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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been trying to work a lot on Jak's obedience here lately, and I've run into two small problems that I can't seem to figure out a solution to on my own.

Some days he'll be nearly perfect when heeling, and some days he just seems very distracted and will not maintain eye contact. He knows he's supposed to be looking up at me now, so when he looks away I give a quick pop on the leash, but instead of looking back up at me, he just moves in closer to my leg (the direction I pop the leash makes no difference). He isn't moving his head out of position - just looking away with his eyes. I tried the ecollar instead of the prong and he did the same thing (just got closer to my leg, literally pushing against me), and laid his ears back. I've also tried bringing the food down to his nose to basically lure him to look back up at me and that doesn't work either. The only thing I haven't tried yet is using the ball or a tug.



The second problem has sort of been addressed already in other threads, but not exactly, so I'll ask here, too. When he sits in front of me, he will not sit close; he stays back about a foot. If I try to lure or pull him closer, he jumps up rather than sitting close. If I try to inch into him, he backs up, jumping up with his front feet. I've taught him to go around behind me into heel position if he's sitting in front of me when I give the heel command, so now he thinks that if I pull the leash towards me when he's sitting in front, he's supposed to go around to my right side. I could prevent that by standing against a wall or fence or something I guess.
 

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Maybe one of these methods can help you:
About heeling: I would reward every time he makes eye-contact instead of giving corrections for not looking. It's making it even easier when you reward the correct behavior by a marker (Yes, Click) before you give the reward. (bal, tug or food) That helps the dog to understand wich behavior he needs to show to get his reward.
I assume that you don't want to start all over again with heeling ( :wink: ) so the marker will clearly help the dog to understand that you reward for eyecontact. Be carefull that you don't reward for walking to much in front of you, or anything else.
You can also start all over again, by asking eye-contact at the heel position, then 1 step heeling with eye contact followed by the marker and reward, en that way you can build up the distance again. But this may take a while.
And you can reward eye-contact everywhere you are (at home etc), just to tell the dog that you like eye-contact. You do this for a couple of weeks maybe, and (mostly) the dog makes automatically more eye-contact.

About sitting in front: there are several ways to do this, I would start with this one:
sit down on a chair, with your feet 30 cm away from each other and you throw a little peace of food 2 meter away from you. The dog eats it, and after that you call him. You keep the reward under your chin and at the moment he sits closely in front of you you say the marker-word en throw the reward 2 meter away again. So the dogs needs to leave the position to get the reward. That way you can do this several times each trainingsession.
If the dog sits not close enough, then you say nothing. You wait. Mostly the dog will sit closer like he want's to say: helloooo, i'm sitting in front of you, give my reward!!!
Later you can also throw the food sideways, and call him back. The dog needs to learn that even then he needs to take the front-position to get a reward.

Also an option is to teach your dog the 'Touch': that means that your dog needs to touch your fingers with his nose.
Once he can do that, you can hold your fingers against your tummy. Do that many times, and your dog will automatically sit closer, even without the fingers.
But with both methods be carefull with teaching the dog to sit real closely, some dog realy exaggerate this and knock you off your feet after you called them...

BTW: you can also use the Touch for beautiful heeling. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! I am still using food when heeling, and when he is giving eye contact I periodically drop a treat in his mouth, and I use lots of verbal praise, too. He will sit next to me in basic position for several minutes giving perfect eye contact, and some days he'll heel perfectly all over the place, no matter what I do or where I go. Some days, though, he just doesn't do so well. :? It isn't dependent upon location, either. He just has 'off' days. The problem is that I'm not sure what I need to be doing to get the attention back when he does break eye contact.


I do know how to teach the 'touch', but I don't really understand how you 'wean' the dog off of having to do it while heeling. I get how to teach the position using the technique, but not how to phase out the action. Maybe I'll try that for the close sits.
 

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How are you teaching the heeling now? By your last post it sounds like you are luring him with the treats into postion? It isn't clear to me thats why I ask.

