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Hello, I am new here and have a quick question. I do have Ava enrolled into Puppy classes but it's a little too late to call her and I am curious now. Ava is amazingly smart and in my home, she listens to every command including: come, stay, sit, leave it, okay/done, hold, fetch and more. I can tell she just loves to learn. Although, when she gets distracted, it takes a bit more.

If my 10 week old Puppy does not respond to my first command, ie: "Sit", when she usually does, what should I do? I know that you are not supposed to repeat yourself, but I am unsure on what to do than. I do not want her to get away with not listening but I do not want to have to say, "Come. Ava, come. Come. Ava, come.".

Some of the things I have tried:

I have tried letting her see and sniff the treat by putting in by her nose and than raising it above her head to get her to sit. If that doesn't work, I try to push a bit on her bum but that makes me feel like I am going back to first base. If she doesn't want to, she will just get right back up. Stubborn girl =P

If she is out back and I ask her to "Come" she normally will. The odd time, like if she can see the neighbor's Dog, she wont. I rattle the treat cup and if that doesn't work, I pretend to leave her by shutting the door. I have a door where I can stand on my tippy toes and watch her but she can not see me. This doesn't seem to work either! I don't want to run after her so she thinks it's a game so normally, I just wait it out.

What in the world did you do and what worked?
 

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Personally, I am of the opinion that puppies can do no wrong. They are just too young to understand everything I want them to. So, for me, in these early stages of training I am teaching the puppy what I want. Then as the pup grows, I will work on teaching the pup when and where I want it.

If I were you, I would be keeping training sessions short and highly rewarding. I would lure the puppy into a sit by taking a treat and moving it over their head. When their head goes up, their butt comes done. When their butt is on the floor I will give her the treat, maybe saying "Good" but nothing else. I would do this a lot. Once she gets it, meaning when I put my hand over her head she automatically sits, would I say "sit" and begin associating the word with the behavior. I would repeat this whole scenario over again in another room. Then the backyard, then the front yard, on leash, etc. I wouldn't jump ahead and say "sit" until I was 90% certain that when I say that, the dog will sit.

So, yes. You do not want to repeat cues. You want to give cues when you are 90% sure the dog will obey. If the dog does obey, I would give them a delicious reat. If they don't obey, I would wait a minute. Then, I would lure them as I did in the past and hopefully their brain would go "Ohh, I know this game! I have to put my butt on the ground!" then I would reward.

As far as come, don't ask the dog to come unless you are sure the dog will come. Which means when you let her outside, put a small long leash on her. When you say come, be happy and cheerful and have lots of yummy treats. Say your come word and if the pup doesn't come, very GENTLY drag her over and when she is there give her lots of treats or let her back out to play.

Puppies learn well with games. Look up "Recall Games". Here is an example: Recall Games


To me, it sounds like you are adding your cues too soon. You want to teach her the behavior and then when she is doing the behavior, add the cue. In this case she doesn't understand what exactly you are asking. Dogs are bad generalizers too. A sit in the living room does not equal a sit in the dining room. You have to teach her that a sit means "butt on the ground" wherever I ask by practicing the sit everything you can think of. I would focus on making everything super fun where the pup can't help but have a blast and begins to love the short (2-3 minute) training sessions. You can do this 6x a day even if they are short and rewarding. Thats 30 minutes of training overall, but to the puppy it feels like nothing. Then once she gets the behavior, add the cue. If the dog was rewarded enough and understands what you want, the dog won't have a problem obeying.

NOW, just wait until she hits her teenage years. That is something different entirely lol. But at 10 weeks you want to keep it all fun and games and if she doesn't obey the first time try luring her with the treat and remind her how she learned it. Then she will eventually say "Ohh..down means that one thing where I had to lay on my belly. I get it now." If she doesn't obey then I would say "oops" and walk away. Then I would think very hard about what I am asking and if there was a way I could make it more clear (maybe breaking up the behavior into tinier steps).

Does all that make sense?

Here are some good vids too:
Puppy Recalls
Puppy Attention
 

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As above, this is a very young puppy, so all training should be fun and done in short sessions.

I would only ask for a behaviour when I'm pretty sure the dog will do it. That means not asking for a behaviour when the puppy is running around playing or sniffing something or watching something very distracting. So get the puppy's attention, then ask for the behaviour. If the puppy doesn't do it, e.g. doesn't sit when asked, I would put the puppy in a sit. Gently of course. If it struggled and jumps back up, hold it in the sit until it stops struggling. Then release without a reward (the release is a reward in itself, but the puppy shouldn't get a treat because it didn't do it and then struggled). This assumes that the puppy knows what the command means of course, which you can't really be sure of with a very young puppy.

