Just Started Obedience

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Just Started Obedience

Postby harleygrl1219 » Tue Sep 20, 2005 3:14 pm

Tonight will be Synder's third time at obedience class. I am having a huge problem with her walking losely on a leash. She just pulls and pulls and pulls. We are not allowed to use a choke or prong collar (I don't like to use either anyway) but I am not sure if she will ever get the hang of it. I was using the flexi lead (which they made me stop using). She gets the heal, stay, sit thing but she won't walk nice on a leash and I can't let her off the leash because she will run....

Any advice? Will she ever get the hang of it?
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Postby Lisa » Tue Sep 20, 2005 3:30 pm

I'm being lazy and copying one of my previous posts...

Here's roughly how I've trained heel in five Brittany fosters plus my own BCxBrit. Granted, I don't train for precision heeling for obedience or anything, just a general heel for daily walkies.

I use a clicker to train, but you can use a marker word such as yes or good too. I actually shaped the heel by first just walking around the back yard, and every time the dog walked by my left leg, he got a click and treat. After a few repetitions, the dog started sticking right by my left leg, so lots of clicks and treats. Once the dog got the general idea, I only click/treated for the exact position I wanted. Once the dog was walking right where I wanted him, I named the behavior "heel." Once the dog was successfully heeling on command off leash, I attached the leash and gave the command (this method also works great for leash-shy dogs!)

This sounds like it takes a long time, but in all honesty, the dog catches on really quick. I had to do maybe 5-10 reps before the dog figured out where he was roughly supposed to be. Maybe 10-15 more reps before I could name the command. We worked on it for several nights, no more than 5-10 minutes each night. I managed to get a pretty decent loose leash walk in about a week (working on it every night for maybe 10-15 minutes). Once you get that heel solid in one location, take it on the road...dogs don't generalize well, as a rule, so just because a behavior is trained in one place, doesn't mean the dog understands the command in all locations. Practice everywhere you can!
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Postby Beth » Tue Sep 20, 2005 3:32 pm

There was a line of this questioning about six months ago so you might want to go back in the archives. As I recall, the consensus was that it took a ton of patience but to change direction when they started pulling you. At times it seems you are walking no more than two feet and changing direction but after awhile they figure out to pay attention to you. I think Mark may have brought this up with Monty. You may also want to ask your instructor for additional tips. I know they are so small in puppy classes but it pays to practice and consistent and to work every day. Very cute puppy. Good luck. Sometimes they are too smart for their own good and we tend to forget. But give them an inch and they will take the whole six feet!!
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Postby harleygrl1219 » Tue Sep 20, 2005 3:37 pm

Thanks!

I will just be a little more patient and I will work with her every night. Hopefully tonight will be a better class! It's tough when you are in a class with labs and goldens who are calm dogs and I have the crazy wild dog who wants to make friends with all the other dogs... hahahaha

I must say, I do have the cutest dog in the class :lol:
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Postby Natalie » Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:31 am

You may also want to try either the Gentle Leader or Easy Walk by Premier. They aren't an instant fix, but if you combine them with the training other have described, it will definitely speed things along. I like the Gentle Leader better myself, but you need to introduce it slowly (like during feeding time) before trying to walk them with it so that they associate it with "good things happening" and accept it much easier. It bothered Trip a little, until I got it fit adjusted correctly, but its not hard to do. You just need to make sure the fit is right before you start walking them with it.

Anyway - thought it might help.

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Postby Liz H » Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:46 am

Try this - it is based on the dog's (usual) need to be close to you...
Take a very long (20') lead or a piece of clothes line. Attach it to the dog's collar. Then just walk around the yard. When the dog gets to the end of the lead, change directions. Just keep at it...and reduce the length of the lead only about a foot a week. Don't encourage, don't talk..just keep moving. Then after a couple of weeks, start encouraging and then get the dog close to you, watching you (my favorite motivator is to spit little bits of either dog chow, or string cheese...that keeps them watching your face.)

