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http://youtu.be/FAb3KJyxq0o

 

Is this video pretty accurate? Today I tried to get him to touch my hand, but all he would do is stare at it, then stare at me. I tried moving my fingers and he showed no interest in it. He sniffed it once, but I think that's because I had some treat scent on my hand. I even tried to use a bright frisbee, but same result. I held it there for a good minute or two before calling it quits.

 

The main thing I got out of that video is not asking anything of the dog when first teaching the clicker, but rather waiting for a wanted behavior and clicking that instead. Instead of sticking my hand out and waiting for him to touch it, should I be waiting for ANY wanted behavior and clicking that? And maybe when he's used to formal training, then I can start asking for more specific behaviors.

 

 

And here's another picture of him from today.

f38fa89087a411e3a8e71286ad01131b_8.jpg

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I only watched the video up until about 7:45, but, yes, it's accurate.

 

 

The main thing I got out of that video is not asking anything of the dog when first teaching the clicker, but rather waiting for a wanted behavior and clicking that instead. Instead of sticking my hand out and waiting for him to touch it, should I be waiting for ANY wanted behavior and clicking that? And maybe when he's used to formal training, then I can start asking for more specific behaviors.

 

You have to realize that Dexter doesn't have the basic foundation for learning yet, so this is going to take longer for him than it will for most well socialized dogs. Plus he's hand shy, so I'm not surprised that he's not touching your hand yet.

 

Let's back up a step . . . . is the clicker well charged? IOW, is he really anticipating the treat when you click? Does he eagerly look at you hoping you'll click that clicker? That's got to happen first, and just earlier today you said that hadn't happened yet. Make sure he's really understanding that a click is a good thing and that he's paying attention to you and anticipating it before you try anything else. He's got to have that down and want you to click so that he'll try to figure out what he can do to make the click happen.

 

You can definitely start with something other than targeting. I just thought it might be a good way to deal with his hand shyness. So if you want, you could start with sit, as the video shows.

 

But -- and this is important -- you don't want to randomly click just any behavior that's desirable. If you want to do something else, you could pick the first nice thing he does and then work on reinforcing that behavior and getting him to repeat that one till he has it down. Then you can move on to something else. If you click for a sit, and then he lies down, don't think, great, that's a desirable behavior, too, so I'll click that. It'll just confuse him. Stick with the first thing you clicked for and work on that till it's solid. You'll eventually be able to do different behaviors in different sessions, even if they're on the same day, but be sure to give him a break in between so that each one is a distinct lesson. But this is still in the future. He's not ready for that yet.

 

I'm going to go back to targeting now, though, because I still thing it's a good place to start to get him more comfortable approaching you on his own and getting over his hand shyness. First of all, your hand should be close to him, as close as he'll let you put it without his spooking. If he won't tough it, click & treat (for shorthand, every time I say click it means click and treat) if he even looks at your hand. If he moves his nose even an inch toward your hand, click. Do this several times until he's inching toward your hand reliably, then up the game. He'll have to move an inch and a half to get clicked. Lather, rinse, repeat until he touches your hand. Then you can start moving your hand a little farther away, and then move it around for the touch. This is shaping. When you can't get the behavior you want, you start out clicking even small approximations and then gradually raise the bar until you get what you want.

 

Like the stuff from the very beginning, this is also going to be an exercise in patience. Remember, baby steps. ;) Because of his lack of socialization, expect this to go slowly. Probably watching-paint-dry slow for a while. <_< But you'll get there.

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I am new to owning a border collie our little girl is almost a year old so I can't offer any advice as such but I just wanted to say god bless you for giving this beautiful boy such a loving home. This forum is a godsend with so many experienced people offering great advice. Keep up the good work and Dexter will get there with your love and patience.

My sentiments exactly.

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Thanks for the kind words :) I picked up a bag of hot dogs yesterday and used them for our clicker session today along with some of that cheddar cheese. I tasted a hot dog and does anyone think that it could be too salty for the pups? Or is it just me? I mean he loved them, but I read somewhere too much salt is unhealthy for the dogs.

