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Well, after chemo therapy, radiation and two heart ablations I'm finally feeling up to asking a question about my little guy Rudy.

I've spent so much on training and I don't feel I've gotten anywhere. It's my fault, not his. I've tried three different trainings plus Susan Garett and maybe it's just my old 69 year old brain.

One trainer told me Rudy would be a fund agility dog but I feel he needs the foundations of obedience for that to work. He's so fast running around the backyard.

What I would love is simple, I would love a come, stay, loose leash walking. As it is he sits and follows on a leash but is so social that all he wants to do is play with people and other dogs/cats. He is so enthusiastic that he can barely contain himself when family members come into a room. He literally jumps for joy seeing them. Any thoughts my dear people?
 

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You mentioned Susan Garrett...have you explored her "Crate Games" and "Its Yer Choice" games, both of which are excellent for dogs learning self-control?

I also really like all the games and philosophies in the "Control Unleashed" series. They have a puppy program book with lots of fun stuff to do.

Where I train, you can get started in Agility without your obedience being spot-on (since everything's on leash), but yeah, you'll need control pretty quickly as you advance. But it sure is fun for a high-energy dog!

Good luck!
 

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Glad you're feeling better. That's good news.

You've asked for solutions to a few training problems. You want your dog to come. You want your dog to stay. You want your dog to walk on a loose leash. And you want a calm response to people visiting.

1. Coming when called. You need two people to play the recall game. One in one room. One in another room. Each of you has a bag of treats. The rules are simple. First person calls Rudy. First person rewards Rudy for coming. Second person calls Rudy. Second person rewards Rudy. If Rudy runs between both of you for treats, and you didn't call, Rudy doesn't get a treat. Come=treat. No one called, no treat. Repeat until both of you run out of treats. I suggest each of you have 20 treats. That's 40 recalls in a 5 minute training session. Repeat this game at least once a day. More is better.

2. Throw a toy. Wait for Rudy to be playing with the toy. Call Rudy to come, give Rudy treats, and send him right back to his toy.

3. On your walk, watch for a moment when Rudy is sniffing a bush. Then walk backward, calling, "COME!" Reward Rudy for coming with a treat, and then... bring him right back to the bush he was smelling. Lesson: Coming when called does not end fun. It adds to fun.

4. In your yard, call your dog to come, give the dog a very tasty treat (like cooked chicken), and then send the dog back to what he was doing. Make coming when called an opportunity to win fun and prizes.

We silly humans make come=going in the house. Come=a bath. Come=going in the crate. Come=fun vacuum. By doing this, we train our dogs not to come. Don't be a fun vacuum. Sending the dog right back to what he was doing, gives the dog the message that come is not a fun vacuum. Come adds good things to the dog's life.

Aim to play come/go play at least 10 times every time you go in the yard. If you repeat these games, you'll train your dog to try and outrun his own legs in an effort to get to you.
 

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To teach stay.

Start with your dog in a sit at your side. Blink three times. Say, "Ok," to release him and toss a treat on the floor for him to chase.

Ask for another sit. Blink five times. Say, "OK," to release him and toss a treat.

Work your way up in tiny five second increments until you can tell your dog to stay for a full minute before you toss a treat. If he gets up, lower your criteria all the way back to three blinks and restart.

Now, change rooms. Start all over from the beginning. A new room is a new experience. Can your dog stay for three blinks in a new room? Great. This time, work your way up to a minute in 5 second increments.

Change rooms again. Start all over from the beginning. A new room is a new experience. Can your dog stay for three blinks in a new room? Great. This time, work your way up to a minute in 10 second increments.

Change rooms again... work your way up to a minute in 20 second increments.
Change rooms again.... work your way up to a minute in 30 second increments.
Change rooms again... ask your dog to stay for a full minute.

Go outside. Start all over with three blinks.
Go to the pet store. Start all over with three blinks.
Go to the park. Start all over with three blinks.

