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My pup is now 14 weeks old... She's a working bloodline GSD.

This is my first pup, as my previous dogs have been adult when I bought them.

She's been with me for the last 3 weeks.

Her recall is very good, it's generally on the first command...sometimes second with a bit of dancing and higher pitch voice from me.

Her sit is pretty good, again with praise / food reward.

I'm having problems with the Down/Platz... I know it's early days, but i'm wanting to make it easier for both her and me.

At the moment, I'm doing it from the Sit. So when she's in the sit, I'll command PLATZ and as she watches the food in my hand, I'll lower it to the floor and keep it there. Sometimes she'll lie down, often will just bend forward.

I keep the food in my closed fist until she lies down properly. More often than not, I have to place my hand on her shoulders and gently push..

Am I doing this ok, or would you suggest some other technique/method..?

Thanks

Gary
 

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My pups are 16 weeks old and they don't know squat other than how to eat pee and poop ;)

Firstly, I am not a fan of starting from a sit, because then they start anticipating the down from a sit position.

I use a table for obedience, I have the pup hop up onto a table and immediately go into a sit or a down. They start to understand the routine of hopping up onto the table and going into position. For teaching the "stay" a table helps IMO because it creates a sort of boundary that they understand more than being in the middle of a grass field with interesting smells.

When I do the down, if they aren't getting it by my hand going down, I push their shoulders to the side. If you push from the top you will meet resistance, if you push from the side a puppy will fall over into a down position.

For the sit, once they hop up onto the table my hand goes over and behind their head so they are forced to plant their butt down and their head will be all the way up looking at my hand where they eat the reward. For the down I toss food onto the table between their legs, never giving it by hand because then they will practice the habbit of getting up again to follow your hand.

I also don't use a stay command, to me sit is sit and down is down, you don't get up till I say it's OK.
 

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Gary, are you familiar with marker/clicker training? If you're patient, you don't even need to mold them into the down at all. Just go to a room with little or no distractions with a hungry pup and more or less ignore her (no petting or playing). Wait until she lies down on her own, immediately mark the behavior with a clicker or marker word ("yes" is a common one) and give her the food reward. You could try it Mike's way or the same way you've been doing it (holding your hand mostly closed so she's takes it slowly and calmly so she won't rocket back up as you want platz to be a precise but calm behavior). Repeat until she starts offering the behavior for you repeatedly, then click/mark the behavior, and praise with "good platz" or whatever you wish to use.
 

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Same here with Mike on the down from a sit. It's not necessary!
I use no physical control at all. Just as Maren said, I use a marker. It may initially take a bit to wait out the dog going down but, IMHO, worth the wait.
 

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As a side note to clicker/marker training, I like to use a clicker for something they've never done before or haven't done much of, if there is a higher level of distraction, or a higher level of precision is required (new obedience command, new situation, an exact position vs. the general command, etc) because for some reason, that clicker sound is so much more distinctive to their canine brain than our voice. We humans tend to talk too much and you can click faster than you can talk. :) But feel free to go to a voice marker like "yes" or "well done" or "that's fine" or whatever you like once they've figured out the gist with the clicker. Just keep the marker word consistent (easier said than done!).
 

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I'll be the voice of disagreement :) Well, kind of LOL I use both a lure and a marker for the down.

Why, because I want the down done a very specific way, and that's not how 99% of the dogs out there naturally do it. So I want to shape it my way from the beginning.

I start with the pup on a slick floor, linoleum or hardwood. In a sit or a stand, doesn't matter. Food in my hand. Put the hand under the pup, just a little under the chest between their front legs. As they bend their head to follow the food, they will start to fold backwards into a down. If they are sitting, their butt will slide backwards from the bend in their neck/back, and they will slide into a down. The second they hit the floor I mark the behavior and reward.

This is the beginning of the "fold back" down, vs the "move your front feet forward into a down". It's useful in Ring, since I don't want the dogs front feet to move during any of the changes of positions. And it's useful in Sch, AKC Obed, etc because during the motion exercises (moving down in Sch, drop on recall in AKC) I want the dog to plant their front feet on the command and hit the dirt. Not continue forward into the down.

I could hang out and wait to mark the behavior, I do it for other things, but I'm not sure in all the up/down the dog did it would ever actually lay down the way I want it to.
 

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Kadi, that's actually how I'm teaching Fawkes (luring and marking) and usually works great. I suggested the shaping or capture method for dogs or puppies who are resistant to being either molded or they get up and move backwards with the lure. Of course, if you did the shaping/capture method, you'd want to eventually mark only the nice downs. Nice thinking about the slick floors though. Probably makes it a bit easier than carpet or grass.
 

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I'll be the voice of disagreement :) Well, kind of LOL I use both a lure and a marker for the down.

Why, because I want the down done a very specific way, and that's not how 99% of the dogs out there naturally do it. So I want to shape it my way from the beginning.

