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Old 02-10-2013, 10:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How do I get him to apply the word to the command?

Sawyer is really quick at learning tricks.
I give him dog- chicken jerky for treats. He absolutely loves them and will do ANYTHING to get them. But he's so focused on the treat he doesn't apply the word to the trick. He just thinks he'll try any trick to get the treat.
I could say lay down, and he'll automatically raise both his front paws, realize he isn't getting the treat so he'll just try to wave, then shame

How do I get him to realize the word actually means something, not just "do a trick"?
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Do you use hand signals when you are teaching a new behavior?
I've found it's easier (and not just from working with deaf dogs) that pairing a behavior with a hand sign first, then the vocal cue with the sign helps the dog make the connection between the behavior and the command.

I also use three vocal cues, "Yes!" (or a clicker, but I had one student who actually said "Click"), "Wrong", and "Try Again". Both the latter cues are said in a neutral, monotone voice to encourage the dog to offer a different behavior. Then, once he offers the correct behavior, praise praise praise! If I am really trying to reinforce the command word, I might say something like "Good down!" or "Good stay!"
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'd resort to clicker training maybe.......then the focus is to get him to DO the right thing THEN he gets the treat.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks, I do use a clicker but maybe I'm doing it wrong? He knows once I click he gets a treat.
I haven't used the hand signals yet, maybe that would help! How do I come up with hand signals for certain tricks? lol
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Get creative!
Start looking up the AKC obedience signs and then some American Sign language and go from there! One handed signs are easiest since two hands could be cumbersome if you're holding the leash or groceries or something. With the AKC signs you can do a lot of shaping with the clicker and treats.
I used to have a video somewhere of Ash and I demonstrating all the signs we use...if I can find it, I'll link you to it.

My dogs have a weird pidgin form of AKC/ASL signs that we use. Some of Ash's signs I just made up because they made sense at the time I wanted to teach a particular trick. Some signs are just gestures. I love working my hearing dogs with sign language too, because then everyone is on the same page. Also, dogs learn from each other with body language and posturing, when we sign at them they're more likely to pick it up faster....juzt remember to pay attention to your facial expressions!

Good luck!
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The click should come AFTER he performs the act, so he should sit, you should click & treat, all within the second he does the required behavior. The clicker/treat reinforces that he did the right thing. If you are clicking he should have already done it.....
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The click should come as the behaviour is being performed... So with a sit, you would click as soon as his bottom hits the ground.. The timing can be a bit tricky to get right... Practise with a set of keys, throw them up in the air, and click when they reach the highest point...

I would google clicker training - 101 things to do with a box.... It's great fun for you as well as the dog.

After he's doing consistent behaviours you can start putting them on cue...

Good luck...
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