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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Heard that one before. I'd like to stick to that excuse too, but I have no other dog to work with right now, so Schutzhund folks, a little help?

Basic problem is, my dog knows the fuss just fine. In fact, when we're alone, I can do the entire BH routine and he'll look half-decent. Okay, so he slouches when he sits, and his down is maybe .5 seconds slower than most nice Schutzhund dogs I've seen. I can live with that. He also knows how to focus fine, look into my eyes kind of thing. His obedience is not really *slow*, he responds fast, but it's just not the bullet-speed thing I see in trials all the time.

Problem starts when there's someone else in the field. He starts to push into me and stops looking at me, so we start tripping over each other. I don't know what's in his little head but because of his nature I'm thinking he's anticipating a bitework session, EVEN though we don't always do that when there's someone else. If I correct his little snot for looking away, he starts to push into me some more. I tried only rewarding when he's looking at me but he reverts into this pushing-into-me behaviour the minute we take one step...that and it's dangerous rewarding this dog with a toy in an often basis (it means you have to out him several times, and if you out him several times he becomes frustrated and hectic and end up starting to want to fight you for the tug instead of work with you for it). Not that it becomes hard to control him, but his work ethic suffers when all he starts to think about is the tug.

Okay, so I've tried using food. It works, like a charm. Only then if I think he has it down and go back to using a toy to increase drive, AND there's distractions around, he goes back to this damn habit of his. I mean we probably have enough obedience to pass a Schutzhund 1 trial (let's ignore the fact that we may possibly fail the BH anyway :| ), he knows all the exercises, but if it's "me and not him", then I'd like to fix it as much as I can. I owe it to him to make him look good, at least.
 

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Food works like a charm till you try and use a toy. Sounds like the dog is heeling to the food and not to you. You should work on eye contact with the food in your pocket or held out to the side. YOur eye contact is the rewardable activity.
When the dog's attention is lost, just stop where you are till the dog's attention comes back.
Think of it as a train on electric tracks. When the dog turns it's attention, it's the same as cutting the electricity to the track. Everything stops. No forward movement. No reward till the attention comes back.
"Slouches when he sits". Sounds like maybe to much compulsion.
Is he fearful of others on the field or just distracted?
Videos would be nice. Sure wish I knew how to do them. :oops:
 

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Agreed that motivational wont work with all dogs but this dogs sounds like it works well for food.
What I'm seeing is a dog that hasn't been properly weaned off the food reward and possibly some fear/nerve issues since it wont focus on the handler if anyone elese is on the field.
She said correcting the dog just makes him push into here more. Sounds like he may not be understanding what the correction is for also.
Without video and/or more info thats just a guess, obviously.
 

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Granted it is hard to give advice in regards to something like this without "seeing it". You have already realized what your first problem is - the dog was not proofed with distractions sooner, I personally like at least one other person walking around on on the field, like a judge would/can once I believe my dog understands healing. I also cue my dog that we are going out to do obedience not bitework , by a sort of ritual I do - taking her out of crate - giving a command, then rewarding with whatever is used as a reward. Heel command is given, and then we move onto the field, parking lot wherever. I would suggest that you work the dog on nothing but healing in various locations where people are around, but not in close proximity, then moving the dog closer to distractions such as people/cars etc. The real test on whether your dog truly understands focused healing or any command is not on any home field where the dog is "comfortable".

Bob brought up a valid point - Could the dog be sign-tracking (watching where the reward comes from instead of truly looking up at your eyes) or could the dog be insecure when someone else is on the field and feels more secure the closer he gets to you. The dog just might think also that he's out there to do bitework like you said. Hard to tell without seeing it. Even seeing it in action on one film...makes it hard sometimes to tell without seeing his "history" - how well he heals before anyone is on the field.

There are many methods to use to fix problems. I personally would not switch to food if your looking for that "flashy obedience" although I do personally use food to teach basics with - I would use what makes your dog really want to work and drivey and from what you posted it sounds like the toy is what he really wants. Yeah, it is work for you trying to get the toy back because he does not want to out. If you teach the out (with a toy)in such a way that he is rewarded immediately with another game with you when he releases, at least in the beginning stages, instead of it being hidden from view or concealed you might have success. Then slowly throw in a sit command or down command after he releases and reward him again. If this method works as intended you will start seeing your dog drop like a rock on down and sit as well as every other command you try. Yup it will take some persistence on your part and some nagging, not yanking with a correction collar teaching the out- but I've been there and it has worked with several dogs.

Like I said there are many methods.....what works for one dog or ten dogs might not work for another but you don't know until your try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the advice. I don't know how to get a vid up. Don't have a camcorder. :(

Dog knows how to out. Dog was taught to out using a rebite. However, compulsion was necessary to follow it up as he grew older. But not too much compulsion. It's a fine line, with this dog. You could choke him off a bite and never get him to move an inch, while you could gently ask him to out and he would out. Regardless, out him one too many times and he shuts down and will just think of nothing but biting. He will still out, he will still obey, but it's like he's on live wire, and the chance of him becoming hectic becomes very high. He used to put holes in my fingers when he was younger, now we've stopped as soon as I realized what gets him like this. Food is not the issue. I do in fact heel with the food in my hand and the dog is looking at my face. The thing is, he gets way too excited with a toy, when I'm trying to get power into the heel. (He will also refuse to out for food). This isn't fear or nerve issues. I know my dog is crazy and a little weird, but this isn't really something that's ever crossed my mind considering who he is.

