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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Two videos.
Sonic playing tug with tug-n-treat frisbee.
I'm teaching him to play tug & frisbee. He had zero interest when we got him. I'm hoping to use tug & frisbee as a reward some day--but so far, food is involved, which is fine.
Thoughts on timing? When to let him win, when to pull harder? When to reward with food?
https://youtu.be/F4Z8_uob8cQ

The other is me hapless doing some targetting--he looks happy, but not fully engaged. It's hot, and he just did the tugging above. Should I have ended sooner, not done it at all, tried something else that he's more confident with (sit, down,)

https://youtu.be/SHBomymUfbg

Short history--free-range tropical dog for 1.5 yrs, I have him 7 months, he's only shown this level of engagement in the past month. For the 2nd, & 3rd month, he was afraid of treats indoors, and could not be consistently trained.

Things are really looking up in the past month.

And about those metal fingers--badly sprained my hand 2 months ago on that blue long-line you see in the video--which caused more hiccups in training, not to mention serious difficulties in holding a leash and treat delivery--some delays there too. In other words, we're still taking baby steps, beginners. My goals right now are engagement & building toy-drive.

Thanks for looking.
 

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His tugging is excellent! That's really really nice given his history. My tug sessions are very short. 15 seconds at the LONGEST. Gotta leave 'em wanting more. :p I think you're rewarding variability with food, tugging, or tossing is really nice. He never knows what the next reward will be.
He does seem a little less into it in the second video (but I hear you, it is hoooooot), but his ears and tail are up and he is engaged (although there is something phenomenal smelling in that grass!). My only real "critique" about the targeting is that sometimes you reward for a paw, and sometimes a nose, do you care which? (In fact at 0:52 he cheats and doesn't touch at all ;) )
I think he is really coming along so nicely! His toy drive is really quite nice for a dog that didn't have any human-toy interaction for a long time in his life. You're doing amazing! :thumbsup:
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow! That is an awesome critique @Shandula. Thank you so much for taking the time...very helpful.
The tugging: I did not realize 15 seconds could be enough. I am trying not to tug too long, but not disappoint him either. Will shorten things up just a tad and remind myself that he also loves body rubs, & licking out the tug toy.
About the targeting; right now, my criteria is more free-shaping (it took me FOREVER to get him 'offering' behaviours so it's all cool with me), so your observation at 0:52 is my bad--I should not have clicked/marked a no touch moment.
But, also makes me wonder if I need to start shaping towards a plain jane nose touch...without demotivating him by upping the criteria too much. I can be messy in both my criteria and movements, and think I may also be confusing him, as in 'what in heck do you really want me to do, mom???'
Grass, probably rabbits, or cats, or squirrels, or raccoons, or..... there is nothing that doesn't get him going....
THANK YOU! :)
 

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How did I miss this :p

Wow, Sonic is a feisty little thing!

If he weren’t interested in Frisbee/tugging before, he sure is now! He looks like he is having so much fun playing with you! Whatever you’ve been doing is definitely working, keep it up ;)

The way you shake his toy (twitching your wrist) is really good, adds an extra layer of fun for him.

Suggestions for your first video……
If you need to hunch over when tugging (which you are doing a really good job of, you are not towering over him), try not to look at him directly in the eyes, too much social pressure, and it makes him want to pull on the tug (pull it away from you). Tilt your head slightly to the left or right, and look at him out of the corners of your eyes. Once he has more confidence in the game, it wouldn't matter as much.

For example, at 00:20, Sonic is spinning around you to try to avoid direct eye contact (you are hunched over lower). At 2:17, after he got the toy, he backed away a little bit because of the social/spatial pressure. At 1:39, when you patted him, he backed up, too much social/spatial pressure, he doesn’t need the patting. He is already engaged with you and driven for his toy.

Second video…….
His drive was higher in the first 30 seconds or so. Is this a new behavior that you are teaching? If so, I would do it at the beginning of a training session, before the tugging part. If I see a dog’s drive dropping during a session, I usually do behaviors that can bring up his drive (spinning, fast pace attention heel, whatever gets him excited), instead of behaviors that require more impulse control (down stay).

Just my observation! Great job! :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@San
THANK YOU!
The observations about tug are golden. I had no idea of "what" I might be doing to add social pressure, only a vague suspicion that sometimes I'm "too much" for him.
Pointing out simple physical actions that I can change is extremely helpful.
In spite of all that, he's still going for it. This is a dog that was probably hit with brooms and flung objects (typical street dog discipline) so, I'm impressed with him.
And 2nd video, newish behaviour, and I've been messy about. Need to clean that one up indoors.
Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge...
...and yep, he is a feisty little guy. I thought I was down-sizing when I got him (all my other dogs were gsd's), but he's turning out to be a whole lotta dog too. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
& @San
forgot to ask, is the tug critique part of what you learned in ring sport? I've been to many dog classes, but never had help with tug rewards, so that was new.
Went out and tried it, I think he liked it, pulled harder and closer, less spinning.
 

