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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Winnie is almost 5 months old and is starting to stare a me blankly on certain commands that I know she knows very well. For instance if I ask her to go on her bed she normally does it no problem but sometimes lately I just get a blank stare. She totally ignores what I am saying. In steps my husband with his firm deep voice and tells her to get on her bed and she goes immediately!!! Is this part of adolescent behaviour? When I go back to training she is great but when the mood takes her she won't do anything unless my husband steps in.
 

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She is testing you, probably an adolescence thing but it will not improve unless you take corrective messures. Dogs are very intuitive and feel us. She knows you don’t totally mean it if she can get away with it, she will. They’re like kids at that age...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
She is testing you, probably an adolescence thing but it will not improve unless you take corrective messures. Dogs are very intuitive and feel us. She knows you don’t totally mean it if she can get away with it, she will. They’re like kids at that age...
What should I do?
 

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What should I do?
Look at your husband’s posture, body language and tone when he talks to your dog. See the difference between his and yours and try to imitate him at first, but then after a while you will find your own style. Your energy is not firm enough maybe, or you use a high pitched tone, etc.

You had good suggestions that you can try also.
 

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Yes to all of the above suggestions.

Most of the time my boys do as I ask but there are some times, well, not so much. I've borrowed a technique from a couple of PF members which almost always gets the desired behavior.

me: Remo, sit (normal voice)
Remo: Just a minute mom, I need to steal Neo's toy.
me: What did I say? (deeper tone, slightly more emphatic)
Remo: (plants fuzzy butt)

It's not that he necessarily understands the words, but he gets the tone :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It's not that he necessarily understands the words, but he gets the tone :)

Yes I tried the tone thing earlier this morning. She wasn't settling so I asked her to go lie on her bed. She went but every few minutes would crawl off thinking I couldn't see her so had to keep putting her back. I changed my tone to a more serious one so she knew I was not accepting what she was doing. She went back to her bed but with that look to let me know she would do it but was not happy about it.
 

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Ah - That Voice! Needed rather frequently with Sophy, who is a great one for procrastinating. She reminds me sometimes of my sister, who always remembers a phone call she has to make, or a bit of wiring to fix, or something else delaying, just as everyone else is ready to leave the house. Sophy inevitably feels an urgent need to pee a long way off just as I ask her to get into the car, or spots a neighbour she hasn't seen for ages, or just has to say good bye to the cats...

I remember the "I-really-mean-it" voice from my childhood - it worked on me too!
 

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I think management is really important at that age. Don't give her a chance to make mistakes.

We used Peggy's indoor exercise pen A LOT during early adolescence, and we always made it a very nice place for her.

If Winnie has a tendency to drift away from her bed, tether her and make sure she has a really yummy, safe chew. Or reward heavily at first (treat party!!) and then slowly taper off.

By making it rewarding for her to do what you want her to do, you are clearly communicating your expectations: "Laying in your bed is very good for poodles! Good things happen there!"
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I think management is really important at that age. Don't give her a chance to make mistakes.

We used Peggy's indoor exercise pen A LOT during early adolescence, and we always made it a very nice place for her.

If Winnie has a tendency to drift away from her bed, tether her and make sure she has a really yummy, safe chew. Or reward heavily at first (treat party!!) and then slowly taper off.

By making it rewarding for her to do what you want her to do, you are clearly communicating your expectations: "Laying in your bed is very good for poodles! Good things happen there!"
Chews don't really keep her on her bed as she has a tendency to take it to her crate but she responds well to the treat heavily and taper off so I do use that method. I will be glad when I don't have to depend on food so much as that's all I seem to be doing right now.......that and throwing balls.
 

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Chews don't really keep her on her bed as she has a tendency to take it to her crate but she responds well to the treat heavily and taper off so I do use that method. I will be glad when I don't have to depend on food so much as that's all I seem to be doing right now.......that and throwing balls.
She's a dog. Food rewards are powerful! That won't go away as she gets older.

