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Avoiding distractions

Obedience (non-protection) discussion. We have broken the two apart.
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Sugars Mom
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Tell us about yourself: I adopted a Dutch Shepherd mix (without knowing what she was) from the SPCA here in Victoria BC and am now trying to learn everything I can about this breed. My husband and I work from home most of the time so I thought it was time to get a puppy! We have his 2 boys here half the time and we wanted a nice family dog.

Sugar looks like a miniature Dutch Shepherd with floppy ears, and has every ounce of DS traits in her little body!

I hope to learn from other DS owners and share doggy experiences.
Location: Victoria BC

Avoiding distractions

Post by Sugars Mom » Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:09 pm

I was wondering if someone had some advice to give me about getting Sugar to ignore distractions when we are outside.

Inside the house, she is great with obeying commands, but once outside (back yard, park, etc) its hit and miss. It's like she had ADD. Whatever I ask of her (sit, stay, down, look, etc) she will do, but then if she hears a sound, she turns her head to look at it, or wants to go move to go see it (like another dog, squirrel, cars, etc). I'll make a noise to gain back her attention, but it can be fleeting, focus on me for a moment, then back to the other thing, and I repeat the sound, command, or give a leash correction, something to get her to focus back on me, but its soo difficult for her to KEEP her focus on me if there is something going on around us. I've been working outside in areas with as minimal distractions I can find to try to work up to it, but it still seems to be taking a longer time then I would think.

When I use food, she is very motivated to get the treat, but her focus is on the food, not really on me, so I only want to reward with food when she focuses on me so she gets the point on focusing on ME.

Maybe I'm not interesting enough?

She is over a year now, so she should be more then able to do this, and when she wants something (like to come up on the couch to lay with us), there is no problem with her focusing on me with her cute little e-wok look, so I know she is capable. Its the obedience I need to work on with her.

Other then consistent working with her, and the time it takes to get to the point where she can filter out the distractions, does anyone have any tips on ways of helping me get her to focus more on me, and to ignore the surroundings?
Sue (and Sugar)

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Marjolein
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Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by Marjolein » Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:44 pm

haha, sounds like Ivil. Keep working on it, but go slow ;) Do not avoid it, look for it and be funnier than the distraction (no one is looking...right?) It's hard, I know :lol:

I waited untill I felt Ivil could handle pressure, she was well over 2 years old, than I demanded the things I had learned her under distraction. This is not fun at all, but it made things clearer for her, and therefore it was good for her too. So she is looking at me, distraction comes as planned (ask someone to help out, walk by or something, start with low-level distraction) as soon as she looks away correction antill she looks at me again, reward like she won a million dollars.
Repeat this untill she will no longer look away under this level of distraction, do it in different position, places, circumstances. Than you increase the level of distraction etc.
You must be really sure the dog knows what you want and is mature enough!!

ow, and to cheer you up, Ivil is 4 now, and still can't focus much longer than 2 min. :roll: :dssmile: :yernuts:
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Sugars Mom
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Tell us about yourself: I adopted a Dutch Shepherd mix (without knowing what she was) from the SPCA here in Victoria BC and am now trying to learn everything I can about this breed. My husband and I work from home most of the time so I thought it was time to get a puppy! We have his 2 boys here half the time and we wanted a nice family dog.

Sugar looks like a miniature Dutch Shepherd with floppy ears, and has every ounce of DS traits in her little body!

I hope to learn from other DS owners and share doggy experiences.
Location: Victoria BC

Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by Sugars Mom » Sun Aug 28, 2011 8:38 pm

Marjolein wrote:
ow, and to cheer you up, Ivil is 4 now, and still can't focus much longer than 2 min. :roll: :dssmile: :yernuts:
Yes, thanks for cheering me up :roll:

OK, well, I'll keep working on it!
Sue (and Sugar)

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Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by vneerland » Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:12 am

I agree. A year old is still pretty young for a reliable focus. Not all dogs mature at the same rate either. Just avoid putting too much pressure on it, because that might just about ruin your chance for 'pretty' obedience later on in life. ;)
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Sugars Mom
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Posts: 1734
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:16 am
Tell us about yourself: I adopted a Dutch Shepherd mix (without knowing what she was) from the SPCA here in Victoria BC and am now trying to learn everything I can about this breed. My husband and I work from home most of the time so I thought it was time to get a puppy! We have his 2 boys here half the time and we wanted a nice family dog.

