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So today was pretty terrifying. For the first time today I let my five month old standard poodle, Willow, off the leash at the beach. She ran up to a couple and they pet her and she fell in love with them. I tried to get her back with treats but of course she wouldn’t even look at me or my daughter who she adores. She followed them all the way to the stairs to the street and she went up them!!! Luckily the nice couple stopped and waited for my daughter to get her. She was ready to go home with them!!!
After that I was pretty nervous so we kept her on the leash and just had her lay down near the water. I wanted her to try relax a little bit and watch all the dogs and people from the leash. About 14 minutes later my friends with their dog came and we walked to the end where there was a dead end. I let her off the leash again. She stayed close with us but she would not come near me the entire two hours. I am not sure what I steps i need to take to do better for her. At home I’ve kept her tethered 85% of the time to me or safety close to me in the house. For three months I call her name and when she comes to me I give her a treat and have a celebration. If something’s more interesting it’s like I don’t exist. I’ve read this happens with lots of dogs but I just am losing my patience. If I tell her to sit she will only if I have a treat she’s interested in after she’s smelled it. I’ve tried pushing her butt down if she doesn’t sit but she learned on I’ll just sit when she does that, so I stopped. She’s just too darn smart and I’m too stupid!!! For three months I’ve been telling her to stay off the counters. When she jumps up I’ll take her out of the room. Sometimes it will happen 30 times in a row and she just keeps going back. I understand that it’s my fault for letting her near the counter but our house is so tiny there’s no where else for her to go!! She’s just so independent. I’ve read every single training book and I feel like I’m very consistent and I do follow through. She just is an opportunist. Does anyone have any suggestions??
 

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My dogs have had to earn priveledges in the house.
No free range unless I have sole attention on them. Yes I did have a puppy get away from me once.
After having a treat crazy dog, crazy to the point where all she is thinking of is the food, I gave up on using treats for daily training, my dogs do stuff for praise only. It takes a lot of repeating and a lot of patience, I mean a load of patience. They are super sensitive to your emotional state.
Poodles are really smart but at 5 months they don't always understand what you want, it's like they don't understand English yet.
Hang in there,
 

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Oops forgot to mention when training recall you need to use a long lead, so you still have control over the puppy while teaching recall.
 

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Is this the first time she's been off leash outside? If so, I'd suggest trying in a less distracting environment, and reinforcing there. Maybe a friend's backyard, if you don't have one. A long line is good too (especially a 50' line you can let drag), but it's not the same as being really free.

5-18 months is puppy exploration time. They are learning to be independent in the great big world, and don't want to come. I did a LOT of offleash work when my girl was a baby (below 5 months), practicing "the human disappears if you don't watch her" at the time in her life when being abandoned was the worst thing ever. So even those days when she doesn't want to come, she also doesn't want to go too far, lest I disappear again. I now seldom let her off leash unless there is a fence and we are practicing. There are so many interesting things, and, at 14 months, I know I can't compete. When she's 2 or so, I'll try again.

For counters - teach "off" as a command (maybe on something else, like the couch). Feet up! good! Off! Good! Then fade to only rewarding "off". And also teach her WHERE you want her to be in the kitchen - my apartment is small, so good poodles lie in the hall while I cook and are thrown treats (we practice down stay there, and now she thinks it's the "correct" place/best chance of getting a treat).

For sit - can you try capturing? You happen upon her sitting, - "good!", random treat, a few times, to teach her you always have treats around. Then practice "sit" with treats on the counter. Then sit, with a treat she sees you put in your pocket, etc? Then after she's sitting 100% of the time that you tell her, you can phase out the treats. Also practice "sit" to earn lifestyle privledges. You want a walk? Then sit for me to put on the leash. You want your supper? Then sit and stay while I prepare it until I say you can eat it. You want me to throw your toy? Then sit. Does that make sense? You are basically trying to teach that, although she may not know what the reward is, you ALWAYs have a way to make it worthwhile.

There's also a ton of clicker training videos on line, and i'd suggest watching a few, they are very helpful for learning to reward at the right time.
 

