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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Thanks, I will get working on those. He has great attention already, and we have been working on the starting of heel.
 

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be sure to train attention with him in front, in heel position, off enter, etc.

I've got a friend who started her baby aussie terrier at 9 weeks with "choose to heel" and "find heel" games. He caught on fast and the babies love it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Yikes I haven't updated in awhile. Nash has learned a lot since I last updated.

Nash is heeling very well now. We had done the work against the wall for awhile to prep and then I started working without the wall. We did a couple of minutes of the stuff along the wall and then I stood out in the room.

At first I c/t for any movement towards me. After a few of those I c/t only for movement towards my left side. Then after about 8 or 9 c/t for that I waited and he came up to my left side close, I c/t for that a couple of times and waited. He tried sitting, facing my left side (so not alongside me) I ignored it and waited. He tried laying down (I ignored it). He got up and moved a little, I c/t that. Then he started moving around me trying to figure out what got the click. He went around me and basically did a finish right, which he didn't know at the time, he was just going around me trying to get me to click. When he reached my left side he was almost in perfect position. I clicked and gave him a jack pot (a few treats and a couple of ball throws).

Then I stood still again and he went to my left side. I c/t'd that. Then I took a step forward and waited, he moved up after a short time (maybe 10 seconds or so) and I c/t that. I kept moving, sometimes straight ahead, sometimes turning to the left or right, sometimes taking a step backwards. When ever he went to heel position I c/t. He had to be sitting straight and in perfect position and looking at me to get the click. I had done a lot of attention training prior to this, so he had already learned to look at my face.

After a very short time of doing this he started walking with me, looking at me (yay!). For awhile I ignored that, and just worked on him finding the position when I stopped. After he was doing that 100% I started working on him walking with me. When he was walking in position and looking up I clicked, the first time he got a jackpot. Then I would just start clicking at random times, sometimes one step, sometimes 4, 2, 10, 5, 12 and so on.

He is heeling now wonderfully for a good 50 steps at a time, in position, with great attention and I don't have to fade a lure:) He is doing left turns very well, haven't worked on right turns, or both about turns yet.
 

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Sounds great! A ton of progress for the short period of time that you've had him.

How is he doing with the anxiety issues?
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Sounds great! A ton of progress for the short period of time that you've had him.

How is he doing with the anxiety issues?
He is doing much better. We have been doing a lot of desensitizing to the cues of us leaving (picking up keys, putting on shoes, picking up purse, walking towards the stairs, after each one we go sit down for a bit, then do another, over and over through out the day). We have also pracitced me leaving, with Julie staying with him. She holds onto his leash, I go down the stairs, she feeds him high value treats, I walk back upstairs.

Every morning he gets a good run in and some fetch before I go. I ignore him for 10 or 15 minutes before leaving. He gets a stuffed kong when he is left in his crate. We also went back to feeding him his meals in his crate. When ever we catch him just relaxing in his crate he gets a treat.

Before he can come out of his crate, go through a doorway, get his leash on, get attention he has to be calm. If he is showing any anxious behaviors we fold our arms and look at the cieling until he sits calmly.
 

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This thread should almost be stickied! I am a first time dog owner who has spent a good amount of time researching good clicker/ positive reinforcement training online, as someone posted earlier, you include details and insight that surpasses a lot of the tutorials I've found. THANKS!

Couple notes/questions: What do you use for treats? Some of the training sessions you, and I try to, shower the dog with treats (like loose leash walking). If I use his kibble he seems to get bored with it. If I use a high value I feel like I am spoiling or desensitizing the high-value (Hotdog bits, chicken).

Also, you described a moment where Nash would circle you and lay down and look for what you wanted during your heel left training. I visualized my dog in that instance, and he might get upset and bark at me, or lay down and give up. Does this mean I am not guiding him enough? Or that it's time to stop training? I don't know if Nash ever gets upset like that, he seems like a perfect student.

Lastly, have you said how old Nash is yet? or what breed he is?
 

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You want to keep around several kinds of treats. Save the highest value for the best behaviour, or the hardest thing you are teaching right now. Mis and match and keep things interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
This thread should almost be stickied! I am a first time dog owner who has spent a good amount of time researching good clicker/ positive reinforcement training online, as someone posted earlier, you include details and insight that surpasses a lot of the tutorials I've found. THANKS!
Thank you for the compliments!

Couple notes/questions: What do you use for treats? Some of the training sessions you, and I try to, shower the dog with treats (like loose leash walking). If I use his kibble he seems to get bored with it. If I use a high value I feel like I am spoiling or desensitizing the high-value (Hotdog bits, chicken).
What treats I use depend on the level of difficulty and where we are. I also always have at least a few different treats going at the same time and use playing as well. He never knows if he is going to get a piece of kibble, a hot dog, a zuke's mini treat, a ball toss . . .

