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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

Well Luke, our puppy, is really intelligent and good with his commands. He already knows sit, stay, come, leave it, watch me, and is learning down, heel, and quiet.

But here's the thing and maybe it's just me (or the breed-I hear they're a tad stubborn), Luke is 14wks old so is that why he sometimes doesn't listen to us? We'll say "Luke Come!" but he only comes once in awhile, but if we have a treat he'll always come.

Granted when he's of age we're taking him straight to obedience class, but how come he doesn't always listen to us? Is it because he's still young or we're not asserting ourselves well enough as leader?

Oh yeah when he sees certain people he'll bark and growl. He won't do anything, he's all talk, but how can we curb him of this? We want a nice dog, thanks.
 

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Glad to hear that you're getting into some basic training but, is there a reason you've skipped the puppy kingergarten? That's a really important class to miss.

Cardinal rule of training....never give a command that you can't enforce. For the Come that means on leash or a long line until they're reliable. Even then, with lots of practice and coming 100% of the time you can ruin all the training if the Come command always means fun time is over (having them Come and then send them right back out to play is a huge reward).

Attention work (listening to you) takes time and it gets better with age.

For the barking/growling step between your dog and the other person. That shows your dog that he doesn't have to handle the 'problem'....you will. Ask for Quiet or Enough and perhaps a Sit......praise and treat for calmness.
 

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Tooney--I heard that dogs that don't have all their shots yet can't go anywhere where other dogs have been. The only training programs I know of are our vet and PetsMart. I do want to enroll him, believe me.

We're doing the "watch me" command, like you said. So that will work? When we do the come command, we're doing his tricks with him and then will sometimes play with him afterwards either outside or inside. Is that not enough? :confused:
 

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We'll say "Luke Come!" but he only comes once in awhile, but if we have a treat he'll always come.
This is already a great thing. Take advantage of it to enforce every command: reinforce with a treat EVERY time he comes on cue. Once in awhile you should reinforce with a jackpot, which means multiple treats, or exceptionally tasty treats... or multiple exceptionally tasty treats!

Granted when he's of age we're taking him straight to obedience class, but how come he doesn't always listen to us? Is it because he's still young or we're not asserting ourselves well enough as leader?
Well yes, he is young, but it's got nothing to do with you asserting yourself. It's about whether you're more interesting than what he's checking out at the moment.

If you squeak a toy, call his name in your Funnest Fun Voice, jump around, wave your arms, run in the opposite direction (compelling him to chase you as a game), entice him with food, you very well might be more interesting. If you shout angrily, chase him (compelling him to run AWAY from you as a game) or punish him when he comes late/when you catch him, you certainly won't be as interesting, and that means he's less likely to come when called in the future. Dog training is all about making one behaviour more rewarding than another behaviour. In the case of recall, it's all about making returning to you more rewarding than sniffing that bush.

Kyle is always asking me why Poppy responds to my "come" cue so much more reliably than she responds to his. It's because he issues his cues like a drill sergeant: "Poppy! Come!" and I issue mine like a kindergarten teacher "HEEEYYY Poppy!!! Coooome here! Who's a good girl?! Who's a good Labby??" and then AS she's coming towards me, attracted by my, er, general stupidity, I add the verbal cue "Come!" And, of course, when she actually reaches me, I'm on the ground rubbing her ears and scratching her tummy and delivering treats.

I'm pretty sure all positive dog trainers have acted this stupid at some point in their lives. If not throughout. :D Trust me, you'll feel really dumb at first, but after awhile it becomes rather liberating.

In the meantime: practice, practice, practice. As Tooney said, no command should go unenforced. Practice in locations where you KNOW your dog will come. That means starting with the most uninteresting place available; your living room, for instance, when he's just standing around doing nothing. Practice, practice, practice there till he is coming to you EVERY time, and all this while you should STILL be reinforcing. Then practice when you're in the living room and he's, say, chewing on a toy. Increase distraction levels VERY gradually. Coming to you in the living room is hardly the same thing as coming to you when he's running around on the beach. As your dog masters each distraction level, increase it VERY subtly. If he starts to falter (you're getting more failed cues than successful ones), you've moved on too fast -- decrease the distraction level again.

And for the safety of you, your dog and other dogs, please keep your dog on a leash at ALL times in an unfenced area, until he is reliable off-leash.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
rosemaryninja--thank you for your reply; it definitely helped! Right now we give him treats when he comes but not all the time because we don't want him to rely on that, but you said to do it every time so we'll begin to do that.

Oh okay, yes sometimes we call him in the funny voice, but usually we're like your friend or husband Kyle and will do it in that direct voice. So I will begin to call him in my high pitched voice, but add "come!" to it. Thank you!

We practice the commands everywhere! I do it in every room in our house and even outside, even when dogs are present or other people. When he barks I take him away and try to get his attention so he won't bark again. So far he's pretty good after the fourth or fifth time; he's a very intelligent dog.

Okay maybe I'm moving it too quickly then, thanks for that. Oh and yes I always have him on the leash! I wouldn't trust him if he was off it and even if he did come when he's an adult, I wouldn't do that. My grandmother's dog was very good at commands and she told me when I walked him (Poco) it was okay to take him off leash and I didn't cause I didn't trust he would come back. So leash stays on!

Thanks for your reply again! Luke says thank you too: mmmrpfebOO
 
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