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Obi246

How To Become More Interesting

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Kavik   

Hey Kavik, what methods are you using with Kaos? I've only had experience with shaping a dog as a pup (Scooter, who is a tug FIEND now) so this is all new ground for Rudy and I, and it sounds like you're onto a winner. Cavs are obviously bred to be soft-mouthed too, so I'm down with getting creative!

I am using mostly Susan Garrett ideas. I am viewing tugging as a measure of the dog's willingness to engage in a game with the handler. So I look at signs the dog is engaging or disengaging. Will the dog remain engaged if I ask him to out the toy? Will he choose to bring the toy back to reengage in a game with me? Will he engage around his favourite food/ball/person to visit, on a different or moving surface, after getting a treat as a reward, when released from the crate, when released from a control position, in a new location? This all tells me how much value he has for playing with me, and how comfortable he is playing with me. This also means I praise and reward the dog for choosing to engage with me, and grow the intensity of the tugging as well.

ETA: I am not a purist - I do borrow from other trainers as well, use of markers when my dog chooses to engage and then offer the tug (did this morning when doing transitions from front yard to outside of front yard - outed the toy near the gate, stepped outside gate, marked when the dog looked at me and offered toy - he is getting good at this one now, looked straight away), mark when my dog brings me back the tug.

Edited by Kavik

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huski   

I am struggling to see your point. You have to work with the dog that you have in front of you and build o its strengths. My dog has more than enough drive and focus to do what I want him to do - he is a great agility dog and I've been told that by instructors, some of whom are the top competitors in this state. He isn't a working line BC or mal but I'm hardly going to stop doing things with him and say he doesn't have enough drive to do agility because he doesn't like bar tugs! Why are they the only "real" ones?

If your dog really has enough drive to do all that then I'm sure he could go into prey drive for other items. I'm not talking about dogs who just prefer furry toys, I'm talking about dogs that can only display drive if the handler is waving around a furry and/or noisey toy. I have not yet come across a dog that can only show drive for noisey/furry toys that has enough drive to sustain it or be durable enough to do what the owner wants it to. Yes, you need to work with the dog you have in front of you and that involves working with what the dog is capable of genetically. Not all dogs need to be working line BCs or Mals to play tug well, we have many clients who don't have working line dogs that do really well with drive work but at the end of the day all you can ever do as a handler is build on what your dog already has genetically. I don't see the point in forcing a dog to play tug if it doesn't really have enough drive to enjoy it. It's supposed to be a reward, if it takes you months or years to get your dog responding to it and it can only do it under special circumstances then in all likelihood, the dog doesn't see it as a reward.

Here is where our point differs. Rather than saying he won't automatically tug in every environment so I'll give up on tugging, I am working on our relationship and growing the tugging behaviour. I know he has enough drive. Even if we don't get to use it as a reward for agility (he is 6 yrs old and so has a long history of not tugging when asked to overcome), it has still been a very worthwhile exercise to teach. I have learned a lot about myself and my dog, his strengths and weaknesses, to be able to guage how engaged he is, to note what he does when I let go of the toy or out him from the toy, his willingness to bring it back, the difference various toys make. All of this has improved our relationship and will certainly make it easier for me to train tug properly from the beginning when I get a new puppy.

This is where I really like SG. Like I said she encourages people to have ALL dogs tug. It is necessary for several components of her training courses. To celebrate the small succeses. To help your dog to tug outside the yard by increasing the distractions and difficulties within the yard first. There was a big congrats from SG and LOH when I posted that I was now able to get him tugging at the park. That kind of encouragement helps. Also knowing there are others in the same boat having to overcome the same difficulties, and succeeding!

I have gotten him to tug:

Straight out of a crate release to a tug

After shaping with food

At the park

At training

At a trial

On a table

On a wobble board

All things I never would have dreamed possible a year ago.

Last year I had huge issues with him running out of the ring. He has only done it once this year, at a very distracting trial and new environment. It was the only trial we did not qualify in at least one event. We gained 3 titles this year, our most successful yet!

Sometimes in training it is the journey that is important :)

If you have found spending a year trying to get him to take a reward like a tug has been worthwhile for you, that's great! But I would still question if he really has 'enough drive', if it has taken you that long to encourage him to take tug as a reward. I'm sure the extra time you've put into working with him and training him has been of benefit to your relationship, but if as you've said above yourself he may never view the tug as a valuable enough reward to be motivated by tugging or rewarded by it outside of the yard, could you not have improved your relationship using other rewards? What is the point if he really doesn't value the reward that much that you probably can't use it practically?