It may be too much compulsion as well, as he was corrected in the past for looking away. I will try Bob's advise of waiting until he directs to me once again, but it is difficult with a dog like him because the moment he sees an opening, he will barge through it. He is a headache to train, for sure...an example, someone suggested leaving a tug out while we fussed to put it in his little pea brain that he's supposed to be looking at me. He will look at me if the tug is in my hend and not at the tug, but with it on the ground and away from us, he could think of nothing else but the tug and would literally try to pull me with the prong on live ring as I sat there waiting for him to pay attention to me. He did. Eventually. For one step. Then he eagerly turned back to where the tug was like a few meters away and barked his lungs off.

I think I've solved the problem by not showing him the reward at all, and/or rewarding on the left side and doing lots of left circles. I think also I'll try using a ball instead of a tug. It seems as if he has a problem once the 'fight' is on his mind. He doesn't get to fight with the ball so he may have a different mindset to it...I just never paid attention if his performance was better depending on which toy I used.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
...iiiinteresting....

The nice thing about posting your problems on internet message boards is you get to think about them a little deeper than if you were just sitting around. I tried heeling with a ball. Dog looked perfect. :eek: I got the tug. Dog's drive was noticeably higher, and he started to forge. Coincidence much? I'll try this again somewhere else, not the backyard, later, see if it works.

So I think my problem was his drive is higher with the tug, he forges/gets hectic, I correct him, he starts to look like crap. The distraction probably had very little to do with it.

...crap. So I bought those 4 new shiny leather tugs for nothing. :|
 

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Quoe Lynn:
"He did eventually for one step".
That tells me he will do it. Just that one step should be marked (clicker, yes, good) with whatever you use at the EXACT second he makes eye contact, and rewarded. Your not trying to get a marithon stare in the beginning.
Even a dog that is high in drive for a bite will get frustrated and eventually look at you. Mark and send!
This is what Jeff was saying about the OB for a bite. Correct position and eye contact with the handler gets the bite.
 

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Does anybody else still work with the ball under your chin? (I know this only kind of sort of fits here, but I have been wondering abut this for a while & haven't known where to ask it)
 

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susan tuck said:
Does anybody else still work with the ball under your chin? (I know this only kind of sort of fits here, but I have been wondering abut this for a while & haven't known where to ask it)
Although that does work if done correctly, our club wants the dog to look at our eyes in hopes of getting a reward (treat/tug/bite). The treat and tug are kept in our pocket.
 

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Makes sense. My cast is removed tomorrow so I will finally be able to start working the pup again. In the meantime I have been doing a lot of focus work. I have him sitting next to me & do a real low pitched sort of cluck. I started with rewarding him right away, but now he will look up at my eyes for a good while. I have stopped with the ball under the chin since I added the low sound, ball is at my side now.

Also trained the platz a little differently with this pup. Made it a game, the faster & more animated he went down, the happier my reaction. Same with sitting. So he does these two little things in a very flashy manner.
 

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susan tuck said:
Makes sense. My cast is removed tomorrow so I will finally be able to start working the pup again. In the meantime I have been doing a lot of focus work. I have him sitting next to me & do a real low pitched sort of cluck. I started with rewarding him right away, but now he will look up at my eyes for a good while. I have stopped with the ball under the chin since I added the low sound, ball is at my side now.

Also trained the platz a little differently with this pup. Made it a game, the faster & more animated he went down, the happier my reaction. Same with sitting. So he does these two little things in a very flashy manner.
Now your getting it!
ALL the training can be introduced as a game.
 

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There is more than one way to skin a cat! So far, training with these positive methods is a lot more fun & rewarding. I am going to go this route as long as I can.
 

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susan tuck said:
There is more than one way to skin a cat! So far, training with these positive methods is a lot more fun & rewarding. I am going to go this route as long as I can.
AND you don't go home at the end of training feeling like you had to crank on your dog in order to get it to respond. Course some enjoy that aspect of training. :D :wink:
 

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You are right, Bob. I mean it is not like my life depends on my dog going beyond local clubs, or even being a podium dog on the local level. It would be nice, but I'm not going to break my neck or the dogs' neck in order to get there. When I was younger, getting to the top of whatever I was interested in seemed important. These days I get more satisfaction from enjoying the journey.

MAN my spelling has gone to hell in a handbag!
 

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When enough people get going on positive training there WILL be podium dogs. It's more about the right dog, and the right handler/trainer then the method used.
Those that can, will! Those that can't, will criticise! :D :wink:
 
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