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@San
THANK YOU!
The observations about tug are golden. I had no idea of "what" I might be doing to add social pressure, only a vague suspicion that sometimes I'm "too much" for him.
Pointing out simple physical actions that I can change is extremely helpful.
In spite of all that, he's still going for it. This is a dog that was probably hit with brooms and flung objects (typical street dog discipline) so, I'm impressed with him.
And 2nd video, newish behaviour, and I've been messy about. Need to clean that one up indoors.
Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge...
...and yep, he is a feisty little guy. I thought I was down-sizing when I got him (all my other dogs were gsd's), but he's turning out to be a whole lotta dog too. :)

@Artdog You are welcome! :)

The two of you are on the right track, you've done a really good job with him!

LOL, I know what you mean. When our senior GSD retired from sports in 2013, we thought we were done with dog sports. Then we adopted our foster GSD because no one wanted him, turned out he was better off as a sports dog, so we ended up in ringsports again :p

Yes, the suggestions came from protection sports. I cheated and asked my hubby :p He has been a club decoy for 5+ years, he has done a lot of puppy bite-work foundation. As a decoy, it is his job to build confidence in puppy/young dog (bite-work is essentially puppy interacting with decoy with a giant tug/sleeve) so he is very good at observing a dog's body language during play, he knows what needs to be done to help a dog feel strong and maximize the level of fun during tug work :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@Artdog You are welcome! :)

The two of you are on the right track, you've done a really good job with him!

LOL, I know what you mean. When our senior GSD retired from sports in 2013, we thought we were done with dog sports. Then we adopted our foster GSD because no one wanted him, turned out he was better off as a sports dog, so we ended up in ringsports again :p

Yes, the suggestions came from protection sports. I cheated and asked my hubby :p He has been a club decoy for 5+ years, he has done a lot of puppy bite-work foundation. As a decoy, it is his job to build confidence in puppy/young dog (bite-work is essentially puppy interacting with decoy with a giant tug/sleeve) so he is very good at observing a dog's body language during play, he knows what needs to be done to help a dog feel strong and maximize the level of fun during tug work :D
.
Please thank your hubby too! Puppy bitework foundation sounds so cute. Sonic's two, but now's his chance. That's exactly what I want to do for him, gain confidence and have fun.
 

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Please thank your hubby too! Puppy bitework foundation sounds so cute. Sonic's two, but now's his chance. That's exactly what I want to do for him, gain confidence and have fun.
My husband says anytime :D

Just keep doing what you are doing with him. We adopted our GSD when he was 14 months old or so, he was an owner-surrender at an animal shelter. He has a lot of toy drive, so my husband built his tug work foundation the same way he would do with puppies, worked out really well. He is now my husband's competition dog (Mondioring).

Keep it up :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My husband says anytime :D

Just keep doing what you are doing with him. We adopted our GSD when he was 14 months old or so, he was an owner-surrender at an animal shelter. He has a lot of toy drive, so my husband built his tug work foundation the same way he would do with puppies, worked out really well. He is now my husband's competition dog (Mondioring).

Keep it up :thumbsup:
Thanks.
Your/his GSD is quite the story too. It's amazing what you can pick up in the dog pound--probably also an example of matching up great owner to magnificent dog.
Pictures? Video?
 

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I'm hoping to use tug & frisbee as a reward some day--but so far, food is involved, which is fine.
When to reward with food?
I see no reason to reward with food in the first video as you have the dog's complete engagement. Your dog charges back to you with the frisbee because the tug and ensuing fetch ( which involves you making it happen ) is more desirable to your dog than a scrap of food. Everything in the video looks wonderful. Unless I am missing something regarding food rewards in the first video, the tug, fetch and frisbee already is the reward. You also do a fine job of keeping your dog's interest level ramped up with your enthusiasm.

Quick question, have you trained an off lead focused heel while placing the frisbee under your left arm pit or held to your chest with your right arm? I'm guessing the frisbee is as powerful a training reward ( because of the pending interaction) that you have right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I see no reason to reward with food in the first video as you have the dog's complete engagement. Your dog charges back to you with the frisbee because the tug and ensuing fetch ( which involves you making it happen ) is more desirable to your dog than a scrap of food. Everything in the video looks wonderful. Unless I am missing something regarding food rewards in the first video, the tug, fetch and frisbee already is the reward. You also do a fine job of keeping your dog's interest level ramped up with your enthusiasm.

Quick question, have you trained an off lead focused heel while placing the frisbee under your left arm pit or held to your chest with your right arm? I'm guessing the frisbee is as powerful a training reward ( because of the pending interaction) that you have right now.

@DriveDog
Honoured to get a critique from you, love your input.
I got a similar suggestion on another board (from a professional ringsport/protection trainer) and did some trials without food. Sadly, he loses interest quickly.
I'm thinking then, this video is either deceiving, or this level of engagement is still too new to Sonic, so he still needs to know there is something in there worth fighting for--or, breed matters? Maybe?
I probably should be brave and post what happens when I use the soft frisbee, which looks the same but without the food, but will just say things go flat pretty fast, especially the retrieve--he will not fetch it back, but still tugs.

