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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, so I STILL have not been able to get Kala to go into the down position on command. It has been months of trying various different things from food motivation to trying to push her into the down. I can not get her to do this period. She knows even before I try and gets this blank stare like "there is no way I am doing this so don't waste your time." I can't physically even do it, so I have resorted to trying to find a dog trainer because I really want to go on to agility because Kala loves running and playing and we can't get anywhere without learning the down. Well, I found a trainer here and my husband called her last night to find out what she could offer. Well, she said she is 99% sure that she could get Kala into a down and do the other basic commands with one 3 hour training session. She seemed very confident in her abilities. The catch is it is $399 for one 3 hour session at my home. We just thought that was a lot of money. Over $130 an hour. Now, if I knew that Kala would then go down on command for the rest of her life, then I probably would take the plunge. Then, I started thinking.....at puppy class they say to only work them a few minutes at a time so why would she work for 3 hours straight.

Is that the going rate???? I am going to have to get some help because there has to be some breakthrough. I heard there was a nerve that could be touched for the dog to be submitted into a down but I can't find anything on the internet about this. I am sooooo frustrated but no that we can do this. HELP
 

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I suppose trainers can charge whatever they want based off their qualifications and clientèle. Is it too much? I would say for me it is. I can pay that for my dog to go for training for a week - on site & overnight where they are placed in different environments. If this trainer can back up what she is claiming she can accomplish then it might be worth it:)
 

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I've paid that much ($350 - $450) for a full weekend horse training clinic - 2 days from 9 AM until 5 PM... it does seem like a lot for just 3 hours. I also agree with your comment that most puppies don't have a real long attention span and you may end up burning her out instead of getting the results you want... It's hard to say... does the trainer have any reliable references you can call to see if she's effective?

All my dogs will go easily into a down from a sit, but only Hannah has perfected the down from the standing position (and I think she probably knew it before she ever came to live with us so I had nothing to do with teaching it to her!) We are trying to get Lucy and Meau to understand when we want "down" without the "sit" first because this skill is needed in rally...

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
 

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Wow yeah that's a bit much but if you want someone to come to your home you are at their mercy. Do you have classes instead? They tend to be a lot more reasonable.
 

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Years ago I agreed to pay a well-known radio-host dog-trainer $125 an hour for what he told me would likely be a one to two hour solution to my specific problem. He ended up staying for over 4 hours and spent most of it telling me very basic stuff that I already knew and when I would try to hurry him to my problem he would belittle me. He spent much of his time reminding me of his mensa membership and every time he used a word with more than two syllables he would make a big deal out of his high education (I have a masters degree in science and I really do know lots of big words). My husband finally got disgusted with him and left but I hung in there hoping for some true words of wisdom. It was the the biggest waste of 450 dollars that I ever spent. He was a joke but came highly recommended.

I don't know how one goes about finding a good trainer. In my state anyone can call themselves a dog trainer and set themselves up in business. Do you know someone who has had success with this trainer?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks to all responses. It seemed like a lot to me too. I guess I am more worried about the method than the money. Sure, I don't want to pay 399 but if it seemed worth it I could see doing it, but I just don't see how 3 hours of anything would guarantee a down. She did said that we could get another 3 hour course if she didn't succeed in getting a down the first time, but it is after she leaves that I am concerned with. I don't know anyone that has used her but she was on a local tv show and works with shelter animals I believe. She may very well be able to do what she says and it work, but I don't know if I want to take that bargain.

We are members of one of the local volunteer training clubs and we have been through the puppy class. She was younger then and the trainers seemed to think that she would eventually do it and just don't pressure to much. She hasn't had any progress. I just sent an email to the head trainer to see if he teaches private lessons or has any other advice.

I know this sounds crazy that I can't get my dog in a down:( I have trained my own dogs before but never had this issue. I know she is a smart girl and I think that is the problem;) I just want to nip this in the bud asap. I think it was Kpoos who said this could be a dominance issue in another thread(maybe so). Ugh!!
 

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Are you a clicker trainer at all? If yes, sorry to duplicate what you have already tried, but I typed it all out before I thought this might be one of the methods you've already done!

Perhaps you could do some shaping to get her to down, make her think it was all HER idea. There's two ways of clicker training. One is you lure the dog into the position you want, then click it. The other is you wait for the dog to offer the position you want then click it. As I'm assuming she occasionally does lie down on her own, then shaping could work!