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Welcome to the beginning of the teenage phase. Buck was great and after 6 months he acted like he had selective amnesia about commands. We mostly are off leash in my fenced yard. I used the Dunbar method of calling for check ins, treat and then a release. So recall was not necessarily the end of fun. Repeat, several times daily... I never would have trusted him at that age off leash on a beach or anywhere else in the wide world. You could use a long line on the beach, until your puppy is rock solid on the recall.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My dogs have had to earn priveledges in the house.
No free range unless I have sole attention on them. Yes I did have a puppy get away from me once.
After having a treat crazy dog, crazy to the point where all she is thinking of is the food, I gave up on using treats for daily training, my dogs do stuff for praise only. It takes a lot of repeating and a lot of patience, I mean a load of patience. They are super sensitive to your emotional state.
Poodles are really smart but at 5 months they don't always understand what you want, it's like they don't understand English yet.
Hang in there,
Yeah I don’t like letting her walk around because all she wants to do is get into stuff. Okay so I’ve tried the praise thing but she doesn’t like to be pet or cuddle. Since the day we brought her home at 9 weeks old she doesn’t like affection. She’s like a cat or wolf or something. That’s why I give her the treats. It’s especially hard on my fourteen year old daughter. She’s the weirdest dog.
 

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I feel like you might be making a lot of assumptions about Willow that at best aren't accurate, but also could be damaging to your relationship and training efforts.

Everything you're describing just sounds like a puppy. Honest! She doesn't sound wolf-like or hyper-independent. Confident, maybe. But that's a good thing!

I think you could really benefit from working with a positive reinforcement trainer. Or if you prefer working independently with her, choose one method/one book/one online trainer and STICK WITH IT.

Reading everything you can get your hands on will drive you absolutely nuts. (Trust me - I've been there!)

You have a smart puppy. A normal poodle. She's constantly weighing the benefits of doing A vs. B. Your challenge, as her mama/owner/mentor/entire world is to show her that option A (whatever you establish option A to be) is always going to work out best for her.

It's a big challenge. But you can do it. And it's sooo worth it!
 

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Yeah I don’t like letting her walk around because all she wants to do is get into stuff. Okay so I’ve tried the praise thing but she doesn’t like to be pet or cuddle. Since the day we brought her home at 9 weeks old she doesn’t like affection. She’s like a cat or wolf or something. That’s why I give her the treats. It’s especially hard on my fourteen year old daughter. She’s the weirdest dog.
She sounds like my Beatrice, praise for her is a simple lilted "good girl", she turned out to be my best behaved dog but lordy as a puppy she gave a run for the money
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Is this the first time she's been off leash outside? If so, I'd suggest trying in a less distracting environment, and reinforcing there. Maybe a friend's backyard, if you don't have one. A long line is good too (especially a 50' line you can let drag), but it's not the same as being really free.

5-18 months is puppy exploration time. They are learning to be independent in the great big world, and don't want to come. I did a LOT of offleash work when my girl was a baby (below 5 months), practicing "the human disappears if you don't watch her" at the time in her life when being abandoned was the worst thing ever. So even those days when she doesn't want to come, she also doesn't want to go too far, lest I disappear again. I now seldom let her off leash unless there is a fence and we are practicing. There are so many interesting things, and, at 14 months, I know I can't compete. When she's 2 or so, I'll try again.

For counters - teach "off" as a command (maybe on something else, like the couch). Feet up! good! Off! Good! Then fade to only rewarding "off". And also teach her WHERE you want her to be in the kitchen - my apartment is small, so good poodles lie in the hall while I cook and are thrown treats (we practice down stay there, and now she thinks it's the "correct" place/best chance of getting a treat).

For sit - can you try capturing? You happen upon her sitting, - "good!", random treat, a few times, to teach her you always have treats around. Then practice "sit" with treats on the counter. Then sit, with a treat she sees you put in your pocket, etc? Then after she's sitting 100% of the time that you tell her, you can phase out the treats. Also practice "sit" to earn lifestyle privledges. You want a walk? Then sit for me to put on the leash. You want your supper? Then sit and stay while I prepare it until I say you can eat it. You want me to throw your toy? Then sit. Does that make sense? You are basically trying to teach that, although she may not know what the reward is, you ALWAYs have a way to make it worthwhile.

There's also a ton of clicker training videos on line, and i'd suggest watching a few, they are very helpful for learning to reward at the right time.
Today was the first time at the beach. I let her off leash in open fields but we are always free of distractions of other dogs or people so she comes back. We have a super tiny house but a big yard. I’ve left her on a long fifty foot rope and called her and she always comes because she doesn’t find anything interesting or distracting in our yard.
i do the capturing reward thing when she’s sitting and laying down being relaxed. I always through a treat to her. I always make her sit before leash, food, going out. She knows to do it now I don’t even have to ask. I just don’t know how to make it worthwhile for her anymore if she’s off the leash. Thanks
 

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You up the treat ante for recall, steak if need be you need to be the best thing in the world to come back to
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I feel like you might be making a lot of assumptions about Willow that at best aren't accurate, but also could be damaging to your relationship and training efforts.

Everything you're describing just sounds like a puppy. Honest! She doesn't sound wolf-like or hyper-independent. Confident, maybe. But that's a good thing!

