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I've had Nubs for over a year now, and he just would NOT learn to walk beside me on walks. He never really pulled, but always wanted to be in front leading me to where he wanted to go. I had tried EVERYTHING you could find on the web and even working with one-on-one with a few trainers. This dog refused to understand what I wanted. He would get it for a little bit then bam the next day start over from scratch like he had never tried to walk beside me before.

About 3 weeks ago, we were out walking since I walk him nearly every day, and I was just done with his antics. My shoulder was bothering me, my legs were hurting after work so I did NOT feel like walking at a quickened tempo like he would only walk and I lost my temper.

I firmly grabbed his face, looked him directly in the eyes, and growled at him in the meanest tone I could, and then firmly said "BACK". I have never seen Nubs ears go back that fast in my life. You could tell I hurt his feelings, but I was sick and tired of him not listening to me. We started walking again, he was sulking a bit but he was beside me, and I just started praising him with a "Good boy". Every time he walked out too far in front of me, I gave a mean growl and he would instantly fall back beside me where I would praise him and give him treats.

He FINALLY understood what I wanted! *slaps forehead* He has been the best on the leash since that day. A simple growl from me if he forgets puts him back in his place and that happens maybe every 20mins or so on our walks. I'm floored by this. Who would have guessed that speaking "dog" would be what would get through his head what I wanted?!?!?!

I DO NOT RECOMMEND ANYONE TO DO THIS Your dog can perceive that as a direct threat and attack instead of backing off. I was LUCKY. I know Nubs well enough to know what I can and can not do with him, and thankfully he has the CORRECT temperament. I know many dogs that would have bit me if I did that to them.

So what have you done after everything else failed that was "off the wall" or "not normal training" that actually worked????
 

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Reno would NOT stop biting my hands! I tried all the recommended training tips I read, I sought help from my trainer but nothing seemed to work. He was intent on biting my hands whenever they got close to him. Putting on his leash, cleaning his ears all became a dreaded ordeal for me.

My hands were raw and sore. I had endured long enough!!!!!!!!!!

Also, being that Reno was my first GSD, I had delusions of having THE best trained dog in the world and this wasn't fitting into my plan. :eek:

I read everything I could find on German Shepherds.

Then I read the words that changed my life forever... "if you want to change a behavior, change the way you react to that behavior".

Made perfect sense to me. I read on... the example given was similar to what I was going through and the solution offered was so simple I felt like an idiot for not thinking of it myself.

I was ready. The next time Reno went to bite my hand instead of pulling my hand away I made a fist and pushed my hand into his mouth. Not hard, I didn't want to hurt him, but it was enough of a surprise that he immediately stopped biting and gave me a wide eyed look of WTH??????

Like you DM, I don't advocate everyone try this. If I had not known my dog well enough, I could very well have come away with nothing but a bloody stump.

;)
 

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I love this post! I am a firm believer that you MUST try new things, even if you fail. Because every dog is different and we don't have all the answers being inovative is key!

I'm always trying new things that sometimes work and sometimes don't. Even if they don't work I learn more about dog behavior by analyzing what went wrong.

One example is the handle signals I use with my dogs. I found that when I was fading the lure for a down but still had the hand signal that looks like you are luring, (you know what I mean, the downward motion with the hand, what most people use as a down gesture) my dogs reaction time was really slow. I would even have to lean over towards the ground or sometimes even touch the ground. When I switched my cue to the hand straight up in the air palm out, (not my idea, this is typical in obedience for a moving drop) all of the sudden my reaction time was cut in half and I had a dog so excited to "down" that it sounds like it hurts when she hits the floor!

A friend was joking about how I tell the dog to down but do the exact opposite with my body and that got me thinking. I decided to experiment with this and instead of using signals that made sense for the action I wanted from my dog, I started doing the exact opposite of what was logical. Sure enough, using hand signals that do not replicate a lured motion has made my dogs' reactions way faster! I don't quite understand this, therefore don't confuse your dog and expect this to work because I don't know if it will or not. It is just an example of what worked for me. (I would recomend just doing puppy push ups if you want to decrease reaction time).
 

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Well, when I first got Holly I didn't want to have to crate her all the time. I only wanted to crate when I couldn't be around to supervise (pretty much only when I wasn't home). I hate the idea of having to put dogs in crates at dinner to keep them from begging. I wanted to train Holly not to beg for food. So the day I got her, ever time I would eat, she would lay down in my lap. She was never given any food and if she got up, I'd just gently guide her back into a down. She caught on very quickly as to what she was supposed to do. When she got bigger I just put her on top of my feet. Now when I eat she'll sit under the chair or go off on her own. She has never once begged for food. She knows that when I eat not to bother me.
That method wasn't a last resort or anything. I kind of was experimenting I guess. Why I did what I did, I'm not quite sure. I guess I was trying to prevent her from begging in the first place without having to lock her up.
 

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I couldn't train Alvin to back up. I wanted him to do this because he tends to follow me about and this can make going through doorways and other tight spaces difficult. I used treats and luring, I used the leash, I used hand signals, I physically pulled and pushed him backwards. Turns out I had to use the vacuum.

Alvin isn't scared of the vacuum, but neither does he want to be its best friend. He was standing where I needed to clean one day and I asked him to back up, which he didn't. Finally I just came straight at him with the vacuum, making the same "beep, beep, beep" noise a truck makes when backing up. When the vacuum touched his toes, he stepped backwards. I had a small party. I started doing this with him every time I had the vacuum out.

