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Old 08-13-2006, 01:40 PM   #1
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Default Puppy needing listening skills?

my puppy harley (french bulldog) is having a hard time listening when hes concentrating on something (e.g. teething on our other dogs, sniffing around the backyard, wandering off from our driveway every once in a while), and when we call him he just looks at us as if he is laughing and keeps sniffing or teething or wandering and when we try to get him he thinks were all playing, hes only 4 months in that adolescent age so i dont know if hell come around, but i also dont know where i start to teach him to come, he comes when he pays attention to me and he listens when im in front of him looking at him or inside the house, so what do i do? Hes smart so im sure he can learn whatever i teach him! hes just really active..so its hard but what lessons do i teach him?

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Old 08-13-2006, 09:20 PM   #2
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Hi ebaydan777, not sure if you still need any help but there are two things you can do straight away.

1) train your dog to give you attention
2) start work on a the foundation for a really good recall word

I really like this explanation for how to teach attention http://www.clickersolutions.com/arti.../attention.htm

Once you have attention mastered, the recall (and all other commands) will come much easier. Pick a word you are going to use to ask the dog to come to you - might be 'come' or 'here'. The very best way to train this word is by giving the dog 100% success record with it - ie never give him a chance to fail and learn to ignore it. To do this you start by only using this word when you are 99% sure your dog will come or is already on his way. A good time to try this word initially is to call him in for his dinner or when you have his favourite toy in your hand and want to play. You gradually build up adding small distractions along the way - don't rush this as it takes time but is worth it. Initially always reward a recall with food / toys / heaps of praise. Make sure nothing bad (eg telling off / bath / end of walk etc) happens when he returns. It's worth getting this right as a good recall will be the ticket to freedom for your dog with off leash walks and may in fact save his life one day.

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Old 08-14-2006, 01:58 AM   #3
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ya i think im trying something a bit different but kind of the same, such as "leave it" ill put a peice of liver treat on the floor in front of him and hell come after it, then ill gaurd it with my hand and say "leave it" and ill keep gaurding it every time he tries to get it and every time i guard it i say "leave it." After a few "leave its" he gets the idea and just stands there looking at it or looking at me and then ill grab it and give it to him and praise him, now he can do it without me guarding it i just say leave it and he leaves it till i tell him he can have it

another thing im doing is putting him on a leash and when i dont want him going to an area like across the sidewalk, ill say "wait" and he will stand until i praise him and tell him we can go, and ill do this everywhere and very often until he understands that he needs to wait until i let him go.

and the last thing i tried teaching him tonight was to "come". I will have me and my girlfriend on either side of the living room with treats, and Harley will know we have treats, well grab his collar keep him by us and the other person across the room says "Harley, COME" and he comes we grab his collar and give him a treat and praise, and we do it over and over again until he learns what COME means. But the problem is when i took him outside and i wanted him to come with me, he just ran again into the street or into the plants to sniff, and when i try to get him hell be a little squirt and run away thinking were playing, gosh idk what to do about that!!!

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Old 08-14-2006, 01:16 PM   #4
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Hi eBayDan,
I think you are off to a good start with teaching "come" but I don't think you are there yet. My guess is that right now "come" means "run from mommy to daddy (or daddy to mommy) across the living room and collect my treat". Once you are out of the living room, his reasoning will be "come? what does he mean 'come', we are not in the living room and I can see he doesn't have any treats".
You have to help your dog recognize the abstract concept of "come". First off, gyp him of the treat every once in a while. Make a fuss, scratch behind the ears, so he understands that there is not always a treat waiting. Something positive, yes, but not necessarily a treat.
Next thing you have to do is vary the scene. Do you have an upstairs and downstairs? Make him 'stay' (without a person holding him if possible) while you go hide. Then say "come" Dogs LOVE to play hide and seek. The fun is worth more to them than a treat usually.
Anway, keep at it, "come' is on a of the most important commands your doggy can learn. Good luck!
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Old 08-14-2006, 04:31 PM   #5
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Good advice from skunkstripe - exactly right, dogs don't generalise easily. This means that if you teach them to sit in front of you for example they won't necessarily understand how to sit when they are beside you at first, or in a different room etc.