Do you have a word for just eye contact? (watch, look, eyes, whatever). If not, I would work on that command first and then practice with the dog in different positions. I just broke the heeling down into much smaller pieces and then put it together. My dog knows back, turn (turns body left), watch, sit, stand etc. That way when I get him in the correct position I can tell him to watch and then give the heel command and mark it.

I hope that made sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
When I taught the position, I just brought him into position, had him sit, and then said 'fuss' and when he looked at me (which he did immediately because he always does when I talk to him :lol: ) I dropped a treat and praised him. Gradually I added time and movement, but the only time I ever used the treats to lure him into position was when I was teaching him to go from the front, around behind me and into heel position. The rest of the time I'm holding them in my hand at chest level. I have never used a separate command for just looking at me because I never thought it necessary.
 

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Well if otherwise his heeling looks good, and he just isn't looking up at you enough, a watch command may be helpful. I use the command often and it is more useful then one might think. I use it on Boris when he is looking at a cat, or anything else more interesting then me and I want his attention back.
 

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Michele Moore said:
Well if otherwise his heeling looks good, and he just isn't looking up at you enough, a watch command may be helpful. I use the command often and it is more useful then one might think. I use it on Boris when he is looking at a cat, or anything else more interesting then me and I want his attention back.
I teach "look" when I am starting with a new dog. It's the command I use to establish the "yes" marker, and I too find it quite handy in obedience training. :wink:

I do it with a treat up near my face if necessary. (Sometimes the dog doesn't need that incentive.)

Here's a quick overview:

http://www.doggroups.com/dog-training/item/3
 

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Much like the forum members who posted before me - I use a "watch" command. Having two separate commands permits me to verbally correct her "No, Watch" if she happens to look away but is heeling very well. Likewise if she leaves the correct heal position - I am able to verbally correct her "No, Volg (heel)". If leash correction is used - she knows exactly why she is being corrected which leads to better communication between me and my dog.

I have to state that I taught "watch" as a young pup and always marked with "good watch" then "okay" which would free her to receive her reward of food or tug. It took some time before I was able to move from having her at a heel position watching, to taking very slow steps forward watching, to now being able to complete a whole obedience exercise without any corrections - BUT it was well worth the patience and persistence.

I like the suggestion given concerning the here (sit in front). I don't know if anyone is familiar with "obedience without conflict" and "the game" by Ivan Balabanov - I used these methods and have been very happy with the results.
 

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Connie brought up a good point. It doesn't matter where you keep the food (pocket, bait pouch, etc) The important thing is to bring it to your eyes and then down to his mouth. Always from the eyes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Someone on another board posted a couple of pictures of their dog before and during a trial. They said that the week before the trial they trained every day, whereas before that, it was only 3-4 times a week, and their dog's attention suffered as a result. The picture they posted of their dog at the trial is exactly what Jak is doing now; it looks like this:




as opposed to this:




I'm thinking he may just be bored with it, since I've been working with him daily for the past week. I'm going to give him a few days off and try again, and maybe I'll try teaching him the look command, too.
 

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I'm thinking he may just be bored with it, since I've been working with him daily for the past week. I'm going to give him a few days off and try again
That realy shouldn't matter for a working dog!
I think you just have to make it much more exiting!!! All these tricks above are fantastic, but won't have the perfect effect if the dog is too bored. Why don't you use the ball or tug much more for heeling? Make heeling exciting, they need that!
 

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IMHO the first dog does not know attention - it does appear to know the heel position (finding the leg) although I do not like to be crowded so much on the heel as I personally see in picture 1 and 2. The second dog has a nice look upwards at the handler although I prefer not to have my dogs head going across the front of my body, giving a sign-tracking appearance. When the left leg of handler #2 comes forward she/he more then likely will be having to push forward into the dogs right shoulder with her left knee/thigh.

