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 Post subject: Training-Attention
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:41 pm 
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Hey everyone!
Brisket and I started obedience training in February and for graduation in March, we are doing an obedience trial, and I have full intentions of us getting first! I'm very new to training and dogs in general, and they don't use treats to train, so that is new to me too.

He is very attentive when sitting, staying, and laying down, but when it comes to heeling, it seems he has his own ideas of where he wants to go and how fast. We've gotten to the point where he knows not to lunge or pull anymore. However, he still insists on staying slightly ahead of me (in which is not the right position for a heel), where the middle of his body is in-line with my leg instead of his shoulder. While is is only a minor thing I think we can eventually work on, the thing is, when I change direction, he doesn't seem to pay attention to me and always continues walking in the old direction. He never looks up at me to see where I'm going so it seems like he's more interested in everything else.

Is there anyone with obedience training that has any tips for him to give me more attention?

Thank you!


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File comment: Here's Brisket, waiting to start obedience class!
ObedienceClass.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: Training-Attention
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 6:08 am 
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I don't understand why they wouldn't use treats to train. It's a puppy, for Pete's sake! I volunteer for a puppy class through our local obedience club, and we teach that you encourage heeling by making the dog learn that being right next to you and having to pay attention to you is where it WANTS to be! We do that by keeping the dog engaged and interested, offering treats at surprise intervals, changing direction, using a squeaky toy if the dog isn't food-motivated (which certainly isn't any cocker I've met), talking to the dog in a fun, happy voice. Puppies have short attention spans, so the handler needs to spice it up to keep the dog's interest. Food, in our club's opinion, is an important tool to keep that interest.

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Darra, devoted hu-mom to
Gromit (blk & tan, 5/7/09)
RonDaView's Cheese, Gromit! OAP, OJP, NAP, NJP, CGC


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 Post subject: Re: Training-Attention
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 9:37 pm 
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Only tip would be keep doing what you are doing, maybe stop immediately if he isn't turning or is pulling ahead. You are probably already doing that

Abby's trainer didn't like training with treats and we didnt. Her thinking was when you really need them to do whatever, you won't have a treat. Abby did fine without treats or a clicker. From our experience I am all for no treats during training

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 Post subject: Re: Training-Attention
PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:01 pm 
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I've always done treat based training but I totally respect non treat training.

I'm not sure if this will help without treats but it's worth a try. Find a large open area ... now walk in circles with the dog on the outside of the circle. (you are walking in a circle clockwise - to your right) Start out walking fast... because the dog has farther to go, you should be able to stay ahead. (the whiplash effect LOL) Once the dog is at heel position praise or whatever you do in class to mark good behavior. You can vary your speed. Anytime the dog surges ahead speed up again. (If you get dizzy go straight for a time.) Once Brisket is consistent on the outside try doing figure eights. Again if he surges ahead on the inside, change back to him on the outside of the circle. Hope I've described this OK... easier to show.

Another trick ... one I don't like to use much because it is more negative based. Using at least a 6 foot leash ... twirl the end you normally hold out in front of you. Think sideways helicopter blades spinning in front of you and your dog. If the dog surges too much the leash should hit his nose. Your not twirling it very fast so it doesn't hurt so much as startle them.

I also remember using a squirt bottle. (or squirt gun) Chessie hates water so I would spray just a head of her. She only got wet if she was out of position.

BTW... His ignoring you is totally normal Cocker behavior. LOL Cockers are very curious about everything. So many things are more interesting than we are LOL. Best of luck!

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Lisa R

Chesapeake NF, AX, AXJ (CGC)
4/20/10

The road to MACH is full of jumps and weaves....

Competing in Master Agility
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(edited 12/16)


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 Post subject: Re: Training-Attention
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:34 pm 
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Thanks everyone for the good advice!
Quote:
We do that by keeping the dog engaged and interested, offering treats at surprise intervals, changing direction, using a squeaky toy if the dog isn't food-motivated (which certainly isn't any cocker I've met), talking to the dog in a fun, happy voice.

I have to admit, in his puppy kindergarten class, which we took at a different place, utilized treats, so not using treats was very new to both of us. I was thinking about maybe practicing with using treats out of class a little bit to help reinforce where I want him to be. I notice though, he sits facing me instead of beside me whenever I use treats :HoHo silly boy!