This video shows the first steps of shaping. It's a little useless without explanation, but you basically start out rewarding any sort of indication towards down (head lowered, feet move forward). Then you up the ante and require them to do a little more (lie half down). Then you up the ante and wait for them to lie down all the way. You don't add in the command "down" until they are solidly lying down for you.

If this interests you, I'll see if I can type out part of my clicker training book explanation on how to do this. I taught our friend's PWD puppy a fairly solid down in about 20 minutes using the method.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIFne4PHoUw


Edited: This video may be a little more informative http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUF4xhtcgCI&feature=related


Oh and if you don't have a clicker, you can just use the verbal marker "yes". If you do have a clicker but haven't used it, then you need to charge it first: http://www.clickertrainusa.com/chargingtheclicker.htm
 

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Have you tried many videos on youtube?
There is a specific place on a dog that if you get them to sit first, they can be pushed into a side down. From theer on, all you need to do is adjust until you get the correct position. If you want i can draw you a diagram?
 

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I had the hardest time teaching Harry down. I started using really yummy treats and he started getting the hang of it really quickly after that.LOL She might just not get it. She's a puppy. I know I've read on here that if you aren't prepared to put them into the position you are asking them to be in right after you ask, they are going to think you need to repeat yourself X amount of times before they go. There is a spot at their withers that will put them into a down immediately. If you want her in a down entice her with a treat, put her in a sit, and then say down as you press on that spot and edge the treat away from her nose. Harry will down stay now after I started using the treats. Find a treat that is irresistable to her and only give it to her if she goes into a down for you. One person told me that her dogs adored the grilled frozen chicken. It comes precooked so you just have to thaw it out in the microwave and offer small pieces as treats.
 

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I had a hard time w/ Harley too. I used the method where you put a treat (sometimes I just used my hand, no treat) at their nose while they are sitting and slowly draw their nose to the floor and the out. He would do a down, but only if I touched the ground w/ my hand. It took a lot of practice and practice, but he will now do a down on command.

I don't know if I would pay that under the circumstances. If she had serious behavioral issues that were urgent then yes. If there was some sort of satisfaction guarantee then okay. But $400 for a "down" and if it doesn't work "you can schedule another 3 hour session"? Sorry, I don't think so and it sounds like the trainer thinks she is doing you a favor! I know you are limited and things are pricier in Hawaii, but I would really shop around first.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Are you a clicker trainer at all? If yes, sorry to duplicate what you have already tried, but I typed it all out before I thought this might be one of the methods you've already done!

Perhaps you could do some shaping to get her to down, make her think it was all HER idea. There's two ways of clicker training. One is you lure the dog into the position you want, then click it. The other is you wait for the dog to offer the position you want then click it. As I'm assuming she occasionally does lie down on her own, then shaping could work!

This video shows the first steps of shaping. It's a little useless without explanation, but you basically start out rewarding any sort of indication towards down (head lowered, feet move forward). Then you up the ante and require them to do a little more (lie half down). Then you up the ante and wait for them to lie down all the way. You don't add in the command "down" until they are solidly lying down for you.

If this interests you, I'll see if I can type out part of my clicker training book explanation on how to do this. I taught our friend's PWD puppy a fairly solid down in about 20 minutes using the method.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIFne4PHoUw


Edited: This video may be a little more informative http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUF4xhtcgCI&feature=related