When true attention is learned correctly by the dog - the dog should be able to maintain it for at least 10-15 minutes with or without distractions - every day and for several times a day if that is what you ask of it . The key is making it worth their while, at first, to want to do this. It is the handlers job, as Saskia touched upon, to first teach the dog what is expected of them, to know what the dogs limitations are while they are learning (reward BEFORE they have a chance to look away and gradually increase the time/distance) and very important to find that special reward that comes from you alone that motivates the dog to do what you are asking it to do - its reward for performing the task correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just to clarify, both pics are of the same dog. The first picture was him during the trial, after training every day for the week beforehand, and the second picture was him before the trial, when he was only being trained 3-4 times a week.

I don't own a tug toy, because I was told by the TD not to play tug with Jak, but I do have a ball on a string that I may bring out to use again. I tried to use it at first, as opposed to using food, but he was too excited with it so I put it away. I'll have to put him on a long line when I try the ball again, because when he gets the ball (or anything, really), he doesn't bring it back to me. He's been that way since he was a puppy; I can take anything I want away from him, but he likes playing keep-away better than fetch. Maybe Jerry or Jay can help me some on Friday. Maybe the problem is that I'M bored and annoyed with it! :lol:
 

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Thanks for the clarification about the pictures. One picture is at a trial where there are many distractions (dogs, people and judges) and the handler is probably nervous or stressed (dogs are able to read our emotions better then we can read theirs) and the other is along a country road with very few if any distractions. Jerry or Jay (if your talking about Lyda) will definitely be able to give you good advice. Good group of people in ASR.

I wish you success with Jak's.
 

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Kristen, you are literally saying everything I said about two months ago. Not bringing the ball back….being a total nut when trying to train with a tug/ball….I could go on....but you get the idea. :wink:

My dog loves treats...but treats just don’t make him excited about doing obedience. His obedience and heel in particular was very, very "flat" I tried spitting treats, luring with treats, nothing was working.

I finally started working with him with a ball on a rope, and he is a totally different dog. They say there are no quick fixes....but that was. He is far from perfect, but he has made 100% progress.

He still runs around like a nut when he gets the ball, but he does bring it back now, I think he finally realized that the ball is no fun with no one to throw it. (He does parade around with it for about 30 seconds though before bringing it back) It just took that little bit of extra motivation for him, and he went from ears back…slugging along…looking at the ground….to watching me, ears and tail up, and prancing down the field.

This is my first Schutzhund dog, and he just turned a year old this month...so I am by far no expert on the subject....but I just thought I would let you know that it worked for me.

Good Luck to you and Jak :D
 

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Don't let Amanda fool you - her dog Rommel is doing excellent work at obedience mainly due to Amanda's willingness to step back in training and try new approaches. Her lack of time doing SchH - is not apparent at all when her and Rommel take the field. :)
 

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Kristen Cabe wrote:
Just to clarify, both pics are of the same dog. The first picture was him during the trial, after training every day for the week beforehand, and the second picture was him before the trial, when he was only being trained 3-4 times a week.

I don't own a tug toy, because I was told by the TD not to play tug with Jak, but I do have a ball on a string that I may bring out to use again. I tried to use it at first, as opposed to using food, but he was too excited with it so I put it away. I'll have to put him on a long line when I try the ball again, because when he gets the ball (or anything, really), he doesn't bring it back to me. He's been that way since he was a puppy; I can take anything I want away from him, but he likes playing keep-away better than fetch. Maybe Jerry or Jay can help me some on Friday. Maybe the problem is that I'M bored and annoyed with it! :lol:
If you have some issues with the ball (and other toys) than I would like to advise you to watch the "Drive, Focus and Grip" DVD from Bernhard Flinks. I just love that DVD!!!
The problem you describe: not comming back with the toy is a very familiar problem to me... :lol: Nou he simply runs into my arms, and is so easy to handle with toys right now. Even though his drive has only become bigger than it already was! The DVD is a bit expensive, but it's realy worth the money: http://www.leerburg.com/101e.htm
It is just fantastic for dogs that have to little drive AND it is fantastic for dogs with 'too much' drive!
 
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