He's got the point now. He'll back up when I make the truck noise, regardless of whether or not the vacuum is present.
 

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Because I am not the most imaginative positive dog trainer I admit to sometimes getting in Atkas face and letting her know, "Yes, I mean it and I mean NOW.. not in ten minutes or when you get to it."

My word is a nasty "Do IT!" She does. Instantly. No questions and no hesitation and she assumes a submissive stance.

I wish I were a better trainer and did not ever have to resort ot "Do IT" but I am who I am.. I did take her to dog school with an AWESOME positive trainer and she got more out of my dog in 10 minutes than I did in 10 days.. If I could have afforded it (good trainers are not cheap trainers) I would have continued dog skool with her. :)

Ok, I admitted this. Am adopting a submissive stance and will now head to the corner...
 

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That is awesome! I have been wanting a new word for "back up" since I say "back" and that means to go behind me. Maybe I will just start saying "beep beep beep!"
 

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One oddball thing (among many, I can't even remember right now) was training him only when he REALLY need to pee/poop.

I noticed I could get just about anything out of him in that state. That was the strangest thing I've seen. Some of the things he knows now are just because he got to go pee after doing them. :eek: That was his first success at shaping. He starting doing anything and everything he knew and even half tried before. The wannabe retrieve he has was born from "pee drive."

Oddball method for a oddball dog I guess :D Never heard of getting to pee as a reward - and not the marking territory pee, I mean the squat for 35 seconds in one spot pee.

And yes, he's a male squatter! Actually he fluctuates... Odd I tell you...
 

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Kim was scared of the blender.

However, Kim was scared of most things so part of living with her was figuring out what fears we could just not worry much about, and what fears needed to be addressed quickly. As the chances of meeting a running blender unexpectedly are rather low, it wasn't on my list of things to desensitize ASAP.

I eat a lot of smoothies, and have a tendency to just keep adding stuff until I find myself with enough smoothie to feed a third world country. As these smoothies are basically pureed fruits and veggies with yogurt and a little juice, I started putting the excess in the dogs' bowls.

One day I noticed that when I got out the blender, instead of running out of the room, down the stairs, into the basement, and behind the couch, Kim ran over to her bowl to wait for her smoothie.

I had cured her.

Oops?
 

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Sorry to post again so soon, but thought of a weird reward.

For some reason, he likes to lick my hair (WHY?) - so sometimes to calm him down, I'll get on my elbows and bend my head down and let him lick and sniff my hair (and neck and ears - guess he figures while I'm down here...)
 

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My obnoxious (9 month old) puppy was having a major training regression. The basics that he'd been solid on--for months--were flying out the window. So I sat him down for a long talk where I explained how we were going to keep doing this dead-boring BS, and that we'd never get to the fun stuff unless things turned around dramatically. It worked 100%--he was a different dog from that moment on.

Note: I'm not insane or stupid. I am well aware that the dog understood none of it. Not the words; not the tone. The pep talk was entirely for my own benefit. I needed to rededicate myself to the project, and the dog didn't mind me blaming him for some of the problem.
 

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This is all soo interesting! Doesn't it seem that when we think about it, common sense is best? and I think each one of our dogs understands OUR own behaviour towards them. Dakota moves out of my way best if I say BEEP BEEP, and also she knows when I've had enough when I say "Okay, that's it, I've had enough!" in a stern no more kind of voice, you know like the devil voice:D I wonder what she would do if I threw myself on the floor and had a good temper tantrum:p I have sure felt like doing that some days
 

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What a great thread!

OK, so this wasn't COMPLETELY my idea, but it certainly isn't the norm for teaching a hunting dog.

Libby is NOT a natural retriever, but she is a FANTASTIC bird dog. She points like nobody's business. However, to get her field titles, she must learn to retrieve.

Traditionally, a hunting dog is "force broke" to retrieve. The basic idea is that a dog must learn that fetching is a command, and not a game. The dog is usually taught to hold an object in their mouth through a series of physical manipulations and positive punishment; for example, the dog's ear is pinched to get it to open its mouth, and when it opens it an object is thrust inside. The trainer then holds the dog's mouth closed on the object until they tell the dog to release it, and if the dog does not release, its ear is pinched again.

I wanted to avoid all of this pinching and pushing and holding, but Libby was not interested in returning objects to us. We tried throwing a bumper and reeling her in with a long line, but when we did this she would drop the bumper. We tried tying the bumper to the line and reeling her in that way, but that went over like a fart in church.

Finally after getting very frustrated (99% of our hunting club consists of "traditional" trainers) someone gave me the idea of using the clicker to shape the fetch.

The lightbulbs went on, and here is Libby fetching!

The first one is a bumper, the second is with a real bird (frozen chuckar). She knows not to release until we say "give".



 

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I like this thread! My son thought Ilya was being bull headed, I thought he wasn't making a big deal to stay next to me, and my youngest son thought Ilya just didn't get it.

Out of fustration one day, I just stopped cold and refused to walk anymore because gently tugging him, turning a different direction, or even saying "pulling" quiently didn't stop him from edging up infront after some distance. Well, he caught me off guard and slowly backed up (like a truck going in reverse) and smiled a "oh, I'm sorry. I didn't notice" glance. :rolleyes:

We walk another 10 yards and I had to stop. He quickly backed up and gave me the same smile. "oh, sorry. Please don't be mad at me." Right now, as long as there is slack in the leash, I don't make too much of a fuss. I think I'll move to something shorter later.
 
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