You DON'T have to be in front of me to "down"

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Beanie, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    Auggie thinks that "down" means run over in front of me and then down. Now, don't get me wrong - he doesn't think that he only has to down if I'm standing in front of him. I can be halfway across the room running away from him and yell "DOWN" and he'll react, but he chases after me, gets next to me, and then lies down.

    This is still not correct, LOL. I want him to hit the deck right where he's standing when I say "down."

    How do I work on this with him? I thought about maybe starting to take a few steps back, but he has to be in a NOT-down before he can get down, and if he's not down, he'll run over to me and down.

    I am wondering if I should try a new cue word if he already has it ingrained in him that "down" means "run over to mom and then lie down" but then I'm not sure how to start training it as something new and not end up with the same problem.
     
  2. Kat09Tails

    Kat09Tails *Now with Snark*

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    Have you tried using a tether?
     
  3. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    A tether would probably work.

    You could also teach it using "wait" or "stay".... so you ask him to sit (or stand), take a few steps away and then cue down. He'll probably get up to come to you, but you can use body language - move toward him, bend over, etc. - to get him to back up to the spot he was in before, and then ask him to down again. I taught this to Luna and it suprisingly didn't take too long.

    You could also teach him to go to a "place" - bed, mat, etc. - and then cue sits and downs on the mat. THis too is actually pretty quick.
     
  4. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    I train it by starting only a couple feet away, saying "down" and then immediately stepping to them to prevent them from coming to me. I gradually add distance but am always prepared to move towards them immediately if needed and I don't get more than a leash length away until they're reliable about it. When stepping toward them, be sure to do it after the command and be careful that it doesn't become a part of the cue.
     
  5. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    I've had somewhat of the same problem with Blaze. "Down, oh okayz, I come see you then down" Silly dog.

    I've used my body to get him to see that I want him to stop. Putting both my hands up like I'm telling someone to stop and pushing my body forward seems to work well for him to see that I mean stop.
     
  6. Maura

    Maura New Member

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    Down him when he is between you and a wall. Use your foot to keep him at your side when you tell him down. Praise and treat. Do this all over the house, make a game of it, and work him on your left side and your right. Then, face a wall, with him behind you, ask for the down. See, you aren't giving him any choices. Take him outside, on a long line. When you are a foot from him, down. When you are three feet from him, down. Five feet from him, down, etc. BUT, as you work on greater distance, tell him down as you walk up to him and using the hand signal. You want to give yourself enough distance/time that you can step up to him on time to have him down right where he is. Praise and treat.
     
  7. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    This is sort of working - half the time he will run to his place to target it, but then he still runs to me when I cue down. (Interestingly enough, he does not have to come to me for a sit. But he will sit, then break his sit and come to me to down. *headdesk repeatedly*) So I think this is the method I will have to pursue with him. How would I start fading out the "place" later to generalize it to mean "hit the deck whenever I say 'down?'"


    He will throw himself on top my feet if he can't get all the way in front of me. I tried stepping WAY into his space to force him to back up to where he was again, and he just plops himself down on my feet. Sometimes after basically bodyslamming me in his exuberance to get to me. :rolleyes: The dog may be small but he freaking hurts charging into your legs. He will gladly do a down at my side too, obviously he had to for rally-O, but if he's not in my personal space bubble, this doesn't seem to translate to the correct way to do a "down" for Auggie. And after all, doing a down in my personal space bubble is how I've asked him to do it for five years. So doing downs next to a wall or facing a wall away from him definitely doesn't block him from doing it "wrong" when I try to change the criteria on him. That's why I don't know if changing the word on him would be easier for him or not... For five years "down" means one thing and now I'm trying to tell him it means something else...

    I have a theory that if I put Auggie alone in a room and played commands over a tape, he would sit, and then when I say "down" he would have a panic attack because he couldn't find me to run into before he downs, LOL. "I CAN'T DOWN CUZ WHERE ARE YOU?!? OH MY GOD!!"
     
  8. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    Or he'd run to the tape player. :p
     
  9. Chocolate-Doxie

    Chocolate-Doxie New Member

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    Beanie - seems to me you are trying to train down in reverse order. I would first teach the dog down when standing next to me. Put the dog in the down position and walk away. Make sure he/she learns down and to stay in that spot.

    Once that is learned, start walking with your dog at heel and give the down command. The dog should drop immediately and you should be able to walk off. Progress to walking and giving the down command with the dog going down and you being able to keep walking.

    After he/she has mastered going down with you continuing to walk, go to a jog and giving the command. Next to a run.

