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Hi, i am new to this forum and am having a few problems with training my 14mth olg dog molly, we have had her for just over a month.

Up untill the last few days she hasn't barked much at all, I think i've made a mistake in giving her attention when she has barked and the last few days has barked several times when our downstairs neighbour has came home (which she has only done once before) and my boyfriend has came home (which she has never done before) and for several other noises. I have watched kikopup's video on teaching dogs quiet and ignoring the behaviour, which is seems straight forward and molly can be quite quick to pick up on things.

The main problem was lastnight at around midnight she started barking continuously, my boyfriend got up to see what was up after trying to ignore her and somone was setting off fireworks, to calm her down he brought molly into our room, onto our bed which we never let her do at night, this surely reinforces her barking and will lead her to think if she behaves like this she gets attention and she gets to sleep with us but will ignoring her when she is stessed about a situation cause more anxiety? also if she was left to carry on im sure we would have another complaint from downstairs who has complained to our landlord on several other occasions.

Another problem I'm having is walking loose leash with Molly, I have been trying the 'act like a tree' method, and have been doing this about a week after we got her. She stops when I stop, unless there is somthing she realy wants to get to and then its a huge struggle, or she'll sit as we have taught her to do this at roads. When the leash is slack we walk on, but get around 4-5 steps at most untill she's off again (it takes ages to get anywhere) when she is tired after a run at the park its a little easier but not by much. There has been little-no improvment after over a month so I think its time to try a new method.
I've tried giving treats while walking but she's not interested in them unless they are extra yummy treats and when they are she gets far too excited and if she dosnt get a treat straight away gets frustraited and jumps on me.
I recently tried another method I saw posted on here, I can't remember the name of it but it involved having a line, around 20' long, a start point and an end point with either treats, toys or a person, walking towards them and when the dog pulls to get to them, walking back to the start. I dont want her to become too food orientated as I am working on recall and jumping with treats, so I asked my sisters to wait at the other end , this was a huge disaster, Molly is very strong and stubborn, I managed to get her to walk back to the start a few times till she got frustraited and started crying and whining, but the worst crying I have ever heard from her, she sounded like she was in pain and I gave in worried people would think she was being abused. I tried it using her favourite piece of grass at the top of the road but this is her toilet and thought it was really unfair and possibly damaging to use that area as an end point.


I'm sorry thats very long winded but if anyone could offer some advice in walking molly or point me in the right direction I would be very greatful
 

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First of all, you can't make a dog too food oriented. Some dogs are super food motivated (my dog would probably levitate for a bone) and some dogs aren't so much and most dogs are in the middle. Do not be afraid of the treat!

The thing is, you've had her a month. That's nothing. It takes longer than that for a dog to really settle in (I think I may finally be seeing the real Kabota after 8 months, but I said that at 4 months and at 6), and until she really settles in, it's hard for her to learn. Have patience, work on your relationship and keep trying with the training. Loose leash walking is one of the hardest things to teach. After 5 months of work, I've gotten Kabota to where he'll stop and look at rabbits instead of trying to bolt after them, and quite frankly, I'm calling that success.

You can get a front clip harness to help with pulling. That's not failure, that's just getting a nice walk in without fighting about it.

As to the barking, it's not fair to judge a dog for barking at fireworks. That's not nuisance barking, that's a reasonable warning of danger from a dog's point of view. It sounds like Molly is as much a barker as Kabota, not constant, just loud and hard to quiet once he's started. I call Kabota to me, give him a treat for obeying (I'm treating the recall, not the bark) and then cuddle him or train.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thankyou for the reply. I read somthing about using different rewards because you dont want a dog whose completly focused on food, I think it might have been in a book but tbh most of the behavioral books I have looked at have some issues I dont agree with. Thats great to know, loads more treats for molly :whoo:

I expected the walking to take some time but when you watch all the dog behaviour programmes and tips on the internet they seem to be much quicker, especially when I was able to teach her 'leave' and 'off' yesterday, tho I suppose thats because its just putting comand words with what she knows already, it just makes me think im doing somthing wrong so its reasuring to know it does take time. A few people have commented that you can see the progress we have made with her already so we are doing somthing right.
What the worst thing is, is that it is sooo difficult to walk with her, She is part staff, part boarder collie so she has endless energy, is very strong and stubborn, half the time I get to work at night and realise ive done somthing to my shoulder or elbow from trying to walk her so front clip harness might be the answer for now.