Sugar looks like a miniature Dutch Shepherd with floppy ears, and has every ounce of DS traits in her little body!

I hope to learn from other DS owners and share doggy experiences.
Location: Victoria BC

Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by Sugars Mom » Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:08 am

Yes, I'm realizing that maturity will help and I shouldn't expect perfection yet.

I did do something on our afternoon walk today. For the first and last few min of the walk I would stop every few feet, and give her a treat when she looked up at me instead of looking around, and she did really well at that. After the first treat, she got it, and looked up at me almost every time when I stopped. If she didn't look, I'd make a noise to get her attention or a gentle tug on her leash was all that was needed and she would look at me instead of whatever else she was looking at and, bang, treat. (That's her million dollars!) I guess I'm a little more interesting now... :D
Sue (and Sugar)

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Marjolein
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Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by Marjolein » Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:22 pm

that's the way, but remember to keep it fun and practice several short times instead of 1 long training. Change the treats for a ball as a final reward, to get the stress out with some tug-play. Really worked nicely with Ivil, ofcourse YOU win the ball and keep it safe for the next hike ;)
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Sugars Mom
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Tell us about yourself: I adopted a Dutch Shepherd mix (without knowing what she was) from the SPCA here in Victoria BC and am now trying to learn everything I can about this breed. My husband and I work from home most of the time so I thought it was time to get a puppy! We have his 2 boys here half the time and we wanted a nice family dog.

Sugar looks like a miniature Dutch Shepherd with floppy ears, and has every ounce of DS traits in her little body!

I hope to learn from other DS owners and share doggy experiences.
Location: Victoria BC

Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by Sugars Mom » Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:21 pm

Yup, short sessions and I'm doing it when I'll be most successful; when there isn't anything going on around her that she is really focused on. I'll work up to it as she is able to handle more.

I really appreciate the feedback and sharing your experiences. Thanks!
Sue (and Sugar)

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Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by Raven » Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:48 am

Glad to hear of the progress! If I could interject something for further down the line....

As she matures and gets to further understand what is expected from her, you may re-think the "prompting" her to focus, lest she could think, in that brilliant mind of hers, that that is what needs to take place--though right now you are shaping her behavior. (Sorry for stating the obvious.)

Thor's focus kept him from a work program (because of his genetics or lack of training in his first 18 months on this planet?), but his focus has improved greatly....but there was that bridge where he either expected a prompt or wanted one...and that was followed by focus because a treat was expected.

Also, when you're giving treats, are you always giving them from one hand so that she looks to THAT hand in anticipation? If so, mix it up. Left hand a few times, then the right once, then the left, etc...as well as the location from where you are retracting the treats. Further down the line, her focus will be dead on you--where they come from isn't important.
Though I can only hope to become the person who my animals believe I am, the things that they have taught me have made me a better human being. ~~~Sharon~~~

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Marjolein
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Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by Marjolein » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:01 am

Raven wrote: Also, when you're giving treats, are you always giving them from one hand so that she looks to THAT hand in anticipation? If so, mix it up. Left hand a few times, then the right once, then the left, etc...as well as the location from where you are retracting the treats. Further down the line, her focus will be dead on you--where they come from isn't important.
try spitting it from your mouth :dswink" But be quick :dsshock: :dssmile:
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Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by Raven » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:47 pm

Forgot about shooting from the mouth--good one, though I sometimes spit crookedly!

Note: Helps to have small, soft treats for any task. Hard treats tend to crumble and leaves the dog surveying the floor for crumbs instead of focusing on you.
Though I can only hope to become the person who my animals believe I am, the things that they have taught me have made me a better human being. ~~~Sharon~~~

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Sugars Mom
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Posts: 1734
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:16 am
Tell us about yourself: I adopted a Dutch Shepherd mix (without knowing what she was) from the SPCA here in Victoria BC and am now trying to learn everything I can about this breed. My husband and I work from home most of the time so I thought it was time to get a puppy! We have his 2 boys here half the time and we wanted a nice family dog.

Sugar looks like a miniature Dutch Shepherd with floppy ears, and has every ounce of DS traits in her little body!

