Minding when distracted

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by JoeLacy, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. JoeLacy

    JoeLacy New Member

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    I have a 6 month old Aussie Shepard that I just adopted. She sits and comes and is loose leashed trained pretty well UNTIL she sees something she really wants, then ALL the training goes out the window.

    She is a pretty stubborn pup and seems used to getting her own way. She would certainly run across the road if not leashed if she thought it would get her what she wanted.

    How do I stop this puppy from ignoring my command?
     
  2. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    IN order to have a dog who listens in distractions you'll have to teach him all his commands over again in distractions. Start in your yard and go over everything he's learned taking the time to re-teach every command (remember it will not take NEARLY as long as she will pretty much know what you are looking for). Once she does well in the yard take her to a very calm, minimal traffic park where there are a few people and maybe a dog and work on training her there. Slowly increase the levels of distraction by bringing her to different places.

    She also sounds like a good candidate for clicker training. In clicker training the dog learns how to work to get what he wants (a treat) and you get to make what you want, what the dog wants, so everyone is happy. Read up on clicker training and see if you like it. Clicker training also allows for you to go to someplace distracting and not say the command over and over. You can simply stand and wait and as soon as the dog decides to sit you can click and treat. Soon the dog will sit over and over and then you can start adding the command (if she'll listen). Eventually the dog will pay attention to you because he wants to play the clicker game. After many session of the clicker game in distracted areas, the dog will learn how to pay attention and ignore distractions in order to get what she wants. Once you are at that point you can stop using the clicker and start giving the treat without the click. THEN you can start varying reinforcement (sometimes a treat, sometimes praise, sometimes petting, sometimes a toy etc.).

    Another great thing you can do in a distracted area with the clicker is simply stand there and wait, try making an odd high pitched noise. If the dog looks back at you click and treat. If you can't get the dog to look at you then simply wait and eventually she should, you might even try doing something like jumping up and down, sitting etc. to make her look and see what is going on. Eventually it will become easier to make her look at you and she may do is periodically to see if you'll give her a treat, Then you can start adding a command (like "focus" or "watch me") and be able to get her to look at you in distractions. You should teach this inside first with no distractions.

    Your pup sounds normal to me, most dogs (most animals actually) will do what works best for them, why wouldn't they. They don't have morals like people that make them make sacrifices for other's benefit unless doing that benefits them. So it's important you make the dog think what you want her to do is the best thing in the world and eventually she'll learn that listening to your commands is so great that she should always do it because it is better for her.
     
  3. JoeLacy

    JoeLacy New Member

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    Great response Maxy, thank you.

    My puppy wants to meet other dogs for playtime. This seems to be the single worst case when she will not come, sit or anything else. She LOVES other dogs and not even a Hotdog will bring her back to reality.

    How should I handle this? Try to get her to respond when another dog is far enough away, then move the other dog closer and closer while commanding/clicking/treating as the distance decreases?
     
  4. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    At six months old, you're smack in the middle of Aussie Puppy ADD. :D

    You have to put in a lot of work with proofing her commands. Just because she knows what "sit at home when there's nothing going on" doesn't mean that she realizes it still means "sit at the park with 199998 things happening". :) Maxy gave you some great advice.
     
  5. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    Maybe you can start training with distraction in an area that is a bit busier then home, but not as disney land as the park. WHen Vic and i had to learn to down stay with distraction we worked near the door at petco. THen we took it to the parking lots and the street. THe we went to local parks, not dog parks.
     
  6. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    Yes, along with what the others have said, if the dog will not even take a treat when near a dog work further away and move slowly closer once the dog masters each distance. If at a certain distance the pup won't pay attention move away and try at the last distance that worked. You can also work on a calm greeting by having her walk to a dog calmly for a greeting. Walk towards the people with the dog and if she starts flipping out with excitement walk away, when she's calm walk forward and continue until you get close without her loosing control, then let them greet. If that's too difficult for now, just get her to sit first (even if that means you just stand there and wait until she gets tired and sits, it'll take a while so using a friend and her dog might be best) and as soon as she sits say "Good girl!" and your release command and let them meet even if after the release she bolts right on over to the dog, any measure of control around other dogs will help her be able to have more focus around dogs in the future. Later you could work on walking up calmly once you can have her sit and wait calmly. Of course that adolescence stage can be difficult! Do keep us updated :)
     
  7. JoeLacy

    JoeLacy New Member

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    That;s great advice everyone.

    I'll start with the sit until she calms down and does not pull. She greets everyone cautiously, does not jump around until she's sure. She does get fixated on dogs and wants to meet ALL of them. She pulls on the leash and if off leash she runs right up to them, then goes into slooow sniff and feeling out mode. Once she feels comfy she then goes into "play mode". Her ears must get stopped up at that point because she does not hear me at all. :)
     
  8. Jynx

    Jynx New Member

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    zoom I love your aussie ADD comment LMBO! PERFECT description!

    I have found, having two aussies after years of having GSD's, who would 'die' for their owners:)),,that aussies can be pretty self serving,,my female at almost 9, still doesn't have a serious bone in her body, except when it comes to chasing birds/wildlife and then she is on a mission which no one can deter her from:))))

    I love her to death, but she does have her own agenda ALOT :))...Food is her main motivating factor in life, and luckily FOOD rewards work really for her,,Clicker training her was a breeze, but I'm not sure aussies ever really 'grow up' :))
     
  9. JoeLacy

    JoeLacy New Member

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    Yesterday, we played "the look at me" game when walking. When she got distracted I told her to LAM, then clicked and treated when she made eye contact. I had marginal success as we walked by people. She would break her fixation, get her treat and get fixated again.