You will teach your dog that stay mean stay no matter where you happen to be.

Repeat the exact same game with a down. Repeat the exact same game with a stand. Does this sound like it takes awhile and you can just skips some steps? Feel free to skip steps if you want to train your dog that stay is optional and depends on if he feels like it. If you want to teach your dog to stay for real, going slow is the fast path.
 

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Loose leash walking is not something Noelle has mastered. She pulls like a freight train when she's excited. When Noelle pulls, I stop moving forward. One thing that helps me is remembering that dogs have a wider field of vision than we do.

Practice this game in your house. Walk with your dog on a leash. Just random walking. Keep an eye on his shoulders. If his shoulders move past your knee, stop and turn your body left in place. Now the dog is in front of you. The two of you are making the letter T. The dog is the top part of the letter T. You are the long part of the letter T. Your sudden turn to the left will startle the dog hopefully into stopping.

Encourage the dog to return to heel position by holding out your left hand for him to touch. Give his head a scratch. Offer him a treat. Go back to walking. Watch the dog's shoulders and repeat.

This helps us, but Noelle is not perfect with a loose leash. I need to practice more.
 

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The dance of the wild dog is no fun. Since you've been practicing a sit/stay, you are partway there. When people come over, have Rudy on a leash. Ask him to sit and stay before people say hello. If Rudy goes nuts, tell him, "Oh! You won a prize!" in your happiest possible voice. Then take Rudy to the bathroom, put him in the bathroom and close the door for 15 seconds. That's his wonderful prize.

Take him back to meet people. Ask him to sit and stay. If he does not sit and stay, in a cheerful voice, say, "You won another prize!" Off you go to the bathroom again.

Ask for a sit, and if he sits and stays, people get to pet him. If he does not sit he wins a free prize winning trip to the bathroom. It won't take long before Rudy realizes that, wait a second, this prize sucks.

Also... insist that everyone who meets your dog turn their backs to him and give him zero positive attention when he is crazy. And insist that people who greet you dog stay calm themselves. A loud fussing, cooing, greeting is fun for humans, but confusing for dogs. Think of it as if they are feeding him crazy treats. Post a sign on the door that the dog is in training and ask for their help. If they are calm, they feed him calm treats.
 

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Click-N-Treat, you're great! So generous of you to share you knowledge here with us. It all sounds so simple when spelled out like that, but the difficulty is in the consistency, the repetition, and THE PATIENCE.

I destroyed Peggy's fledgling recall by moving too fast. And now she'll mostly come when called....but then dodge any attempt at a collar grab.

So I'll add: Practice collar grabs! Practice! Practice! Practice! But make it FUN. You can just tack the grab onto come, before you treat. And then release for more fun. Woo hoo!

Sending you best wishes for continued healing.
 

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Train the collar grab completely separately from the recall. Please don't combine collar grab--a thing the dog probably doesn't like right now--with something the dog must do, recall. Slow down. Slow way down.

In your kitchen, attach the leash to the collar, give a treat. Take the leash off, give a treat. Repeat x5. Change rooms. Repeat five times in each room. Leash on, treat. Leash off. Treat. Leash on. Leash off.

In your yard, have two leashes. One you remove. One you never take off. Keep the first leash under your foot for safety. Click off the second leash, give a treat. Click on the second leash, give a treat. Go back inside give a fantastic treat, because going inside is extra special treat time. Go back outside and play the same game, the same way. Leash off, reward, leash on, reward, inside better reward. Repeat, sending the dog the message that being leashed isn't the end of all good things. Sometimes leashes go on and off. And inside is where the good treats are.

Separate this exercise from recall for three or four days. Then, add it back in. Call your dog in the yard. Click on the leash, give a treat. Clip off the leash, give a treat. SEND THE DOG BACK TO PLAY IN THE YARD. Message to your dog: the leash is not a fun vacuum.

Come, I wanted to give you a present. Here's your present. You're welcome. Off you go now. Aim to get at least 10 recalls every visit to the yard.
 

