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Hello everyone,

Firstly just wanted to say a big thank you - my first post on this forum around 2 months ago was because Logan and I were really struggling to adjust to a new routine and I was considering returning him to the breeder for his own good and happiness. Your advice really helped me through it and I'm glad to say I am now the proud mum to a very happy, settled (but increasingly stubborn!) 4-month old pup.

It is the stubborn part that I'm looking for some advice about now. I know that this is common as puppies hit that age and get more independent and less eager to please, but I just want to make sure that I'm dealing with it right. He was a very easy puppy to train initially and now that he has a handle on the basics I am trying to get him to be a 'polite' puppy - for example, waiting to go through doors, sitting before crossing the road, not jumping up etc. This is difficult as he has developed selective hearing on even basic commands like 'sit'. To give you an example, we were about to go out for a walk. He was very excited and started scrabbling at the wall next to the living room door to get through - this is where my heater is which happened to have washing hanging on it which all went all over the floor (this is mostly what I'm trying to avoid!) So we moved away from the door, I sorted my washing and asked him to sit and wait. He did not. This went on for probably around 10 minutes altogether, interspersed with breaks where I got on with washing dishes etc before trying again. I should say I had a handful of treats ready for the walk as well, but even this couldn't entice him to sit down when he knew there were more exciting things on the other side of the door! EVENTUALLY he did sit, waited very nicely as I opened the door and then walked through when I said he could. This scene often repeats itself on walks as I try to get him to wait before crossing roads. Yes, I am just as stubborn as he is!!

My questions really is - should I carry on like this? It has been around a week that I've really been knuckling down on this and he remains as stubborn about sitting. My sister told me that I'm being too strict and too hard on him, and I wonder if that's the case? Am I expecting too much at this age? I know that sitting before going through a door isn't really worth 10 minutes of my life in the grand scheme of things, but I feel that once I've asked him to do something I can't let him off until he does it or else he will realise he can get away with things...

Thoughts?
 

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There are definitely some improvements that can be made here. For starters, don't leave your washing where your puppy may get excited and knock it over and cause you frustration.

I don't really believe much in 'stubborn' when it comes to dogs. As a general rule, dogs will do what they find to be most rewarding at any given point in time. If you're not making listening to you rewarding, or you're asking your dog to listen to you when they're excited and you can never be more rewarding than what they're excited about, your training isn't going to be successful.

The biggest mistake I can see is that you're asking your puppy to listen when he's clearly not in a listening mindset. He's still a very young animal. Would you ask a child who is overly excited or throwing a temper tantrum to pick up their toys and expect them to actually calm down and listen to what they're told? No. Same goes for a puppy. When he's excited, or overstimulated and jumping around, that is not a good training moment or a good time to give commands and expect them to be obeyed.

You're basically training him to ignore you by frequently giving him commands that he is not mentally capable of following. Every time you say the word 'sit' and he doesn't listen, that poisons the command for future use.

I'd suggest that you start working on some impulse control exercises (It's Yer Choice is a good place to start). Also, instead of using commands and risking the command being ignored, use lures. A failed lure isn't ideal, but it also is far less impactful than a failed command. If your puppy won't even lure into a sit, your treats aren't high reward enough, or you're simply attempting to engage and train when the puppy's brain is overwhelmed and no training can possibly take place.
 

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Like Hiraeth said, try to manage the situation a bit and keep things that the pup isn't supposed to be in out of the way, lol!

But yeah, your pup is very young. I got my dog at 5 months old, so a little older than yours, but he was very prone to overstimulation like yours, with poor manners. Instead of issuing commands, I would often wait for calm, for the behavior I wanted, then give him what he wanted. For example, he rushed doors, pushed past me to get through, very rude. So when I put my hand on the doorknob and got into his "run out the door" stance, I stopped and stepped back. He stopped and thought about it. Tried taking a step back and relaxing, but tried to rush again when I opened the door a crack, so I shut the door and stepped back. Until he was sitting, relaxed, and did not try to rush me, only then did I step through and invite him along. Took ten minutes, but each session after that got shorter until he is very well behaved at doors.

That way, I was not telling him to do something when he was already excited, he had to decide what he was going to do to get through that door. He calmed himself. He learned that in order to get through the door, he had perform a certain behavior, and I neither touched him nor told him to do anything. It was his choice. I have used that same process for a number of things, such as for his meals, to get attention, to receive a treat or a toy. So far, it's worked very well, and has resulted in a dog that thinks about how he should get what he wants, and no poisoned commands for me!
 

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Gentle note to the masses - be careful with It's Yer Choice and general impulse control. Make very sure it's taught with a release word rather than just a marker and put a freaking command on the 'leave the food in the hand' game, if you ever, ever, plan on teaching anything with luring.

Not something that would have occurred to me before this puppy and I am 200% the reason for that fail, but I'm going to be spending some time undoing that little mistake. Because not being mauled is good and impulse control is great, but sometimes you need the dog to follow the food in your hand, not run backwards away from it.
 

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Gentle note to the masses - be careful with It's Yer Choice and general impulse control. Make very sure it's taught with a release word rather than just a marker and put a freaking command on the 'leave the food in the hand' game, if you ever, ever, plan on teaching anything with luring.

Not something that would have occurred to me before this puppy and I am 200% the reason for that fail, but I'm going to be spending some time undoing that little mistake. Because not being mauled is good and impulse control is great, but sometimes you need the dog to follow the food in your hand, not run backwards away from it.
I never would have thought to mention that before, thank you! I didn't realize the article didn't cover a release, that's my mistake for not being thorough.