I think you could really benefit from working with a positive reinforcement trainer. Or if you prefer working independently with her, choose one method/one book/one online trainer and STICK WITH IT.

Reading everything you can get your hands on will drive you absolutely nuts. (Trust me - I've been there!)

You have a smart puppy. A normal poodle. She's constantly weighing the benefits of doing A vs. B. Your challenge, as her mama/owner/mentor/entire world is to show her that option A (whatever you establish option A to be) is always going to work out best for her.

It's a big challenge. But you can do it. And it's sooo worth it!
Thank you for this. It’s good to hear that she’s just a puppy. I’ve never had a dog before. That movie Marley and Me makes me worried I’m doing everything wrong!! I’ve been a single mom for fourteen years and nothing has been this challenging!!
Do you suggest a book I could stick too? And that question goes to any experienced poodle owner reading this!
 

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(I should also have
Thank you for this. It’s good to hear that she’s just a puppy. I’ve never had a dog before. That movie Marley and Me makes me worried I’m doing everything wrong!! I’ve been a single mom for fourteen years and nothing has been this challenging!!
Do you suggest a book I could stick too? And that question goes to any experienced poodle owner reading this!
I think you'd enjoy Zak George's YouTube series, The Dog Training Experience. Zak's a trainer who is documenting life with his new puppy. It really helps me when I'm feeling like I've fallen behind or doing something tragically wrong or thinking maybe Peggy's broken or something. My husband's been enjoying it, too. My husband, like you, has never raised a puppy before. There's a steep learning curve! And, much like parenting, it's a 24/7 job. Exhausting! Often you'll take one step forward, a few back, and then rapidly move forward again.

Puppies are learning constantly, even when it seems like their little brains have switched off. Everything you're teaching Willow now, intentionally or otherwise, is getting processed and stored away. During adolescence, you'll have days (even weeks - aughh!) when the basics go out the window. And then one day Willow will shock you with a behaviour you've been pulling your hair out over, TRYING to teach. And you'll think, "Okay. Huh. Maybe this isn't all for nothing."

Zak also has a training book, but I've never read it. My personal preference at this age is strict adherence to the procotols described by Ian Dunbar in Before And After Getting Your Puppy combined with a group training class. And, of course, lots and lots of Poodle Forum! Because poodles really are unique in so many ways.

Peggy does NOT like repetition. She is the anti-Labrador Retriever. Have you read Farley Mowat's The Dog Who Wouldn't Be? It's not about a poodle, but it's much more relatable (to me, at least) than something like Marley and Me.
 

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I’ve watched his videos before and I’m like okayyyyyyyyy you make it look too easy. I am really excited to watch his serious about raising a puppy! I will check out your suggestions. Thank you so kuch
 

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I’ve watched his videos before and I’m like okayyyyyyyyy you make it look too easy. I am really excited to watch his serious about raising a puppy! I will check out your suggestions. Thank you so kuch
Yep! It's totally different from his other videos. You can really see his puppy's forward and backward progress. It's not linear.

Keep in mind that every command a dog learns has to be proofed in different environments, with different distractions. Even day vs. night makes a huge difference! So when you watch a trainer teach a command and the puppy nails it, remember how much you're not seeing when the camera's off.

Or think about your daughter at 4 years old, eating dinner alone with you. You're working on her manners. She's focused on you. What a super kid! You're making PROGRESS.

Now imagine that same dinner scenario, but you're at Chuck E. Cheese and every other kid is screaming or playing, the music's loud, lights are flashing....

THAT'S how your puppy feels at the beach! :eek:
 

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Oh I totally get it now!!
Welcome to the beginning of the teenage phase. Buck was great and after 6 months he acted like he had selective amnesia about commands. We mostly are off leash in my fenced yard. I used the Dunbar method of calling for check ins, treat and then a release. So recall was not necessarily the end of fun. Repeat, several times daily... I never would have trusted him at that age off leash on a beach or anywhere else in the wide world. You could use a long line on the beach, until your puppy is rock solid on the recall.
It sounds like I need to look into Dunbar. Thank you for letting me know this. I thought she was the right age or even too old to not be able to be off leash. I’m going to bring a super long rope to the beach next time
 

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Beach!
Yep! It's totally different from his other videos. You can really see his puppy's forward and backward progress. It's not linear.

Keep in mind that every command a dog learns has to be proofed in different environments, with different distractions. Even day vs. night makes a huge difference! So when you watch a trainer teach a command and the puppy nails it, remember how much you're not seeing when the camera's off.

Or think about your daughter at 4 years old, eating dinner alone with you. You're working on her manners. She's focused on you. What a super kid! You're making PROGRESS.