Positioning/guiding the dog enforces the idea that when you ask for a behaviour, it will happen, no matter what. But if the dog cooperates there's a reward in it for them. So it's a good idea to keep a leash on the dog for training sessions so it can't roam or run away and self reward by grabbing a toy. Even if you choose not to position the puppy (some people don't like to), you should prevent the puppy from self rewarding if you've given a cue and the puppy doesn't respond.

Positioning also teaches the puppy to accept handling (but handling should be worked on separately anyway).

I personally don't like luring at all. I find that it takes AGES for the dog to actually realise that they are doing a behaviour and not just following the food around, plus the learning theory behind luring means that the finished behaviour is often slow and unenthusiastic, compared to other types of training (such as capturing/shaping).

But again, this is a very young puppy and you shouldn't be expecting much at this stage. Training should be fun.
 

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If she doesn't do it, lure her into the position you asked for. If you told her to Come, you need to calmly go get her. Do not turn it into a game of chase. Come is one word you really, really don't want to repeat. Before saying Come each time, say your dog's name. If she doesn't look at you or even flick an ear, she's probably not going to come. Don't ask for it unless you know she will come. If she is too distracted you'll need to go get her, or get her attention some other way.

Don't give her the option to disobey or she will learn that she doesn't always have to listen.
 

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I have tried letting her see and sniff the treat by putting in by her nose and than raising it above her head to get her to sit. If that doesn't work, I try to push a bit on her bum but that makes me feel like I am going back to first base. If she doesn't want to, she will just get right back up.
Often times, pushing down on a dog's butt will do little more than produce an "opposition reflex". That's where the dog pushes back, but in the opposite direction. More simply put, they resist.
If you're luring and the dog doesn't get it on the first attempt, sometimes a subtle shift in context is all that is required to succeed. ie: try moving forward a bit to a different spot or face the other direction, and try again. If that doesn't work, try another behaviour that the dog knows well and will succeed at, in the interim, then immediately come back to the sit.

If she is out back and I ask her to "Come" she normally will. The odd time, like if she can see the neighbor's Dog, she wont. I rattle the treat cup and if that doesn't work, I pretend to leave her by shutting the door. I have a door where I can stand on my tippy toes and watch her but she can not see me. This doesn't seem to work either! I don't want to run after her so she thinks it's a game so normally, I just wait it out.
Outdoor recalls should be built by gradually increasing distance. Start by being very close. This will help to remove the option of non-compliance. Keep the puppy on a continuous reinforcement schedule (one-for-one). Restrained recalls may also help.
'Rattling the treat cup' is something to avoid, unless you want that to become the recall cue, and I'm almost sure that's not what you want. Looks kinda funny to the neighbours, lol, and also has a deterimental effect at the dog park.
'Waiting it out' is not providing any consequence for non-compliance. I'd rather go out to where the puppy is, and engage them in a fun bit of THEM chasing ME back to the door. While not ideal, I think it's the lesser of two evils, ... at least until a firm foundation can be built.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for your help! Like I mentioned before, Ava loves to learn and it seems like that is when she is happiest. She's defiantly not like the other Puppies my Family has had when I was little. I keep each session going for about 4 minutes and I try to act extremely excited when she complies. So, I am hoping that area is taken care of.

Well, there are defiantly some opposing views but all very helpful. I took her to the park today and tried some of the things mentioned but all and all, she is just tooo curious when she is outside. So, this raises the question: How old should Ava be before I 'strictly enforce' (Ie: Make sure she listens before we move on to play, walk ect. by luring or any other method)?

Thank you guys!
 

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I think your main problem is you are introducing too many distractions before she fully knows the command. If she does it 100% in the living room then move to the bedroom, then the kitchen, then to the front porch or driveway, then to the yard, then the sidewalk, then maybe to the park. Going straight from the house with almost no distractions to a park with tons of distractions is just setting her up for failure. Just take it slow. Play attention games with her in the park if you want, just make it fun and realize to a puppy the world is an amazing new and interesting place.
 