 

During the clicker session he was making good progress though. I tried something super super simple for him and he had it down by the end of the session. I was gradually making him come close to me before clicking and treating. I'd toss a treat pretty far back and wait for him to come right in front of me and face me before clicking. He seemed to understand the clicker because he was trying a few different things to get me to click. Sometimes he would come to the side and waited for a click. When I didn't, he would try somewhere else like the other side of me. He finally figured out that the click would be to come in front of me and he did that consistently for the last third of the treats I had left.

 

On a side note, he's really good at fetch indoors. I can toss the ball down the hallway and he'll bring it right back to me for another toss. He's pretty consistent on that too, but outdoors, now that's another story.

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I have used hot dogs as training treats, I would cut the sausage into quarters length wise then slice and the dogs have had no ill effect. I can't remember if it's been mentioned but training treats should be small, mine are no bigger than a finger nail and I have small hands. I would use a variety of treats, you don't want him to get bored :)

It sounds like he is making great progress.

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Man, dereklum, you are something else! If he's fishing around ro see if he can make you click you're there! Now keep it calm and just restrict it to little things but get a plan in mind for each. It will give him something to think about and I promise it will bond him to you. **Yes i know it's only one method, but it's a darn fine start!

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Derek, you can boil the hot dogs for a couple minutes, then slice them into 'coins', or even slice long ways, and then across so that you wind up with little triangles. You can then spread them on a cookie sheet and stick them in the oven at around 250 degrees for a few minutes, or you can nuke 'em in the microwave. Either way, you end with a treat that's pretty easy to handle, and a bit healthier.

 

You can freeze them indefinitely in small batches.

 

And you and Dexter are doing really, really well!

 

Ruth and Agent Gibs

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WAHOOO just did a short clicker session and we got the touch down! He was pretty interested in the clicker so we just started out with just looking at the hand with the clicker, to touching the hand with the clicker, to moving the clicker to the other hand and he was still touching the same hand! It was pretty awesome. At first I could tell he was fishing around to try and get me to click and when he got it down, he got it down. Going to try again in an hour or so and see if he still remembers it. Will update you guys.

 

edit: Oh and I keep forgetting to mention that I do cut all my treats to little bite sized ones. And today I cooked the hot dogs a bit differently. I cut them up into my desired sizes and then pan fried them. Then I blotted as much grease as possible off and tasted one. Wasn't as bad. I also keep forgetting that I have chicken I can cook him. Much healthier but I keep forgetting to cook it. I think I'm going to cook one tonight when I make dinner.

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That's fantastic, Derek! It's going to just keep getting better and better now.

 

As for the salty hot dogs you asked about before (sorry for not answering sooner), no, they're not the healthiest thing on the plane for your dog. Neither or chicken McNuggets. But they tend to be high value treats and it's OK to be using them in limited quantities while you're training, which is what I said before about making exceptions for junk food when you're training. It's not like they're going to be the bulk of his diet or that he'll be eating massive quantities f them for the rest of his life. So no need to worry about them too much. Consider switching with pre-made meatballs and cheese and McNuggets, both for variety and to even things out.

 

Great job, both of you!

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Just finished up another session and he's still got it! I even tested him by putting my hand high enough that he had to jump and, sure enough, he jumped to touch that hand! This is really awesome I can't explain how happy I am right now. I can finally get some mental stimulation going for him and it amazes me how fast he learns too. I'm really looking forward to getting to some more advanced things, but of course, small steps.

 

My treat basket that I prepare before each training session always has a couple different treats. Since I ran out of the Zukes, I been putting cheese pieces and hot dogs together. I'm going to cook some chicken later today and add some of that to my little basket.

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That's great. Yes, definitely move that hand around. To the left, to the right, up and down. Switch from one hand to another.

 

This may seem like just an exercise, but it can be useful, too. You can use it when you're at the vet, for example, to keep his attention focused on something other than the scary person he doesn't know or the needle jab he may get. Or to help get him into a position that makes it easier for the vet to examine him.