The other real key to keeping a dog working and HAPPY...is to only train for about 15 minutes at a time..and ALWAYS end with something they do well and results in a reward. You can do 2 15 minute sessions a day...but if you keep your training times short and happy, results will be faster.

Hang in there..and don't train when you're cranky...and quit if you GET cranky.
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Postby harleygrl1219 » Wed Sep 21, 2005 12:42 pm

Thanks everyone!

I am going to try all the above. Last nights class was good. We did loose leash walking and she did real well with it. She is food motivated and if she thinks she is getting a piece of cheese she will do anything! The bad thing is when I run out of cheese, she completely looses interest. Nothing else will do.

The teacher is going to fit her for a collar next week (can't remember what collar he said). So hopefully that will help and I am going to work with her at night when I get home from work!

We learned "leave it" last night... I can't believe how smart they are. I would hide a piece of cheese in one hand and she would sniff at it and I would have a reward in the other hand and after me telling her to leave it she realized that all she had to do was look in my other hand for her reward ... hahahaha. Smart dogs they are!

I have no idea what I will get out of this class but if I can get one thing out of it, I would be thrilled!

Thanks again!
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Postby frances » Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:11 pm

Hi everyone! I too have just started my second obedience class 2 weeks ago. The first one was when Carson was 4 months old.It was a clicker obedience class. I understand your frustration because all the other non -hunting laid back dogs have half the energy and enthusiasm of our britts!
Anyway, we tried and tried with the clicker training and didn't have much luck. It was ok, when you had treats, and when he was in clicker distance, but otherwise I found it very difficult. If you didn't click at the exactly the right time or have the clicker on you at all times it just didn't work!
So Carson is now 9 months, and we put him in a training coarse that uses the prong collar. I know a lot of people do not believe in them, but not even the gentle leader, or choke collar was working for the heel position.
People some how feel they are hurting the dog ,but on the contrary.
It gives the dog , the even tug of what the mother dog would do when she has her jaws around her pups neck when she is correcting them. The prongs have a rounded tip(not a pointy one) and I actually tried it out on my own arm and pulled it down very hard to see how it would hurt, and guess what? it didn"t hurt one bit! The dogs neck is so thick and with all their hair, I actually wonder why it does such a great job!
Well, needless to say, from the moment we put it on, we had a different dog on ours hands!
If I didn't see it for myself, I wouldn't believe it!
My 11 yr old who would never attempt to take him for a walk, is now confidently taking him out every day. What a wonderful discovery!
I know everyone has their own opinion, but I would recommend this collar to anyone, and if things don't work out for you ,I would also suggest for you to try it as well.
Good Luck!
Frances :roll:
URL=http://img90.imageshack.us/my.php?image=10021706cb.jpg]Image[/URL]our boys Carson and Maverick
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Postby Lisa » Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:24 pm

I know everyone has their own opinion, but I would recommend this collar to anyone, and if things don't work out for you ,I would also suggest for you to try it as well.


I'm glad that the prong collar has worked well for you. For those dogs that need a bit of extra guidance, I would certainly recommend a prong collar over a head halter (gentle leader/halti) any day of the week.

Something to keep in mind, though....training collars are just that...for training. They really should not be used as a life long tool for good obedience. The goal of using a training collar is to help the dog understand what is right, then teach the dog that doing right is rewarded, and slowly wean the dog off of the training collar. You don't want to have to always rely on a training collar for a loose leash walk (or a sit, or whatever).

If you're interested, you might consider pairing the prong collar work with rewards. When the dog pulls, he corrects himself, so you don't have to do or say anything, just keep walking. But, when the dog walks nicely on the leash, let him know that he's doing the right thing...give him a small treat and a good boy as you keep walking. Eventually, the dog will learn that right by you is good and means treats, pulling means corrections, and you should be able to start working without the prong. At first, it might just be short walkies around the driveway without the collar, but keep rewarding for doing right and the dog will be able to go farther and farther without his prong collar. Just a thought. :)
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Postby Liz H » Fri Sep 23, 2005 6:14 am

How old is Synder again? If she's just a puppy, please try the non-prong approach first..you're not dealing with a large wild critter here..
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Postby harleygrl1219 » Fri Sep 23, 2005 8:15 am

Thanks everyone!