No I understand she is startled and warning us, Its just how best to respond to the behaviour when we are in bed asleep, especially when she is doing because we are asleep to warn us, which isnt even a bad thing, rewarding recall would be good as it would reinforce recall which needs some work. The part that concerns me the most is that our downstairs neighbour complains about every little noise, he at least will knock and let us know now instead of going straight to our landlord but the other day he asked me if she was playing with somthing because somthing was banging, the poor dog was asleep next to me on the couch and there was a slight tapping from the table I was leaning on
 

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I just wanted to say, the more food oriented a dog is, the easier they are to train (comparatively). I understand the toy as a reward concept, but it just doesn't work for us - nothing motivates Snowball like food. Especially anything that comes out of the treat pouch (even if its just kibble, which he won't accept as a treat otherwise, lol).

We've managed to drastically improve Snowballs recall in under a week. He wasn't too bad before - he would come when called but only after he'd finished sniffing what he was sniffing (10-15 seconds usually?), and recall was the assignment from doggy school this we so we've been working on it a lot more. He gets a treat when we recall him ("Come" or "Come here") as soon as he comes over to us, whether he's indoors or outdoors. Outdoors (and especially off-leash) he gets a much higher value treat than when he's indoors. A couple of days of calling him while off-leash (there's a fenced-in soccer field near us that we use) and giving him a high value treat every time he came up to us, he now comes immediately (at least when there aren't any hares around) but we haven't met any other dogs to test it yet.. still, there's been a noticeable improvement in less than a week!

Not only is Snowball's recall improving, his barking is diminishing - he likes to bark at dogs, people, parked cars, through the bedroom window. We've started recalling him when this happens, and he now comes immediately which means the barking ceases (as he doesn't bark at something when he doesn't see it - even other dogs barking through a fence less than 5 ft away!). Sometimes I wonder if he just starts barking out the window so we'll call him and give him a treat...

I can't speak to the walking thing, as Snowball walks very well on a leash, and only pulls when he gets close (30ft) to another dog or sees/smells a hare. I also second getting a front-clip harness. We use an Easy-Walker mostly because I'm familiar with them from volunteering at a shelter which uses them exclusively.
 

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Do a bit more to tire her before you walk. Take the edge off with something like a flirt pole.
Up her mental exercise. Feed her from puzzle toys, do more simple exercises in the house (just a few minutes at a time).

Also, are there any fenced off-leash areas you could drive to? Somewhere you can go just to burn off steam and not need to practice loose leash (which is really more of an obedience exercise than it is physical exercise).

In terms of the walking itself, what you've been doing sounds good.
Are you rewarding her in place when you walk? Marking and feeding her when she is in the position you want?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
She is far more food orientated than toys, when we first got her she wouldn't even look at a ball but she's getting the idea more and more and I can now use a ball to distract her attention off lead when she see's something to run too (as long as its not realy exciting).
Using food to reward recall when off lead has worked amzingly well for me too, i can get her to come back to me when she goes to greet people and can get her to wait when she goes to greet other dogs till I can catch up with her so we can walk to the at a more appropiate pace, not perfect yet but a huge improvement, again as you said gingerkid its a much higher reward treat outdoors, it just dosnt work otherwise!

After some thought I think Molly is starting to bark more beacuse she is becoming more settled, I think she is begining to get a sense of it becoming her home sostrange noises are athreat. I think I asumed she settled in a while ago as she seemed happy and 'at home' and comfortable with us, we even had people coment on how well she can take (some) comands from us when we had only had her for a short amount of time, but she is now becoming more independant around the house aswell.

Front clip harness it is then, I went to a fair type thing today with a dog area and had a look on the stalls, they only had tiny harnesses tho.

Ive been taking her for a walk first thing in the morning, so when she has a stupid amount of energy, and then doing mental exercises when we get back. I have found that on the evening walk she is much better, my boyfriend usually goes on this walk, so yes will deffinatly work on tireing her before walks. I've just looked up flirt stick, never heard of it before, looks great, big problem is tho we only have a front smallish yard which she dosnt like spending time in, wont hurt to try tho.

There is a dog park close by I take her to to burn up energy but I dont drive so I get dragged the whole way.

Im having trouble marking and rewarding her on the walk, If its not yummy enough she will ignore it, so its really yummy food which makes her jump all over the place, off leash she'll just sit the second there is treats, but on leash she's all over the place.

Thanks again for the responces
 

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For walking - Google "loose leash" as well as "Silky leash" for some methods and videos.

For noise - Thunder, fireworks, and gunshots are a different circumstance. Each dog reacts in a different way. However, for most sounds, you can expose her to as many circumstances, noises, and sounds as possible in a calm way so that she gets used to them.
 
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