    This morning we went out early without a lot of distractions and it was MUCH better.

    I think she needs to get out more and we need to play the LAM game often. Her new world is so exciting to her it seems and I think sometimes she does not know where to look.
     
  10. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    Aussies are incredibly smart for the most part and it just takes dedicated work and patience to make them into the amazing dogs they have the reputation of being. I'm still working on some attention stuff with mine as far as listening to me when squirrels and rabbits are about.
     
  11. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    Victor was very high strung, very flighty. WE had to pass down stay with distractions in order to get his pets for life. So i did a bunch of different things. One was to carry a rattly sack in my leash hand for example. I had to "desensitize" him to the very things that made him back out of his skin which was about what he was like.
    I love your lam approach. I knew during his test that they were going to drop something loud and metal on a tile floor to try to get him to sit up. SO we practiced with a metal trashcan. I had mom and my grandgirl throw things in the can while i had him stay down about 3 feet between the can and me. Look at me was basically what won this only i think i used YOUR OK> it did the same thing. HIs eyes locked on mine, the fear went out the window, he slid into a relaxed down and we crossed the bridge together. IT was a real turning point in all of his training. I think you are on the right track and will be watching for your progress reports!:)
    AFter that training session VIctor was a different dog. No matter what was going on, his eyes locked on mine and he trusted me to instruct the situation Knowing he would be safe, and that he was being a good dog. His two most fav words.
     
  12. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Just keep in mind, too, that looking at you when there are heavy distractions is VERY difficult for her to do..... So when she does do it, you should be ready to HEAVILY reinforce that! I'd give her at lest 3 or 4 treats in succession (one after another, not a handful - helps to keep her attention on you), also maybe some playing and petting if you can.

    Great job, though!
     
  13. JoeLacy

    JoeLacy New Member

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    We really worked on that tonight. She would LAM, get her treat, then get fixed again. I don't think anything I did would move her to loose interest for an extended period of time tonight.

    We were in Petsmart and it was like the rules didn't apply there. :) She was leash pulling, whining and wanted to run a muck. I was a tree and when she finally calmed down we moved and she went into her wild mode again. We got through it, but the hotdogs were not breaking the spell she was under. :) She had been sleeping all day and was wound TIGHT.
     
  14. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Like I said, try giving her several treats in quick succession.

    One extremely important rule of positive reinforcement training: set your dog up for success! If she's having trouble focusing around dogs and people in your neighborhood, it's probably not a great idea to practice in a place with a high concentration of dogs and people.... plus cats, birds, and biscuits. And definately don't work on focus when she's been sleeping all day.;)
     
  15. ihartgonzo

    ihartgonzo and Fozzie B!

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    Ack. Your puppy is adorableee!

    What is very important, when you're working with puppies, is finding a way to make yourself MUCH more fun than whatever is distracting her. Act like a buffoon, basically. Use a really happy voice, dance around, run the other way, etc. It's also important not to expect her to perform with distractions unless she has mastered the commands without any distractions, at home... so make sure you are practicing watch me, recalls, heeling, loose leash, and all of that, in the house and in the backyard daily. Then to the front yard. Then on a walk. Then at the park. Then at Petsmart, and so on.

    She sounds like a very smart puppy, and I'm positive she'll make some progress as long as you're consistent. Have you been in any classes with her? Obedience classes are great, if not for the actual training, for the chance to practice so much in a stable environment with lots of distractions and help.
     
  16. JoeLacy

    JoeLacy New Member

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    I taught her down this morning in less that 30 minutes. Then she got sit and down confused and when I said sit, she went down. Another 15 minutes later and I had those separated. Even a cave man can train an Aussie but this is in the house without distractions. Outside she seems to know NOTHING.

    She now knows Come, wait, sit, down, drop it and heel. We're working on outside, and once outside I think she knows go potty. When she wants to go outside she lays by the front door. I have a bell hanging on the door. I have not seen her ring the ball directly. I "think" she goes and lays down by the door not to go potty but to meet other dogs. She rings the bell, I run downstairs to take her out and she just wants to play rather than get busy.
     
  17. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Have you looked into obedience classes yet? I'm glad to hear that you're having an easy time teaching her obedience cues, but remember that classes are one of the most distracting things your dog will go through, so if she can learn to do all that obedience in class, she should be able to do it in most places!
     
  18. JoeLacy

    JoeLacy New Member

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    You are so right and that makes perfect sense. I'm going to look a class for us next week.

    Any suggestions for the Dallas Area?
     
  19. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Check out www.apdt.com, there's a good trainer search on that website as well as a great article about what to look for in a trainer and how to know if you have the right trainer.
     
  20. JoeLacy

    JoeLacy New Member

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    Thanks, I'll check that out. We just played the "look at me game" walking back and forth in front of Starbucks about 5 times and she did great. People there must have thought I'd lost my mind but she was getting the hang of it big time.

    She didn't pull to go see people and would sit and go even go down as long as I was clicking/heavily rewarding and this was with people all around her. This pup is very trainable and really wants to meet EVERYONE so this was a real milestone for her not to pull on her leash.

    Dogs on the other hand is going to take some serious work. She ignores hot dogs when other dogs are around and I think it makes perfect sense to get her into a class. She catches on so quickly it still amazes me so I have to hope she will be under control with other dogs given the right guidance.
     

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