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Wow, you’ve been through a lot of health issues. Glad to hear you are doing well now.

Click has wonderful advice.

I’ll add, I never ever call my dog when I’m going to do something she doesn’t like, such as a bath. For a bath, I just go and get my dog. I don’t want to poison even the idea of calling my dog with any word for anything bad. Recall is always something good so when I really need that recall in an emergency, it’s strong. As Click said, if you call them away from something fun, take them back to the fun activity. I also never drag her out of her crate for anything bad either because I want her to feel secure and happy in her crate. Before a bath I close the door on her crate so she can’t go in there.

I play recall games in the house. If my dog is downstairs and I’ve gone upstairs, I’ll hide behind a bed or door and I make my dog work to find me. Sometimes sounds travel funny so if you see your dog coming but they are clearly confused, call again until they find you. This is a good exercise because you never know when something could happen such as a fire or other emergency and you need your dog to find you.

If my DH walks Babykins, when they come to the door and he’s taking her leash off, I always call her and have a treat. Sometimes I’m crouched down behind a chair or couch.

I’m going to suggest finding a good dog sports club where you can find obedience classes..... at the clubs I train they have several levels of pet dog classes and the highest one is training for the AKC Canine Good Citizen. You will find support in your training. It’s also a solid basis for starting agility. I teach beginner agility and my club has no requirements but you can tell young dogs with their AKC CGC are better prepared to learn and so much easier for their handlers to work with in class. Impulse control is so important in agility training as is having a good recall and solid stay sit.
 
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Train the collar grab completely separately from the recall. Please don't combine collar grab--a thing the dog probably doesn't like right now--with something the dog must do, recall. Slow down. Slow way down.

In your kitchen, attach the leash to the collar, give a treat. Take the leash off, give a treat. Repeat x5. Change rooms. Repeat five times in each room. Leash on, treat. Leash off. Treat. Leash on. Leash off.

In your yard, have two leashes. One you remove. One you never take off. Keep the first leash under your foot for safety. Click off the second leash, give a treat. Click on the second leash, give a treat. Go back inside give a fantastic treat, because going inside is extra special treat time. Go back outside and play the same game, the same way. Leash off, reward, leash on, reward, inside better reward. Repeat, sending the dog the message that being leashed isn't the end of all good things. Sometimes leashes go on and off. And inside is where the good treats are.

Separate this exercise from recall for three or four days. Then, add it back in. Call your dog in the yard. Click on the leash, give a treat. Clip off the leash, give a treat. SEND THE DOG BACK TO PLAY IN THE YARD. Message to your dog: the leash is not a fun vacuum.

Come, I wanted to give you a present. Here's your present. You're welcome. Off you go now. Aim to get at least 10 recalls every visit to the yard.
Can you come stay in our house, just for a while, and whisper that to me a dozen times a day? "Slowwwwwww down......."

It's the exact reminder I need! Thank you ?
 

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Write a note, put it by your treats. "Slow down." Count out treats to prevent over training. Think about what you intend to work on, and work on only that. One skill at a time for 10-20 treats. Stop.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Click and Treat! You amaze me! The time it took you to share all of this brings me to tears. Rudy is in for some serious fun when I get home. I've done a few things right. IN the backyard when he's playing and sniffing I periodically call him and he comes running. I have him sit and give him several treats and then off he goes again. I guess you can't go wrong loving the heck out of them though even if they aren't perfect. It was just so embarrassing at training for basic obedience. Some participants actually laughed. IN my opinion he is just smarter than the average dog but that's my love for him speaking. Thank you again Click!!!!!
 

