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I have a (possibly) Basset / Beagle mix. Although, some people have suggested Australian Cattle dog too. I can believe that because he is shockingly athletic and WAY more intelligent than I first ASSumed he would be based off his looks. :eek:)~

He is SO easy to train and a perfect gentleman at home and on walks. I recently started checking out kikopups YouTube videos (since I only know how to teach basics and need new ideas. He's smarter than my training knowledge, lol) and think I should start clicker training and adding in cool tricks. BUT, I want to tackle our one *major* training hang up first.

He gets so darn excited when we go to stores that ALL training flies out the window the second he sees the store front. He pulls on his lead and will get up on his hind legs so people will pet him, his front paws land on most peoples thighs. He is oblivious to treats (and me!) when he gets excited but still gets rewarded by strangers / cool new smells, etc. So I am aware that I've been failing him in this area. He pulls and I reward him by bringing him into the store. He jumps on people and gets rewarded because they shower him in affection. :redface:

Now, I don't want to take away his excitement. He loves it and I love how happy he is. Agway is his Disney World. So I'm wondering, if I restart basic training in the yard using a clicker / treat, re enforce it with loose leash walking, do you think he will respond to the clicker when we visit stores too?

I was thinking about clicker training / working on loose leash walking in the store parking lot and when he stays focused and calm, his reward will be to go into the store. If he becomes too excited, pulls, jumps, we walk out and start over.

At this point we go to stores (Agway, Tractor Supply, True Value, etc) at least twice per week. I was originally thinking going often would make it less "new and exciting" so training would come easier but that is just not working.

I'd love to hear opinions, thoughts, advice about this training plan? I think our training will take off if I introduce the clicker - agreed??

Oh, also, I've been using a flat collar so I plan on switching to a regular harness and it has a ring on the front chest that I'm sure I can clip the lead to.
 

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Actually, I don't think clicker training will make it better, not necessarily. The thing is, it's very common for dogs to perform well on commands at home when they are surrounded by little to no distractions. But, you add in the distraction of being out in public and being bombarded with new sights, sounds, smells, people, new dogs, etc, then it makes following the commands seem like a huge challenge.

In general, with any training, it's a good idea to start in a "distraction free" area, like inside your home. Then, when the dog has mastered it inside, you can go somewhere with a couple distractions, like, perhaps, your garage (if you have one) with the garage door shut. This way, it's kind of still an "extention" of your home, BUT, you can hear more of the outdoor noises, and it's a bit different. When the dog has mastered it there, you can try moving to the backyard, where you have a few more distractions, more smells and sights, and sounds. Then, when it's mastered there, you might move to the front yard, where there are even more distractions, maybe neighbors are out, cars driving by, people walking, a cat in the yard next door, etc. Then, after that, you can maybe move the training to a parking lot of a store, where you will see even more distractions.

Hopefully you get the idea. The thing is, dogs don't generalize well. So, just because they learn it in your home, doesn't mean they will automatically carry over what they learn to new settings, especially if there are lots of distractions. AND, at any time, if your dog isn't successful when you add distractions, you can go back to an area with fewer distractions for a bit of a review.

Clicker training, however, is a great tool overall, I just don't think clicker training will solve your problem. You need to start training with no distractions, and then, gradually, over time, add distractions, so he learns to respond to you no matter what.
 

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You say you don't want to take away his excitement, but then you say you want to train him to be calm? I think perhaps you need to clarify your goal some more.

I don't equate excitement with happiness, I equate over-excitement with stress. "I CAN'T GET ENOUGH I CAN'T ENOUGH! GIMME MORE GIMME MORE! OMG OMG CRAZY PEOPLE OMG FOOD OMG DOG" It's like an out of control addict. To me, that's not good, it's not healthy to be like that. An out of whack animal is a nuisance and anything that's a nuisance is being anti-social, because quite frankly, nobody wants to be around a nuisance.

So, anyways, that's just how I see it. The clicker can aid you, but you still have to have clear goals to work towards and know how to train to make it work.
 

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Now, I don't want to take away his excitement. He loves it and I love how happy he is. Agway is his Disney World. So I'm wondering, if I restart basic training in the yard using a clicker / treat, re enforce it with loose leash walking, do you think he will respond to the clicker when we visit stores too?
It can help, but he's got to be able to do it with all that energy flowing through him. That's a completely different emotional context, let alone the major change in location (the store with the things I want to sniff and people to mug vs ye olde backyard). I think the review can work if you think he needs a refresher on it, but if he has down, except for when excited, then it might not do much.

I call what you're going for "controlled excitement". I don't want to kill my dog's excitement. He just has to stay on task through it. He can be excited to see a dog or go to Petco, he just can't charge around the store. It's no so much 'calm' but 'I'm ready for action! What do we do?' Instead of 'CHARGE!'

I like your idea of going near the store and rewarding when he is doing what you would like and leaving if not. I wouldn't try for 'calm', but if he's eager, but staying by your side and responding to your instructions, then that's good. He's thinking through the excitement. I don't think you'll be able to go there enough to make it less exciting, though :) Could be wrong, but it seems like he loves the place and even if you went everyday - it might not be enough - the connection is already established.

Using the clicker can help him understand what he's getting rewarded for, especially if you don't use markers currently. The clicker will tell him what exactly he's doing right by marking the behavior. Then you can give the reward (in this case, getting closer to the store and then inside it, and then staying inside).
 
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