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Discussion Starter #1
Found this from Lily awhile back:
I would use a martingale nylon collar or a pinch collar. The only kind of collar I do not permit novice students to use are unlimited slip collars (aka choke chains). Also I have a method recommended to me by Ian Dunbar for introducing a pinch collar in such a way that you will be able to fade its use. You need to have someone show how to fit a pinch collar and how to use it.

Before you try to do things in the thick of the class though if you have such poor impulse control and attention I would go to the class setting and stay outside the working ring and just work on focus and attention/impulse control/look at that types of exercises. I have a new person with a GSd that I have been working with privately, but they also come to my club at the time of my novice class. The dog is young and very nice, but was having a very hard time understanding that she wasn't there to play with the other dogs, so they did work with my assistant outside the ring just to develop attention and impulse control. Last week they did their first real in the ring class. Talk to the instructor of the class you signed up for to see if they can let you come and do that attention work and then enter the real class in a few weeks.

I'm wondering if I should ask to do this. Rudy is a "bungee" pup, always excited about everything! I've working on IYC with multiple objects and he is rock solid on those, he loves his crate, and will site and down with hand signals. Issue is that in obedience he is over excited and doesn't "show his stuff". The trainer/owner was nice and reminded everyone that we weren't looking for perfection, just progress. That was comforting but I was a bit embarrassed. The labs etc. were perfect and Rudy was this excited, jumping up on hind feet while heeling thing that everyone laughed at. Encouragement? Switch to a "Walk Easy" halter? Switch to a Mendota martigale collar/leash combo? Suggestions? BTW, I practice off leash at home every day using high value treats combined with his dinner. Argh!
 

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I would talk to the instructor at your class about doing IYC and LAT in an area next to where other dogs are working. I think Rudy will probably transfer those impulse control and connection activities to this new place pretty quickly. This is what I have novice handlers with green dogs do at my classes. Recently I have had two people doing this for several sessions. One came out on the floor several weeks ago and the other one got on the floor in the class for the first time last week.


BTW I am not a fan of doing class training on a combination leash/collar or on a harness.


You will get this. Don't get embarrassed or frustrated.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you again Lily! So, bear with me, Rudy can do IYC easy peasy in class, so moving it off to the side while all the other is going on will help? I'm game, just wondering. I just use a flat collar and normal leash. Oh, and what is LAT?
 

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Sorry, LAT is Look At That. There are a couple of links to a good video about it in posts on PF, but you could try looking for Donna Hill/LAT since I think it is her video that I am thinking of.


I think I misread part of what is happening. If Rudy can do IYC in the class then I would not go to the side, but step out of the current exercise being done and do IYC to get him to refocus when he gets too excited. The more you do that the quicker he will figure out that being a goof ball will not end with him going bonkers over and over.
 
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You might also find this Donna Hill video that Click linked to in another thread to be helpful.
 

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Lumping and splitting makes a huge difference. I absolutely loved this video. Repeat each small section before combining them. To help your dog be successful, choose one segment to work on at a time before combining them. Duration, Distance, Distraction are the three parts of training. Can your dog sit for one second? Can your dog sit for two seconds? That's the duration part. Can your dog sit one step away from you? What about two steps? That's distance. Can your dog sit while a cat runs by? Can your dog sit in class? That's distraction.

Sometimes, class can be overwhelming for young dogs. I had a lot of problems trying to keep my dog calm in class. Just being calm around exciting things is a skill worth practicing. I use class as distraction training only. I don't try to teach new behaviors in class because Noelle can't process both distraction and new information at the same time.

Unfortunately, we get information on what to teach during class. So, I set my dog up for failure too often during classes. It feels like taking a child to Disneyland and then teaching them how to reduce fractions at the same time.

I know that when Noelle moves on to learning the exercises for Open obedience, I won't go to group class at all until she knows all the exercises individually. Distraction is the hardest part of learning, at least for Noelle.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You nailed it Click! That is exactly how I feel with Rudy at classes and unfortunately that is where the instruction and demonstration occurs. I'm going to step back a bit and start that shaping/layering over at home. We have a two week break between the first 3 weeks and the last 3 weeks.
 