I've not had an issue with IYC training teaching a puppy that food should never be taken out of my hand, but my release is 'get it', at which point the puppy is allowed to take the food. Undoing that training wouldn't be super pleasant :(
 

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I never would have thought to mention that before, thank you! I didn't realize the article didn't cover a release, that's my mistake for not being thorough.

I've not had an issue with IYC training teaching a puppy that food should never be taken out of my hand, but my release is 'get it', at which point the puppy is allowed to take the food. Undoing that training wouldn't be super pleasant :(
I am honestly laughing about it, and laughing fairly hard. It's a great impulse control exercise and a great way to build a 'leave it' but it's a really, really an... amusing and counter productive default behavior. No, really, do not back away from the hand with food. Follow it!

And in fairness this has literally NEVER happened to me with a dog before. Ah, god. Dogs. Dog training. Stuff.
 

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I am honestly laughing about it, and laughing fairly hard. It's a great impulse control exercise and a great way to build a 'leave it' but it's a really, really an... amusing and counter productive default behavior. No, really, do not back away from the hand with food. Follow it!

And in fairness this has literally NEVER happened to me with a dog before. Ah, god. Dogs. Dog training. Stuff.
I also modify the IYC and generally put the food on the floor with my hand over it versus actually putting it in my closed hand. I generally DO want my dogs to back away from anything that's dropped on the floor versus grabbing it and swallowing, so I've found that modification to be helpful in that regard.

Sounds like your Kiran is a pretty smart boy :)
 

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Gentle note to the masses - be careful with It's Yer Choice and general impulse control. Make very sure it's taught with a release word rather than just a marker and put a freaking command on the 'leave the food in the hand' game, if you ever, ever, plan on teaching anything with luring.

Not something that would have occurred to me before this puppy and I am 200% the reason for that fail, but I'm going to be spending some time undoing that little mistake. Because not being mauled is good and impulse control is great, but sometimes you need the dog to follow the food in your hand, not run backwards away from it.
Lol, I guess I've never even considered that something like that could happen.
 

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Lol, I guess I've never even considered that something like that could happen.
Neither had I!

Until Kiran.

"If I want food I back away from it. If I want food a lot I back away from it FAST."

It'll be fine once I get a verbal cue on it, but oh my god. I'm not sure if he's smart or dumber than a post, Hiraeth. But it's sure a thing.
 

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Neither had I!

Until Kiran.

"If I want food I back away from it. If I want food a lot I back away from it FAST."

It'll be fine once I get a verbal cue on it, but oh my god. I'm not sure if he's smart or dumber than a post, Hiraeth. But it's sure a thing.
Hahahaha. This (bold) made me laugh out loud.

Sometimes I'm so happy I have Danes. So biddable, but not very much 'critical thinking' intelligence going on.
 

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But smart dogs are easy to train!

Uh-huh.

I've had lots of small but two BIG situations that made me realize how freaking not that is:

1-) Molly had this thing when she was really doing well with meds and reactivity. We'd gotten back on the b-mod actively working on it train and had been for a while. Then one day we encountered a dog unexpectedly and she was fine. Not a twitch. But my pants were down so my timing wasn't there - at all. So she looked to me, I had no treat. She looked BACK at the other dog, viciously barked her head off for about 5 seconds, stopped COLD and turned back to look (calmly) at me again.

...Riiiiight.

2-) This thing. Nothing like trying to lure your hungry puppy with chicken and having him drop to a down and crawl rapidly away (backwards!) barking to tell you that you done messed up. Or having him run backward from his food bowl (same day) when you go to give it to him.

Freaking dogs.
 

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And OP, sorry - I didn't mean to hijack but my pup is that age and clearly stuff just. Happens. They're babies. You're okay.
 

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But smart dogs are easy to train!

Uh-huh.

I've had lots of small but two BIG situations that made me realize how freaking not that is:

1-) Molly had this thing when she was really doing well with meds and reactivity. We'd gotten back on the b-mod actively working on it train and had been for a while. Then one day we encountered a dog unexpectedly and she was fine. Not a twitch. But my pants were down so my timing wasn't there - at all. So she looked to me, I had no treat. She looked BACK at the other dog, viciously barked her head off for about 5 seconds, stopped COLD and turned back to look (calmly) at me again.

...Riiiiight.

2-) This thing. Nothing like trying to lure your hungry puppy with chicken and having him drop to a down and crawl rapidly away (backwards!) barking to tell you that you done messed up. Or having him run backward from his food bowl (same day) when you go to give it to him.

Freaking dogs.
I guess I kind of did something like that with Ralphie. I was trying to teach him not to bark at people walking by on the sidewalk on the other side of the fence, so eventually he would kind of hop after them, bark twice, then run back to me, sit, and wait patiently for a treat. Um, dog, not the point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the replies, and no worries about the hijack CptJack!

Hiraeth - it's not really about the washing haha, that's just a side effect of him jumping up the wall to get out of the way of the door! He doesn't tend to go for my washing at all usually, so I'm ok there. It's also not that he's not listening - I guess I didn't explain properly in the original post, but he's not jumping at the door and ignoring me shouting at him to sit until I'm hoarse...he is standing staring right at me, listening intently, head cocked...and then just not sitting when I ask. Like you say, I don't want to poison the command so I will try not using it until he is ready!

Lileth - Thanks for the tips - I gave it a go yesterday just standing waiting and he did eventually sit (or hovered really, and then plonked all the way down when i encouraged him with a gentle "sit" command!) I had a fantastic evening walk where he was good as gold, sitting and waiting before crossing roads and watching me intently for direction...and then this morning he was back to completely ignoring me again! I guess it's just a case of keeping at it and being patient and eventually he will get that the fastest way to get what he wants is by doing what I want. Just glad to know I'm on the right track :)

Thanks again everyone!
 
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