I taught Peggy to rest on her mat using treat parties, but that was only the first session or two. Now she gets rewarded randomly for settling nicely and I have no intention of stopping that. She's 18 months. :)
 

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will be glad when I don't have to depend on food so much as that's all I seem to be doing right now.......that and throwing balls.
Food isn’t necessary. I don’t use it. I give treats after grooming to thank my dogs for the letting me do the job but other than that, I give random treats, but not for doing what I ask of them. Both will sit and stay on the towel at the door until I wipe their feet. I don’t let it drag too long, but sometimes if I’m busy doing something else, it takes me 5 minutes to get to them.

I know most people work with treats, but I’ve tried and tried and I just hate it.
 

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My husband hated it at first, too, @Dechi. But when he saw the results with Peggy, he was convinced.

I didn't really use food rewards with my last girl. She was so small, I found it hard to treat while walking. And I was very into the Dog Whisperer, who didn't use food at all. Plus, Gracie was motivated powerfully just by my energy and her desire to be close to me. So I've had both experiences.

I think this is a great overview for anyone who's on the fence:

 

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My husband hated it at first, too, @Dechi. But when he saw the results with Peggy, he was convinced.
I’m too old to change, lol ! Back in the days, using food to train wasn’t a thing. I don’t feel I need it so I have no desire to do it. I achieve what I want with my dogs and I’m very happy with the way they are. I don’t do training per se, but I have dogs who listen to me and have good manners. Well, not always, as you know Beckie’s walking on a leash is a disaster. That’s the exception to the rule and a place where I would try food (if she ever gets off her stupid restricted diet...)
 

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I’m too old to change, lol ! Back in the days, using food to train wasn’t a thing. I don’t feel I need it so I have no desire to do it. I achieve what I want with my dogs and I’m very happy with the way they are. I don’t do training per se, but I have dogs who listen to me and have good manners. Well, not always, as you know Beckie’s walking on a leash is a disaster. That’s the exception to the rule and a place where I would try food (if she ever gets off her stupid restricted diet...)
That totally makes sense to me, as Peggy is really the first dog I've actively trained beyond good manners. I can't imagine doing trick training without food, but I'm sure it's possible for some dog/human combos.

Gracie was a great everyday companion and I don't think I ever used a food lure with her, not even when I taught her to jump from the floor up into my arms. I loved that easy rapport.

But I accepted her quirks and limitations much more readily than I accept Peggy's. She was afraid of the vacuum her whole life, she would never have settled on a patio, she'd sometimes bark hysterically on walks, etc. Plus I have someone else in the household this time around.

My husband didn't have a natural aptitude for even basic training and the inconsistency in our efforts was stressful for us and probably Peggy, too. Following our trainer's methods—basically just food lures faded into random rewards—keeps us more on the same page.

P.S. Still hoping for good news about Beckie's diet! I'm sure you're both totally over the restrictions. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
That totally makes sense to me, as Peggy is really the first dog I've actively trained beyond good manners. I can't imagine doing trick training without food, but I'm sure it's possible for some dog/human combos.

Gracie was a great everyday companion and I don't think I ever used a food lure with her, not even when I taught her to jump from the floor up into my arms. I loved that easy rapport.

But I accepted her quirks and limitations much more readily than I accept Peggy's. She was afraid of the vacuum her whole life, she would never have settled on a patio, she'd sometimes bark hysterically on walks, etc. Plus I have someone else in the household this time around.

My husband didn't have a natural aptitude for even basic training and the inconsistency in our efforts was stressful for us and probably Peggy, too. Following our trainer's methods—basically just food lures faded into random rewards—keeps us more on the same page.

P.S. Still hoping for good news about Beckie's diet! I'm sure you're both totally over the restrictions. :(
My husband has different ideas about training and doesn't use lots of treats and thinks body language and tone will do it. Our previous dog (over 20 years ago) was trained this way so he thinks all dogs can be trained like this. She did end up being an absolute wonder of a dog though so I do wonder if that was the training or just the personality of the dog.
 
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