I would love to teach him flashy heeling with toy, but so far, no dice. I love that "ants in the pants" schutzhund style of heel--looks like they're ready to pop.

I'm hoping continued fun episodes with the food toy will transfer to a regular toy someday, because it's obvious he's enjoying the actions and play, but this level of engagement is far from reliable and ends quickly.

I'm hoping to get there. Though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Okay, went out again with the soft frisbee. Big fat nope, not interested.
Gave him a good brushing and & tried again with the tug-n-treat. He's popping like a pogo stick. Sooo, I tuck toy under arm, need to show him, & yep, nice movement. Fling toy--game on.
It's obvious to you, and me, that he loves the whole action sequence, but not to him...I think because I use food, the lack there-of is -P, for now, as in, he expects food so not getting it dissappoints..
Getting beyond that is the challenge--or where I'm stuck. Will add, this level of engagement is very new to Sonic and fragile. He is easilly put off.
 

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A few thoughts which came to mind as I watched the first video again. 1.) The history of Sonic, if I am correct, has a bit of an unknown element to it. Under your leadership and care, it seems the dog is thriving but maybe there are "demons" still present from his first 1.5 years. The only reason I say this is because the video at certain points shows a certain capitulation by Sonic which is not commanded. Sonic simply may not completely grasp the overall nature of the interaction due to previous life experiences. This is a wild guess on my behalf however you are successfully helping him become comfortable with this new form of interaction but early impressions especially if there was any negative consequences earlier in his life take a while to iron out. 2.) I respect San's advice especially because of the wonderfully trained Mal she has, it didn't happen accidentally. I will suggest that even though the advice regarding keeping a dog ramped up via certain commands has merit to it i.e not placing the dog in a down stay, there is benefit in certain impulse control exercises which actually builds the dog's excitement due to the dog's anticipation of the release. Putting a dog on hold with a pending release which the dog understands brings a pleasurable experience is a fairly powerful tool. It's a twofold exercise as the dog has to show restraint because it is under command but the anticipation of the release just enhances the dog's desire once released. Utilizing a dog's anticipation when directed properly is a potent method of getting a dog to execute with a higher level of intensity. 3.) Try running the tug on him occasionally, make Sonic work for it harder, intentionally making him miss because of your quickness. Yeah, you might take a shot or two but Sonic looks precise on his bite accuracy and if you do take a hit, move on without a fuss, never to hinder his pursuit when you are making it more difficult for him to latch on.

You have the dog's focus to the greater degree unless he comes across a hot scent and I might use that to your advantage as well with tracking exercises.

I also see a dog that has a ton going for it due to your guidance, training and commitment. Not just the cats inside but the traffic outside and probably numerous other distractions which Sonic doesn't care about in the slightest. You and Sonic have a lot of synergy and I can only assume the future will be bright for the two of you.
 

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Thanks.
Your/his GSD is quite the story too. It's amazing what you can pick up in the dog pound--probably also an example of matching up great owner to magnificent dog.
Pictures? Video?
We are on our 16th foster dog, we've had some really good dogs that went through our house (and found wonderful forever homes). What previous owners consider as "crazy barbaric dogs" were actually some of the coolest dogs for us to have fun with :p

Here is a video of them from April, https://youtu.be/V9JnYVu-3A0

Here is a video of our Mal and GSD training "together." Yes, the subtitles are in Chinese. I shared this video in a Chinese dog forum several months ago, most people there didn't know much about training, so I had to explain what we were doing, and tell them not to use one toy for two dogs unless both had really good recalls and not toy aggressive :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
@San, can't wait to watch your video's (tomorrow or tonight), more on that later & thanks for posting here.
@DriveDog
Thanks again. I'm not sure if I can properly thank folks for all of this. I REALLY appreciate it.
1) Demon's is correct. They surface at surprising times & Sonic will suddenly slink off/run away. These things are happening less and less though.
I love confident dogs, building confidence is a new challenge for me, but when I remember what a shy appeasing puppy he was when he arrived, or the reactive mess he became in the middle months, and seeing him walking about ears perked with relaxed energy, I am thrilled.
I am also very pleased to be getting advice from you and san, as you both know a lot about building confidence. Thanks!
2) I am adding down, or other commands, but I really need to 'read his mood' for if and when to do that. What I think I am seeing is the beginning stages of building toy drives and what I video'd was the first big day, with more to come.
3)Will do.
And thanks again...it's fabulous to have him playing with me now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@San
I watched. They are beautiful. All four of you, working together. Happy people, happy dogs.
Mixed feelings for me, your husband's dog looks exactly like young Dynamo (my previous dog), in colour, conformation, attitude, everything. Bitter sweet, that.
 
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