Also, you described a moment where Nash would circle you and lay down and look for what you wanted during your heel left training. I visualized my dog in that instance, and he might get upset and bark at me, or lay down and give up. Does this mean I am not guiding him enough? Or that it's time to stop training? I don't know if Nash ever gets upset like that, he seems like a perfect student.
If your dog gets that upset then you need to give him some more help (break your behavior down into smaller approximations and maybe spend a little bit more time at those approximations). Take a break, do some stress relief (like some fetch or something) and go back. Then go to easier behaviors, like simply moving towards the left side, instead of actually going to the left side. I have moved to fast before and Nash has gotten frustrated with me, I have gotten better though at reading when he is ready for me to take it to the next level so there is a lot less of him getting confused and frustrated.

Lastly, have you said how old Nash is yet? or what breed he is?
Nash is about a year to year and a half old sable german shepherd. I have had him since May 22, 2009. Wow, it hasn't been that long!

Here he is doing a stand stay at the park.


Downstay at the park.


His long tongue.


I love this picture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 · (Edited)
I've taught Nash to re-orient to me after going over a threashold. This has made so many things easier. When we come inside from a long walk when they are all excited he doesn't go running through the house making a huge racket and chasing the cats. When he comes inside from going in the pen he turns to me and I can wipe his feet off before he gets dirt everywhere. If we are going through a doorway I don't need to hold his leash while trying to manage door, dog and carrying something. If I send him down the stairs ahead of me he turns and sits and waits for me to come down. Its really nice:)

It was pretty simply to teach too. I had him on a 6 foot leash, walked through a doorway and stopped moving. Because of all our training with loose leash walking he quickly stopped and looked back at me. I c/t that. Then I waited, since I clicked he knew we were playing that fun click game. He started offering head turns towards me, I clicked that only a couple more times then waited and he turned towards me a bit doing an exaggerated head turn, that got a c/t then he just turned towards me (he got it quick!) that got a jackpot, then I waited for a sit, which he also offered quickly and that got another jackpot. We did that at every doorway, although after just 2 doorways he started to just turn around towards me. For a few days I did a 100% reward schedule for turning to face me and sitting after walking through a doorway, then to a variable reward schedule with a high reinforcement rate for a few days. Now he gets treats randomly for re-orienting towards me.

For the stairs, going both up and down, I started with a 6 foot leash. We went down together but once he got to the floor (at the top or bottom of the stairs) I stopped, so a few steps up and waited. He turned to see what I was doing and got a c/t. We did it again a few times then I waited. He tried offering a few things (including come back towards me) which I ignored. If he came towards me I sent him back. Then he offered a sit and that got a c/t with jackpot. Once he was offering what I wanted (which was to turn, face me and sit) 99% of the time I increased the distance by a few more steps (by using long line) then increased the distance again by a few steps and so on until I could be at the top and he would automatically turn to face me and sit either at the top or bottom of the stairs.

Nash has also learned Touch (to target my hand with his nose). I held my hand out, flat, fingers pointing up. He sniffed at it, c/t a few times for that. Then I waited, he softly touched my hand, c/t for that a few times. Then I waited, he tried licking it, I ignored that, he touched it softly a few times, I c/t a few more times and waited again. He did soft touches a couple of more times, then got frustrated and did it harder I c/t with a jackpot. Did this whole thing again at another session. Then I worked on him touching my hand with my hand in different places. I basically just moved my hand a few inches up, down, to each side and front to back and continued to increase distance a few inches at a time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
We have been trying to do some work with looking to my shoulders to know where to go. If anyone has any better ideas let me know please! I've been doing a few things. One is working on heeling, where I turn my shoulders before making a turn. He is already looking up that way so hopefully he will get the connection that my shoulders turn and he better or he will get run into.

The other is, I've been getting his attention with a treat, bringing it up to my shoulders, I turn my shoulders and toss the treat in the direction I turned my shoulders. My hope is after a few sessions of this to try and turn my shoulders and see if he makes any movement in that direction (even just a head turn) if he does he will get a click/treat and we will build from there. This will be a useful skill when we do agility (which class should start next week I think!). The first round of class is just introduction to obstacles and teaching the dogs to go over them safely and touch contact zones.

Nash also randomly offers heeling now when I am walking around! He has great position and attention during heel, we are still working on the turns (I think once he understands the shoulders the turns will fall into place). I did have to sort of reteach heel breifly with his ears up. He was heeling with them down and I think it looks better when his ears are up when he is heeling. We went back to just sitting heel position and he only got a c/t when his ears came up. He quickly figured that out while stationary and then we started moving and same thing he only got a c/t if his ears came up. I had to start with them just flicking forward a bit and then when he got that I waited for them to come up more and more.
 
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