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Okay, so I'm still in the process of teaching my new dog basic commands such as "sit", "drop it", etc. It's been a somewhat painful process thus far with very little progress. But I'm trying to stay positive. I'm new at all this so I'm sure part of the problem is just inexperience on my part.

Anyway, my current problem is this... my dog is barking AT me during training. For example, when I'm trying to get him to sit he will lean down on his front legs and just bark and bark and bark at me. I don't know whether this is because he's confused or just wants the treat without working for it or what. But he does this almost immediately when we start training and will not focus.

What should I do when he does this? I've been just leaving the room and kind of ignoring him. When I do this he typically stops barking immediately and follows me wherever I go. After a couple minutes I try again. Same exact thing. Rinse. Repeat.

It's getting increasingly frustrating. Am I going about this the wrong way? Is there another way to settle him down and get him to focus without ignoring? I just don't want him to think that barking in my face all the time is okay. But at the same time I want to train him.
 

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Heh, Caeda does this occasionally, especially if I try "free shaping", she gets SOOOO frustrated because she doesn't know what to do for the treat, and gets impatient after she tries a few things.
For the first couple of tries have you tried luring? It will fairly quickly get your dog to do what you want (like sit), and get a victory, and therefore the treat. Feels good for both of you! Don't add the word for it until you know the luring will get you what you want. Very quickly fade the lure and just use your hand motion, without a treat then give the treat once you get what you want (or say yes, click whatever). You can also look up "Kikopup" on Youtube. She's got tons of vids that I found really helpful when I first started dealing with Caeda. (sorry if I've just told you stuff you know already)

For the barking, you might have a pretty good opportunity here.....try saying "shhhhhh", "quiet", "calm" or "shut it" or whatever you want the cue for "stop barking" to be. Say it nice though, not too loud. If he stops, even for a split second click/mark and give a treat for that!!! On the other side of things you could also use this to teach "speak" (I used "talk to me"), to teach your dog TO bark, and then also teach the quiet command.

Frustrated, and a little inexperienced, been there! It takes a while, but if you can, try to see some of it as an opportunity to teach something useful (in the case of stopping barking, REALLY useful). Celebrate the little victories when you can, it all takes a long time to get everything solid. Good luck! I'm sure others here will have more and better advice for you.
 

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I agree with Greater Swiss - do NOT let the word "sit" escape your mouth right now. If it does, the dog will learn that "sit" means bark at you. Personally, I'd wait this dog out. The cookies are mine until you stop barking and start paying attention. Eventually, the dog will figure out that barking gets him nothing. At that point, he will try something else - probably a down, but maybe just a pause. When that happens, be ready to reward immediately. When you start to see some success, raise your criteria so that the dog must be quiet for two seconds, then three, then four, etc. to earn a treat. If the dog persists in barking, after he gets a few chances, I'd just put the treats away and end the session. Now he's thinking "darn! I really wanted those treats, so I'll have to try harder next time". Also, keep sessions short. If you can get him to be quiet long enough to earn 5 treats, I'd stop and repeat later.
 

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when I'm trying to get him to sit he will lean down on his front legs and just bark and bark and bark at me.
That sounds like a play bow! He's trying to play with you- which is good. How does he like to play? Chase me, fetch, tug? I'd consider using play as a reward for training and see what happens. Get one sit out of him, then throw the toy if he likes fetch, or do 15 seconds of tug or chase him around the room once. Then go for another sit, etc. See if that works better.

Also, train when he's tired. If he's full of energy and looking to play, it's going to be hard for him to concentrate on training. Today is another fine Spring day here in PA, and I just cannot focus on work. You know how it is. It's the same for your dog. Train after a good long walk or a romp around the park and see if that helps.
 

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@Amaryllis - Playbow ...Bingo! Listen to this. For some reason, you pup has learned that training time is play time... Don't discourage play!

I've seen two logical approaches... and I believe that you adapt the approach to the dog:
1. When the dog asked for play... with a playbow, then play with him, tire him out, train him for ~10 min. ... then, play some more
2. Anticipate play time, do a little training, then reward with play, then more training.

At the moment, your dog wants play first. You can train Fetch! as part of the play, but keep it fun

BTW, How old is your dog, what kind, and... got pix ? Videos of the playbow ?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the replies!

For the first couple of tries have you tried luring? It will fairly quickly get your dog to do what you want (like sit), and get a victory, and therefore the treat.
I have. It works really well for the most part, except with "sit". He will just back up and/or turn his head around when I move the treat over his nose. For whatever reason he just will not lean back. We have been able to get him to sit a couple times this way but it's just soooo rare.

We've been trying to "capture" his sits lately as well. Hopefully he gets it sooner rather than later. But I'm just trying to stay patient.

That sounds like a play bow! He's trying to play with you- which is good. How does he like to play? Chase me, fetch, tug? I'd consider using play as a reward for training and see what happens. Get one sit out of him, then throw the toy if he likes fetch, or do 15 seconds of tug or chase him around the room once. Then go for another sit, etc. See if that works better.
Interesting. Hadn't thought of that but I bet that's exactly what it is. Thanks for the advice.

BTW, How old is your dog, what kind, and... got pix ? Videos of the playbow ?
He's estimated to be 8-12 months (we've only had him about 2.5 weeks). He's some kind of terrier mix. The vet said there's definitely pit in there and maybe something like Boston Terrier (although I don't see that at all). She said he's most likely "a mix of a mix". He's 29 pounds. I don't have any pics of the bow but I will try to snap one next time he does it. He basically puts his front paws and neck down on the floor with his butt all the way up in the air and barks.

Here are some general pics of the little guy.



 

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I like the unique almond-shaped eyes. Two methods for Sit: Lure and Capture:
Lure - In addition to put the treat over his head moving it towards his tail, use your body, and change the speed that you move the treat, to get the action that you want. You can also train him in a corner or against a wall, so that he can't move. You don't have to move the treat in one smooth motion. You can move slowly or quickly or up more or down more to lure him, just like you'd back up a boat on a trailer :). After you get him moving the direction that you want, then you can shoot for smoother movements.

Capture - Go into the kitchen (or some other controlled area) with the door closed and no distractions, and a comparatively clean floor. Wash the dishes or something, so that you can ignore the dog. He will sniff everything, maybe looking at you for guidance every so often. Try not to make eye contact.

Eventually, he will get bored. A bored dog will look at you, will sit down, will lie down, and will fall asleep. When his butt hits the floor, say Sit, give him praise/treat (small taste only), and go back to ignoring him again. Repeat the process for about 10 min. Then, stop. Do another 10 min session later in the day. On the next day, he should begin to get it. .... He may begin to understand during the first session.

The 'test' is that when he is getting bored and after he looks at you (he may skip that step), say Sit, before he sits, then praise/treat on success. Keep up the training for a few more days, and teach him to sit in many different locations, as well as with distractions.
 

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FINALLY got him sitting consistently! It was the capturing that did it. I tried the different luring speeds/angles and still he just backs up every time the treat goes over his nose. Finally he got frustrated/bored and sat down. Click. Treat. He stayed sitting so I CT'd again. Then I walked away and called him to me again and the same thing happened. Frustrated, so he sat down. CT. CT. After that he pretty much got it. Now he's offering up sits left and right. :)

Thanks again everyone!
 
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