work out a way to film it too, that is a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm glad you posted this. I've been feeling the same way the last few days. He's still interested in training but things could definitely be more fun, and my downfall is not always having a plan.

I try to use toys and games. We play things like tug and fetch while working on 'take it/drop it/bring it' and chase for recall, all of which he seems to enjoy. I use tug as a reward instead of food sometimes, or letting him sniff around or run in the grass after a great walk but I'm not sure if that's what you mean. I'll look for that book. We start classes on the 26th so I'll be able to have someone critique me soon.
Glad it's not just me. I'm really hoping to find a set of activities really, so I can just pick one and go. I think I'll have to write down the games we at so I can pick one and go. Tug is great as a reward cause there is always something nearby, Echo loves sticks so I can grab one on the fly. We start our next class on the 26th too!
 

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I like to make as much of training into a game as I can like making sit stay go into a toy grabbing race, she always wins that one:p. I also ask for things during play just to strengthen the cues.
Good ideas! I try to do this. He still sits for everything, even pauses in our game of tug or before I throw his toy again. I ask for a down or a stand during our grooming/handling exercises and then we play after. I guess I'm just in a rut today because I'm having trouble teaching a new command.
 

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Same, especially bath time! We spend a lot of time just hanging out in an empty tub. I gave him an impromptu bath outside the other day because he laid in something really gross while we were out, but he got away from me and rolled in a pile of mulch while sopping wet. I couldn't do anything but laugh at that point!
 

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CU is awesome, and the puppy program is great because it does a better job of explaining the games than the original version.
Each of my dogs has a dog dictionary, which is basically where I write down what a specific behavior should look like based on a given cue. It's nice because if someone ever has to watch my dogs, they shouldn't say "off!" "off!" if they want my dogs to drop something (although they probably would) because off to my dogs is get off the furniture/bed and "out" is the cue to drop something.
I make a monthly plan. And then in each session we only train for 5 minutes. After each session I make notes about what went well, what could have gone better, and what I plan to do next time. I know it's a hassle, but it is SO nice for agility. The next session I know exactly where to begin.

Another option is to pick three skills: Something you do well, something that needs polishing, and something brand new! Since the one that will be the most challenging is in the middle, your brain forgets about the not great one, and you just remember the fun stuff! :D
 
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Discussion Starter #11
I have a diary, I'm still getting the hang of how to write things out. I planned today's focus and reduced the number of cues to go through and it was so much better. Thanks for the advice @Shandula!
 

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I added something small and fun to Biscuit's training: treat catching as a reward. Normally, I give him his treats from my hand, plain and simple. But I've found that, while it's a small thing, he enjoys the extra challenge of catching his treats.

Just an idea. :)
 

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Buster and I have been doing a lot of different training lately, we're usually into fun tricks and the like but we've been doing more advanced obedience kinda stuff. Off lead heel, sit and down stays as I keep walking, retrieve to heel, platform work etc.

I've been using the Puller Collar training rings and I must say I love them. It's just two purple rings, solid enough to withstand chewing, but just pliable enough that the dog will like to tug and retrieve it. You can throw, bounce, roll and tug with them. I've been using them as his reward for our training and its very reinforcing for him, he loves treats but toys and tug he's way more intense and hyper focussed.

It's worked really well for us since its been training we haven't done as much compared to tricks etc. I've took his love for tug and harnessed it to turn training sessions into the best thing ever. He loves it.

It's good to change things up, try a few different things, see what works for you and focus on that. I introduced a cone into our training a few months ago and buster still can't get enough of running round the cone bless him haha
 
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Discussion Starter #14
@Dogs4Jesus unfortunately she's not good at catching things but I'll see if we can't work on it.
@BusterBCsMum I really like the look of the puller collar rings, I'll have to grab a pair.

I did pick up a copy of "for the love a dog", being super aware of my body language changed things for the better! Although it must look hilarious, I can really wiggle my butt now :)
 

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@Chas they are a little expensive, that's the only thing. I also got the wrong size for Buster but he loves them anyway. The engagement we can build with them is crazy though, playing tug with them, switching for the other getting a good out during an intense game off tug, intense games of tug as a reward for recall. That last one was so crucial for us. Calling him away from chase with other dogs, all thanks to these toys. He'll be chasing his 3 pals and you'll just see his break his neck almost and turn away from the group and sprint back. Awesome thing.

Although you could substitute other toys, Kong Wubba is another good one, I have two and use them almost the same as the puller rings
 
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