I'm sure you found training just as simple with your Beagle as you do with the Malinois puppy yes?

There are some things that were easier with Daisy but if you mean getting Wisdom to go into drive is easier, than yes of course it is! That's why I wanted a working line dog with loads of drive to train (ETA: and IMO, training ANY kind of dog well requires skill and I certainly wouldn't call training even a working line dog simple, there are lots of things we can do to stuff up and training a dog like that still presents it's challenges). I started out training Daisy with a tug but swapped to food when I realised she just wasn't as driven for the tug. I didn't see the point in forcing her to take a reward she didn't really want. She has enough drive for food to work under distraction and at trials etc so we didn't need tug. If I had persevered with her for a year or more and still couldn't get her to go into drive outside the yard then I would have questioned if she had enough drive to do what I wanted to do with her. If the only way I could have gotten her to take a food reward outside of the house was to poach a piece of chicken breast and soak it in sardines I would have asked if she really had enough drive for food to work at the level I wanted.

That's just how I view it, we work with a lot of different dogs with varying levels of drive, and there are many things we can do to get more out of our dogs. You have to work with the dog you have in front of you and find what works best for them. I wouldn't spend months or years trying to build prey drive into a dog who has little to no value for prey items (tugs) as a reward, I think that's a lot of time to spend trying to get a dog to value a reward that is time that could be spent building your relationship etc using rewards the dog actually does have value for.

Edited by huski

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Red Fox   

Wow, hasn't this thread got off topic...

Re the original question:

Hey everyone,

I have a 1yr old lab who is reasonably well behaved... until he sees another dog.

We used to go to obedience training and we got upto grade 4, but then i started a new job where the times clashed and can no longer go :( At obedience he was pretty good, we got up to doing offlead work - but a few times he would break and run to the other dogs. With sit stays, drop stays he would be fine until another dog moved... apparently that signalled play time for him. Its gotten to the stage now where he has about a 200m dog radius - that is, if he is offlead and theres a dog within 200m of us, he's gone. I know i shouldnt be letting him off lead because he doesnt have a 100% recall, but even on lead if we walk past another dog he will be pulling my arm off trying to get to it to say hello.

He is usually very food orientated but from most interesting to least interesting it would be Dogs > Food > Toys > Me. Its actually quite upsetting :cry:

So... does anyone have any ideas about how i can make myself more interesting and fun to him? He was so good around the other dogs at dog training, how do i make him like that all the time? Do you think i need professional help?

I also saw in another post about training a "Yuck" where they spit out whats in their mouth. Any tips on how to train this? He really needs this as probably twice a week he finds something gross at the beach (dead fish, dead bird, dead baby sting ray the other day, netting etc) and refuses to let me catch him to get it off him. I think i have been lucky so far that he hasnt swallowed something thats gotten stuck.

Thanks

I don't see what was wrong with the suggestion of correcting the dog for showing inappropriate behaviour (whether it be with a prong or otherwise) and rewarding the dog when he focuses back on the handler. Sometimes rather than make yourself more appealing you need to make the distraction/bad behaviour less appealing. Sounds like the dog understands that focussing on his handler is right, but has not really been taught that focussing on the other dogs and/or becoming overly excited is 'wrong'.

If the dog isn't taking food (when he is normally very food orientated) then he's simply over his threshold.

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Kavik   

huski,

Did you read Susan Garrett's blog link that I posted? She outlines some of the reasons why I am persisting with tug with my dog. Plus it is necessary for some of the elements of her courses I am taking. As I said earlier, it is a different approach to tugging and a different way of thinking about it than K9Pro. Neither is right or wrong, just different.

My dog loves to chase a toy, and will tug for a variety of different toys, so has plenty of drive :) My issue hasn't been about his level of drive. I am using tug to sort out a few other things such as compliance and engagement. If we don't get to the level that I can use it in competition then so be it, but I am going to give it a try, my recent success is showing that it is worth doing. Successes in other locations are showing that he is becoming more comfortable with engaging with me, so even if I don't use it in competition as a reward, I have reaped the benefits of how it has improved our relationship, which can be seen by his improved focus, speed and performance this year. Plus it is a lot of fun! It is teaching me a lot about how to read my dog as well. How long it takes is not the issue - building a relationship with my dog is not a race :thumbsup: For competition at the moment I use other rewards. I am going to pin my success this year to my persistence in growing my dog's tug behaviour, as it has helped with a lot of focus issues we were having, and seeing me as a more fun person to be around and more comfortable having fun around me.

