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Discussion Starter #1
I've made a few posts about Duke, he's a Red Heeler. Pretty high energy (I think he's half kangaroo, the way he can jump) but I'm just having difficulty training the basics. I'd like to get some input on what I may be doing wrong, and what I could do differently to get the basics done.

So far I've only tried to train the Sit command with a clicker.

"Sit" -> Dog Sits -> C&T -> Walk to another spot -> Repeat

The thing is, he walks up and sits no matter if I give the cue or not. I don't C&T if he beats me, I just walk somewhere else and try again. If he's just standing there and I say "Sit" he just looks at me. It pretty much has to go from me moving to a new spot, him following, then sitting. It's like he thinks that if he follows me, and sits down, he gets a treat.

I've been at this for several days and I'm just not sure the Cue is sinking in. What could I be doing wrong? Any other suggestions would be appreciated as well. I just need some help, I'm starting to get frustrated and I don't want him to sense that and it affect the training.

I thought I might make a video if anyone would watch it and help me figure out what is going wrong.
 

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Upendi sometimes jumps the gone and will do things before I give her the command. Especially if she sees a treat in my hand. She'll guess (I'm guessing by my body language) what I'm going to ask her to do without a command. I just tell her to wait and then give her the command when her attention is on me.
 

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I would probably accompany the verbal cue with a very small hand lure, leading the treat from his nose in a vertical line upwards. This usually lures the dog into a sit. You probably don't need to make the lure very pronounced; just enough for him to go "ohhh, THAT'S what you want me to do." After awhile of that you can start fading the lure.
 

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I've made a few posts about Duke, he's a Red Heeler. Pretty high energy (I think he's half kangaroo, the way he can jump) but I'm just having difficulty training the basics. I'd like to get some input on what I may be doing wrong, and what I could do differently to get the basics done.

So far I've only tried to train the Sit command with a clicker.

"Sit" -> Dog Sits -> C&T -> Walk to another spot -> Repeat

The thing is, he walks up and sits no matter if I give the cue or not. I don't C&T if he beats me, I just walk somewhere else and try again. If he's just standing there and I say "Sit" he just looks at me. It pretty much has to go from me moving to a new spot, him following, then sitting. It's like he thinks that if he follows me, and sits down, he gets a treat.
It sounds like he understands the action, but not the cue. When he's standing, say SIT (once), then use the treat to lure him into position. (Hold it just above his nose and move it back over his head. Most dogs will follow it backwards into a sit position.) As the split instant he is in the sit position... click. Then treat and praise.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
But he is almost always sits. So either he is already sitting, and I missed my opportunity to give the cue. Rarely is it that he just stands in front of me. Maybe 1 out of 15 times. The rest of the time, I say "Sit" just before he sits, then C&T...

I guess part of the problem is that I can't tell if he knows the Cue or not because he is always doing it. I can just walk down there and he'll Sit down (after he's bounced around) and look at me like "Where's my hot dog?" But then I get the feeling he doesn't know the cue on those times when he just stands there and looks at me on the rare occasions he doesn't just plop down.

Perhaps I should start trying to train a second behavior so I can see the difference? Would it mess things up to alternate between a few commands? Like... Sit and Down?
 

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He's offerring you exceptional behavior and you're not happy about it because it wasn't "on cue from you." I think your priorities are slightly misplaced. You should be praising that polite behavior....it doesn't have to be a food treat...a pat on the head or a kind word (Good Boy) is more than enough and he certainly deserves it.
But, lets back up to the very beginning of attention training with food. The whole idea of tossing/giving treats is to gain the dogs attention (forget about the food as a Reward for behavior..we're talking about just getting the dogs attention like in puppy class). Dogs start to watch you with great interest when you do this....the 2nd stage is they start to move closer to you....the 3rd stage is following you around the room. That is exactly what you want to happen.
So, back to the Sit......while you're walking (and he's following) ask for a Sit. You just raised the bar in his training by not just following but, now he has to Sit on command. Ideally, you would practice this while he is in heel position and sitting automatically when you stop and also on cue.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
He's offerring you exceptional behavior and you're not happy about it because it wasn't "on cue from you." I think your priorities are slightly misplaced.
I am happy about it, don't get me wrong there. It was super easy to show him the behavior I wanted, and I am happy that he does it. I guess I am just getting a little frustrated because I don't feel like I'm making any progress.

Though today when we went on our walk, I was doing a little bit of loose leash training with him and while we were only making small progress, I think it was working, unfortunately I ran out of treats before we got back home. I'll have to take some more next time.

Tomorrow I'll try asking for a sit before I stop and see what happens. That's a good idea.
 

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Perhaps you can work on the command Stand, so that when he's standing, you can cue him to Sit.

I think it's grand that he sits on his own; Tucker has a leg injury so his default position is Relax (Down). It's hard for me to get him to Sit, at least not for very long.
 