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First thing you need to determine is if your pup actually KNOWS the cue in a given situation. If she is in the presence of multiple distractions you need to be sure you have her attention before you ask for anything. If she does not respond and you show her the treat to get her to respond, you are creating a "Show Me The Money" dog for whom the treat is the ultimate cue. Waiting works, and asking for a little less in challenging situations until she understands what you want. And be sure and mark and reward any effort that is difficult for the dog
 

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Distraction, Duration, Distance

First you teach the cue, then teach it in many different locations.
Second you introduce many different distractions.
Third you introduce duration of behavior - such as a Sit Stay, Down Stay, or Stand Stay.
Fourth, then mix these up to help the pup generalize.
Fifth, Add distance, and then mix once again...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hey guys! I went out today and reviewed in my house, than backyard and than the Dog Park. Ava did great- until we got back into the backyard. I carried her from my Truck and than placed her in the yard without a leash to see if she would come, she didn't. She would look at me when I called her but when I asked her to come and acted all excited near the door, she just looked at me like I was crazy. I knew she would have came if I grabbed a treat but I didn't. I went back to her, put on a leash and guided her to the door.

In the park, she did awesome. I mixed it up. First I got her to sit, lie down and than I practiced "Leave It" by putting treats down near her. I mixed this up with Fetch and Stay/Okay, which was great. After, we started walking and once in a while I'd get her to look up at me by saying "Ava" and ONLY IF (like someone mentioned) she looked up I said "Focus" and if she did for a few seconds, I than did the clicking, treating and praising. I got her to sit a few times after focus without the hand sign too!

Sooo, all and all, Ava did soo much better today! I just needed to step back a minute and not rush her into everything. She loved it too (probably how ridiculously excited I was) and she ran all the way back and was just having a blast.

So, next plan of action is to play "Hide-and-Seek" to get her to come more often. Anyone have suggestions to take the aggressiveness out of the game? She tends to get over;y excited after just one go and starts biting, latching on to my clothing and growling ect.

Thanks guys!
 

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Sooo, all and all, Ava did soo much better today! I just needed to step back a minute and not rush her into everything. She loved it too (probably how ridiculously excited I was) and she ran all the way back and was just having a blast.
Yay! Congratulations! Sounds like she is starting to get it. It's wonderful when there is some clear progress happening. Good work! It should only get better from here on out and if you run into any trouble just take a breath, think about it, and help her make the right choice so you can reward her. Sounds like she is doing wonderful though.

So, next plan of action is to play "Hide-and-Seek" to get her to come more often. Anyone have suggestions to take the aggressiveness out of the game? She tends to get over;y excited after just one go and starts biting, latching on to my clothing and growling ect.
When you run you are essentially triggering her prey drive and her desire to run, chase, bite, and "kill". This is all a game for her.

So, for me personally, I would get a tug toy. You can get them online a lot of places or if you go to Petsmart you can get a soft tug toy. Or you can just use an old dish rag. When you run and she's catching up, whip out the toy and say some word that means she can grab it, like we use "Get it!". She will probably grab it and try to "kill it" and you can play a small game of tug with her. You want to teach her to let go on command too. So when you want her to let go you bring out a yummy treat and hold it by her nose, when she lets go of the toy to eat the treat, say your word that means spit it out, we use "Out", then giver her the treat. Repeat. Run, yelling her name, "Ava! Ava!" and when she goes to chase you say "Come!" and bring out the toy, let her "get it!" and play a little tug, then make her out it.

This will build her drive for toys which does two things, makes toys and tug a rewarding game that you can use to reinforce good behavior instead of always using treats, and gives you an outlet for her "prey drive" of biting and "killing" something. If she really ends up really loving the tug game then reserve it just for recall training. It will strengthen her recall if she only gets to play her favorite game when you do recalls. Coming to mom = best game ever!

If you don't want to do that then simply follow your rules for biting. If she bites you then just say "Oops" and stop moving, cross your arms, look up and ignore her completely. If she bites then the fun game ends. You can use this along with the tug game. If she bites you instead of the toy, fun ends.

The only rules are that she let's go when you say "out" and she only bites it when you say "get it" (or whatever other words you use). You can practice this in the house at first too using treats. When she ends up loving the tug game, you can use "get it" as a reward for her outting the toy. So she spits it out on command and then you immediately start the game again with "get it" as a reward.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Great advice and thank you! Yeah, the other day when we were at the Off-leash Dog Park, I seen a Daycare lady and the children. I was thinking, "Hmm, not too sure I would like my child (when I have them) in that Daycare". Simply because small children are scared of big Dogs, naturally, and when small children are scared- they run. When a small child runs, it's a Dog's instinct to chase them.

When I taught Ava "Fetch" I taught her the word, "Leave it" and "Hold". I will try using these words. I took Tug-O-War out because she began playing Tug-O-War on the Poodle's neck in Puppy class. The toy is actually a great idea though. Keep her teeth off of my hands, pants and feet!

