teaching to heel and stay under distraction.

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teaching to heel and stay under distraction.

Postby Puppy Love » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:18 pm

Hi everyone,      I was wondering if any one had any ideas for me as to what to do with Barney.  I am teaching him to stay, which he does very well, as long as there isn't some thing exciting around, ie tell him to sit and stay as a visitor arrives.  He just totally ignores me and jumps up excitedly greeting the visitor, even if i keep him short on a leash, even if i have food rewards or a special toy, he wont focus on my face any more he will just pull or crocodile twist and thrash around. I have tried taking his training a step back and reaffirming the basic stay, and moving up on the distractions increasing them each time i think he has successfully past the last stage, again he does this very well even on walks etc if others walk past. The thing is it is just inconsistent. The other issue i have is heeling and walking nicely, he does this extremely well when we go for our walks however if we are walking in a crowded area like a picnic park or play ground, he'll pull my arm off trying to get over to greet every one and play.  I never reward this behavior by giving him his way, i usually try walking the other way but he will just happily walk that way and totally forgets about the people and when i turn back around to walk towards people he starts with the extreme pulling again. ::) In our dog training course the guy just said to keep practising which we do every day, the problem is he does so well most of the time, just not every time and vertually never with groups of people. Am i doing something wrong, what else can i do to instill these basics. thanks very much for your help.   :)

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Re: teaching to heel and stay under distraction.

Postby Teddy » Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:19 am

There are a few things here
- Firstly why is your dog getting excited when new people arrive?
- Is the command "sit" "stay" effective or just confusing the dog?
- are you correcting the behaviour by finishing the exercise or does he get away with it and thus he jumps on the people then you go into your home with him still very excited and free?
- and do you exercise your dog before they arrive?

First issue: The person who is greeted first in a pack is the pack is the pack leader. So your dog probably thinks he's in charge by getting there and jumping on them. Also it may have been taught into him. If you arrive home and your dog is excited and you give it attention - then surprise surprise you have taught it to have a heightened energy when people come to the door.... the rule when you or anyone comes into the home (or pack) is no touch, no talk, no eye contact towards your dog for 5mins. Its probably the most common mistake we all make as we are drawn to dogs whenever we see them and quite often we may talk in a silly high pitch voice which just lifts there energy even more. Another issue might be that you are also alerting it to someone arriving, because you are worried he will jump all over them and so you are trying to stop the pre-empting attack. Dogs are great at reading body language and your heightened anxiety will only alert it even more. When someone arrives you shouldn't be thinking of trying to get your dog under control, you should be thinking “my friends have arrived, let me welcome them in a nice controlled relaxed balanced way....”
- Whenever you arrive home or anybody arrives there should be: no touch, no talk, and no eye contact towards your dog for 5 mins
- Your heightened body language could be setting off your dogs reaction. Whenever you do anything like opening the door, going outside, entering a room, letting people inside your home you should only be thinking of the task and not about what your dog might do.
- You need to be a calm assertive pack leader and thus take control of any situation – “I’m going to answer the door, I’m the leader and anybody who enters my house will talk to me first”.

Second issue: Does your dog understand "sit" and "stay" or even your commands? Are your commands emotionless? or are you adding emotion to these words??? "SIT!!!", sit, siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit, oh come on sitttttttttt..... There’s a lot of ways we can say "sit"
Dogs don't understand English; they understand body language, pitch, and emotion. When you say "sit" is it in a constant way?  The truth is, it doesn't matter what word you use to make your dog sit, it’s whether your dog understands the command. I don't use words - I gave up on those a while back as they were totally ineffective and all I did was punish my dog by putting emotion into the words when I used them.... All I use now is body language, hand movements and a "hssssst" sound. If you ever have seen any Cesar Millan it’s what he uses.
If your dog gets into an excited state when people visit you need to stop the excited behaviour by dominating it in a calm non-emotional assertive way.  

For instance: your friends arrive and straight away Barney gets up and barks then rushes the door, even before they have reached the door. The first thing don't get emotional and don't yell or heighten your energy. You need to calmly walk up to Barney and get his attention away from the visitors... What I do is first make the "hsst" sound and give him a quick nip with my hand towards the back on his head. This should shock him out of his mood straight away. If not, do it again till you see he starts looking at you. Next take him to the position you want him to be when people arrive - a calm state. So to relax a dog you place them on the ground and on there side and stand over them - this should be done with a quick decisive action - don't hesitate and don't allow them to fight there way back to there feet, if they get excited while on the ground just make the "hssst" noise again and a gentle nip - this is done just to jolt them out of the excited mood. By now your friends will probably be at the door and it wouldn't be a bad thing if there was someone else who could let them in while you stand over and correct Barney incase his energy (which it will do) heightens as they come in. Make sure your friends know to make no eye contact, touch or noise towards him for 5mins or till he is very calm. When your friends come in make sure you are still in control of Barney by standing over him, you can talk to your friends and if his mood gets excited make sure you correct it straight away, even if it’s a subtle increase in his energy as this will only build up.  After a couple of min’s you should be able to walk away with your friends and he should be a lot more relaxed.... if he goes back into a high energy state you need to correct the behaviour again by putting him back on his side…. During all this you should be very relaxed and able to talk to your friends, just make sure they don’t give Barney any attention at all….its best if you are almost like ignoring what you are doing with Barney and talking about something completely different.