Edited by Kavik

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Weasels   

I'm a bit confused - I don't think of drive as something that a dog either has or doesn't have. Just from observing the kelps, Weez has weak prey drive in general but excellent herding drive. He just doesn't "see" anything smaller than a runner duck (as evidenced when he once had a mouse run between his legs, totally oblivious :grimace:). When he wants to tug tho, it is definitely rewarding to him.

Chess has great prey drive and will mouse like a terrier, she also had good herding instincts and definitely knows the difference between things to kill and things to herd. I would classify her as a "high drive dog".

Since herding is a modified prey drive, should I be thinking of these as separate things? Is Weez a high drive dog based on how intense and zoned in he gets on stock, or is he a low drive dog because he doesn't tug reliably or chase prey?

Edited by Weasels

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Kavik   

It's tricky Weasels hey!

The times I've taken Kaos herding they have been impressed with his level of instinct, including Jim Luce. He was very keen from the first time I took him. I haven't done stockwork in a while - wonder what he is like now? I think my issue in general has been compliance/biddability and being comfortable with engaging with me in new environments - so possibly a confidence issue too?

Edited by Kavik

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Weasels   

I've always thought of Weez as fairly drivey, because he gets stuck on things and can be quite intense, but then that could be as much low biddability as anything :laugh:

And yes, confidence certainly isn't something Weez is brimming with either :(

Edited by Weasels

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Aidan3   
Since herding is a modified prey drive, should I be thinking of these as separate things?

I think so. But if we find a dog who is persistent and intense in pursuing a particular activity, then that dog is "high drive". The morphology of herding is different to retrieving, but both are modified prey drive.

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Kavik   

I think tugging is a combination of things acting together, and doesn't just rely on the dog's level of prey drive. Some terriers and sighthounds have high levels of prey drive (great for ratting/coursing) but may be difficult to get to tug with a person as a reward, as it is an interaction with a person, a cooperative effort and game, that they may not feel as comfortable with.

I remember reading in that dingo thread a comment on wolves and their high prey drive - but how easy would it be to use tugging as a reward with a wolf? It is not as simple as enough or not enough drive.

Edited by Kavik

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In response to Obi246 original post....

Yes I have an idea...I have a reactive (over friendly and dumb to other dogs body language) youngster that I am training with an approach similar to but not the same as, LAT (Look at that).

Arm yourself with a clicker (yes a clicker...for this to work the clicker is definitely the best tool), later on you won't need it.... and lots of yummy soft treats. If you don't train with a clicker it would be worth getting him clicker savvy and train some tricks and do some shaping games first.

Work under threshold at all times. Start by having him on lead and see if you can work out where he starts to react, go back a few paces to where he is calm, this threshold will be a fluid, changing distance so you have to be prepared to go with it. When he notices, but doesn't react to the distraction, watch him carefully, when he disengages which could be a head shift, a sniff, a tongue flick, click and he will turn to you for the treat. Start again....

Keep him on lead and don't allow him to practice behaviour you don't want. You can use tuggy as well but only after he has disengaged. I find the click and treat to be a bit more surgical in the beginning stages. Good luck!

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Obi246

I'm so glad you want to fix this. So many lab owners just give up and let their dogs be naughty - which can actually put older people in hospital when they get knocked over.

So you can rate your distractions as levels - with level 1 being easy to ignore, and level 10 being really hard to ignore (or unsafe to interact with).

You start with practicing your recall with no distractions, then when your dog is reliable - add some level 1 - maybe go from inside the house - to the back yard. Actually for my dog - her worst recall is in the back yard... and build up.

If you're at the beach or the park and you see a level 10 or level 5 and you know you won't have recall at level 5 (or where ever you're at) catch your dog before he gets distracted and put him on lead so you keep him safe and he's not learning it's ok to ignore you and play with all the other dogs.

When it's ok with you, give him permission to greet other dogs - or go off lead - only when he can hold a nice calm sit and look at you. Ie make playing with other dogs a reward from you. Permission from you and then he connects the fun of playing with other dogs with you. I tell my dog "go play". It's good to have a cue word that makes permission official.

Practice rewarding him if he checks in with you. Practice calling him - when he's already coming back to you. Reward that too. And when it's ok - do this as often as possible - get him to do the nice calm sit - and let him go play again - so you reward that again with his fave thing / biggest distraction.

