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Thread: training a dog

  1. #1

    training a dog

    whats the best way to train a hyper dog? take for a walk 1st to tire it out some? shuld u train in a difrent place then the dog usully is (like if it likes the kitchen, train in the bedroom where it dosnt ever go?) if the dog used to be hit in its old home shuld u do hand jesters or not? thanx

  2. #2
    Personally, I would never hit or raise my hand to a dog..most especially if it had been hit in a previous home, that only confuses the dog and makes them unsure and wary of you.

    I adopted my Weimaraner from the shelter and once we got him in good health he was EXTREMLY hyper!!!! We would take him for a walk or throw the ball for a bit just to get the intial "energy burst" out of him.

    When we first started training we did all commands on a leash so we had better control of the situation.

    We recently graduated class with my Dane pup and my instructor had 5 rules that had to be remember and followed at all times.

    1. Name before every command (i.e- Brutus, SIT)

    2. NO name in corrections.
    (You want their name to only be associated with good things, not no "Brutus, NO!" or "Brutus, BAD DOG!)

    3. Praise after EVERY correction.
    (You tell the dog, "NO" and then he stops the bad behaviour, and so should recieve praise for obeying)

    4. DO NOT repeat your commands!
    (If you repeat your commands they will learn they can listen sometimes and other times just do it when they want. Your objective is for the dog to obey on the first time the command is given without hesitation, reguardless of what the dog is doing or what distractions may be about. For instance you say "Brutus, SIT" and he doesn't. You promptly put the dog into a sit and then praise him for sitting "Good SIT Brutus") Never be forceful or harsh. We were taught pressure points that could be used to painlessly (and effortlesssly) put your dog on a sit or a down. If you want I can share those with you.

    5. Do not useing training aids or special collars unless absolutely nessesary!! Meaning no halters, choker chains ect. ect.
    This isn't because some people think they are harsh, it's because you don't want to use them as a crutch. Brutus (he is a 140lb Great Dane puppy) can be walked anywhere on a plain buckle collar and lead...and that is your objective. In our class we did have one student that required the use of a "Halti" but by the end of our classes they had progressed to the point that the training tool was no longer needed.

    Also remember, keep all training sessions short and fun. Your dog should look forward to training times and NEVER associate them with something bad. Positive, Positive, Positive!! :D And when you first start training I would find a quiet, calm place that he is familar with to start training. Once you get the basics taught you can practice them in a variety of places and situations. I would have three 5 to 7 minute training sessions throughout the day. If you try to do long and drawn out sessions your dog will loose interest and you won't be able to make much progress. Another thing, personally I do not train with treats. For instance in class, Brutus would get affection or play times with his favorite squeaker toy for rewards (which he loved!). On a VERY few occasions I would surprise him with a treat for reward but not very often. My objective was to have him obey the commands because he wanted to, not because he would get a cookie. This is also helpful when I am out somewhere with him and don't have any treats to offer. He will still obey even though he knows I have no food. Now the exception to the "treat rule" is when we are doing trick training, which all trick training I do is done with treats.
    "Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." --Roger Caras

  3. #3
    wow thanx 4 all the thoughts and i didnt meen rase my hand like i was gong to hit her but hand jesters like if you wer teaching sine language cuse i noticed if i put a treat in my hand and tride to get her to follow my hand up so shed have to sit she was like afraid and wood lower her head and back away like she was afraid

  4. #4
    Ohhh okay :D Gotcha! Sorry for the misunderstanding!! :D As far as hand signals go, I do use them a bit. When we were learning the commands I used a gesture along with the words and it helped Brutus pick up faster.

    For instance, on the sit command I would hold out a closed hand, up and above his head when I told him sit. If he tried to keep my hand in sight, he would automatically sit. (Hope I explained this clearly) So for sit I used that gesture and for down I use a hand pointing to the ground when I give the command. I think hand signals help them pick up faster because its sort of a visual aid, but I don't think you have to use them if you don't want to.