Always make sure you finish on a good note and always follow through with your exercises. Always finish on a calm relaxed dog, if at any stage he gets away from you don't give up, make sure you follow through until he’s calm. He should get better and better the more you do it and make sure it's consistent. The key here is not to heighten his mood or punish with emotion. A good pack leader is calm and knows what they want. Don’t make a big deal about the exercise when it is successfully done, just walk away.

The last thing is to exercise your dog before they arrive… hence lowering his energy even more.

Practice this by doing some role playing, even if Barney gets away complete the exercise till it finishes on a good note. Eventually when someone arrives you should be able to go answer the door and if his energy heightens using the “hssst” sound should stop him in his tracks. Eventually you should be able to see that his energy is rising and you should be able to stop it before it gets totally out of control…  

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Re: teaching to heel and stay under distraction.

Postby Puppy Love » Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:00 pm

Hi Teddy, Thank you so much for your advise.  I haven't thought of tiring him out before visitors, although he does get a decent game of ball and a walk of about an hour each day i could time this to be just before i get visitors.  i do follow through on each exercise however especially with people who drop by he will just be at them the whole time.  I had called a girlfriend to come over to practise this, ie she knocks on the door i tell Barney to sit and calmly let her in  lol complete disaster as he just wouldn't let up and i spent the whole time holding him back. I will definately try the suggestions you have offered.  He sits and drops very well and is consistent with these its just if he is distracted it's like he has tunnel vision and just wont listen. He is extremely stubborn, like no dog i have ever had before, very head strong.  I guess i do put emotion into my words because after 20 minutes of trying to calm him down he still fights it and wants to play, so the odd, PLEASE JUST SIT!!! has slipped out, i dont often but i would be lying if i said i didn't do that ever.  I never pat him when i get home, well not till he is sitting anyway and this can take up to 15 minutes of him jumping me and pulling at my pants... We are going to give it a whirl now. Thanks very much again. And hopefully soon i can tell you we have conquered this problem. :)

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Re: teaching to heel and stay under distraction.

Postby Teddy » Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:46 pm

i'm actually sorting out our pack at home at the moment and to assert yourself as the pack leader just creates some amazing results.... you need to really drop alot of what you think is right and wrong and totally take charge of situations... it also can be quite impowering...
Today I went home with my dog and the jack russell and the otehr two dogs arrived home awhile later... to begin with the two dogs already in the house started to get a little aleart, so straight away I took teddy and layed him down on his sheep skin and stopped any little noise he was making... I went over to the door and let teh first dog in and greeted it myself while the others watched, he was naturaly a bit excited coming home so I calmed him down by just using the "hssst" sound.... I made sure the others were quite and laying down.... I didn't let the others go near him and even toook him over to my brother so that he knew to greet him next and not the other dogs..... it was quite amazing becuase the dogs didn't run around or bark etc etc.... Now that he was part of the pack I let the others stiff him.... now I made them all lay down again and brought in the next dog (yes we have 4) and repeated it again.... lastly my mum came in and all the dogs were just sitting there not making a noise. I then said - no talk no eye contact and so we just went on and chatted and the dogs didn't get to meet her till after about 5mins...one thing i noticed was when a new dog enters the pack it becomes part of the pack and therefore any new dog who has just joined the pack needs the same working on as the other, even if its only been a couple of mins - but this probably won't apply to you unless you have several dogs...... it was quite amazing.... all i did to stop them from getting excited was the "hssst" noise and stopping them before they got to excited..... from here i'lll just try it out on more harder situations .... the tapping on the window is actually a very hard one as it gets almost every dog fired up... i think the best thing is to associate that noise with calm energy - so i would imagine the same here aswell.... make the noise and prevent your dog from raising its energy....  

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Re: teaching to heel and stay under distraction.

Postby Puppy Love » Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:07 pm

Oh my goodness, four dogs. Lol you must have a very busy house... Barney is enough to keep me on my toes!!! I think the pack leader theory has alot of merit and i will make sure i'm in charge of the pack...
I am heading off with a few friends in a couple of weeks for a camping trip that'll involve some hiking in the high country and even a little in a canoe (although only for a few hours and on very calm waters), i am taking Barney with me of course.  Should be quite an adventure for him.  Hopefully the snow will be almost gone by then, not sure how he would handle that he hasn't seen snow yet? should be great though.

