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Getting your bc to focus on you


BCkris
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I first would like to say thank you to all have helped me with all my questions in the past.... as you can tell im a newbie at most of this obedience training... My lynus and i have been taking obedience classes and i cannot for the life of me get him to focus on ME. especially during heeling practice and with distractions during his sit/down stay. im sure i need to train him to focus on me, so is it a method to teach him to focus, have him look at me "click" then a very rewarding treat? (using a better treat than normal)?

 

our problems are: Heeling, he see's the dog next to him or in front of him and tries to go after them (playfully). all he wants to do is play with everyone and every dog. at home with no distractions he is just perfect of course.

 

help, our graduation test is in a few weeks and i really dont want to fail!

 

Thank you!

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The Look at That game from Control Unleashed can help a lot with that. If you want info on it, let me know and I can PM it to you.

 

In that specific circumstance, I would not wait for voluntary attention. Look at That is much faster, and much more effective.

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The Look at That game from Control Unleashed can help a lot with that. If you want info on it, let me know and I can PM it to you.

 

In that specific circumstance, I would not wait for voluntary attention. Look at That is much faster, and much more effective.

 

Yes please! Thank you!!!

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How much do you practice in areas with distractions? Often what happens is a person practices in a very low distraction area such as their lving room or quiet back yard, then go to a class where distractions abound. It's a whole different ballgame for your dog and it really makes a difference if you work on getting out and practicing in areas where you can incrementally add in distractions.

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In addition to using a variation of the LAT game from Control Unleased, I also use alot of play in my focus or 'attention' training.

I initially ask for focus or attention on me in a stationary position (dog sitting in heel position) and when I get that, I break out in play, usually tuggie. I also interchange the play with clicking and treating when I get focus. When I know my dog knows what I'm asking when I ask for attention, only then do I start moving (either with focus in heel position and/or me walking backwards with the dog facing me, moving toward me with attention).

What I like about breaking out in play when I get focus is that my dogs seem to view me as more fun than everything else in the environment, always watching and waiting to see if we're going to break-out and play tuggie. I work hard at making sure my dogs see me as a source of fun and that I'm more interesting than anything else around them.

One of my dogs is extremely food motivated so when I get the focus I want, her big reward is a jack-pot of treats. The other is more play motivated and his big reward is breaking out to play tuggie.

 

As far the stays go, that is something that I always make sure they understand what I'm asking of them before I ask them to do it in an interesting and distracting environment. I usually start with a sit-stay and when I think they understand stay means don't move, I will had a bit of pressure. That is me gently pushing sideways on their shoulder to see if I get what is caledl 'opposition reflex'. That is when I gently push on the dog, I feel the dog resisting and pushing back on me.

When I do it in a new environment, I start from the beginning.

Then I go back and work on a down stay. I teach the down until I go through all the steps with the sit stay.

 

Hope that helps some more.

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This is a fantastic question! I see so many people come through classes whether it be puppy, obedience or agility and drop out because the trainer is trying to teach them how to teach the dog to do behaviours, when in the first place there is no working relationship. Any class is way too overwhelming for a dog that isn't used to all the commotion such as a agility/flyball or obedience dog and even then there needs to be a working relationship.

 

Anyway, what I think is going wrong because behaviours are performed at home, is the level of distraction. Try taking him places other than class where there is a dog some distance away. Don't ask for the harder behaviors first ask for the easy ones such as a sit/hand touch. You need to build up the distraction slowly. If time is an issue, get to class before everyone else and ask for behaviours he previously couldn't perform. Then when class starts (using extra special rewards, favourite toy/steak pieces) work on the outside of the class as far away as you can without be excluded and give him rewards just for looking at you. Keep his interest in you, you should be more rewarding so you may have to up his reinforcement. He may look away if reinforcement isn't high enough. Of course its probably a distraction more so than reinforcement but long term just build up the distraction slowly. To get him through till the end of class, just stay away from high drive dogs and nearer the quiet, slow ones and keep the rate of reinforcement up with high value rewards. In between the hard stuff he is learning ask for easy behaviours for him to learn treats easily. Its hard when learning and you don't get much treats so break it up with behaviours he performs well.

 

As for a stay you need to only reward him when he is looking at you. If he understands he is not allowed to move then it will be easier but first you need to make sure he completely understands what stay mean. I teach a down stay before I ever do sit stay, mainly because it takes longer to break a down than a sit and I can recognise that and have more time to correct them before they are gone. Don't be afraid to tell the instructor you are doing things different as long as you can sort of justify why, if the instructor won't let you do things different they are not worth spending the money on. They should be accepting of any methods in their class if its suits the dog and owner. Start with standing directly infront of him on a leash and reward for attention paid to you. You can use a clicker to play this game, he may look away but be patient until he looks back and c/t when he does. Remember high value rewards are needed for distraction training. Slowly increase distance with your foot always on a long leash as you may not be fast enough to catch him if he breaks the stay. That way you can reel him in like a fish and replace him if he takes off. But if he does take off you increased the distance too fast. Go back to a shorter distance and work on that. Make sure he gets the same if not more treats when you are further away than when you are standing right infront of him. And yes that means you have to walk all the way back, i often see new trainers rewarding their dogs heaps when they are close in but not so much further away so the dog learns it is not worth staying when the owner wont reward them as much.

