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Discussion Starter #1
Over the years I have had somewhere between 12 - 15 dogs. And I never had an issue getting them trained in ANYTHING.... I could house break a dog in a couple days ( not 100% of course, but really well )..... I could take an unruly dog from the SPCA and have it behaving at an acceptable level within a week. Really, whatever the training was, I could just do it.

Sadly, that was then, and this is now.

I have a puppy that is sucking the life out of me. We have had her 7 months and she's still not housebroken. I can take her out for a walk, and she might come in and poop in the house almost immediately. I always take her to the same spot when we are just in the yard, and the same thing might happen.

She doesn't "come" unless she wants to, even in the house. She absolutely knows what "come" is, but it all depends on her as to whether she will come or not.

I always use positive reinforcement style training. She's basically ambivalent to being told "good girl", or petting her - unless it is on HER TERMS.

So finally, I had to make the choice to start taking her to obedience training tomorrow. I absolutely can't believe that I have to do that. It's a really defeating feeling. People have come to me in the past to have them get their dog trained.....

Either I lost my touch, or this dog is just outside the scope of "Normal".... I am leaning towards the latter.

OK, so, have any of you had success with using a trainer to help the most incorrigible dogs imaginable?

BTW, she does have many good qualities... excellent with dogs and kids... Good watchdog.... funny. And quite loving - when SHE WANTS TO BE.
 

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Cheer up. Being "not a dog whisperer" is a good thing. There's no shame in getting help, and often a good trainer can help you work around your problems. After all, they've worked with hundreds of dogs - many of whom are there because they have an issue or two. There are a lot of dogs who are ambivalent to petting and "good girl."
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Oh, and I can't use food.... she is so obsessed that if she thinks there is food she can't concentrate on anything else.
 

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Hopefully a trainer can help you get going in the right direction. As far as the food obsession, have you read the doggy zen sticky and tried training anything like that? I'm still working on that with my dog, too, because he gets hyper-focused on my treats sometimes.
 

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Oh, and I can't use food.... she is so obsessed that if she thinks there is food she can't concentrate on anything else.
That's when you do use food ... but may have to find other treats. Start with lower value food, like kibble ... and use some higher value to mix in when the kibble is 'old news' ... and make sure she's fed when you have your training sessions.

I have a dog that is prepared to turn herself into a pretzel for a tiny, tiny piece of any treat I can come up with. I can not track with her unless she's newly fed, (right by the starting flag would be a good place, lol) she gets way too pushy and rush around the track to find the few treats there ... If she's just not hungry (or very low value treats if she is hungry) she's super easy to train if I just can figure out how to present what I want her to do.
 

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In the classes I've taken I've seen dogs that were crazy as a bed bug but by the end of the class (8 weeks) it was a different dog, one dog went thru two levels of classes with us, was not the same dog even from end of first class, I was impressed.

As for not coming when called, our youngest does that, my trainer called it "flipping the dew claw" because you can just tell when we is going to not listen, he gets this look as if to say F you (hence dew claw flipping). He is a fantastic dog except for a couple traits, but outside is leash only for him, this caused us to rig up a 100' long line with a ruff wear harness for backyard play & turn our 60x60 garden space into a dog play area.
 

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Well, last night was the 1st night of 4 classes. We didn't actually train anything. We listened a lot, and they gave us a new type of collar to use - kind of like a choker that doesn't choke. So I was thinking that I qwas wasting my time and money.... well today she already seems "better". Not like I want, but better than she was. Now I have to start the home training later on this morning.
 

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Sometimes it just takes an outside perspective. Different dogs are different. Muggsy was very people oriented, praise oriented and loved training and performing. Kabota . . . not so much. He loves affection, but he's not terribly interested in training for the sake of training. Nor he is anywhere near as smart as Muggsy was, which isn't a slam on Kabota, it's just the truth.

I do have to say that clicker training really helped a lot with Kabota. I never tried it with Muggsy, because it was totally unnecessary with him.
 

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Oh, and I can't use food.... she is so obsessed that if she thinks there is food she can't concentrate on anything else.
There is a very quick way to fix that. Google "Food Zen"

Well, last night was the 1st night of 4 classes. We didn't actually train anything. We listened a lot, and they gave us a new type of collar to use - kind of like a choker that doesn't choke. So I was thinking that I qwas wasting my time and money.... well today she already seems "better". Not like I want, but better than she was. Now I have to start the home training later on this morning.
I'm always a little suspicious of "special collars"
 

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I have lived with 5 different dogs, and Ozzie is by far the 'most difficult' dog I've ever come across, even considering fosters, friends and neighbors dogs. This doesn't mean he is a bad dog, not in the least, but it does mean that I need to adjust my expectations and my training to meet his needs. If I stand around trying the same thing that worked for the past 4 dogs, over and over again, it isn't his fault he isn't getting it the way I think he should be. What it means is that I am doing a poor job of training.