I will try another Toy and let you know how it goes. Thanks!
 

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Simply because small children are scared of big Dogs, naturally, and when small children are scared- they run. When a small child runs, it's a Dog's instinct to chase them.
Exactly. There are threads that come up around here about this very problem. My dog will chase small kids who are running in an instant. It's just a natural thing for both species to do. It's all about managing your dog and the environment as best you can. It can be hard though.

When I taught Ava "Fetch" I taught her the word, "Leave it" and "Hold". I will try using these words. I took Tug-O-War out because she began playing Tug-O-War on the Poodle's neck in Puppy class. The toy is actually a great idea though. Keep her teeth off of my hands, pants and feet!

I will try another Toy and let you know how it goes. Thanks!
You just want to be careful that the words you use aren't the same word for a different behavior. For example, I taught my dog that when I hold something up to her and say "take it" that means she is to hold in it in her mouth until I say so. "Get it" means it is a game and she can pull and shake it around with me. You don't want to make anything too confusing. For us, "leave it" means whatever you are thinking about doing right now, don't do it. "Out" means that whatever is in your mouth comes out right now. It's a subtle distinction but you want distinct separate cues for different behaviors. But, if you try it and it works for you then go for it. Dog training is a very personal and specifically tailored program depending on the dog and handler and whats works for me may not work for you. Again though, dogs have a hard time generalizing so leaving something alone on the floor and spitting something out of their mouth are two separate things. "Out" and "leave it" for my dog are completely two different behaviors and thus have two completely different cues. Does that make sense...kinda?

I wouldn't attribute the tugging to the poodle-chewing personally. Playing tug with a toy and playing tug with another dog are seen differently by the dog, I think. She may have been over aroused and playing a little too rough in which a short break or time out to settle down is appropriate, but tugging doesn't lead to aggression or more rough play. Not from what I've seen or experienced personally. That is, as long as the tug games are controlled by you and the dog only grabs a toy if you say and let's go when you say. If she gets too rough or starts to not play by your rules, get the toy back someway and end the game for awhile.
 

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I don't know if you would be interested, but in case you are, this site is phenomenal.

Training levels - Sue Ailsby

Sue Ailsby is a dog/llama trainer who wrote these training levels to help handlers teach competition and sport dogs so that these dogs gain the foundation skills they will need in their future sport. Essentially teaching the dog how to learn (and creating a pretty darn well behaved pet). She explains how to do everything and it is all taught positively. It starts easy with teaching sits, downs, stays, leave its, etc and progressively gets harder to where you are teaching down at a distance or going around something or retrieves. She explains how to do each step and then when you can progress to the next level. This link is for the old levels which are free. She wrote "new levels" (recommended too) and is selling them in book form right now but the old levels work just as well if you want to read through them and see if you want to try them out. It's nice because it is basically a lesson plan that you can follow and see progress with.

Ava is young and your interest in training can lead to a lot of fun sports with her :wink:
 

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For training any behaviour, also make sure that the reward is reinforcing enough - some dogs are actually more motivated with play than treats, so you have to find what works for your dog. Lay out a bunch of different treats and based on your dog's reaction to each of them, put them in order from highest value to lowest, and use the higher ranking ones always for the Come command. If you are treating her very handsomly when she Comes, and she is in heaven, there is a higher likelihood she will comply the next time. I think my dog thinks "Come!" means, run over here and I'll give you a billion treats and lots of petting and praise.
 

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Great advice and thank you! Yeah, the other day when we were at the Off-leash Dog Park, I seen a Daycare lady and the children. I was thinking, "Hmm, not too sure I would like my child (when I have them) in that Daycare". Simply because small children are scared of big Dogs, naturally, and when small children are scared- they run. When a small child runs, it's a Dog's instinct to chase them.
Sounds like a very bad idea (and a lot of liability, taking other people's kids to a dog park.) A playground would make more sense. Our local dog park has a rule about no children under ten. Doesn't mean everyone abides by it, of course.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I read in Ceaser Millon's Book that aggressive Dogs should not play Tug so I stopped for now. Thank you for the advice though!
 

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I don't think your dog has shown aggression from what you've described past playing too rough. Did she hurt the other dog in class at all?

Honestly, Cesar is one of the last people I would consult for dog advice but I don't want to turn this in't a bash on Cesar thread. Just realize there are many better trainers out there with their own books that would IMO have much better advice. May I suggest you try some books by Ian Dunbar, Karen Pryor or Pat Miller.

I agree with Nil that tug can be a great game for any dog as long as you teach them the rules that Nil already covered.
 
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