    If you give the dog the down command while it is a distance from you and it comes to you and then goes down. Pick the dog up, carry it to the location it was in when you gave the command. Give the command again and walk away. Repetition of this will teach the dog to go down when told to.

    Good luck!
     
  10. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    Auggie is five years old, has a rally-obedience title, and several agility titles - so no, I don't need to teach him to down next to me, do a down in heel, or do a down-stay.

    Returning Auggie to where he was when I told him "down" does nothing but give us both a lot of exercise, which is fun, but not what I have in mind.

    Thanks though.
     
  11. Chocolate-Doxie

    Chocolate-Doxie New Member

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    Obviously those titles don't mean squat if you are unable to get your dog to go down where he is standing rather then running over to you.

    You have to show the dog what you want in order for him to understand what it is you are teaching him.

    I am sorry I offered my suggestion. I would say you obviously know how to train judging from your dogs titles, but then again, I have my dog trained to go down whenever and where ever I want, and you don't.

    as I said before......good luck
     
  12. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    He simply doesn't have down on stimulus control. He has attached your being right in front of him with the cue. That IS part of the cue. So, you just have to un-do or separate your relative position to him from lying down. When he was first learning to lie down, you probably always stood in front of him so being in front was closely paired with lying down...as one behavior.

    What I'd do is utilize a lot of capturing of the behavior. If you use a clicker, and he happens to lie down someplace in the room, away from you, watch for that and reinforce, attaching your verbal cue at the same time or just a split second before he's all the way down.

    Another thing you could do is stand in front of him for a while, asking him to down, but turn your body a little sideways, then work up to turning the other way a little and stepping back just one step, returning to reinforce him. Vary your position in relation to him just a little different each time...and gradually....very gradually build up a teensy bit more distance when you ask for a down. Pretty soon, you'll be 2 or 3 feet from him, turned sideways to the left, another time to the right, maybe squatting down one time or sitting in a chair... and he'll be able to lie down. But make these changes gradually enough that nothing really throws him. If he doesn't get it, go back to where he did get it and work back up to a higher degree of difficulty. Don't forget to reinforce each time he gives you a correct response....for now.
     
  13. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    No, those titles mean the dog knows how to down in heel, and down on a table in front of me... not "down" whenever I tell him to, irrelevant to where I'm standing, even if he's in a high drive situation like chasing sheep. Doberluv has it - what Auggie has learned is that his location to me, being either in front of me or in heel, is part of the cue, because that's exactly what he has been taught, and exactly what has been required of him until now.
    So teaching him to down next to me and stay in down while I walk away, and teach him to down while I'm walking with him in heel - as your post said - won't help address this problem, since he already knows how to do exactly that. All that would do is reinforce what the dog already knows and sees as part of the command "down," which is being right next to me.


    By the way, you might want to read the first rule of the forum rules. =>
     
  14. noludoru

    noludoru Bored Now.

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    You win 1,000 internetz for your incredibly rude post. Congratulations! Would you like them in coupon form or delivered directly to the end that does your posting for you?

    Oh, crap, I probably just made an equally rude post. Oh well. I guess you're a bad influence on me.

    Beanie, I may have missed you posting about it, but have you tried tethering?
     
  15. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    How about just start with a whole new, fresh command? It might be easier and faster for him to understand? :)
     
  16. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    He just needs to learn what down really means...not that it includes you standing a particular way. Mix things up and gradually add some distance as you vary position and he'll get onto it. Eventually, you’ll be able to stand across the yard from him and ask for a down or a sit. (practice both)

    I've had to this with dogs before that had the same issues...sometimes with sit rather than down. Or any number of behaviors where an unwanted sequence of behaviors preceding or even coming after the desired behavior, is inadvertently learned and attached (in the dog’s mind) to the wanted behavior. You just have to break up the stuff that's “sticking†to the one single behavior you want, and toss the other stuff out of the way so those things are not viewed as part and parcel of the behavior. That requires that you mix things up and gradually increase distance and relative positions to each other, locations, contexts... so coming close to you to lie down doesn’t happen every time. That’s how that part of the behavior divorces itself from the down.

    Changing cues can help but it won’t put the behavior on stimulus control. You still have to do those other things to single out the one behavior you want. (because cues don’t drive behavior) The same cue you’ve been using can take on a new and “abridged†meaning as easily as learning a new cue, imo. I know they talk about changing cues when one becomes poisoned. And I’ve experimented with this…(trying a new cue and sticking with the old cue), but showing the dog how that old cue is now very associated with something of novel and high value. In other words, I’ve found that it doesn’t seem to offer a significant benefit to switch cues. But you can if you want to. Some people find it helpful. But tethering, or switching cues won’t let you off the hook. :p LOL. You still have to do the training.
     

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