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Training the Unmotivated

2749 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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@PoppyKenna I've actually been really wanting to get the book BAT 2.0, I'll look more into it if you think its something that will help for him. He is so oddly fearful with people in our house, but is okay with them outside the house as long as they ignore him. Our condo is so small that its hard to give him distance. I'll look into those both, thank you!
@Ursie - Right now his high value is some type of food that I can eat. If I'm eating it, it becomes higher value to him. So cheese, cooked ground beef, cooked turky. He just is not food motivated, I've tried everything hot dogs are meh, liver meh, salmon crack meh. He was free fed meatloaf, steak, casserole and pork roast for most of his life. So he doesn't have any food drive.

I've been trying to teach Kota his name for months. He still doesn't bother to look at me when I say it. Lots of just say his name and treat, for weeks and then I try to add a pause and he has made no connection between his name=treat. He isn't deaf, I know that for sure.

If I try to bring him to the place where he is supposed to pee he screams and thrashes. Yet he will go there on his own to eat dirt. Just doesn't want to pee there and if I try to take him there it is an extremely negative situation. I'm tempted to get a gate and make a little channel from the doggy door to the grass. I'm afraid he will just pee/poop in front of the doggy door, step in it then bring it back in our house. He is already outside when he is going, just not on the grass.

I've used every tone of voice, he only somewhat reacts sometimes to a baby talk, mellower voice than I would with most dogs.

He is reactive to a lot of things. He is slightly dog aggressive, so reactive on and off a leash. He is people reactive inside our house, men more so than women. He is very skittish of people he doesn't know VERY well even touching him. He lived with my BF's dad his entire life and still acts skittish though my BF swears his dad never even yelled at Kota. He barks at noises, people walking outside our house, shadows, noises and so on.
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@Ursie So have I! I've worked with a lot of high energy dogs that are eager to please, which is why I am at a loss for him.

Kota is already overweight. It is suggested that he gets fed 1.5 cups a day, and I feed him about 3/4 a cup in an attempt to get him to loose the weight. Its hard that he doesn't move much throughout the day. I cannot withhold food (he HAS to eat twice a day before his insulin shots), and I don't want to feed him any less. So right now he already is hungry (kind of begging us to feed him). Yet is we try to make him work for it he disengages. I'm kind of wondering if I can work with him holding his food bowl, that's the only time he seems focused and energetic. Maybe I can put peanut butter in it and let him lick a bit?

He does sleep all day. Sometimes he goes outside to watch and then goes back inside to lay down. He does get excited for walks, but about 15 minutes into his walk he wants to go back. My BF likes to take him off leash when we are out in the mtn (finally convinced him to stop doing that), he will walk with us for a while before deciding he is done and just walks off to the car. He doesn't run from us but isn't thrilled about being out. Its like a light switch, he goes to being excited about exploring to wanting to leave in an instant.

I'm going to be working with some trainers so I'll start talking to them about him and see what they say too.
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@PipsMom So It does really sound like I need BAT 2.0. Haha

Sounds like you are describe Kota exactly with his personality. I just started shaping with my Aussie, she loves it and things click quickly for her. I'm going to have to introduce the clicker to Kota, maybe that will work better than anything else. Verbal just doesn't seem to get across to him at all. I know Kota is going to teach me extreme patience, cause we know I'm going to need it! Aayla and Kota are such polar opposites, that i'm going to feel well rounded if I can get to Kota.
@Chas - I've suggested to my BF to get a glucose curve on him, but he doesn't feel like he needs to. I'm really putting my foot down on him taking responsibility for his dog so I'm not going to start covering his dog's vet bills. (I feed, pay for any treats/chews, wash, brush, give medication, take out for the small amount of exercise he gets, and now its going to be training) Plus I can't afford his dog's vet bills plus my own.

Kota does seem to be consistent in his behavior and activity levels though. He is just always aloof and reactive.
@steen1121 - I'll have to keep trying with the 0 distraction for a while then. Its so hard because even in the house, if he sees a shadow move, or hears a noise outside the house, the session is over and done. I can't completely get rid of distraction here. I'm glad I'm not alone in struggling
@Eishun - The sad thing is that I'm pretty sure Kota would still not care. He might throw a fit about being tied up. (he does NOT like being confined) then soon as I would get him, he would cease to care because I solved his problem of being restrained, thats all he wants. He has little desire to actually be around us. I mean a dog that can (in the middle of the mountain wilderness) decide to just walk off and leave...alone really doesn't care to be with his family.
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@Chas They diagnosed him when he was 2 years old, he is now 5 years old.
@Linda_Hazel - While he is fearful in certain situations, he isn't always. He is fearful of strange people, dog aggressive and has some issues with being confined/restrained. Yet that isn't him always. I feel like I'm good at reading dog body language. He isn't lip licking, tense mouth, tense ears or body. He is pretty easy to read, when he is feeling worried or insecure, even a little bit his tail droops down. When he is happy or when he is acting reactive, its curled over his back. Stubborn typically just means resists change despite persuasion. The persuasion has been treats, affection, toys and so on. When I try training (even in the house, and ignoring everything) he isn't stressed he just doesn't find what I'm doing rewarding enough to change whatever he is doing.

Though yesterday I tried to incorporate him into a training session. He was largely uninterested when after practicing our sit and shake I asked for a lay down he left. I let him come and go so he doesn't feel like he HAS to train. In those cases I notice that he does shut down.

After that I brought Aayla out and worked with her, Kota seemed to get more interested so I started working with them both at the same time. The whole jealousy factor works! I had Kota working on a rotation of sit, down and stand. Aayla got to work on name differentiating, while Kota just worked on basics. I'd only ask him to do a few behaviors before getting up and walking around to disengage. They both would follow me around asking for more. So I got in about 3 sessions before he had enough and I disengaged because I wanted to stop before he did.

I guess working with both dogs together for now is going to be our best option. I'll have to get a camera out to record. It was really nice to have him somewhat focused for once.
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