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Re: teaching to heel and stay under distraction.

Postby farmchic » Thu Oct 22, 2009 5:45 pm

Hi,
How's Barney going with the heeling? I found with my girls that the turning in a different direction just confused them and didn't make a difference. So I tried this method with my pup and it worked really well, she's nearly able to be let of a lead completely when she's heeling and atm just trails a long rope just incase (we live on a farm so it's not near roads or anything)
Anyway I have a rule with my girls that they have 3 chances to listen or else. The first time they get asked, the second times a warning (I make a growling noise) and the third time they get made to. This stops the whole repeating comands over and over thing where the dog only listens when it wants to.
So If my pup goes in front of me, she's allowed to walk pretty much alongside, but when she gets in front abit, I click my fingers at her, sort of like how Korin doesn't use voice at all, I find it's a lot simpler and easier not to use voice in this case (of course you'd have to do something different if you use clicker training), if she keeps going forward, I growl at her, and if she completely disregards that and keeps going in front she gets a tap on the nose to send her back, as soon as she backs off I start again with the clicking if she goes ahead (i.e I don't click my fingers at her then she backs off, then when she comes forward again she gets growled at, if that makes sense =) )
The most important thing is to be consistent, and don't give up, if they learn they can't get away with it they won't do it,  like with the sitting thing every single time he gets up put him (calmly) straight back down again, they learn eventually =)
Good luck with the camping trip =) Where abouts are you going? In my experience all our dogs love the snow, they love rolling in it for some reason, Lass lies on her side in it and scrabbles round in circles lol.

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Re: teaching to heel and stay under distraction.

Postby Puppy Love » Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:54 pm

Hi Farmchic,  Not much improvement yet but its early days yet.  As i said to Korin, Barney does really well most of the time, it's just that unknown factor of unpredictablity that i want to diminish.  I do think i need to practice more at being top dog, cause if i try to put Barney on his side( as Korin suggested) he just tries to bite my jumper or hands (in a playing way but still not what he should be doing) we have a battle of wills regularly to be honest it can be very exhausting because he won't give up, or at least not for a while and i wont let him have his way so we just keep going till he gives in. Like i mentioned though MOST of the time he's pretty good.  He is only 10 months old so i'd say part of it is testing how far he can go?? Thanks for your advice, i will keep it in mind when out and about.
We are heading from Mansfield (in melbourne VIC) and hiking  to somewhere near harrietville  and hopefully continue on to Mt beauty, haven't totally worked out the finer details yet, however am so excited!!!! Recently bought a new dslr canon camera (450d) and can't wait to get out amongst it.  I think Barney will go fine too he has been taken on many hikes and we have practised in a canoe, ill be sure to post pics when i get back.   :)

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Re: teaching to heel and stay under distraction.

Postby kendal » Fri Oct 23, 2009 1:27 pm

sorry just skimmed over this as i should realy go to bed.

have you taught him the watch you comand.

will he sit, stay and waight for you to releace him to go fetch a ball.

have you tried getting the person to walk in the the house then back out then back in, then back out...etc.....  if you keep him on a lead then he will be sitting there going what on earth is he/she doing and get board and less exited.

do you give a correction when he gets exsited.

also how do your visoters react to the dog. we have a problem that even though we tell people not to they still talk to them and pet them.

sorry if i have asked quesstions already asked, will read propperly in the morning.

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Re: teaching to heel and stay under distraction.

Postby farmchic » Fri Oct 23, 2009 3:45 pm

Hi,
The way to fix the unpredictability is just practice. So if a visitor comes in and he gets up from his sit and gets all excited, what do you do then?  Yes the fact that he's wriggling and playing isn't very good. A dog that's submissive to you should lie quietly under your hands when you're doing a dominance excercise, make it very clear to him that you're not playing and you mean it, if he still bes stupid it's often helpful to hold the scruff of his neck and give him a bit of a shake, this is what a dominant dog would do. They should also lie down easily, so it's not hard to get them to go down. Also, what does he do when you go through doorways etc (i.e. does he push past you or let you go through first, the alpha should always go through gateways/doorways etc first) It sounds to me like he is trying to be the alpha, but that's just going off what I've heard, I could be wrong =) It's good you make sure he gives up first though, that's important =) Pups of that age definately test the limits, like a teenager lol, you've just got to be firm, my pups just gone through that stage.
Sounds like you guys will have an amazing time !
Can't wait to see the pics :)
Thanks.
Last edited by farmchic on Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:10 am, edited 1 time in total.


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