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Try advancing to "puppy push ups"

Sit, down, up (back to sit) and stand...repeat. It teaches the dog to 'chain' then go back to training the sit alone to keep it fresh.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I had just read about push ups in Pat Miller's book. I'm going to try to go through her book with Duke before seeking other trainers. If I feel like I'm having success I'll continue with it, otherwise I'll look elsewhere.

I spoke to a trainer today about getting into her class in the future, not sure if I will go with her or not. She doesn't teach clicker training, which is ok, I'm not married to the clicker. What made me second guess her was that she said

"Clicker training is great, but if you don't have your clicker you can't get them to do anything."

It troubles me that she doesn't know enough about clicker training to know that's not true, at least from what I've seen and read that's not true. I don't know if I should hold that against her or not though, she doesn't teach that method, should I expect her to know much about it?

Like I said, I'm not married to the clicker, but if I'm going to go to a trainer, I'd like to go to someone who knows, and has had success with, a variety of training methods and is truly knowledgeable about training, even if I have to travel 2hrs to training, it would be worth it for quality instruction.

So, I don't know if I'll go with her or not, also, when I asked her about her training methods she seemed to dodge the question like she was afraid to tell me she uses a prong or choke collar or whatever. I may give her a call back and see if she'll explain her training methods a little better.
 

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It's definitely time for some new commands. Your dog is always going to sit when you get the treats out because, according to him, that's the only command you ever want him to perform. If you teach him several new ones, he will never know what you want him to do and will therefore be unable to anticipate.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Per "The Power of Positive Dog Training" I'm going to start with attention, and then move on to down since I think I've got sit covered pretty well.

I think the problem is just that there's nothing to contrast with, I never know if he sat because of my cue or just because he was going to sit anyway, at least now I will be able to ask for a few different behaviors and C&T the correct ones.
 

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I spoke to a trainer today about getting into her class in the future, not sure if I will go with her or not. She doesn't teach clicker training, which is ok, I'm not married to the clicker. What made me second guess her was that she said

"Clicker training is great, but if you don't have your clicker you can't get them to do anything."

It troubles me that she doesn't know enough about clicker training to know that's not true, at least from what I've seen and read that's not true. I don't know if I should hold that against her or not though, she doesn't teach that method, should I expect her to know much about it?

Like I said, I'm not married to the clicker, but if I'm going to go to a trainer, I'd like to go to someone who knows, and has had success with, a variety of training methods and is truly knowledgeable about training, even if I have to travel 2hrs to training, it would be worth it for quality instruction.

So, I don't know if I'll go with her or not, also, when I asked her about her training methods she seemed to dodge the question like she was afraid to tell me she uses a prong or choke collar or whatever. I may give her a call back and see if she'll explain her training methods a little better.
I would definately say to give her a call back and find out for sure what her methods are. Maybe she just wasn't quite sure what you meant or what you wanted for an answer the first time you asked. It does strike me as odd that she would have so little knowledge of clicker training as a proffessional trainer.

It sounds like you are doing a great job with your dog. You are moving nice and slow but it is time to make it a little more challenging. It sounds like you are being a lot more successful than you realize.
 

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Positive reenforcement isn't all about clicker training, you can use ANY marker. So the trainers right there, howevre I'd be careful and audit the class before enrolling (I'd do that with any trainers class to be sure I agree with the methods used).
 

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Positive reenforcement isn't all about clicker training, you can use ANY marker. So the trainers right there, howevre I'd be careful and audit the class before enrolling (I'd do that with any trainers class to be sure I agree with the methods used).
I'm confused, what did the trainer say about positive reinforcement that she was right about? I thought she was saying that clicker training only works when you have the clicker and that you can't get the dog to do anything without the clicker. In my own experience and in everything that I have read this is wrong. Yes you can use any marker, but after a behavior is fluent you don't always have to use the marker every time, or sometimes at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Her stand on clicker training is that they won't respond to their training if you don't have your clicker in hand. She said "Dogs are smart, they'll know if you don't have it and if not they won't do anything"
 

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That is absolutely not true. The clicker is not a reward. The clicker is used to teach a new behaviour by showing the dog what behaviour you want from it. Once the dog knows this, you can fade out the clicker with no problem.
 

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That is absolutely not true. The clicker is not a reward. The clicker is used to teach a new behaviour by showing the dog what behaviour you want from it. Once the dog knows this, you can fade out the clicker with no problem.
This was my understanding as well. Otherwise I am doing it all wrong!
 

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I'm confused, what did the trainer say about positive reinforcement that she was right about? I thought she was saying that clicker training only works when you have the clicker and that you can't get the dog to do anything without the clicker. In my own experience and in everything that I have read this is wrong. Yes you can use any marker, but after a behavior is fluent you don't always have to use the marker every time, or sometimes at all.
I'm saying that you don't have to use the clicker to 'mark' the behavior, that's all.

The trainer has probably seen people who use the clicker inappropriatly so is trying to discourage it's use in the first place. Trust me, alot of people use positive reenforcement the wrong way and wonder why it's failing. Most don't know about fading the lure, much less how to fade the clicker.
 
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