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When puppy doesn't respond to first time command

7476 Views 20 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Pawzk9
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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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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