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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've been training my 13 week old puppy to come when called and rewarding him whenever he comes. Except now he will only come to me, get his treat, then sit and refuse to continue walking. I go on 3-4ft, call him again, he comes, I reward him and we repeat the process all over again. So going anywhere is a process of 4ft stops with treats all the way. I was told I can't over treat a dog however I'm wondering what I should do here. Wait till he comes and refuse the treat? Stop calling and wait for him to come on his own? Or just keep doing what I'm doing? My worry is I'm teaching him a pattern of what a walk should be like that I really don't want.
 

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As he is coming to you run away from him and as he gets to you reward with food but keep moving. If you keep moving the puppy should too. You can also toss the food past you so he goes past you to get it instead of you always being stationary when he gets the food.

At home you can call him (in the house) and as he gets close toss food past you. Make sure he sees it. As he gets the food call again and as he gets to you toss the food past you again. Rinse. Repeat. You can also do this game just using the dog's name.

You have taught a formal recall (come and sit). Now add some fun and movement. Too much formal recall leads to a slow recall. Making this game keeps things moving and should solve the problem you describe.
 

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It sounds like you have confused recall with heel. Recall is simply you call and he comes. If you want him to walk with you, you don't use the recall behavior or the same cue (calling him, name come, name here, etc). Instead use a different cue (name walk, name heel, name let's go, etc) and get excited as you walk. Patting your hip and saying the cue in a happy voice, etc. You can start getting him used to the leash while you do it.
 
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So going anywhere is a process of 4ft stops with treats all the way. I was told I can't over treat a dog however I'm wondering what I should do here. Wait till he comes and refuse the treat? Stop calling and wait for him to come on his own? Or just keep doing what I'm doing? My worry is I'm teaching him a pattern of what a walk should be like that I really don't want.
I think you're very astute to realize that you are actually teaching him a process that you don't want! He won't understand that all of the elements are not what earns him the treat!

But, it's hard to picture exactly how you're going about this without a little more info. Are you doing this stuff in your house or yard? Is it out in the neighborhood?

Personally I teach everything, including recall, at home off leash. I also teach loose leash walking at home, inside first then out in the yard.

But, back to recall. Puppies follow you naturally, if you add some treats and play into that, they really follow you eagerly. At 13 wks it should all be about play and adventures, with an occassional que teaching recall, which you should always reward with praise and treats and play. The idea is you want the puppy to fully understand that it's in his best interest to come check you out whenever you say come or here or whatever cue you use for recall. And you practice that over and over and over so it becomes an automatic response!

Myself, I only very occassionally bring any treats with me on a neighborhood walk, because the adventure and smells and sights are the reward. To me it's proofing the training you've done repeatedly at home.

The scenario you described also sounds like your timing or delivery of the treats might be working against you somewhat. Treats are a reward for good compliance to a known que, or to teach a cue, or can be helpful as a lure to elicit a new behavior or position. Not as a bribe to gain compliance.

The sequence looks something like this, lure or otherwise elicit a position/behavior, mark and treat. When he gets that down well, use a cue, otherwise same sequence as before. The puppy should not see or need to see the treat in order to get the behavior, or it's bribery and that will come back to haunt you later and be difficult to retrain correctly!

Once a puppy gets a cue and is doing it reliably, up the requirements to ear a treat, and begging to treat less frequently, on an intermittent timetable. Make the puppy work for that treat! It needs to be frequently enough for the puppy to maintain interest, but infrequently enough to keep him guessing!

And be upbeat and animated with your puppy, keep him excited and interested in being with and following you! Play and be the most interesting thing in his environment. Trust me, it's alot easier to lay that foundation now than it will be to teach him later on!
 

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It sounds like you have confused recall with heel. Recall is simply you call and he comes. If you want him to walk with you, you don't use the recall behavior or the same cue (calling him, name come, name here, etc). Instead use a different cue (name walk, name heel, name let's go, etc) and get excited as you walk. Patting your hip and saying the cue in a happy voice, etc. You can start getting him used to the leash while you do it.
Before all of this you need to teach your puppy that NAME means "attentive to handler" because something fun (for the puppy) is going to happen.

We do the name game with food and a platform or mat (bath mat will do). This game is best done on a hard surface (garage, basement, kitchen). You toss food and as the puppy gets to the food you say his name and run to the mat. When he gets to you, feed at the mat. Keep it going, keep it moving, keep it fun. Along with his name he learns that good things happen on the mat.

The mat can be used for other things such as teaching "place."

A side note about coupling name with command cue:
IF you do competition obedience some venues do not allow the name to be coupled with a command. It is considered a double command and you will lose points.. and can be DQ'd.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think you're very astute to realize that you are actually teaching him a process that you don't want! He won't understand that all of the elements are not what earns him the treat!

But, it's hard to picture exactly how you're going about this without a little more info. Are you doing this stuff in your house or yard? Is it out in the neighborhood?

Personally I teach everything, including recall, at home off leash. I also teach loose leash walking at home, inside first then out in the yard.