Oh and if you don't have a clicker, you can just use the verbal marker "yes". If you do have a clicker but haven't used it, then you need to charge it first: http://www.clickertrainusa.com/chargingtheclicker.htm
Wow! No, I have not tried this but I am starting it TODAY... Maybe this could work. I will charge the clicker(hah) today. So should I expect this to take a long time to accomplish? I guess it is different for every dog. Thanks for the great videos. I will see how this works!!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Have you tried many videos on youtube?
There is a specific place on a dog that if you get them to sit first, they can be pushed into a side down. From theer on, all you need to do is adjust until you get the correct position. If you want i can draw you a diagram?
I did watch a couple videos on youtube with a lady teaching down. She said you could push one shoulder down while lifting the opposite leg but that didn't work either. Well, I probably could have pressed down really, really hard and held her to the ground but I think that would just scare her. Do you have a specific video? I am going to try the clicker training idea but I would like these other ideas as back up. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I had the hardest time teaching Harry down. I started using really yummy treats and he started getting the hang of it really quickly after that.LOL She might just not get it. She's a puppy. I know I've read on here that if you aren't prepared to put them into the position you are asking them to be in right after you ask, they are going to think you need to repeat yourself X amount of times before they go. There is a spot at their withers that will put them into a down immediately. If you want her in a down entice her with a treat, put her in a sit, and then say down as you press on that spot and edge the treat away from her nose. Harry will down stay now after I started using the treats. Find a treat that is irresistable to her and only give it to her if she goes into a down for you. One person told me that her dogs adored the grilled frozen chicken. It comes precooked so you just have to thaw it out in the microwave and offer small pieces as treats.
Do you know of a video showing where the spot is that you press? My only concern for her is that she is not very food motivated. I think if the pressing the nerve made her fall into a down without hurting her then she may begin to get the hang of it. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I had a hard time w/ Harley too. I used the method where you put a treat (sometimes I just used my hand, no treat) at their nose while they are sitting and slowly draw their nose to the floor and the out. He would do a down, but only if I touched the ground w/ my hand. It took a lot of practice and practice, but he will now do a down on command.

I don't know if I would pay that under the circumstances. If she had serious behavioral issues that were urgent then yes. If there was some sort of satisfaction guarantee then okay. But $400 for a "down" and if it doesn't work "you can schedule another 3 hour session"? Sorry, I don't think so and it sounds like the trainer thinks she is doing you a favor! I know you are limited and things are pricier in Hawaii, but I would really shop around first.
I agree. I think I am going to try the clicker training and the other methods if that doesn't work and then shop around for trainers if need be. I pray that I can train her myself; that would be ideal. Thanks for the advice.
 

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Holy moly that's a lot of money for a trainer (even for here!). Look on Craigslist, there are several trainers that advertise on the pet section.
 

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My only concern for her is that she is not very food motivated.
You could try out a few different foods. Cheese, Liver. I've yet to meet a dog who doesn't love Liver. There's probably something out there that really gets her going, you just have to find it! You could also try the lure method as described by Harley and click it. The reason I like the clicker is that it clearly indicates to them exactly what action it is that you want. You can almost see them go "oh THAT'S what you want!". It's very rewarding.

As for timing, well I've always found it to work very quickly. I trained that puppy in 20 minutes. Now it would have taken a few more sessions to really solidify it, but he had the basics down in 20 minutes - in fact he offered me a down within about 2 minutes, so from then on it was just getting him to understand what I was asking of him. I would set aside 10 minute sessions up to twice a day to train. Keep it fun and if you're getting frustrated, end the session on a positive (get her doing something she knows how to do) and then save training further for the next session. Let us know how it goes!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You could try out a few different foods. Cheese, Liver. I've yet to meet a dog who doesn't love Liver. There's probably something out there that really gets her going, you just have to find it! You could also try the lure method as described by Harley and click it. The reason I like the clicker is that it clearly indicates to them exactly what action it is that you want. You can almost see them go "oh THAT'S what you want!". It's very rewarding.

As for timing, well I've always found it to work very quickly. I trained that puppy in 20 minutes. Now it would have taken a few more sessions to really solidify it, but he had the basics down in 20 minutes - in fact he offered me a down within about 2 minutes, so from then on it was just getting him to understand what I was asking of him. I would set aside 10 minute sessions up to twice a day to train. Keep it fun and if you're getting frustrated, end the session on a positive (get her doing something she knows how to do) and then save training further for the next session. Let us know how it goes!
Our first clicker session went well. It's exactly as you said; she seemed excited because she knew she was doing exactly what I wanted when I clicked. We are nowhere close to a down yet, but it seemed as though she enjoyed it very much. I tried bacon as a treat and she liked it. I saw some progress in her attitude, so I am going to stick to the 2 sessions a day and see what happens. Thanks!
 

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Good, keep trying different foods to see what really makes her excited and only offer that for training.
 

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I had a hard time with down with Billy at first too. It took several sessions (short) with him sitting there with that blank look like he really couldn't be bothered. Then, suddenly, he went down one day while i was using a treat to lead his nose out. I had done this before without results. I made a huge deal of him going down with kisses and hugs and what a good boy you are. Now he downs without a problem.

I have no idea what suddenly made him decide to go down that day but I am so happy that we got past it.

I wish you luck with your new sessions and would love to know if she finally goes down for you.
 
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