Hello, First post here.
I picked up a 3 year old (I'm told) german shepherd girl from a shelter a couple of weeks ago. She has obviously had physical abuse and neglect and no training at all but is a sharp girl at figuring things out she wants and experimenting.
I have a couple of examples of her experimenting to get what she wants. First week I gave her a couple rawhide bones, the second one was obvious she wanted to bury it, looking in corners in the house, pawing in corners, etc. but I didn't let her out and after a while she stashed it some place.
Next morning I put on my jacket and take her outside to do her morning thing, came back in and tossed my jacket on the sofa as usual, walked in the kitchen and got my coffee and when I came out she had gone and retrieved the bone and laid it on my jacket on the sofa. Sure enough I put on the jacket and open the door and she goes straight to the fence and buries it.
A few days later, I go to sit in the computer room. She doesn't like that room and always whines a little or sighs when she realizes she has to go in their to be at my side, and her velcro attachment to me overrides her aversion. She is vocal about it though. So yesterday she went and got her fave toy and tried to lure me out of the room... Made me laugh out loud.
I also have a pool, I was afraid she was going to fall in as she had taken to leaning way out over the pool to get a drink. I tried dropping to all fours and going to the steps on one side and "stepping in" with my hands on the shallow steps, sure enough next time she wanted a drink from the pool she used the step to step her front feet in and get a drink. I then showed her the steps on the other side the same way, and now she uses that step too.
She's learned come, sit and lay down as well. I taught her to come and lay down easily with food, I started her on a clicker and she picked up sit in just a couple of sessions and has already connected it to the command. I've also been doing attention exercises doing a C/T for eye contact with not so quick results. She obviously is pretty attentive of my actions though or at the least my proximity.
She does great on a leash, and takes very small corrections to heart. I've used her love of our 2 walks a day to teach her not to bolt out the door, and she sits perfectly and patiently for the leash to be hooked when she sees me pick it up and I say sit. She already connected the word leash with a walk. She's even quickly losing the prey drive pull when she sees a squirrel close, because at the slightest pull I just turn around and go the other way.
Problem is she doesn't see any reason to obey commands unless food is involved, and only high value enough food. She grew up neglected and doesnt seem to really even enjoy, or even totally trust petting too much. Always a little on guard but it's getting a bit better.
Question is how do I get her to desire praise and approval enough to motivate that sharp brain to -want- to do what I ask and be driven to want it? Any good ideas for building that type of drive? My goal is to have her obey well enough to drop in mid chase if she's after a squirrel.
Or will that probably come on it's own accord if I just keep working on it.
I do probably pet her and praise her way too much and not make her work for that just to build a bond and trust and show her that affection and praise feels good.. Kinda like a drug dealer setting up a habit in a junkie in my mind.. Should I only praise and pet if she works for it?
Part of that is I'm trying to build trust and get to allow me to be able to trim nails and use eardrops without a herculean struggle. I have achieved a lot of trust in a very short time though, she's absolutely glued to me around the house and goes nuts greeting when I come home from work. She basically allows me to handle her, but not enough to roll her on her side from a down.
She has a persistent ear infection and she's gone from yelping before her ear is even touched, to now allowing me to handle them, run my fingers around in them, and I give her ear drops with a soaked cotton ball. That took a week. I used high value treats and rewarding for letting me handle her ears, prolonging the contact and manipulation a little longer each time before the treat.
But other than using her love for walks and high value treats, she knows exactly what I'm asking her to do but she seems to have no drive, or maybe more accurately sees no reason to follow my command. She seems to see no value in it.
Any ideas on some exercise I could try to build a drive to want to follow my commands?
Should I maybe continue to build up pleasure in affection and then start slowly withholding it and making her work for it? Or start doing that right away?