But, back to recall. Puppies follow you naturally, if you add some treats and play into that, they really follow you eagerly. At 13 wks it should all be about play and adventures, with an occassional que teaching recall, which you should always reward with praise and treats and play. The idea is you want the puppy to fully understand that it's in his best interest to come check you out whenever you say come or here or whatever cue you use for recall. And you practice that over and over and over so it becomes an automatic response!

Myself, I only very occassionally bring any treats with me on a neighborhood walk, because the adventure and smells and sights are the reward. To me it's proofing the training you've done repeatedly at home.

The scenario you described also sounds like your timing or delivery of the treats might be working against you somewhat. Treats are a reward for good compliance to a known que, or to teach a cue, or can be helpful as a lure to elicit a new behavior or position. Not as a bribe to gain compliance.

The sequence looks something like this, lure or otherwise elicit a position/behavior, mark and treat. When he gets that down well, use a cue, otherwise same sequence as before. The puppy should not see or need to see the treat in order to get the behavior, or it's bribery and that will come back to haunt you later and be difficult to retrain correctly!

Once a puppy gets a cue and is doing it reliably, up the requirements to ear a treat, and begging to treat less frequently, on an intermittent timetable. Make the puppy work for that treat! It needs to be frequently enough for the puppy to maintain interest, but infrequently enough to keep him guessing!

And be upbeat and animated with your puppy, keep him excited and interested in being with and following you! Play and be the most interesting thing in his environment. Trust me, it's alot easier to lay that foundation now than it will be to teach him later on!
This is all really good info, thanks. I absolutely think I have been bribing a lot. Shoot. He is definitely looking for the reward in order to comply. I think I shot myself in the foot there.

So, 2 questions out of that then. 1) should I try to get him to come now without the treats in order to ensure compliance for sake of obedience? Or simply try to delay the treat and keep it hidden? He is currently treat obsessed. 2) he doesn't seem that interested in play. I have a variety of toys but he only plays with them intermittently. I try to make the toy interesting but he really doesn't care that much. I get a good tug of war maybe twice a week. He is very food motivated but not as much on play. My question is can I change that and make him more interested in play, and if so what should I do? Or should I try and find other ways of rewarding him for obedience? Thanks for the help. At this point I am second guessing everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It sounds like you have confused recall with heel. Recall is simply you call and he comes. If you want him to walk with you, you don't use the recall behavior or the same cue (calling him, name come, name here, etc). Instead use a different cue (name walk, name heel, name let's go, etc) and get excited as you walk. Patting your hip and saying the cue in a happy voice, etc. You can start getting him used to the leash while you do it.
I like that. I will try to use different words to differentiate what I expect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As he is coming to you run away from him and as he gets to you reward with food but keep moving. If you keep moving the puppy should too. You can also toss the food past you so he goes past you to get it instead of you always being stationary when he gets the food.

At home you can call him (in the house) and as he gets close toss food past you. Make sure he sees it. As he gets the food call again and as he gets to you toss the food past you again. Rinse. Repeat. You can also do this game just using the dog's name.

You have taught a formal recall (come and sit). Now add some fun and movement. Too much formal recall leads to a slow recall. Making this game keeps things moving and should solve the problem you describe.
Thanks. I'll work on that. First time puppy owner and I have a lot to learn.
 

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To make your puppy more interested in play, let him win tug of war.. as soon as he really digs in, let go.

You can also take your leash, handle end first and loop it around the toy like a noose. You take the clip end and flick the toy around. When he grabs it and tugs, let go of the leash. As he takes off with the toy or drops the toy, grab the leash by the clip end and start over.

By creating distance between you and the puppy with the leash you are reducing (emotional) pressure. We are big and adult.. and creating a little distance using a tether on the toy gives the puppy confidence in play. You are NOT to win.

If the puppy becomes possessive of the toy get a second toy and leash. If he is being too possessive you go away from the puppy quickly dragging the other toy at the end of the other leash. Most puppies will want the one you have.

The object of play is fun for the puppy and building confidence and relationship through fun. The puppy should learn he can control the game by specific engagement behavior with you.
 

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It's pretty long video, but Michael Ellis describes the markers and use of each for dog training, and he's very articulate and entertaining IMHO. I think understanding the elements will help clarify how to get what you're after with your puppy. Leerburg.com has many free videos you can select from as well, and Michael's approach to puppy and engagement training is very much the same way I do it.


And here's another shorter video on luring.


And yet another:

 

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Maybe try playing a game?
Scatterball: Toss a treat about 5 feet away. Pup will likely chase the treat automatically as part of prey drive. When pup turns to look back at you after eating the treat, start moving in a different direction to entice pup to come back to you. Have pup do a 'touch' (nose touching palm) and toss another treat in the direction you are now moving. Again when pup looks back, start moving in another direction, enticing pup to come back to you. When pup touches your hand, give him praise as you are really trying to teach him recall (to come back to you). The treat is just a decoy to get him away from you. At first you don't say anything but a "yes" or your reward word. Eventually when pup is consistently coming back to you for you to throw another treat, you can introduce your recall word. End session with a jackpot of treats when pup recalls. I was doing maybe 7-10 reps a day, my pup gets bored easily, but I found it helped drive in his recall word.

This is just a help to teaching recall, there's far more involved like working with distractions, but making it fun is the best way to learn!
 
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