I hope to learn from other DS owners and share doggy experiences.
Location: Victoria BC

Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by Sugars Mom » Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:23 am

Raven wrote: As she matures and gets to further understand what is expected from her, you may re-think the "prompting" her to focus, lest she could think, in that brilliant mind of hers, that that is what needs to take place--though right now you are shaping her behavior. (Sorry for stating the obvious.)

Also, when you're giving treats, are you always giving them from one hand so that she looks to THAT hand in anticipation? If so, mix it up. Left hand a few times, then the right once, then the left, etc...as well as the location from where you are retracting the treats. Further down the line, her focus will be dead on you--where they come from isn't important.
I did wonder about the prompting, weather I should do it, or just no treat when she doesn't, but I figured I'd get her really understanding what I want with the prompt for now.

And good idea about switching it up with where the treats come from. She totally looks to my hand as soon as I say "Yess!" when she looks up at me. I do try to give her the treat when she is looking at me as much as possible. Again, gotta work on the distractions! ;)

Now the spitting the treat out at her....hmmmm, I'll pass but you made me laugh :lol:
Sue (and Sugar)

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Sugars Mom
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Tell us about yourself: I adopted a Dutch Shepherd mix (without knowing what she was) from the SPCA here in Victoria BC and am now trying to learn everything I can about this breed. My husband and I work from home most of the time so I thought it was time to get a puppy! We have his 2 boys here half the time and we wanted a nice family dog.

Sugar looks like a miniature Dutch Shepherd with floppy ears, and has every ounce of DS traits in her little body!

I hope to learn from other DS owners and share doggy experiences.
Location: Victoria BC

Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by Sugars Mom » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:26 am

And, if anyone has any answers on getting her to ignore squirrels, I'd love to hear it.

We have the squirrel highway in our backyard - the top of the fence that runs between us and the next door neighbour's yard. At one end of the fence, there is some kind of nut tree growing beside the fence next door and we have a walnut tree beside the fence at the other end. At this time of year, the squirrels are munching away at nuts from atop the fence or tree, or scurrying along the top of it and finding a place to hide their nuts.

Sugar gets so excited when she sees them! She runs beside the fence doing this sideways run on her back legs and kangaroo-like jumping as they run along the top of the fence. Then she tries to climb the tree when she gets to the end. I'm actually afraid she may jump up onto the branch one day, as its not that far from the ground!
Sue (and Sugar)

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Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by Raven » Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:43 pm

Sugar may not "be there yet," but the down the line the squirrels can be some of your distractions--while she's on lead--but make the treats extra-super tasty--once she understands that when mom talks, she's to listen. Don't let her associate going crazy over squirrels with getting treats, though. (On lead since you don't want her dissing you when you have no control over her.)

How strong is her recall? It probably isn't where you want it to be, so beef that up, too--and make those treats and praise extra-special when she obeys.

(How are training her recall?)
Though I can only hope to become the person who my animals believe I am, the things that they have taught me have made me a better human being. ~~~Sharon~~~

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Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by Raven » Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:46 pm

Oh...for spitting treats: I don't spit out dog treats...I'll spit out treats if I'm using thin slices of turkey hot dogs.
Though I can only hope to become the person who my animals believe I am, the things that they have taught me have made me a better human being. ~~~Sharon~~~

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Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by Marjolein » Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:16 pm

Sugars Mom wrote: Now the spitting the treat out at her....hmmmm, I'll pass but you made me laugh :lol:
:oops: I actually was serious :oops:
It really works. But practice first, and never use dry dog kibble, çause it will stick to your lip and trust me, that isn't funny when your dog really really wants that treat... Don't put them in your mouth, but one between your lips, release/spit to reward, then put a new one between your lips.
It works the same as the hand, but looking at your mouth, will look like looking at you for any judge. Also, during an examn or anything you will be able to make a very subtle psst sound only your dog will hear, to get her attention back to your face.
I also used this with the apport, to make them sit nice and straight in front of you put a ball under your chin (pushing it onto your chest to keep it in place. A simple move will release the ball for the dog.)
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Sugars Mom
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Tell us about yourself: I adopted a Dutch Shepherd mix (without knowing what she was) from the SPCA here in Victoria BC and am now trying to learn everything I can about this breed. My husband and I work from home most of the time so I thought it was time to get a puppy! We have his 2 boys here half the time and we wanted a nice family dog.

