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Hi everyone !

A little more than a week ago, I adopted an Australian cattle dog puppy (he is 11 weeks old now).
He's cute and everything, we're starting to know each other.
I'm of course trying to housetrain him, and he's fine with being crated.

My problem is, when I take him out where I want him to go potty, he doesn't react to my praises afterwards.
I praise while he does and he's finished (in a VERY obvious and enthusiastic way) but he doesn't care. He doesn't wave his tail or anything and just acts like I'm not even there. He's not afraid either, he's not mistaking my praises with me being mad.
I always have a treat to give him but I have to put it right under his nose otherwise he just goes on sniffing things.

I know you'll probably tell me that I have to wait and his reaction might change in the future. But since the praises for going potty outside is a big part of housetraining, I worry that his lack of interest in my praises, and therefore his unablity to associate them with his good behavior, might prevent him from being housetrained.

I have to add that he seems uninterested in praises all the time, not just during potty time. Also, he definitely like the treats (I use them to teach him basic commands and it works).

Any suggestions or advices would be appreciated. Thank you !

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I would give it time. You have only had him for a week and everything in his world has changed. It takes some time for any puppy to settle in. As long as housetraining is progressing than the method you are using is working. Have you thought of clicker training? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wv1uvvqaSw Cattle dogs are wicked smart. Love your baby's picture.
 

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I agree with giving him time. When we first got kobi, he wasn't interested in treats or sniffing around...both behaviors seemed very odd for a dog. As he got more comfortable with us, all his dog behaviors kicked in and now all he does is sniff and want treats! Lol
 

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Use treats. Praise, then follow with a delicious treat and he will eventually appreciate praise as a good thing on his own. Some dogs just aren't automatically praise motivated, but you can build that as a motivation for him.
 

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My cattle dog/Aussie was almost 4 months old before he wagged his tail. I was also worried, i would praise and he would just at me like i was retarded, but i started using a clicker and just kept on praising and one day he cane running wagging his little nub!!
 

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You may need to actually start building drive in your puppy. Food drive can be built by training BEFORE you feed your puppy and some other ways (especially using HIGH value treats) and toy drive/prey drive can be built in a few other ways, especially in a cattle dog! Do some research on drive, and once you build on that, he'll dig praise!

I agree that you should consider marker training, if not actual clicker training (clicker training IS marker training) and that will definitely raise his interest in both you being happy and food because when you're happy he gets the food!
 

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I agree with elrohwen - use treats. For the moment, take three pieces of kibble and feed them to him one at a time after he goes potty. You can praise, also. With 3 pieces, I'd expect you to notice a difference in 3 - 4 days.
 

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Housetraining my lab was the same. Every time she went outside I threw a party, and she always looked at me like I was a crazy person. I kept at it, but she always had this way about her like, 'oh, you thought I wanted to go in the house? That's disgusting. Of course I go outside.' It was ridiculously cute. Didn't slow her down at all, she was reliable and asking to go out at 4 months.
 

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Housetraining my lab was the same. Every time she went outside I threw a party, and she always looked at me like I was a crazy person. I kept at it, but she always had this way about her like, 'oh, you thought I wanted to go in the house? That's disgusting. Of course I go outside.' It was ridiculously cute. Didn't slow her down at all, she was reliable and asking to go out at 4 months.
This was Kylie. She just has this 'what is WRONG with you?' look on her face when praised for peeing outside. Also, 100% reliable about asking to go out at 4ish months. She still isn't crazy about praise, come to think of it, but a simple 'yes' to know she's got something right during training excites her.
 

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Part of me wonders if puppies even understand when they're getting praised. If they haven't had enough exposure to associate it with being a good thing, then why should it mean anything to them. There may be some instinctual reaction but logically there seems to be no reason for them to just naturally think of it as praise.

I mean if you just started randomly clicking at a dog, they're not going to understand what it means. There has to a process to load the clicker and have the dog associate it with being a good thing and a form of praise.
 

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I think to a certain point they do... Praise is attention and in general dogs crave attention don't they? As opposed to a click, which is totally neutral unless taught otherwise.
 

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I think to a certain point they do... Praise is attention and in general dogs crave attention don't they? As opposed to a click, which is totally neutral unless taught otherwise.
I don't think all dogs naturally crave attention OR praise, actually. Many of them do, sure, most - maybe. But it's a long way from a sure thing. Ask your average LGD how it feels about your praise or attention, you know?

I do think Zhaor is right, to a degree. I think 'yay! good job' and positive excitement is something most dogs, or at least puppies, recognize as a positive response without having to have it 'conditioned'. The high pitched baby voices and obvious happiness seems to make most puppies go all 'a wiggle'. I don't think, however, 'good boy' and a pat on the head are things that are naturally rewarding the same way. I think an association gets built there.
 

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I don't think all dogs naturally crave attention OR praise, actually. Many of them do, sure, most - maybe.
I think that's what I said... or, to me "in general" is my way of trying not to make a blanket statement.
And yeah, I agree completely with the need to associate a marker like "good boy" with a high value reward (if the dog is not praise motivated) in order to turn praise into a kind of reward. But I was mainly addressing what zhaor said about if puppies "even understand" if they are being praised and why it "should mean anything to them."
I'm mostly trying to say that praise is far from a neutral sound to a puppy.
 

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I think that's what I said... or, to me "in general" is my way of trying not to make a blanket statement.
And yeah, I agree completely with the need to associate a marker like "good boy" with a high value reward (if the dog is not praise motivated) in order to turn praise into a kind of reward. But I was mainly addressing what zhaor said about if puppies "even understand" if they are being praised and why it "should mean anything to them."
I'm mostly trying to say that praise is far from a neutral sound to a puppy.
I have vague memories of a talk with you about voice tone and Sumic - and possibly in relation to Jack, but I'm not sure. Something about that high pitched voice being appealing to dogs where my normal tone (and yours, if you were who I was talking to) tended to be a little... hard for soft dogs to handle. I think it's a similar kind of thing, that far. You baby talk a puppy, and 9 times out of ten, it's going to turn into a wiggly giddy little thing that wants to lick your face off.

Even if it's not an otherwise praise motivated dog.
 
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