So, keep practicing in different situations inside the house. When you are ready to try again outdoors you might want to pop him on a long lead (a horse lunge line or maybe a flexi lead or piece of light rope). When you call him hopefully he will come by himself, but if he doesn't you can gently reel him in so that he can't fail the exercise. Remember what you want is to build his experience of 100% success with the recall so that it becomes ingrained and he doesn't learn that he can chose not to come.

Another option to raise the chance of success outdoors is perhaps to let him out just before his dinner time. Make sure he hears the sound of his bowl or whatever he associates with dinner, then call him to you and produce his food.

If you call him and he doesn't come (which hopefully won't happen) don't ever chase him as he may think this is a great game and very rewarding. Instead I would run in the opposite direction away from him - very likely he will wonder what you are doing and chase you.

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Old 08-14-2006, 11:45 PM   #6
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yes this is true, because when i give up on saying COME every 2 seconds and he doesnt listen, i open the gate and when he hears that creaking sound he knows im leaving and he comes running after me into the house, but the hide and seek game sounds like a brilliant idea ill get right on that tomorrow and see how it goes, I mean he listens 70% of the time outside, but i want it 100% without the "oh look at the pretty rolley polley and leaves on the ground", i want him to come and listen and have 100% attention when i call for him.

Today i took him on a walk so i can start teaching him on a leash, hes good at it so far, and when we get to a point where i need him to wait and not go farther without me i just stop and say wait and he sits looks at me and i give him praise or a treat or both, and i usually do this at the door, the line before the steps, and the line before the sidewalk to the street, and hes getting it i just hope he will understand after a few days when i do it without the leash! and especially to come back! lol

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Old 08-15-2006, 10:08 AM   #7
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Well this is a sore point between me and my husband. The way it usually works is this:

How I get the dog to come and how hubby gets the dog to come.

I say "COME" in my deepest voice. Sophia comes running, Zircon looks up. I say "COME" again (mistake on my part actually, you are not supposed to repeat the command). But Zircon comes.

Husband says "Zircon, c'm here. C'mon, boy. <tweet tweet> (husband is whistling). Come. <tweet> $%^%$ dog, would you Come ON ALREADY!!!"

Meanwhile I am watching this with steam coming out of my ears and finally I say (for the 100th time) to hubby, "Can you get in the habit of just saying "COME"? The dog doesn't speak English?" To which hubby replies, "What do you mean? He understands me just fine! He came, didn't he?"
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Old 08-15-2006, 04:26 PM   #8
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hahaha thats hilarious, i didnt know you cant repeat the word, i always gotta say come like 3 times till he decides he wants to look at me and walk over, ill try the hide and seek and get him working with me a little

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Old 08-15-2006, 04:36 PM   #9
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No you are not supposed to repeat it. If you do, the dog learns, "hey dad just called me to come, but it's ok, he'll ask a couple of times. I'll wait til I hear the gate creak, thats' how I know he's serious. In the meantime I wanna check if these dandelions still smell like that poodle down the road".

What you seem to need to work on is to get Harley to understand that when you say "come" it means 'run towards daddy, wherever he is and wherever you are.'

I did manage to teach Zircon one command that he will obey instantly and that is "truck". "Truck" means "the side door to the vehicle is now open and ready for dogs to jump in. You have 15 seconds to get in the truck otherwise I am leaving you BEHIND". I was a real hard*** about this one because I take Zirc to work with me. It used to be when we would leave, he would start running around the parking lot and not get in the truck and I wanted to go HOME. So finally I thought &$%#*! I am getting in the truck and driving off. Oh boy you should have seen that sad doggy face as he realized mommy was leaving. Of course I didn't, I just drove to the other side of the parking lot. Then I called "truck". It took him two or three times and since then the word "truck" has magic properties.
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Old 08-16-2006, 12:56 AM   #10
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haha wow thats really good i should try that, but how do i do it with my situation, just say come, and if he doesnt come just leave him behind for a few moments then let him in and keep doing that everytime he doesnt listen UNTIL he does decide to come when i say COME?

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