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You need to go back to the beginning. By continuing to allow your dog to be all over the place you are going to make it harder and harder to get the behavior you want.

 

Teaching true attention doesn't happen over night. You need to take carfeul steps and time your distrations and adding pressure carefully. Being prepared to take it down a level if the dog isn't being succesful. The course I help with we spend 6-8 weeks on stationary attention ALONE. Practicing adding distractions little by little before we even start taking a step. So the dog knows whats expected of them. This is mostly positive using some of the sudjestions already given, Jackpoting with treats, tugging, etc.

 

There are several options that might help you improve a little, but I would very much stress taking it back to square one with your dog.

 

Bottom line in any training is you NEED to make yourself the most fun and wonderful thing to your dog. Play with him, praise him, special treats or toys work. I taught my dogs to interact and play with me, they enjoy it and it helps build our bond. But I do have a few "special toys" that only come out for training. Before we even begin working on anything we play, we do fun exercises, etc. Short and sweet, fast and fun. My dogs don't get an opportunity to think about anything else but me.

 

It's hard to advise you also because I don't know you or the dog, and why he is having such a hard time with distractions, etc. I can only offer sudjestions.

 

If it were a dog I was helping someone with, and he was just being obnoxious, pulling and wanting to visit with other dogs. He would get a correction. Would solve the problem pretty darn quickly. My dogs never get to this point because

I start with the foundation work and baby step it up.

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Dear Doggers,

 

One can't proceed with any training - including stockdog training - until the dog is attending to you. With stockdogs one must convince the dog that the work/delight cannot go on without the handler, a conviction that can be difficult to instill with a novice handler and a young keen dog. With pet dogs, it's simpler. A skilled ecollar trainer can get that attention - without abusing the dog - in less than five minutes. But, the novice trainer will require expert, careful instruction.

 

Bill Koehler's longe line method is simpler and although I've seen some astonishingly dumb novices, I can't think how a novice could misuse it. The Koehler Method of Dog Training is available at Amazon.

 

Donald McCaig

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I'm an avid follower of Root Beer's methods and use a clicker with Robin when I want him to learn something new. When I wanted him to learn "look at me", I began by clicking and treating each time he looked at me of his own volition to capture the behavior. The first night we began this new lesson, after a few minutes, Robin decided to skip step A, which was looking at me, and pushed his nose in my hand, trying to click the clicker to get a treat.....ah, the agile mind of a Border Collie...always one step ahead! :rolleyes:.

 

I've not used a clicker heavily with Brodie. He would respond it it, but I didn't want to be clicking all over the place and inadvertently capturing a behavior that one of the other dogs was doing behind my back while I was working with the first. Brodie is wired differently is well. Whereas Robin enjoys learning things to display his cleverness, Brodie has that will to work to please the owner hard wired into him. He's self-effacing to a point, wanting to eagerly to please, but waits in the background until he's asked to do something, then he plunges into it and performs very well.

 

Which is to say, figure out how your dog learns best, what are his best motivations, then present new things in the way he can most easily absorb them.

 

Ours been learning new things at a good pace, but I've also seen a big change recently - at one year old, boy, are they ever ready to learn.

Liz

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I'm an avid follower of Root Beer's methods

 

Of course, they aren't really "mine", although I can't help putting my own spin on most of them! :D Still, not really "mine". I just like to talk about them.

 

Which is to say, figure out how your dog learns best, what are his best motivations, then present new things in the way he can most easily absorb them.

 

This is really an important point. I have really come to see that dogs have different learning styles. I've found that when I get to know my dog's learning style and adapt my training to suit the dog, things go much faster.

 

Sometimes that means taking time off from classes and working on our own for a while. Sometimes that means putting aside certain goals and expectations until the dog is really ready to move on to the next step. Sometimes it means handling my dog in class in a different way from the rest of the class (I always discuss this with my instructors so they know what's happening). Sometimes that means skipping steps because the dog is progressing faster than I had anticipated. Sometimes it means luring instead of shaping or shaping instead of luring or allowing the dog to choose his own reinforcer, etc. And sometimes it means letting the dog create a new sport altogether. :rolleyes: OK, it usually doesn't mean that, but I just found out that sometimes it does.

 

Ours been learning new things at a good pace, but I've also seen a big change recently - at one year old, boy, are they ever ready to learn.

 

Wait until you get to two years old! You won't believe what happens at that point! It's extremely fun. It has happened with both of my Border Collies and it amazed me both times.

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