 

You're going to have a lot of fun with him now that his brain's engaging. Stupid pet tricks and practical skills alike will keep him thinking and bonding with you.

 

Way to go!

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here's dereklum:

" today I cooked the hot dogs a bit differently. I cut them up into my desired sizes and then pan fried them. Then I blotted as much grease as possible off .......and tasted one".

 

 

 

this cracked me up because clear as a bell it says "This-here is MY dog and I'm gonna train him" Good on you!

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Haha you gotta taste every piece of food you give your dog right?? Haha just kidding. My friend ate a piece of kibble out of curiosity and let's just say he's not going to do it again, ever.

 

Dexter and I are making some SERIOUS progress on clicker training. I was able to get him to 'paw' my hand instead of 'nosing' it and I started adding cues ('five' for the paw, as in "high five"). Also we're working on 'down' and 'stand'. I was scared this was going to be too much for him too soon, but to my surprise, he's getting it down! I'm not too sure he's getting the cues just yet since there are only only so many things he knows I want him to do (if my hand is out, paw it, if it's not, lie down), but I'm sure eventually he'll understand. This is so exciting. I feel like a little kid at a candy store right now.

 

Another thing that he's been doing a lot recently that I could use some help on is growling at sounds he can't see. For instance, if people are talking right outside the front door, he'll growl. And sometimes when someone walks in the door, he'll bark at them for a brief moment, then sniff and then he'll relax. Every time I say 'no', I use a firm tone and he stops for a second to look at me, but then goes back at the growling again. How do I enforce a 'no' to mean 'stop doing what you're doing'? I'm sure I can use clicker training for this as well (clicker train everything!!!), but I wouldn't know where to start. Also could this be too soon as he's just getting the hang of the whole formal training concept? I mean it's tolerable, it's just an unwanted behavior is all.

 

Edit: I got an idea. Would it work if I created the situation where he would growl/bark and I gave him a 'no' or 'shhhh' and clicked and treated when he quieted down? I think I actually got that from a video I watched a while back.

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About Zukes - I don't know where you buy them but I get them from Amazon in a three-pack (1# bags) with free shipping for a very reasonable price. Good quality, easy to use, and (for my dogs) very high value.

 

Remember that growling is communication. For my dogs, to react naturally to something that "concerns" them, I try to avoid saying, "No!" Rather, I try to let them know that they were right to be concerned and communicate that concern, but that I am aware of the situation and they should stop now. So it's not a matter of the dog being wrong but rather being right but it's enough now. Do you get the difference? Maybe I'm off base with that but that's the message I am trying to communicate back to them. I actually use my "That'll do" phrase/command which means that "That's good but that's enough and it's time to stop". And, when Dexter does respond, look at you, and stop growling, then there's nothing wrong with a treat to reinforce the praise.

 

In this situation, using a firm "No" could be interpreted by a dog that you, too, are concerned - which validates the growl. Keeping things "okay" on your end will communicate to him that things should be okay on his end, too. Sometimes, when we react a certain way, we are telling our dogs that they do have something to be worried about, which is the opposite of what we are trying to communicate. Again, just my thoughts and others will most likely have much better advice.

 

Very nice to hear about the progress!

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Yes, when my dogs growl I ask them in a neutral voice "what is it" or something like that. Then I tell them "ok that's enough. I got this".

 

Some dogs just bark when people come in. If he stops I wouldn't worry too much about it. He may stop doing it all together once he gets full confidence.

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I agree with Sue and JW. I do the same thing when my dogs bark or alert at something. I acknowledge it, take a look to show them I'm validating their concerns, and tell them it's enough. It works well for the low intensity alerts of the type you're talking about. Definitely you can use your clicker in these situations to reinforce the barking or growling's stop. You can set up situations as you describe, but it would be better if you made sure you've always got some treats (Zukes are good for this, as they're not messy) in your pocket so you're ready to reward when the situation presents itself spontaneously. You probably won't always have a clicker on you at those times (although I often wear a clicker on a stretchy wrist band or giant rubber band when I'm training), so it would be a good idea to charge either a mouth click or a marker word like "Yes!."