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This is so interesting. I found this thread because I was looking for help with jumping and early stage countersurfing...and I see that what is happening with Cleo in class is not unique! We go to a puppy class where the first part is playtime, which is great. The dogs are grouped by temperament for this, and they do a good job. But then when we take a break and it's time for some light obedience work (eg loose leash walking, go to mat, targeting), Cleo still wants to play with the dogs. I can get her attention on tasks for a little while, and she enjoys learning, but going to settle on a mat with all the other puppies around (even in a big room with some distance between them) is just not going to happen--even though all the other dogs are cooperating to some extent. She won't even pee during breaktime because all the dogs are on the same patch of lawn, and she wants to socialize.

I have taught her It's Yer Choice at home, and she's good at it (at least in the one room where we've done it--not sure it will transfer yet!). I'm going to watch the video posted above, too.

In some ways i feel like i'm teaching new behaviors WITH distraction before i teach them without. Which is backwards, right? And that has made me wonder if i should get a home trainer to come in now and then and instead go to puppy playtime (without obedience training). But then i think, how will she get the self-control if we don't do the classes...
 

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Go to class. Expect your dog to be distracted and lower your own expectations. It's hard when the other puppies seem to be getting it and your dog is not. Go anyway. You learned something about your puppy. She has a hard time focusing her attention when other dogs are around. Go to class, anyway.

If the goal is for the dog to settle on a mat, practice this behavior at home. However, at class, remember you are adding two behaviors together: settle on the mat + distraction. So, lower your criteria for success with the mat. Reward her for looking at the mat. Reward her for touching the mat with a paw. Reward her for sniffing the mat. Any interaction with the mat, under distraction, gains a reward.

It doesn't matter what the other dogs are doing. The other dogs could be lying on their mats and playing pinochle with each other. You pay close attention to your own dog's success. Build your dog up from the lowest possible run of the ladder. Glance at the mat, reward. Longer glance, reward. Step toward the mat, reward. Tiny baby steps in the right direction, under distraction, matter. That's how you build up to success.

Oh, and... go to class anyway.
 

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This is very good advice, Click! If it wasn't an assignment, i'm sure I wouldn't expect her to settle on a mat in class after only 2 classes... I should be practicing it more at home, too, for when she's not in the room where her crate lives.

Besides the distraction factor, I wondered things like, maybe she doesn't identify the towel I brought as hers? It's not one we use as a mat at home. In class we tried 2 different ways of getting the puppies to a mat. For one, we continuously put small treats in one spot on the mat so that if the dog goes to the treats, she's standing on the mat, and then she'll have positive associations with being there. So, if she cared to eat the treats at all, she'd eat and then stand a few feet away from the mat and stare at the other dogs. The other game involved me sitting at the edge of the mat and tossing a treat away from the mat, so she'd go get the treat and come back to the mat to let me know to toss more treats. In the latter exercise, she ignored the mat entirely. Sometimes she came back, and sometimes she stood and stared at the dogs.. (But yes, if she stepped on it at all, I clicked/treat to reward her.)
I will practice with her. Thank you!
 

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If you can bring the mat you practice with to class, learning will speed up. This week practice...

Will your dog go to the mat in the kitchen?
Will your dog go to the mat in the dining room?
Will your dog go to the mat by the front door?

All of these experiences are identical to you. They are COMPLETELY different activities to your dog. Your dog is asking, does the mat behavior mean the same thing in the kitchen? Does it mean the same thing in the dining room? People get upset at this point, but they shouldn't. Dogs don't generalize well.

Even turning the mat a quarter turn to the right makes the mat look different to your dog. Start training from the beginning, as if your dog has never seen a mat before, every single time you move it. You'll see your dog learning faster and faster that a mat is a mat is a mat. Just like a sit is a sit is a sit.

Practice with the mat you plan on bringing to class. That too will speed things up. Happy training!
 

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If you can bring the mat you practice with to class, learning will speed up. This week practice...

Will your dog go to the mat in the kitchen?
Will your dog go to the mat in the dining room?
Will your dog go to the mat by the front door?

All of these experiences are identical to you. They are COMPLETELY different activities to your dog. Your dog is asking, does the mat behavior mean the same thing in the kitchen? Does it mean the same thing in the dining room? People get upset at this point, but they shouldn't. Dogs don't generalize well.

Even turning the mat a quarter turn to the right makes the mat look different to your dog. Start training from the beginning, as if your dog has never seen a mat before, every single time you move it. You'll see your dog learning faster and faster that a mat is a mat is a mat. Just like a sit is a sit is a sit.

Practice with the mat you plan on bringing to class. That too will speed things up. Happy training!
 
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