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Training the Unmotivated

2750 Views 18 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  agilityk9trainer
Aayla is starting to reach the point where I am very happy in her training and feel like I can spare some time to work with Kota. I feel like every time I do anything with him I'm ready to blow a fuse. He doesn't like toys, only likes praise on his time, and only likes treats inside the house on his own time. (Unless we are eating at a diner, then he is pestering us for our food, which he may not even eat)

I can't figure out how to get him to do anything except for negative punishment. He knows how to sit, shake and speak. That's it. He has no name recognition, or recall. I make him sit and wait for his food, that only worked because of negative punishment. I withhold his food until he stays out of my space and sits and waits. If he approaches me I remove his bowl. He doesn't get to walk until he does not pull. I've made some progress with his grooming anxiety through conditioning...and so on. That's only with our highest value treat and inside the house only. Even if I take him into our backyard for grooming he won't take anything.

I just want a somewhat recall and to able to handle his reactivity problems. Yet I cannot find a single way to do anything with him. I also would like him to stop pooping and peeing on the concrete part of our patio outside the doggy door, but at least its outside. He has recently decided that the grass is doggy lava. (thanks to the rain). He is diabetic so we can't limit his access to water or keep him crated for long periods of time. (like when we are gone working). He is also teaching Aayla bad habits that I want to stop.

Anyone dealt with dogs like this? He just doesn't care for us or rewards. I hate to think the only things I can do are things that can be dealt with through negative punishment.

It comes to the point that since I can't reward him for anything he takes more man handling. Want him out of the room? Grab his collar and drag him out or push him with your feet. Want him to come to you? Go to him, grab his collar and take him where you want him to go. He is barking outside at the gardeners (that are with the HOA so we can't predict when they are going to be there) I have to catch him and drag him inside. Everything is man handling and I hate it. My BF just yells at him and intimidates him, which does work for some things. I try to get him to stop but its hard when I can't even show him an alternative way to make things work. Everything I have tried does not work.
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Wow, sounds like a tough dog.
What do you consider high value treats? It may take a while, but every dog has a treat that he will go crazy for. For my female that would be dehydrated liver or heart. Not cooked in anyway, just raw dehydrated. My senior likes baked crunchy, fishy smelling treats or dehydrated whole small fish.
So you are saying he doesn't know his name? I changed my dogs name when we got her from the rescue, and she learned it by being rewarded when she looked at me when I said her name.
The housebreaking issue can only be solved through constant supervision, really. If you catch him, sniffing around or about to pee, bring him outdoors immediately. Praise and high value treats afterwards.
What tone of voice are using for praise? My Mali doesn't react at all to a neutral or even somewhat high voice. I have to literally squeal to get her excited for something. Luckily that isn't the case with my senior, he his happy as long as he gets food.
For reactivity ( I assume leash reactivity is meant here) I find that the best positive method is a head halter. Easy redirection, even with a powerful dog. I worked with a 150 lbs shepherd mix once, and combined the head halter with with a front clip for more control. When you redirect click and treat, or only treat if you don't utilize the clicker.
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Hmm. I have worked with high drive dogs pretty much my whole life, so I do not have to much experience with dogs like this. Your signature says that he is part Chow, if you know that for sure that would explain his independence. Keeshonds to tend to be stubborn.

Considering he is diabetic, I do not assume you could withhold food or feed less? I used to not feed my corgi mix before heading to training in order to keep him lively. (is this considered punishment?) A hungry dog always works better than one that just ate.

I mean, even if he is a chow mix, he should be able to learn his name. Is there nothing that Kota likes to do? Nothing you can use to your advantage? Can't be that he just sleeps around all day. I had a friend who trained his rather unmotivated Dutch Shepherd with a chew toy as a high reward. He got to carry it around after he did something good.

A behaviorist or trainer might be a good idea by now. Unless you have plans for this dog to perform or work, I think resolving the potty and reactivity issue would be a pretty good start for him.
Again, I do not have to much experience with the breed nor with dogs that lack drive. Maybe someone else in the forum has some better tips. ;)
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Train with him holding his food bowl. Feed him his dry food if that is what he wants. It will only allow two sessions of training a day of course, but it would be a good start. :)
Honestly, the feed recommendations are always way to high on dog food. My 30 pound dog is supposed to get two cups according to the package but he only needs 3/4 cups a day to maintain his ideal weight. He is a senior, and used get a whole cup when he was active at dog training everyday, but he would be obese if I fed him the recommended amount.
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