 

More intense barking or growling -- as when there's really something arousing to bark at like when someone's actually knocking on your door -- is a little harder, but will be much easier when you've laid the foundation with these less intense situations and Dexter knows that you'll take charge of the situation once he alerts. In the meantime, you can start working on eye contact, which is just what it sounds like. Reward any brief eye contact at first, then only reward for more extended eye contact that demonstrates that he's really paying attention to you. You can add the cue "watch" or "watch me" and eventually you'll have a tool to get his attention and be able to stop the barking.

 

Adding the verbal cues does take a little longer than just getting the behavior in the first place, and seems frustrating in the beginning. But once he gets the idea that a behavior is paired with a verbal cue, then it'll be easier later on. This is part of his learning experience as well. And, as you've already observed, dogs are more attuned to hand and body movements than they are to sounds. You can use that, of course, and use hand signals as cues, but they're not always practical -- say if the dog is further away and/or not looking at you -- but can be a great adjunct to verbal cues.

 

I'm in awe about how well you guys are doing! When you first posted I was afraid that Dexter was one of those dogs that was going to take a long time building confidence. But it sounds like he was much less damaged than we'd feared (which is great!). He sounds more like my dog Bodhi, who I've told you about. I don't regret for a minute everyone's telling you to take things slowly. If he had been more fearful it would have been crucial, and it was still a critical component in bringing him this far this quickly. Kudos to you for doing what needed to be done and at his pace. So happy for you both that the pace is much faster than we'd thought it would be.

 

You and Dexter are going to be a great team. The bond created in situations like this are very close and very deep. :D

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Oh I see what you guys are saying. So it's actually not a bad thing that he's growling at unknown things. Could actually save the house from theft haha. I'll try to keep the clicker and treats on me more often. He actually gets super excited now when I bust out the tupperware of his treats. He doesn't seem to get bored of it either. And I actually tried what Sue and JVW said and kept everything calm on my end while giving him a neutral 'it's okay'. It worked a lot better than my firm 'no'. He didn't stop right away, but it also didn't intensify like he does sometimes.

 

One question on training: should I be focusing on one 'trick' at a time? For instance, should I just focus on his 'high five' for now until he gets it 100%, cue and all? Or is it okay to throw a couple at him at once? Not too many of course, maybe just like 3 at a time?

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should I be focusing on one 'trick' at a time? For instance, should I just focus on his 'high five' for now until he gets it 100%, cue and all? Or is it okay to throw a couple at him at once? Not too many of course, maybe just like 3 at a time?

 

I think you could do at least 2, maybe even 3, at a time, but in separate training sessions. IOW, work on only one behavior in one 5-10 minute training session, and another behavior in a separate training session at another time.

 

No sense confusing him by trying to teach both algebra and history during the same period. ;)

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I'm just seconding alligande by saying that my collie and my greyhounds will all stand right up and growl at noises they don't understand and I say "thanks, dog-name" and look around

me just long enough that they see me react. Then I say "it's fine, all done". Im alone alot and I want to know that they're on the job. Same with the door. I dont call any one of them off until I get up close enough to see who's

there. If I decide Im not opening up, I just let them bark. The trick is that "it's fine, all done" is the cue to shut up as a "trick"

that you can teach separately. Next time he alerts and growls, you can respond "what's that??" which will encourage him to bark. You can click the bark (fast) and treat it. Then just quietly wait out all the noise until the second he quiets right down out of boredom click/treat, saying "that's fine, all done" If you want to hurry up this one, you can have someone tiptoe to your door and knock a few times under an pre-agreed-upon number of noise repetitions. I'd limit it to 3 at a shot though, in case the smart

little thing decides the point is to stop alerting altogether haha

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Ohh okay I'll give that a shot. I'll let you know how it goes.

