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Training the Unmotivated

2748 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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Lots of good advice, and do consider the medical component. As a diabetic myself, I'm not interested in anything when my sugars are off. :)

Often we tend to think of rewards in "praise, treats, toys." Don't fall into that trifecta. I and my students have used some pretty creative rewards!!

My American Eskimo wasn't too hyped up for treats or toys either. But...she LOVED to dig. So I put her "dig" on command ("Dig to China Laika!!) and I gave her a hole n the back yard where she was allowed to dig. I used it as a reward. When she would do something good I asked for, I would release her to go dig in her hole with me cheering her in her attempts to reach China. She LOVED it.

Another person has used pine cones for a pine cone obsessed dog. Bird dog folks have used quail wings. I have released my shelties to chase planes for a reward. I've heard of someone who took their dog for a drive for rewards. That would be a very slow training process, but it worked for that team.

Think outside the box. What does your dog like? Does he really like a massage in the sun? Boom. Training reward. Does he really like sniffing other dogs' poo? Boom. Training reward. Does he like chasing you while you scream? Boom. Training reward (as long as it is done in play and not aggression.) Don't get boxed in with the concept that you must use treats, toys or praise for reward.

Lastly, look into the book, "When Pigs Fly." It is about how to motivate the hard to motivate dogs. It's been very helpful to my students.
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