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I could use some advise from other poodle owners how to better train my dog. He is a 2.5 year old standard poodle with an excellent temperament—friendly, affectionate, playful, generally calm. Sits and walks beautifully.

Things that I need to work on are:
-Recalls and stays (both horrible)
-Excessive barking when crated or not at my side

I have trained several dogs before but find myself coming up short with this guy. He cannot use food rewards as he has a sensitive tummy and seems to think every training request can be met with sitting.
 

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I guess.... how have you trained the sit and stay?

How does the barking manifest? Is it separation anxiety or barking at noises or...?
 

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I trained him to sit by a combination of using his kibble as well as non action/heavy rewards. For the latter, that meant if I gave the command to sit before we walked inside again after a walk, I would wait silently until he complied and then praise heavily.

Food training is out as he has had GI surgery and it isn’t a strong motivator for him.

The barking occurs if he is in his crate and a guest arrives. Or if I am doing something without him within sight. He is usually out of his crate when home/guests not present.
 

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Our approach to stay (we call it wait) has been multifaceted: a combination of play and more formal—albeit still fun—training techniques.

The play is more for practising what Peggy has already learned, which we accomplished with a very simple technique from our trainer:

Ask for a sit, give a clear hand signal (as though you're saying STOP), then take one step back and return to reward with a treat. Since your guy has a sensitive tummy, use kibble or plain white chicken cut into tiny pieces. Whatever he can tolerate. I think the benefits of teaching this command reliably, as well as a good recall, are worth finding something that works for him.

Once you're able to consistently take that step away and back without him breaking, try stepping to the side and back. Reward. Then two steps back. Reward. Do a little dance. Reward. Always doing your clear hand signal before moving away from him, and always returning to him before you reward or release.

That was the game changer for me.
 

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Hmmm.... barking would probably be a reward quiet situation, but I realize that's harder with no treats... i would work out how far away you can get before the barking starts, and then work to stay just within that threshold and slowly increase the distance.

Most of dog training is convincing your dog they WANT to do X. Or teaching the dog they can manipulate you into doing Y (that they like) by doing X.

Stay? I think this one is relatively easy without treats. What does your dog find VERY valuable? Annie, for example, would consider going indoors very low value or even a negative event, so would be unlikely to learn to like stay from doing that. High value events for her are going for a walk, going to the dog park, and having her ball thrown. So after the beginnings of stay, much of the work I have done on her stay has been life rewards. For example 1) asking her to stay while I round up leash,coat, shoes, poopbags collar, treats, etc,etc 2) asking her for a stay while I feed, 3) asking for a stay with eye contact as I go to the gate, and, if no one is there, as I open it and walk in myself. 4) asking her to stay while I hide her ball, thensend her to find it. 5) asking for a stay before I throw her ball. We built it up with time though. So initially, it was just sit stay while I put a leash on (leash went away if she stood), or stay for a few seconds and we grew the behaviour from there.

If your dog has a favourite toy, that's very powerful for both stays and recalls. A good recall is really convincing your dog no matter what is over there, coming to you is WAY MORE AWESOME. So I try to only use my recall for awesome situations. We are going out? Annie , come! I want to throw a ball? Annie, come! I want to run jump play? Annie, come! I also usually release her after touching her collar to go back to what she was doing. Where I do screw it up is if I recall for something bad (returning home usually) or if I recall her too many times in a session. More than 2 or 3 recalls on a walk and she loses enthusiasm quickly. I had this issue at our recent dog class too, they wanted her to repeat a recall 5 or 6 times and by the end she was like, meh, I will get to it, sniffs here, I am busy.
One great way to practice recalls AND stays in the house is hide and go seek. Annie loves it. I put her in a stay, and then walk around the house, occasionally passing her. When I am done, I hide, and call her. Finding me is her reward, plus lots of praise, and then we play again.

Right now, I admit Annie's stay at a distance is better and more reliable than her recall. I've worked on it more recently, and done a better job of rewarding it.

Hope something there helped.
 
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