Now imagine that same dinner scenario, but you're at Chuck E. Cheese and every other kid is screaming or playing, the music's loud, lights are flashing....

THAT'S how your puppy feels at the beach! :eek:
you are right. I guess I never thought about it that way.
 

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Oh I totally get it now!!

It sounds like I need to look into Dunbar. Thank you for letting me know this. I thought she was the right age or even too old to not be able to be off leash. I’m going to bring a super long rope to the beach next time
My last girl wasn't reliable off-leash until around 2 or 3 years old. It was like I woke up and suddenly had my dream dog. But she went to work with me downtown Toronto every day. I think having that routine, stimulation, and sense of purpose was a huge factor. We bonded super tight.

Peggy's almost 9 months old and I wouldn't trust her unleashed in most environments. I even still have her drag a leash at home sometimes so we never get into a chase-the-poodle situation. I think she actually had a better recall when we first brought her home at 9 weeks!

Of course some dogs learn faster, but that can vary tremendously by breed. Don't ever compare your spoo to a heeler, for example!

And the amount of time you reasonably can (or want to!) put in is also a biggie.

Also worth noting that some dogs are NEVER 100% reliable off-leash. And some owners don't especially care. I believe that's okay, too, as long as you take the necessary precautions to keep your dog safe.

Reading Poodle Forum sometimes, you'd think every dog but yours is an obedience champion. It's just not true. There are some very serious handlers on this site, with experience beyond what I could ever hope to accumulate in a lifetime. Try not to compare.

You and Willow are on your own awesome journey. You're already teaching each other so much.
 

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Just agreeing with people at this point... but your puppy is still super young. Please don't expect too much of her or you will hurt your relationship. I started letting Misha explore with a longline at a local off leash area when he was... probably around 6 months. I went for a few trips with a long line before I ever let him off the line, though I still always keep a harness with a tab leash or alternatively a drag leash on him depending on whether he's just exploring (drag leash) or playing with anther dog (tab leash). I have started bringing an extra special super wonderful treat (deli turkey) that I only use for recalls at the off leash area. Even though he likes his normal treats, he considers the turkey a much better prize. He is prone to playing chase when I need to catch him, so the drag leash is often on to make that a no fun game. I often leave it on when he's at home as well. A thin biothane leash is perfect for this purpose.

Another thing you might consider is purposefully working on your pup's concentration around distraction. When you take walks with her, it's always a good idea to intermittently test obedience. Sit is an easy thing to ask for, and down is a little harder. This will help you to check how over stimulated she is and measure her progress in concentration. It can be a fun way to mix up a walk. A bench... perfect! Jump on the bench and down......off.......... you get the idea. A lot of it is on you. It's your job to make yourself engaging and interesting to your dog. Obedience classes can help to build this bond.
 

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Just agreeing with people at this point... but your puppy is still super young. Please don't expect too much of her or you will hurt your relationship. I started letting Misha explore with a longline at a local off leash area when he was... probably around 6 months. I went for a few trips with a long line before I ever let him off the line, though I still always keep a harness with a tab leash or alternatively a drag leash on him depending on whether he's just exploring (drag leash) or playing with anther dog (tab leash). I have started bringing an extra special super wonderful treat (deli turkey) that I only use for recalls at the off leash area. Even though he likes his normal treats, he considers the turkey a much better prize. He is prone to playing chase when I need to catch him, so the drag leash is often on to make that a no fun game. I often leave it on when he's at home as well. A thin biothane leash is perfect for this purpose.

Another thing you might consider is purposefully working on your pup's concentration around distraction. When you take walks with her, it's always a good idea to intermittently test obedience. Sit is an easy thing to ask for, and down is a little harder. This will help you to check how over stimulated she is and measure her progress in concentration. It can be a fun way to mix up a walk. A bench... perfect! Jump on the bench and down......off.......... you get the idea. A lot of it is on you. It's your job to make yourself engaging and interesting to your dog. Obedience classes can help to build this bond.
I know now after reading everyone’s responses I AM expecting too much. I’ve never been around puppies. I thought they were only babies until like four months. I think one issue I’m having is my daughter keeps telling me that no one keeps their dog on a leash and lets their dogs go everywhere. She’s also isn’t very good with training willow. She lets her jump on her and chases her around, sneaks her food. she turns her over to me when she gets tired of her getting into things and not listening. I know she’s wrong now!
Another thing is watching Ceser Milan. His guidance has made me too rigid.
I had to look up the tab leash and biothane leash to see what they are. I’m going to order both.
Tomorrow I’m going to try a few things everyone suggested. First being more interesting.
Thank you!!
 
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