    One thing I totally skipped over in my first post (super sorry BTW) is before you get into any serious training you need to work on attention. That was the first thing we did in our classes and it is the essential groundwork for training. Afterall, if you have a dog that your unable to get his attention how can you teach him anything.
    On the issue of attention you want the dog to associate his name with only positive things. I would say "Brutus" and if he looked at me I would praise him. Once you get him to look at you every time you say his name you have pretty much got the attention part down. We did have a bit of a situation with the attention thing with Brutus, especially at the begining of class when he was in a new place (lots of stuff he wanted to investigate :P).

    I would say his name and he would not respond so here's an example of what we did to remedy the situation.

    -I said "Brutus", no respone..."Brutus"...still not looking at me. So I was instructed to bend over and gently blow on the top of his head, which caused him to look at me, so then it was "Good Brutus" (lots of lavish praising!) Blowing on their head gets their attention in a way that isn't associated in a negative manner such as jerking on the lead or trying to force the dog to look at you.

    When we were at home just having a normal day I would often say Brutus's name (or have family members say it) and when he looked he would get praised. It's real easy to teach things like this because it only takes a few minutes of time thoughout the day.

    Hope I was able to clarify a few things and if I didn't make something clear or forgot to mention anything else, let me know and I'll try to elaborate :D
    "Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." --Roger Caras

  5. #5
    By the way, how old is this dog you are training and how long have you had her?? I'm sorry the poor thing wasn't treated right at her last home but it's great that shes found a loving home. Sadly, dogs who have been mistreated aren't very trustworthy of people so it will take you a bit longer on a few things when your training her. The biggest thing you need to focus on is making every single training experiance a great one and work on getting her to trust that your not going to hurt her if she messes up a bit. If you can get her to play games like tug of war and such thats great too. Let her win every now and then when your playing and it helps alot with building a timid dog's confidense. Good Luck to the both of you. :D
    "Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." --Roger Caras

  6. #6

    In addition to country chick's good advice...

    Use positive reinforcement(rewards) not just praise when the dog does something right. Praise("Good dog", etc) and to a certain extent patting is what is known as a 'secondary reinforcer' or a 'bridging signal'. It is not desireable of itself and is meaningful to a dog only when it has been repeatedly associated with a real +R(treat, game or such).

    Dogs learn by *instant* association. It is best if you can give the reinforcement or punishment *during* the behaviour that you want to effect. But at worst, you must do it within 3 seconds(max) of the behaviour ending. If there is more time between behaviour & consequence then it is unlikely to be linked to the deed.

    Punishment is not the most effective or well understood 'tool' of training and should be used as little as possible and in conjunction with other training & reinforcement. Especially with a dog who has been previously abused, I would try to avoid using punishment at all, if possible. I would instead focus on teaching the dog opposing behaviours(to the punishable offences) using +R. Eg. don't try teaching him not to pull on the lead, rather teach him how to walk on a loose lead.

    Re hand signals, if these worry him, you need to first work on changing the association from raised hand=Bad to raised hand=Good. Work gradually towards your goal in as non-confrontational manner as possible. Eg. you might start out 1 metre away from the dog(if he's too worried at you raising your hand any closer), raise your hand and give him a treat. Repeat this sort of thing heaps of times, until he's obviously looking forward to your raised hand, before getting a bit closer/quicker, whatever. Do lots of this until you can wave, throw things, clap, whatever you like right near him & he's happy about it. Once you're at this point, you should have replaced the original association & can use hand signals with only positive effects.

    Re the energy level, if you want him to calm down around the house or such, reinforce him whenever he's calm(ie. doing nothing), attaching a lable to the behaviour.(eg. say "calm down" as you give a treat) Don't attempt to give the cue to ask for this behaviour when he's being boisterous yet, until it's very well associated with the behaviour already. As dogs learn by association this is the most effective way to teach any cue - get the behaviour first, then attach a cue to it, so that it is linked to the behaviour you want, rather than what is going on when you ask for it.