I start with the pup on a slick floor, linoleum or hardwood. In a sit or a stand, doesn't matter. Food in my hand. Put the hand under the pup, just a little under the chest between their front legs. As they bend their head to follow the food, they will start to fold backwards into a down. If they are sitting, their butt will slide backwards from the bend in their neck/back, and they will slide into a down. The second they hit the floor I mark the behavior and reward.

This is the beginning of the "fold back" down, vs the "move your front feet forward into a down". It's useful in Ring, since I don't want the dogs front feet to move during any of the changes of positions. And it's useful in Sch, AKC Obed, etc because during the motion exercises (moving down in Sch, drop on recall in AKC) I want the dog to plant their front feet on the command and hit the dirt. Not continue forward into the down.

I could hang out and wait to mark the behavior, I do it for other things, but I'm not sure in all the up/down the dog did it would ever actually lay down the way I want it to.
I like it! ;)
 

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Any suggestions on cleaning up a sloppy "fold back" down, where he will only fold back a little then move the front feet anyway?
 

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You can try offering the food under your leg as you're sitting on the floor. The pup is on the outside of your leg the hand with the food is on the inside. The pup can't go forward. If you want to go further with this you can build a obstacle/small wall and offer the food under it. You can also try doing it at the edge of a table. I'm not a fan of these things. I like a dog to lie down in a way that's most comfortable for it.
 

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I like training pups their positions,sit,stand,down first up on a table. I bring them right to the edge of the table, holding the food or treat just under his nose, really close to the chest area. I also like having a harness on the dog, so if they need assist, I can help direct the position from underneath them-pulling on the chest plate for ex. for the down. Once down, they get the treat. I teach them to go from down to a sit to a stand, to a down, to a sit...mix it up. I bring them on the edge of the table, so they also learn to tuck their front legs down and under. Once they are doing really well on the high elevated surface-like a picnic table, I bring them to another elevated surface, maybe 10" of the ground, then lastly move it to the ground. Later when you transition it to the ground, I keep a piece of pvc, or piece of wood as a marker for them so the lesson they get with the position change is don 't creep forward. But we train for sport. good luck-main thing make it fun for you both.
 

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Using body part targeting with SATS Bridge and Target technique, you can teach the dog to target any number of body parts to any number of targets.

For instance, you can ask for approximations of chin to your two finger target, you could ask for chest on an extension target then a stationary target, and if you have a bit of a butthead like my boy George, you could also tell him to put his butt on a target, and his elbows, and so on, because you can simultaneously use two body parts or more to various types of targets. George has a really hard time holding still, so he was taught to hold his tail and chin to targets initially, and then to the floor, which I ask for on down stays.

Targets can anchor a dog to a place which makes a positional change at a distance easier and gives you more options.

Julie Kinsey
 

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I like training pups their positions,sit,stand,down first up on a table. I bring them right to the edge of the table, holding the food or treat just under his nose, really close to the chest area. I also like having a harness on the dog, so if they need assist, I can help direct the position from underneath them-pulling on the chest plate for ex. for the down. Once down, they get the treat. I teach them to go from down to a sit to a stand, to a down, to a sit...mix it up. I bring them on the edge of the table, so they also learn to tuck their front legs down and under. Once they are doing really well on the high elevated surface-like a picnic table, I bring them to another elevated surface, maybe 10" of the ground, then lastly move it to the ground. Later when you transition it to the ground, I keep a piece of pvc, or piece of wood as a marker for them so the lesson they get with the position change is don 't creep forward. But we train for sport. good luck-main thing make it fun for you both.
Sounds like good training
 

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I think I need a smaller table. I tried this last night:

I made him jump on the grooming table. (command: Brush)
I got him right on the edge and asked him to lay down (command: Coucher)
He already understands that I want him to down, but he moved his butt back and partially down, and then moved his front feet until the fell off the edge of the table.
This ended him in the down position, but not the way I wanted.

Perhaps if I go back and shape from when he moves his butt back and work from there?

Thanks for being to paitent with me!
Jaimie
 

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Jaimie- do the same technique you were doing, but initially you stand right up against the table-with you in the way...he has to move backward- then once he gets it,take a step back,now if he drops his feet over the edge, with your body, don't say anything, put a little pressure on his paws,as you are directing him to finish the down,or stay down-by putting slight pressure on his paws - he will pull them back himself-remember you don't want to hurt him, just claim that space so to speak- it is hard to explain in words- hopefully you understand what I am trying to say. another technique.... I have not needed to do it, but some of the guys I have trained with use...take a furring strip with carpet tacks pointing up,(so you are just getting the tips of a the sharp edges from the carpet tacks) put it on the very edge of the table, and use the same strip when they move to a lower level and finally use it on the ground- they do get great results-and the dog learns to tuck very quickly:oops:and not creep forward.
 

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I had the problem of the front feet creep when i was going from sit to down so i stepped into my 5 month old while i gave him the down command and he had to pop his back end out to be able to go down. It was very effective for him.
 
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