If I remember correctly your pup (what is her name, anyways?) is a hound mix. Have you ever owned a 'strong' hound before? What I mean by strong is that the hound traits are really pronounced. As a hound owner, you may have to come to the realization that things are going to be much different this time around.

I trained my dogs at home and we only took our first formal obedience class together (it was a 12 week CGC prep+test class) this past year (they were 3.5 at the time). They knew the exercises we did already, but I thought the class was very beneficial because it provided a structured environment and an allotted time every week for me to bond with my dogs and for us to work around distraction. A few new issues came to light (it seems Tyler is afraid of metal walkers) that we got to work on as well. During the 12 weeks Tyler was in class, I was doing all the exercises with Ozzie. Then when Ty graduated, I enrolled Ozzie. So by the time the first class rolled around for him, he had been practicing all the exercises for 12 solid weeks as well as knowing them beforehand. Nothing was new, but I still took what I could out of every class. I would say that Ozzie GREATLY improved in ways that I never expected, and I believe this is due just to the extra bonding and working together we did.

So, really my point is, there IS something to be gained. I don't know why you would feel embarrassed about it. I think its great that you are trying to improve your relationship with your dog.


(and her being food motivated is awesome. USE IT!)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
This collar is half fabric collar and half chain.... it has 3 rings on it. And the idea is that pulling the chain gives the sound of a choker, but it does not choke.
 

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This collar is half fabric collar and half chain.... it has 3 rings on it. And the idea is that pulling the chain gives the sound of a choker, but it does not choke.
Yup. A martingale. Why would you want to make the sound of a choker though? When I train, I try to make collar and leash a Non-issue as much as possible. Dogs don't need the "warning" of a leash pop unless you are planning to give them one.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yup. A martingale. Why would you want to make the sound of a choker though? When I train, I try to make collar and leash a Non-issue as much as possible. Dogs don't need the "warning" of a leash pop unless you are planning to give them one.

I don't. It's what the trainer gave us.
 

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I don't. It's what the trainer gave us.
But you chose the trainer. By paying for the class, you're buying into the methods. If you don't think that the methods are good, then another trainer might be better. You don't get to foist responsibility off on the trainer.

Try not to feel defeated about going to obedience class. I think all dogs should have some kind of activity or class at some point, no matter how experienced their owners are. Your dog will enjoy it if you enjoy it, so try not to hate it.

One of the hardest parts about training dogs is figuring out what motivates each one. I feel sorry for people who are stuck with dogs who aren't motivated by much - it must be really frustrating. But it sounds like you already know what motivates your dog: food! What you need now is impulse control so that the dog doesn't lose her head at the first sight/smell of it.

I'm sort of surprised about the housetraining. Are you giving a food reward for eliminating outside? Every time? If the dog is really as food motivated as you say, I can't believe she hasn't figured out by now that eliminating outside predicts a food reward. I've seen highly food-motivated dogs (like mine) fake peeing, just so they can cheat their way to an extra reward when they don't actually have to go. Hint: that's when you know you can start cutting back on the rewards.

I also wanted to say that this dog is young, and pretty much at the height of teenage-dom. Kit was so crazy at 9mo that I was wearing black and only black around her so that she didn't destroy every piece of clothing I owned. We were taking basic obedience classes when she was around that age. The trainer had us tie our dogs out on cement blocks so that we had our hands free for clickers, treats, etc. Kit took this as an invitation to drag her cement block across the floor so that she could enthusiastically greet the trainer. I'm stunned she passed basic obedience, though we certainly earned the title of "most improved". Impulse control goes hand in hand with maturity - she's much better now, though she will never be well-behaved.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Well, to be honest, I picked the trainer based on one person's reference, but I didn't ask about collars. It never even occurred to me. Like I said, prior to this I had ZERO need for a trainer, so I just picked one that someone I knew used.

I used to use clickers for her, and it worked for some things, but not housebreaking. I gave up after 3 solid months of trying it.

And just last night I took her out at 10PM for 20 minutes.... no poop. She came inside, and while I was in the powder room, she went upstairs and pooped in my bathroom, just 3 -4 minutes after she came in.
 
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