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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1. She doesn't listen to me. I know for a fact that she's not deaf because she comes when called and gets excited when cars pull up to the house and panicky when the fire whistle goes off or when there's a thunder storm. She just doesn't want to listen to me when I'm training her. How can I get her to behave and focus?

2. She won't focus. She is never easily distracted from naps or playing fetch but she suddenly has the worst possible ADD as soon as I try to train her. How can I fix this? It was never a problem with her before.

3. She barks and chases things. I know all dogs do and my family even encourages her. I have problems with this because she is not a hunting dog (I firmly believe that the only dogs allowed to chase other animals outside of playing are hunting dogs, and then it should only be on command.) and her barking makes her a bad walking companion. (Imagine trying to walk down the street with a eight year old dog who has no manners and then add that in my town everyone knows everyone so it's not just strangers she's embaressing me in front of. How can I get her to be quiet, even if it is only on walks?

4. I need to crate train her. How do I go about this? I've trained her in a lot of things and researched even more but I've never had a reason to learn about crate training because in my family (Read: my uncle and my grandfather.) is strongly against it.

5. Next summer (It's too late this year, the temperatures are in the low 50s at their highest and the pool's closed up for the winter.) I want to introduce the pool to her. How can I do this in a way that she doesn't freak out and swear off water for the rest of her life?

6. I want to do sports with her. What are some I could try? She's an eight-year-old shi-tzu/poodle mix and I'm a athletic teen who's about 60 pounds overweight. I don't want to compete, I just want to do them at home. I'm too young and poor for us to take any classes.
 

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You should watch Zak George on YouTube. You can follow him on Facebook, too. He's got lots of great videos and posts on motivating and training dogs.
 

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It sounds like you just have an energetic dog that needs some regular exercise. I would start with something you can manage to do every day. Maybe try committing to taking her for brisk 1 hour (yes, 1 hour) walk every evening and see how she improves after a week. Practicing walking on lead can be insanely frustrating but it will get easier over time and the regular daily exercise will eventually help your dog calm down so that she can better focus during training exercises, etc.
 

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How long have you had her?

All the things you mention can be remedied but it will take time and patience, and of course knowledge. A good training class is invaluable, there are also many wonderful, positive reinforcement trainers, who kindly produce, and offer for free, their training videos online - such as kikopup. But it can be bewildering knowing where to start, what to concentrate on first.

The first thing I would do, is stop feeding her from her bowl. I would carry her food in my pocket (I am assuming you are feeding kibble) and every time she'd respond to her name, she would get some of her food. I would also start to train simple things like a 'sit' - again, plenty of videos online, if a training class is not an option.

Walks would be terminated as soon as she opened her mouth to bark or tried to chase anything - back indoors until calm and quiet. It will be a slow process, don't expect an overnight change in her behaviour.

Doing sports with an 8 year old shi-tzu cross? What did you have in mind? I don't think they were designed a jogging partners or excel at agility or obedience. Getting her ready for any physical activity could take time and should not take place unless a vet declares her fit for what you wish to do.

I would really concentrate on basic obedience, which will tax her mind and make her tired. And we all know that a tired dog is a happy dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We've had her since she was about 2 months old and I already asked the vet about exercise-They said most things should be OK as long as we ease into it.
 

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Try clicker training. Karen Pryor's website and Kikopup have details. It's a lot of fun for the dog and the owner. There is a learning curve so don't get discouraged.

This animated short popped up on my FB today. Done by Drayton Michaels and Michael Baugh, two awesome trainers. It might help give you some insight into how dogs learn and associations they make. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCW7DT3KDaI


Dogs do what works. You have to find a way to make training fun and rewarding. You've got homework to do on training. :)
 

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1. She doesn't listen to me. I know for a fact that she's not deaf because she comes when called and gets excited when cars pull up to the house and panicky when the fire whistle goes off or when there's a thunder storm. She just doesn't want to listen to me when I'm training her. How can I get her to behave and focus?
I recommend clicker training to everyone, if you don't already do it.
You might be better off making new cues for the ones that she ignores completely? If she ignores "come", replace it with "here", for instance.
You might also want to try different treats and try to find one that she absolutely loves and only use it for training. :)
And starting off, I wouldn't have the sessions long.
Keep it short but do it more often throughout the day. :)

2. She won't focus. She is never easily distracted from naps or playing fetch but she suddenly has the worst possible ADD as soon as I try to train her. How can I fix this? It was never a problem with her before.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wesm2OpE_2c - capturing calmness
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTSuPk2Ccjo - building attention game 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiMGJBxRtBw - eye contact and attention

3. She barks and chases things. I know all dogs do and my family even encourages her. I have problems with this because she is not a hunting dog (I firmly believe that the only dogs allowed to chase other animals outside of playing are hunting dogs, and then it should only be on command.) and her barking makes her a bad walking companion. (Imagine trying to walk down the street with a eight year old dog who has no manners and then add that in my town everyone knows everyone so it's not just strangers she's embaressing me in front of. How can I get her to be quiet, even if it is only on walks?
What I underlined, needs to change. It's not fair to her and her training that she has 2 different set of rules. Consistency is key. :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JY7JrteQBOQ - barking on walks.
I'm assuming that she isn't barking at anything? Just in general?

4. I need to crate train her. How do I go about this? I've trained her in a lot of things and researched even more but I've never had a reason to learn about crate training because in my family (Read: my uncle and my grandfather.) is strongly against it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUzF0g0PwY4 - crate training.
The goal is to make the crate one of the best spots she can think of.
Never use it as a punishment, feed her meals in there, give her a filled Kong and always give a treat when she goes in. :)
And start small and slow. Don't expect her to want to spend a lot of time in the crate in the first few days. :)

Here are also a couple of the best stickies that I have ever gone through :
http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/4-quadrants-operant-conditioning-23702/

http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/impulse-control-calmness-168218/

I have never introduced a dog to a pool nor am I involved in doggie sports so I'm not the best one to answer there. :)

Remember that this will take time and will be frustrating some days.
That's okey, take a break, breathe and do it again. :)

Please don't hesitate to post more questions and updates on how you are doing. Best of luck! :)
 
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