Synder has just turned 11 months. I do have some good news! We did a lot of loose leash walking last night. She is getting so much better. I took your advice Lisa, once we were completely comfortable we took it to the road last night. She did pretty well. She needs to smell everything but I was able to keep her pretty focused. Once she started pulling me we took it back into the yard and kept working our way to the road.

My husband has used a prong collar on her before while he walks her and I must say it works incredible. She doesn't pull at all but I am not a big fan of it so I am trying so hard not to use it. The problem here is she respects my husband and she has no respect for me. He says no pull, she walks nice, I say no pull, she drags me down the street.... He makes her sit and wait, and she stays, I make her sit and tell her wait, she jumps right on ME! Hahahahaha... so I am really trying hard. Problem is I have spoiled this dog rotten! That is why I am taking her to obedience so she will start to listen to me as well.

The instructor will not let us use a prong collar or choker. One of my big mistakes was I have always walked her on a 30 foot flexi lead and we are not allowed to use that in class. My husband told me from day one not to use the flexi lead and I didn't listen so it is kind of tough going from a 30 foot leash to a 6 foot leash and expecting her to walk nice.

Well, I am learning. My husband has had Britts all his life and this is my first one so I am learning. Let me tell ya, this breed is a challenge but ya know, she's been so much fun! Can't imagine my life without her!

Thanks again everyone. I will keep you all posted on her progress!
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Postby frances » Fri Sep 23, 2005 11:45 am

Hi everyone!
Yes, we tried everything first as well, before using the prong collar. We really only use the prong collar at class,when we are training and walking or (heeling).
I understand your frustration about your husband having the upper hand with your pup! Something about a mans voice,eh?! Well I've have had to adjust my attitude, to show the tougher side of myself as well. Dogs can sense when people are afraid of them or unsure of ourselves. They are so very intuative, more than you and I give them credit for.
When we talk in are cute ,squeeky voice ,for sure they know we mean business! yeah right! LOL!
Anyway, when we are training Carson out in the field we are using a reg collar. Actually we will be buying an e-collar because he is doing good on his 30 ft check lead and we want to be able to give him more freedom in the field.
So there is a time and place for everything. We will try the suggestion with the treats while heeling with the prong collar, to hopefully ween him off as well. That sounds like a good idea.
In the meantime the trainer we are using seams to have the right idea. We are not the alpha dog ,we are not on their dog level, we are human and we ARE in charge.Give them a mile and they will take 5.
It's all in our attitude!
Our dogs are smarter than us when it comes to that!
Frances :D
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Postby Lisa » Fri Sep 23, 2005 12:48 pm

When we talk in are cute ,squeeky voice ,for sure they know we mean business! yeah right! LOL!


Ya know, this totally made me laugh! :lol: I've been the only one to train my dogs, and whenever my dad comes over to visit and tries to get them to do anything, they hear his deep voice and turn to me, totally unsure of what he wants! When I tell the dog-brains to sit, it's in a bright, happy, fun voice. Their rears instantly hit the ground...they know that if they do, something fun/yummy is coming their way eventually. When my dad tells 'em to sit, he does it in a stern, firm, deep voice. The dogs look at him like he's crazy...nope, not gonna sit, that voice doesn't promise anything fun! I've had to "train" my dad to use a lighter, happier voice with my dogs, so that they will obey him!! :lol: He used to actually scare Britty, but now she runs up to him for lovin'. But if that stern voice comes out for anything other than an emergency or scolding, Britty's off to a corner to hide! Buster's an easier dog to train, but even he is used to my tone of voice and a bit unsure of the deeper, sterner, male voice.

Guess it's all in what the dog is used to! 8)
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