    With an energetic dog, you could reinforce behaviours with a game of tug or fetch(might have to teach him these games to start with tho), which may be more reinforcing for him than a treat and also diffuse some of that excess energy at the same time.

    With regards to where to train, start off somewhere as low stress/low distraction as possible. If he never goes into the bedroom, this probably isn't the right place, because it might be a little strange/stressful to him & there will be new things & smells to interest him too. Once you get him performing well in this area, find somewhere slightly more distracting & teach him there. Gradually progress to more difficult environments as he maters the easier ones until you can reliably control him off lead in high distraction places. Dogs don't generalise well, so just because he 'knows' something at home doesn't mean he knows it in a different setting. He is not being 'naughty' or 'disobedient', just hasn't learned it in all settings.

    Oh, building confidence/trust in you in a timid dog - use calming bodylanguage... dogs' not humans'! Some useful signals that can help your dog relax & trust you or the situation they're in are yawning, averting your eyes, approaching in an arc towards them rather than directly, and shaking. People might look at you a bit strangely when you yawn & then 'shake off' the stress at your dog, but trust me, it can work wonders! I dare say you can find details of this sort of thing on the net but there's a book called "Calming Signals: On Talking Terms With Dogs" by Turid Rugaas (think I got the title & author right) which is helpful.

    Have fun!

  7. #7
    Thanks Champ for adding to and elaborating a bit more. :D Great post! I guess I sort of left a few things I tend to do that. :D the OP...good luck with the training and keep us posted on any progress ya'll make. :D
    "Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." --Roger Caras

  8. #8
    Great advice here. You guys are the best!

  9. #9
    yah it is great advice thanks everyone for everything. i think i'm going to have to take her back to the shelter thow, its just not working out. she is a bulldog mix and probly 4 or 5 years old. they said they found her being kept in a crate. i was told there was so much poopoo at the bottom of her crate that she was standing in it deep and her paws are staned now to but they get more white every day. she is relly mean to everyone but me. she lets me near her and all but she bites at other people, kinda like when a dog trys to cach a fly in midair kind of snaping at people. and shes RELLY hyper. she just wont sit still so i feel like im talking to thin air with her. if i tell her to sit and she doesnt i go to push her butt down she just gets more and more hyper and i tried to take her for a walk but she growled at everyone that walked by and if i pick up a toy to play with her she runs away crying in fear. i took her to a training class but they said she coldnt stay becuse she was to hyper and disruptive to the class. she seems relly eeger to please cuse the first few days she wood poo and pee all over everywere and then i tride relly hard with her and i had her housebroke within a week later. and now she will paw and cry at the door to go out. but now that shes feeling better (she had bad bad worms and was anemic) shes just relly syko. i didnt have a name for her at first but a day or too after she started feeling better i named her tigger cuse shes so bouncy, jumpy, hoppy, crazy and since she was living in poo i thout tigger was fitting for her. i just dont no what to do with her shes so hyper and is destroying stuff when shes all alone like she ripped up the screen door cuse i put her outside for a little while and she didnt want to be alone and it was only like 5 minutes she started digging at the door to get in.

  10. #10
    It would be REALLY great if you could do anything but bring her back. is it possible to hire a professional dog trainer to help worj with her? You can almost guarantee that this dog will be put to sleep if you bring her down. I don't say that to try to make you feel bad, but the liklihood of a dog with her issues ever finding another home is very, very slim. I've seen this a million times and shelter workers here can probably tell you that even if she finds another home, it'll be the same issue as with you and she'll come back and back until she has so many trust and security issues that even if the perfect home came along, she'd never manage it because she has been bounced so often. If you can hire a trainer and work with her, you're giving her a better chance than she'll ever have.

    I hope you'll consider every option before returning her, if you like this dog.
    Either way, keep us posted!
    Good luck!



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