Sugar looks like a miniature Dutch Shepherd with floppy ears, and has every ounce of DS traits in her little body!

I hope to learn from other DS owners and share doggy experiences.
Location: Victoria BC

Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by Sugars Mom » Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:44 pm

Marjolein wrote:
Sugars Mom wrote: Now the spitting the treat out at her....hmmmm, I'll pass but you made me laugh :lol:
:oops: I actually was serious :oops:
It really works. But practice first, and never use dry dog kibble, çause it will stick to your lip and trust me, that isn't funny when your dog really really wants that treat... )
LOL, OK, thanks for the tips! I'll try it, as it will definitely get her looking at my face and let you know how it goes.
Sue (and Sugar)

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Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by Schlussdibusti » Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:57 am

And it doesn't need to be a commercial dog treat. You can cook some chicken breast (is anyway cheaper than some of the better dog treats and at least you know what's in it, no preservatives etc.) and cut it into the right size for Sugar. And if you swallow it accidentially, no big deal. :mrgreen:

P.S. try it with Italian herbs and garlic. You might not want to spit it at your dog and eat it yourself! :D :dschick:
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Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by Dutchringgirl » Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:27 pm

HAHAHA, I also never thought of the treat in your mouth!! I could just see trying to spit one out and the crumbs getting stuck AHAHAHA ! I would do the ball on chest thought too for the apport.

For the squirrels, Thalie, at 9, still will go after squirrels or anything that moves when we are out, but will come right back with a recall. If the recall is strong, then you can get them right as they split for the squirrel. So far Sadie is okay with coming after looking to see what the squirrel is doing.

Its good to see that even at 1 the attention isnt quite there yet, I was wondering since Sadie is approaching the big 1. She is excellent in the house too. On the trails she has gotten that when I stop she sits with out a prompt, not always but most of the time. When I have her in a down, after about 1 minute she starts whining and rolling to try to get to Thalie and play.
Lisa, Thalie CGC & Sadie, Cookie the Basset, CT
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Sugars Mom
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:16 am
Tell us about yourself: I adopted a Dutch Shepherd mix (without knowing what she was) from the SPCA here in Victoria BC and am now trying to learn everything I can about this breed. My husband and I work from home most of the time so I thought it was time to get a puppy! We have his 2 boys here half the time and we wanted a nice family dog.

Sugar looks like a miniature Dutch Shepherd with floppy ears, and has every ounce of DS traits in her little body!

I hope to learn from other DS owners and share doggy experiences.
Location: Victoria BC

Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by Sugars Mom » Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:26 pm

ok, so I tried the spitting treat method. I used cheese, as that is what I had that I was ok to have in my mouth. I practiced the spit first a few times, then called Sugar over to try it out with her. I asked her to speak and when she did I spit the cheese out at her. It bounced off her nose and she looked at it on the floor, then back up to me as if to say "What the heck! Why did you spit at me??" I told her to take it, and after she ate it, and she looked at me a little confused but hey, its cheese, so shes not going to complain! I tried again and it took a few times before she got the hang of catching it in her mouth, but she sure was intrigued by the whole thing.

We left for our walk and used that method on our walk. Its hard to spit it right in her mouth and so I would lean over and more or less drop it to her and I must have looked so silly!

On our way back, I had run out of treats, but when I stopped, she stopped and looked up at me. I praised her, but she kept looking up at me as we were walking as if to say "Did you forget something? Wheres the treat?" But I got her attention : )

On the squirrel side of things, she is much better now. Having her on a leash would be helpful for sure, and I will try that too, but whats been working is when she gets excited, I go over in between her and the fence and and tell her to leave it and to go lay down. With me standing right there, I can block her from continuing to run and she realizes she has no choice but to listen. Obviously the goal will be to just use the verbal command, and eventually her not to get excited at all. Either my training method is working or she is getting desensitized to the squirrels, as she is so much calmer now. Either way, I'll take what I can get!

I continue to work on the recall, and hopefully even with distractions, she will manage to be 100% consistent.

Thanks again for all the tips!
Sue (and Sugar)

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Re: Avoiding distractions

Post by Dutchringgirl » Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:46 pm

HAHA, I can just picture her face !!!! Having Sadie on a leash really helps, then I can give a tug to say" Hey, come here"
Lisa, Thalie CGC & Sadie, Cookie the Basset, CT
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