Poodle Forum banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi Poodle community,

I have been woefully lazy in training my now 8 month old male standard poodle, because frankly he is for the most part so well behaved and easy compared to my last dog. However, I do have some training challenges that I would love some advice on and general guidance. I think he is stubborn, I've never had a stubborn dog before, and when he's excited about things (for example another dog) I can't get his attention with treats for love or money.

Any tips on what poodles might defer to as high value to get through to him when he's in the zone? Any tips on what to do when he sits down and won't move because he doesn't want to do what I want him to do? (For example, if he wants to say hi to a dog he will sit down if I try to walk away and sometimes it's in the middle of the street, or he won't get in my car I've been having to lift him up, now he's just started sitting down so I can't lift him).

I'm sure I'll have may more questions but this is just a start!
Here is a glamour shot of my handsome boy to say thanks for your help in advance.
IMG_7230.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Have you tried getting him to look at you in a low distraction environment? You could try it and then slowly work up to more distracting environments. He’s still fairly young, so the important thing is to not lose your cool. If you do, he’s less likely to want to listen to you. You could also try to limit situations where you won’t be successful by practicing early/late when there’s no one around and being extra mindful when out and about. If you see another dog coming towards you, you can try something like putting him into a sit stay before he gets the chance to refuse to listen in the middle of the road.

My spoo, Groot, was never food motivated so treats rarely worked for us during training. I would sometimes bring a squeaky tug toy that was exclusively for walks and that worked well for a while. I also withheld his usual supply of bully sticks and would bring them with us on walks when he was younger. These things would work most of the time, but if he saw a squirrel it was pretty much game over. What continues to work best is getting his attention on me until the distraction is at a manageable level.

Groot also refused to jump in the car for a while since he’s not a huge fan of car rides. It took a lot of patience and high value treats for him to do it consistently. I bought freeze dried chicken hearts from Vital Essentials and flank steak jerkey for this. Once he understood what the command meant, it was a battle of the wills. I was as stubborn as he was and used a firm tone of voice but didn’t become upset. I started off getting in the car holding his leash with the novel, yummy treats. He didn’t really have a choice but to eventually jump in since I had his leash, but sometimes it took as long as 20 min (only the first few times). The key was to work on it when I had the time, which isn’t always possible for everyone. Eventually, I stopped getting in the car, but that meant I expected to wait longer again. It took a lot of patience, praise, and consistency, but within a couple weeks he was jumping in the car reliably.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,170 Posts
I think intelligence can manifest as stubbornness. Peggy definitely demands that I a) make my expectations extremely clear and b) make them worth her while.

I agree with VanessaC - With an adolescent, you're lucky if their brain stays on for more than a few minutes at a time. You need to train under threshold as much as possible, which (I know) can be really hard in the real world. Once your guy's in the zone, he's not being stubborn. He literally can't hear or see you, so be patient. I've had some luck with exceptionally stinky treats waggled right under Peggy's nose, but mostly it's about keeping the mood light and making myself extremely engaging to her. Lots of jollying. A bit of extra spring in my step. Forward momentum. That sort of thing.

I've found working with a trainer helps more than anything else.

But patience and consistency are also so important. Your poodle is learning constantly, whether it seems like it or not. He's learning what works for him and what doesn't. Show him at every opportunity that doing what you want is the path to the greatest reward.

Something concrete to work on: "Let's go!"

That's doing an abrupt u-turn when you see a potential uh-oh up ahead, rewarding with a happy voice and a yummy treat while maintaining that engaging forward momentum. Practise with the right energy, and your boy will think it's an extremely fun game.

I regularly do this with Peggy even just around the house. Practising in safe off-leash environments really pays off. That way the leash becomes more of a safety line than a form of coercion. Dogs often respond to tension by pulling even harder, whereas they LOVE to chase. So try to work with those natural behaviours.

You can also practise this while facing him and jogging backwards a little. Do this inside or in your backyard. Make following you a fun game that you guys play.

And always always always: Have fun. Be patient. It's a challenging age. :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
22,587 Posts
Good advice above. VanessaC in her first sentence really hit at the core of your problems. He has never been taught to pay really good attention to you. Dogs are like toddlers. No toddler really wants to always be allowed to do whatever they want. They want structure so that they aren't just randomly trying everything under the sun and so that they have stability in the routines of they day. Being allowed to jtry anything and everything can be dangerous and for dogs since they learn through repetition there will never be repetitions and establishment of routines. Having a dog that pays really good attention to its handler allows you to cope with heavy distractions.

You have to start under low distraction conditions. Once he can maintain eye contact attention for at least 30 seconds with low distractions you start to add mild then gradually heavier distractions. Doing this will shorten your duration so gradually you add back duration with distractions. The last phase involves adding distance to the duration and distractions. As you add each new "D" the underlying levels will decline and then rebuild.

You asked about high value treats. While I am not saying not to use treats while you are teaching new behaviors you have to fade the use of treats or they will become bribes that you can never get rid of. Do you really want to walk around with chunks of liverwurst in your pockets for the rest of your dog's life? To fade treats you randomize the rate at which you give the treats and you raise the criteria for how the dog executes (speed, precision) the behavior.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top