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I have a 2 year old standard poodle. She's pretty good with her basic training. Best recall of any dog I've ever had. OK leash manners, considering how rarely she is leashed (we have acreage so don't have much occasion to leash her). Good with "sit" and "leave it." She knows not to jump on people too. For the most part, she's been a pretty easy dog to train.

But I haven't had much luck with "stay" and I really really have to train her to stop stepping on our feet and getting in front of us when we are walking (or running in front of the car).

Today she tripped up my daughter while she was running down the gravel road, and I was pretty close to having to take her in for stitches, but decided a couple of butterfly bandages would do. My daughter is 9 and was so mad at the dog she wanted to get rid of her.

What training methods do you use to work on specific bad habits? Most of the dogs I've owned in the last 20 years have been coonhonds, and they are practically a different animal entirely. A little more intuitive and a lot less obedient, but better at just making logical choices without having to be specifically told.
 

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I would work on leash training and heeling. Two of the problems you are having would be solved or reduced with a dog that heeled. I would work on the stay command on leash, starting with one minute. I would also use another word, not “stay“, because the dog has learned that stay does not mean stay. You could use the word “wait“, but have a plan to teach her first. On leash, short periods, several times a day, in a sit , then a down, then when she is staying reliably for five minutes, change where you are working with her, slowly going to spots with more distractions. This is generalizing. If she backslides, go back a step. It takes about thirty days for a dog to really learn a command, and stay is difficult for a younger active dog. I really think the key to what you want will be achieved with a leash trained dog. Ian Dunbar is always a good place to start for basic instruction. You can find videos on you tube.
 

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She has had formal leash training, we just don't keep up on it so with months going by without getting out the leash, she has to be reminded of the expectations.

Last summer, I was able to enroll my daughter and the dog in a research study where they had disabled children and their dogs learn various dog handling techniques and studied the result. My daughter and dog were randomized into the "dog walking" group where they learned leash skills and basic obedience together. It was pretty dang cool.
 

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There's a dedicated section on Obedience and Training here:

Start with this Sticky thread:
There are trainers referenced to here, Ian Dunbar and Susan Garrett are two which get mentioned a lot on PF.
Look for Kikopup's training videos. She's also well thought of. I just googled these:


You'll find a lot of great info there from members who are training their own dogs, training others dogs, and competing in obedience.
 
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If it's any consolation, you can tell your daughter my lovely German Wirehaired Pointer did the same thing to me when I was her age. But I know what you mean about poodles being their own species. There's a steep learning curve!

Keeping our energy calm goes a long way with Peggy. And while we've taught her "let's go!" which basically means follow me, it does help to change direction frequently to maintain that follow position. Otherwise she'll get out ahead, thinking she can predict our next move, rather than watching us.

Just as important is positive reinforcement. We treat regularly while walking, rewarding for calm focus on us.

You'll need to explain to your daughter that poodles are extremely sensitive to our tone and mood. Your poodle probably felt very upset after the accident, so there's no need to punish or hold a grudge. This will create an anxious poodle who's even more eager to get in everyone's face to appease them.

As for stay (I use the word "wait"), I reinforce this command with fun games of "Find it!"

Peggy is shown an object and then told to wait while I hide it. This has not only helped Peggy hold her stay longer, she'll now happily hold it while I'm out of sight. My one rule is no release until I'm back in front of her. Once she learned that, it was much easier for her to contain her excitement and control her desire to anticipate my next move.

Teaching is done in small increments: On a leash, Peggy is asked to sit and wait. I take one step back, then immediately back to her. Treat! I repeat this a few times, just moving a small distance away. Return. Treat! Once this is solid, I do a little dance. Return. Treat! Maybe walk a circle around her. Return. Treat! Over time more distance is introduced. Return. Treat. And so on.

And then reinforce between training sessions through play. Your daughter can help with this.

I keep sessions extremely short. Maybe 1-2 minutes, a couple of times per day. Even in class, we will sometimes move quickly onto the next command while the rest of the class is still working on it. Poodles get bored easily and repetition can work against you. I'd prefer we end on a good note, rather than trying to achieve the same level of success on rep 25 as we did on rep 5. This is why the play component is so important. Because despite what our poodles might say, they do need to practise!

As for what you said about making illogical choices, I think poodles actually make excellent choices when it comes to getting what they want and need. Their brains are on another level! So if you can figure out your poodle's motivation for those "bad" behaviours—figure out what they're getting from them—it's much easier to help them learn a more appropriate method of achieving their goals.
 

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Use a leash so the dog doesn't bail out on you when you are training. Success will be easier if you do not work in conditions that allow rehearsing failures. The general strategy of training is to add duration then distance then distraction. Bear in mind that when you add distance the duration will have to be shorter then as you add distractions you will likely have to shorten distance and duration. You rebuild the levels as the dog gets better at its performances with the new factor included. For stays I would start with a down since it is easier to see intention to break the position. If you know the dog can down stay for 10 seconds reliably I would start by having the dog stay for 7 seconds and reward that generously. As the dog gets it you add a few seconds at a time until you get to a minute with no treats or words of praise. Then go back to 10-20 seconds and move yourself a bit further away from the dog and so on. Starting by expecting a minute or more of success is a very good way to set the dog up to fail.
 
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