If you have to stop him (other dog or owner is getting upset or he's getting too excited to listen), if you think there is no way he will come when you call him, don't call him, just quietly go get him, put him on lead - and reward that. Lots of praise (ideally food too). If you do call him and he ignores you - go get him quietly and put him on lead. If you want to let him go again later - make sure in the intervening time - you play lots of games, and ask him to do lots of work with you on lead - trick training and heel work are good things. Practice getting him to shake hands, do sit stays, down stays, speak - whatever you want. Don't let him keep pulling towards where he wants to be (naughty) - give him something else to do, try not to ignore him completely. If you're talking to someone - try sitting next to him and massaging ears - rather than just ignoring. It's a trap for dog owners.

Labs often like fetch games too - so you might see if you can also incorporate that into your rewards - as well as or instead of food.

And there are a couple of SA dog trainers that I like if you pm me I will give you their contact details.

PS it's nearly break up time for our local dog clubs (most close decemember and january) but they are excellent places to practice distraction proofing in a controlled environment - ie lots of dogs on lead there for your dog to practice ignoring.

Edited by Mrs Rusty Bucket

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Jumabaar   

Inevitablue do you have any details on denise's visit?

From her FB page -

July next year, Sydney (Shannon Malmberg is the orgniser - I will find her details), Brisbane at Camp Tailwaggers and I think one other state still to be decided. Camp Tailwaggers has the info on their website.

She says on her FB page that she will be doing private consults whilst here too.

There must be other DOLer's who know more about her visit than me :provoke:

OOOOOh I wanna go! If you have any extra details this would be great.

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corvus   

Since herding is a modified prey drive, should I be thinking of these as separate things?

Bwaha, the age-old question. I've been 'organising' behaviour as a side-project that seems to be slowly taking over my life. I'm in cahoots with an artificial intelligence professor who shall remain nameless because they're mine, all mine! Not sharing!! AI people are damn good at logical approaches to behaviour. I provide the ethological context and they tell me how to organise it. I'm yet to find a way to fit tug into predatory behaviour. It fits better into social bonding and play. Before anyone yells at me, I'm just organising on the basis of simple rules that seem to work for the majority of behaviour. It's not my fault those rules mean tug doesn't fit best where the training world says it fits best.

Having the drive to do something and expressing that drive are two different things. All the pieces of the puzzle have to be there first. Just because some dogs need more pieces than others doesn't mean they don't have as much drive. It's not a waste of time on any account to explore what pieces your dog needs and how to supply them. Particularly if you buy into the idea that tug is a play behaviour. Play is one of the best indicators of positive emotional state we have in animals.

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Diva   

I think tugging is a combination of things acting together, and doesn't just rely on the dog's level of prey drive. Some terriers and sighthounds have high levels of prey drive (great for ratting/coursing) but may be difficult to get to tug with a person as a reward, as it is an interaction with a person, a cooperative effort and game, that they may not feel as comfortable with

I'd have said you were right about sighthounds before I tried my two one day at Steve's. No hesitation, straight on the tug.

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huski   

huski,

Did you read Susan Garrett's blog link that I posted? She outlines some of the reasons why I am persisting with tug with my dog. Plus it is necessary for some of the elements of her courses I am taking. As I said earlier, it is a different approach to tugging and a different way of thinking about it than K9Pro. Neither is right or wrong, just different.

I did have a quick look at it, but I don't believe that you can only get those things she talks about through tugging, in my experience you can get the same results with food if you know how to use it properly.

I'm not sure which was the last workshop of ours you attended, as I've been to all of them for the last several years and I don't think I've seen you at one before? The methods and approach we use for training are constantly evolving so the way we approach training etc may have changed since the last workshop you attended. We're running a drive and focus workshop early next year, you should come along :)

My dog loves to chase a toy, and will tug for a variety of different toys, so has plenty of drive :) My issue hasn't been about his level of drive. I am using tug to sort out a few other things such as compliance and engagement. If we don't get to the level that I can use it in competition then so be it, but I am going to give it a try, my recent success is showing that it is worth doing. Successes in other locations are showing that he is becoming more comfortable with engaging with me, so even if I don't use it in competition as a reward, I have reaped the benefits of how it has improved our relationship, which can be seen by his improved focus, speed and performance this year. Plus it is a lot of fun! It is teaching me a lot about how to read my dog as well. How long it takes is not the issue - building a relationship with my dog is not a race :thumbsup: For competition at the moment I use other rewards. I am going to pin my success this year to my persistence in growing my dog's tug behaviour, as it has helped with a lot of focus issues we were having, and seeing me as a more fun person to be around and more comfortable having fun around me.

It's great that it works for you then and you are getting the results you want in a time frame that works for you :thumbsup:

I'm a bit confused - I don't think of drive as something that a dog either has or doesn't have.