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Skylar, I think that finding the right club is the issue. I went to one where there were 15 dogs and handlers for basic obedience. I felt she tried to train too many things in each session. Most everyone "got it" except for a few but I got the vibe that she didn't think much of Rudy and I. Another one was at our local pet store. I did it because it was close to home. The trainers are all young and again, they moved so fast with no tips or individualization. This place also does board and train and recommended pinch collars in some cases. I never went back. I subscribed to Susan Garret's training last year thinking that it would be something I could move at my own pace and not have to travel in the evenings in Minnesota weather. Rudy did well with "It's Your Choice", and his crate but that's as far as we got and then health issues knocked my socks off and all I could do was stay somewhat ahead on his grooming. I've toyed with the idea of doing private lessons, maybe that would sink in. BIG QUESTION, how do you know if a training club is a good one? I liked the one where the classes were too large and they offer a ton of things like agility, open play, scent work, obedience etc.
 

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I'll try and help you find a training club. Send me a PM and I'll internet search for you.

As far as recall.... New rules in the yard. When you call your dog, and ask for a sit, and then give a treat, are you rewarding the recall or the sit?

Break your training in to jigsaw puzzle pieces and reward each piece of the puzzle. So when you are in the yard, you have at least three different places to reward, maybe even five.

1. Call your dog, give a treat for coming.
2. Ask for a sit, give a treat for the sit
3. Touch the collar, give a treat for letting you touch the collar
4. Put a leash on your dog, give a treat for the leash.
5. Take the leash off, give a treat for letting you take the leash off.
6. Send the dog away to play (play is a treat)

Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. Make this game happen at least 10 times when your dog is outside. When you do come in the house, give your dog a stuffed Kong, or something very special, and put the dog in the crate for a rest.

Before you give your dog a treat, think to yourself, what am I reinforcing? Reinforce one thing. One jigsaw puzzle piece at a time. Treats should be about the size of a pea, and half a pea is fine, too. I have broken tiny Zuke's Mini Natural treats into four pieces. Noelle gets rewarded hundreds of times a day, so I make sure the treats are small.

Frozen chicken breasts make a very nutritious treat. You can microwave them, chop them super tiny and have enough treats for two days. A single cheese stick can be cut into quarters and then diced from there.

Good luck with your training. It's great fun.
 

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First I am very sorry to hear about all of your health issues. I hope you feel much better now. Here is a link to the AKC search tool for training clubs. https://webapps.akc.org/obedience-training-club/#/


Some AKC approved obedience clubs are great and others not so much so, but it is a good place to start. My club is an AKC sanctioned club. We have beginner/puppy classes, performance oriented classes for all levels of obedience and rally. We offer trials periodically through out the year. Those are the basics you would want to see. I would suggest calling in addition to checking the club website. I just had a conversation with a prospective handler who wants to do a beginner class. As it turns out her experience is somewhat similar to the OP. She has tried several class and private trainings and not had a good fit with any of them. After a fairly wide ranging conversation about + only training and knowing what and how to use different tools she decided to ask if she could come watch a class without her dog. I told her he was absolutely welcome to come this week to watch class and for us to meet in person. I actually thought it was a very wise request on her part, especially since she has had a hard time finding a good match.
 
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Thanks Lily! I really think it IS about finding a good match and observing without the dog. There needs to be a connection. I forgot that Rudy went to puppy classes at another place so in all he's been to three classes, puppy and basic obedience twice plus Susan Gs stuff.
 

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Not sure if it's the same if you're on mobile, but on the website, if you click on the person's name next to their post, you should see a drop down menu with one of the options being to send them a private message. Hope this helps!
 

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Glad you’re feeling better, that sounds like quite a journey.

You’ve gotten so much good advice here. As always, a wealth of knowledge and kindness on this forum.

I have an energetic 11 month puppy I’m preparing for agility competitions and she is coming along. I’ll echo only doing “come” when you know it’s Going to be successful. She still likes the “keep away” game and we are working on that, some of it is just part of being a crazy young dog.

One thing I think is invaluable as a foundation is the “look at me” command. I’ve been bringing Gracie to high distraction environments and that one command really does bring her back the minute I see her mind starts to wander. It’s simple, but incredibly powerful. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, or he is, it’s a good fall back.
 
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