Quote:
Abby's trainer didn't like training with treats and we didnt. Her thinking was when you really need them to do whatever, you won't have a treat. Abby did fine without treats or a clicker. From our experience I am all for no treats during training

I'm really glad to hear that it is possible without treats, as I know cockers are really food motivated! :lol2

Lisa, those sound like excellent exercises! I think Brisket and I should try the first one and see how it goes. Yes, Brisket gets so distracted. We did a short, one-class practice on teaching the dog to walk on the same side of a pole if ever we were walking on the street, and we ended up being the last ones in the class that still didn't get it by the end of the class! It was because he was so interested in all the things on the ground. When we were finally able to pass the pole with us getting stuck, I praised him like it was the best thing in the world along with the trainers! :joy I blame all the distractions on the ground!

Will keep you all updated! We're on our 7th class and nearing the end soon, so we'll have to work hard. I'm very pleased to say his sit stay is very good...until someone comes by to pet him, then he goes all crazy because he's so eager to meet them :goof It'll be another thing we really have to work on.
Thank you!! :hp


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 Post subject: Re: Training-Attention
PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 6:54 am 
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My obedience trainer prefers that the dogs are slightly forging forward during training situations. Remember, you usually only get about 90% of what you get during training in an actual obedience trial. So, if a dog is slightly forging during training, he will be in correct position during the actual trial.


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 Post subject: Re: Training-Attention
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 10:58 am 
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Thanks everyone for the great tips! I admit we cheated a little and I used treats at home :chk but I found out a handy ball works just as well!
He scored an 88.5 out of 200 :gig as he ran past me in the recall to play with other dogs outside of the ring, and lay down during the sit and sat during the lay down. :lol2 What a silly pup!

Nevertheless, they graduated him from novice class!
Attachment:
File comment: Proud!
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4.jpg [ 63.7 KiB | Viewed 1477 times ]


It was so rainy and muddy during his test, he came home with french tips! :lol3 and got a nice long bath!
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File comment: French tips!
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5.jpg [ 37.31 KiB | Viewed 1477 times ]


We will be repeating the novice class. I think he did wonderful, but due to my schedule, the novice class works best for me. Plus I think Brisket would enjoy reviewing some things. :bg


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 Post subject: Re: Training-Attention
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 1:02 pm 
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You need to reward a LOT in heel position in order for the dog to catch on that THIS is where he should be. I am currently training my fourth competition obedience dog, but this time I have the luxury of going to classes. We used a lot of Bridget Carlsen's platform training for the dog to learn front and heel positions (static, not moving) and we did a ton of reinforcing in position. When we moved to heeling, we did only one or two steps (always WITH attention) and then broke it off, played and started over. We didn't always start with the dog in sit, either. The dogs learned that the cue "Get ready" or "Get in" means sit beside me and watch attentively while waiting for what's next.

Cockers are particularly challenging because they always want to have their noses to the ground. Kermit still drives me crazy on a regular basis during heeling, as he loses attention very easily. My instructor had us teach the dog some simple tricks to incorporate into heeling (hand touch, spin, twist (which is just a counterclockwise spin), through (the legs) and more) to keep the dog engaged. When initially working on heeling, you really need a high rate of reinforcement, otherwise the dog just learns that the environment is more rewarding than you, and you'll never get the attention you want. Start mixing in left and right turns, to keep the dog guessing, and as soon as the dog loses focus, break it off, take a short break and start over. Don't keep going when the dog has lost focus, because you don't want to reward that.

By the way, I'm firmly in the "treats for training" camp. If other people choose not to, that's their choice, but I don't understand why we'd ever expect our dogs to work for free. I certainly wouldn't! And yes, I know you won't always have treats in your pocket, but you only use treats constantly when introducing a behavior. It's fairly quick to change to variable reinforcement, so that the dog learns to listen whether you have treats in your hand or pocket or not. I also use more than treats - I use praise and toys, and Kermit LOVES the hand touch, so I often use that, because I can take it into the ring with me.

It's not always easy to get that beautiful attention heeling, but it is sure worth it if you plan to compete. It looks amazing and it makes for a dog that is connected to you while working, which is the basis for all things obedience.

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Jack Jack, Sylvie, Kermit & Opie
http://www.kladcockers.com


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