IMO, drive is something a dog has genetically, it's there from the day it's born. You can learn how to use it and maximise it and build on it but you can only work within the genetic capabilities of the dog you have in front of you.

IMO tugging is part of prey drive, the desire to chase and grab a moving item isn't about play, it's about catching moving prey. Though of course there are many different schools of thought out there about what prey drive is and isn't, we just use the approach that works for us and others to get results.

ETA: I see dogs that tug but the dog is just playing, not displaying any real prey drive. I wouldn't call play and prey drive the same thing.

Edited by huski

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Weasels   

I think so. But if we find a dog who is persistent and intense in pursuing a particular activity, then that dog is "high drive". The morphology of herding is different to retrieving, but both are modified prey drive.

Bwaha, the age-old question. I've been 'organising' behaviour as a side-project that seems to be slowly taking over my life. I'm in cahoots with an artificial intelligence professor who shall remain nameless because they're mine, all mine! Not sharing!! AI people are damn good at logical approaches to behaviour. I provide the ethological context and they tell me how to organise it. I'm yet to find a way to fit tug into predatory behaviour. It fits better into social bonding and play. Before anyone yells at me, I'm just organising on the basis of simple rules that seem to work for the majority of behaviour. It's not my fault those rules mean tug doesn't fit best where the training world says it fits best.

Having the drive to do something and expressing that drive are two different things. All the pieces of the puzzle have to be there first. Just because some dogs need more pieces than others doesn't mean they don't have as much drive. It's not a waste of time on any account to explore what pieces your dog needs and how to supply them. Particularly if you buy into the idea that tug is a play behaviour. Play is one of the best indicators of positive emotional state we have in animals.

Thanks guys, nice to know I'm not just being totally dense :laugh: Happy to admit I don't feel like I really understand 'drive' even though I can regognise certain mental states in the kelps where they may be less responsive and more instinct-driven in given situations :shrug:

IMO, drive is something a dog has genetically, it's there from the day it's born. You can learn how to use it and maximise it and build on it but you can only work within the genetic capabilities of the dog you have in front of you.

IMO tugging is part of prey drive, the desire to chase and grab a moving item isn't about play, it's about catching moving prey. Though of course there are many different schools of thought out there about what prey drive is and isn't, we just use the approach that works for us and others to get results.

ETA: I see dogs that tug but the dog is just playing, not displaying any real prey drive. I wouldn't call play and prey drive the same thing.

So would you think Weez has drive from the description I posted? Also, thinking about your and Kavik's post, when he does bring us a tug it looks much more like just an attempt to engage/play with us that he has learnt works rather than the intense "kill stare" that Chessy gets :p

Edited by Weasels

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huski   

So would you think Weez has drive from the description I posted? Also, thinking about your and Kavik's post, when he does bring us a tug it looks much more like just an attempt to engage/play with us that he has learnt works rather than the intense "kill stare" that Chessy gets :p

Yes, I would, the instinct from herding has to come from somewhere, and it would have been there from the day he was born. Remember too that dogs learn what behaviours create drive satisfaction, like my scent hound who is extremely scent driven learning that she can give herself drive satisfaction through scenting. She spent a long time learning that scenting was the best way to satisfy her drive so it was then hard work to channel that drive through food (which we did and it worked very well, but it would have been much easier had I done that from day one rather than letting her learn to self reward through scenting).

Another way to look at it is that a dog who is reasonably prey driven who loves chasing the ball and who has learnt that chasing the ball is the best way to achieve drive satisfaction, can be hesitant to tug with the owner because they've learnt that the reward comes away from the handler (by chasing the ball). The dog is so conditioned to receiving the reward at distance from the handler that when you ask the dog to go into drive for a tug it can hesitate or move away expecting the reward to be thrown. That's when using a flirt pole or something similar can help transition a dog onto a tug.

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Weasels   

Ok thanks :) Weez certainly had to learn that chasing the ball was fun, for a long time he would just chase Chess around but I didn't like that so much because there was no payoff (catch) and it didn't always hold his attention in the face of distraction. Chasing the ball now definitely puts him into kelpie-mode and he is stuck on that thing like glue, which gives us a great opportunity to practice the "command over instinct" that he needs in herding :)

Edited by Weasels

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Diva   

Of the two sightounds I tried a tug with, one was very into it, very intense, and immediately. She still is, even in strange places. She has no interest at all in balls, is less hot on a lure then the other girl, and is the softest of the two.

I found it really interesting that she was so very keen.

Edited by Diva

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