 

One concern I'm having right now is this spot on one of his front paws. I noticed a little bald spot about a week or two ago and just looked at it right now and it seems to be getting bigger. The only thing different about his behavior/lifestyle is that he's not drinking as much water as he should be for some reason. He urinates multiple times a day, like usual, but he doesn't drink his water. His stew seems normal to me as well, not abnormally soft or hard. It doesn't seem to bug him since he doesn't bite, scratch, or excessively lick that paw, He doesn't do anything when I touch it either. Any ideas? I don't let him out of the house alone, so there's nothing that he could have gotten into except grass and maybe a bit of mud. This is the only spot and it's about an index finger nail big. The last time I remember seeing it, it was maybe a pinky nail size.

 

If anyone might know the cause or what it is, please email me at dlum125@yahoo.com. I have a picture on my phone, but don't know how to get it on the boards.

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That sounds like something one of my dogs had, just a minor skin infection that didn't look like anything but a little patch of bare skin. The vet checked it out and gave me some antibiotic for him (I don't remember if it was oral and/or topical) and it cleared up right away.

 

You can touch it? Try rubbing it gently and seeing if it changes (increases, puffs up a bit) within a few minutes or so. That would possibly indicate something else.

 

Is he due for a vet visit in the near future? That might be your best option for getting this checked out.

 

I have a dog that does not seem to drink much water sometimes yet he still seems to have normal urine output and a urinalysis indicates that he is concentrating his urine properly (not too dilute and not too concentrated). Is Dexter maybe drinking when you are not observing? Or are you noticing that you have to refill his dish less often than previously? Have you changed his diet at all to increase liquid intake in his food?

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Dogs drink a lot of water when they're stressed. So it's quite possible that Dexter was actually drinking more water than normal at first, because he was stressed moving into your family home, then moving to your present home, as well as being a fearful dog and adjusting to all the changes.

 

I have a boarding dog who drinks a ton of water when he's here (for up to 2 months at a time), but his owner says he barely drinks at all at home. The thing is, no matter how accustomed he is to coming here (he spends nearly 1/3 to half his life with me at present), it's still a stressor for him and he's not here long enough for him to completely acclimate and relax.

 

I'm hopeful that this is an indicator that Dexter's no longer nearly as stressed as he used to be and no longer feels the need to load up on water. Especially given the time frame (had to go look. Hard to believe it's been less than 6 weeks since you first posted!), that would be my first guess.

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Hopefully it's because he's getting more comfortable. I believe he's also due for a vet check up for his 1 year some time next month. I'm going to have to start introducing the collar and leash by then. Hopefully I can get that done in time. The weird thing is that the spot doesn't seem to bug him the least bit. My dad always said if it doesn't bother him, there's probably nothing wrong. Not too sure how much he knows about dogs though haha. Anyways, I'm going to keep an eye on it.

 

I'm happy to say that he's getting the high five down outside of training sessions! I can put my hand up and say 'high five' and he'll do it sometimes! I'm still having trouble making him use the bathroom outside though. He goes number 1 outside just fine and does it every time I want him to. Number 2 is a different story. There has been a couple times where I would let him outside and wait 15 minutes with no results, so I let him back inside. 5 minutes later, he comes running to me, and he does this thing when he wants me to follow him, so I go with him to the living room and find that he took a dump in the living room. It's so weird.

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I'm still having trouble making him use the bathroom outside though. He goes number 1 outside just fine and does it every time I want him to. Number 2 is a different story. There has been a couple times where I would let him outside and wait 15 minutes with no results, so I let him back inside. 5 minutes later, he comes running to me, and he does this thing when he wants me to follow him, so I go with him to the living room and find that he took a dump in the living room. It's so weird.

 

Not weird at all.

 

My stock answer for a problem like this is to tether the dog to the owner, or put the dog in a crate, so the dog can not go somewhere out of eyesight to do his business. Then you would take him out at intervals until he accomplished his business, then praise.

 

I know Dexter has issues, but I forget specifically if he can be crated or tethered. If you can't do either of those with him, you will have to get creative in finding ways to always keep him in sight. Basically, just follow the same routine one would when training a small pup - 100% management until he knows not to go inside. Just because he is older, doesn't mean he can't go back to foundation work.

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