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I really need help!

774 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Cracker
Hi, I have 2 male Goldens(brothers). I have had them since 8wks. They are now 1 year old. I consider myself an experienced Dog owner, but I have never trained 2 at once. And I still havent!!! I am at a loss. They don't even know their names. They think they are "Max!Cooper! not, Max and Cooper. I know I screwed up by letting it go this long. We did take them to a basic obedience class, but all he taught was walking and turns. (big waste) Now they are as strong as bulls and so hyper!! House training and crate training was a piece of cake. The big problems are jumping and comming when called. (Digging is a whole nother issue!) Besides paying for a better training class that will just tell what I already know, I am considering Electronic Collars (yeah, Shock collars) I know everyone has their issues with these, I have never had to use one so I don't know which one is the best and there are so many out there! Any suggestions on any of my issues will be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
Kathy (in West Bloomfield MI)
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You need to work with each dog separately before attempting to work with them together. I suggest Patricia McConnell's booklet and/or video "Feeling Outnumbered?". I would try this before purchasing an ecollar. Regardless of which tools/methods you try, you will need to train each dog separately anyway.

It would't hurt to investigate other obedience classes either. Not all obedience classes are the same. Ask to observe one before signing up. Most good obedience classes include polite greetings & coming when called amoung many other things. Or you could look into in-home privates.
Training two at a time is quite a job! I got two boston terriers (litter mates) once and I almost went crazy before they were trained.

OK, I am completely against shock collars. I have seen dogs with some really bad issues cause by shock collars and a lot of times they cause more harm than good. There are a lot better ways to train your dogs.

First of all, how much exercise are they getting? I mean, are they getting much time outside running and walking and getting to play hard? Dogs that don't get enough exercise are going to be on the wild side, so the more exercise a dog gets they easier they are going to be to train.

On trainiong them to come to you when called there are a lot of things that you can try. If they are food motivated that will make it easier. One thing that some people use is putting them on a lead and using a command word like "come" and then pulling them to you (if they don't come of course) and then giving them a treat and lots of praise. However, when training them this way DO NOT try it with them loose outside until they do it every time on the lead and have done it everytime inside your home. It can really backfire if you try it with them loose outside before they have it down good.

If they aren't coming to you because they know you are going put them up when you get your hand on them then you will have to try something else. Turn them loose in a place that they love (and won't want to leave) and when you call them to you, treat them and pet them but don't catch them up. Do this several times and then catch them. You just want them to think of coming to you as a good thing, not a bad thing (like leaving somewhere that they love) and if you treat them and praise them for coming when called (which is a good thing for them) they will want to come. And by not grabbing them up when they first come or the second time they come (just praising and treating) they will want to come to you.

As far as the jumping, I am not much help for that one. I am sure someone on here wil be able to help you with that.

Just hang in there! It will get better as they get older. Good luck and welcome to the forum!
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I resorted to the e collar with the 10 levels of shock for the BIG jumping problem I have with my 11 month old Bernese. I have to admit I hardly ever used it, I may of caught her at just the right timing of her jumps maybe 3 times and I don't know if that many shocks (3) would actually slow her jumping down ALOT but she has certainly improved along with the command "off " She has been behaving quite well lately and a pure joy to have around now for the past week and a half, but I truly don't know if it's her just maturing some or if a few shocks actually worked. She's also been playing with her toys more which she never did before and letting me sleep longer so alot of it I think is her getting more mature and everyone around the house is being in control (not letting her be the leader):)
I agree, you will have to work with each one separately, at least at first. They need to learn their names, and need to know to pay absolute attention to you. I would find a trainer that used the type of methods I wanted to use, and the suggestion to visit a class first is a great one. This is what we did and found the best trainer I've ever used.

I know you wish you had fixed it earlier, but it's not too late.

I've read a lot of books, articles, message forums about training, and while I learn really good things from all those resources, nothing can substitute for a really good trainer.

Good luck!
E-Collars are such a bad idea here. Now, I'll say off the top that I personally don't EVER recommend them..but even if I did ever recommend them..if you have not been able to get to a point in the past where you have been able to train the obedience basics, how could you possibly have the knowledge and timing required to properly use a collar that has the potential to do so much damage? If you screw up using positive reinforcement you simply have given your dog a treat and possibly reinforced a behaviour you didnt' want. If you screw up using an ecollar you really can mess up the dog. These types of tools require extensive guidance and practice and should never be used without a trainer greatly experienced in negative reinforcement techniques.

Moving on.

Two at a time is hard, I agree. You do need to work with each separately to start out. Maybe put one in his crate with a great chewy while you work with the other and then switch.

Working on any form of training for the responses you want I would start with the basics of name recognition and focus. Have you used a clicker before? If not you can use a verbal marker (I prefer a clicker myself but any marker, like a sibilant and pleasant YESSSSSS will work).

Get yourself a bunch of really yummy tiny tiny treats (freeze dried liver is a good bet, or if your dog is REALLY food motivated you can even use part of his dinner kibble..dogs work best when slightly hungry). Say his name, give him one treat..repeat for ten treats. Walk a bit away to break his focus a bit and then start again, and say his name, if he looks at you, give him his treat...repeat. This will help with his name recognition. You start out giving him his treat because you said his name, you end up only rewarding when you say his name and he LOOKS at you. You should start every session with a quick "name game" and this will develop his attention for you to work on other things.

For the jumping, the best thing you can do is work on a really strong sit. You can lure the sit to start if they don't know it yet and the idea is once they KNOW it (which can take LOTS of reps practiced in many different areas of the house) then you use the cue sit whenever he looks like he's gonna launch. You can also make sure if he does jump on you that you turn away from him, keeping your hands still across your chest or at your side (using your hands to push him off can actually ENCOURAGE the jumping..they see it as play and attention!) Keep turning until he sits in confusion..as soon as that butt hits the floor or he keeps all four paws on the floor in a stand say YESSSSSS and reward. Believe me, once the dog realizes the rewards (including attention from you) happens ONLY when he is NOT jumping the jumping will start to go away. You should practice the sit before he gets to meet people, gets to greet another dog etc. This will help with his impulse control as well.

Working a recall is one of the most important things you can do for your dogs, if you teach them NOTHING else, this one is a lifesaver. Have him sit in front of you with a leash on and loose in your hand. Step back two steps and say "Rover, Come" and lure him to you, when he steps forward, have him sit and reward him. Repeat a zillion times. Then gradually increase the distance (eventually dropping the leash) always having him sit when he comes for his reward. Work this all over your house, working up to calling him from different rooms etc. Only use the word "come" ONCE each time..if he doesn't come you go and get him, taking him by the leash to where you had called him from and have him sit and reward him.

Only when you have a reliable recall inside can you attempt this outside. Same thing. The trick is to only increase one level of difficulty at a time (meaning increase of distraction means shorter distances, longer distances means lesser distractions etc). Every time you increase the difficulty while training (especially in increasing distractions) you must increase the value of the reward..if you use kibble with success indoors it ain't gonna mean a bit outside...work with liver, cheese, bits of hotdog or whatever you think your dog finds valuable. Use a partner if you can to assist you in holding the dog while you increase the distances etc.

Hope this info helps.
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