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#1 knightrider

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 08:20 AM

I was going to post this in agility section, but this carries over to our home life as well.  My bc is 17 mos old and has been in classes since she was a puppy and very socialized.  She's gone through the CGC and all the foundation classes at my club.  She had and can have very good handler focus.  Almost too good at times as one trainer i've recently started working with thought both my dogs had too much handler focus.

 

Fast forward to the handling classes.  Lots of other dogs around running while we are working.  I've started to encounter my BC running off after other dogs or even in big circles to sniff.  I've been working with engagement and have tried a multitude of things.  Recently one of my trainers took toys and treats away and we worked on me being way more exciting than anything else... once I got her attention again, she actually ran much better than before.

 

At home in the fenced yard, she tries to herd one of the cats who runs.  I can often train around the cat coming into the yard and work hard at it, but the newest behavior is when its time to go inside the house.  The other dogs will come in, my BC will think about it and then act like she's herding the cat.  If I walk towards her, she takes off.  I used to just ignore her and go in the house and do my thing.  Later she'd be at the door or near it and if she saw me walking to the door, she'd take off so I didn't open it.  At some point, she would come in or bark.  Then I think she may have been rewarded because she barked and got to come in.

 

Trainers have been working with me and have suggested mini bootcamp.  put her on a long line and work recalls and get her to earn off leash in the yard.  I do that, however, when I test the waters and take her offleash, she's fine for awhile but then upped the ante.  Now instead of rewarding by bringing her in, I get her lead and wait while she's running around.  I will ask for a sit and when she's done, I get her put on lead and put her in the house and sometimes the crate... but I'm feeling like I'm punishing her sit and not her running away.  Am I?  Or are the BC's smart enough to know that what Im' doing is taking away the freedom?

 

Any other suggestions?  Keeping her on lead all the time at home is hard on me..i've injured myself so negotiating the stairs on the deck with dogs is tough.  Especially if I have to do it multiple times a day....

 

Currently she is working agility classes 2x a week for an hour (not working the whole time as we are in shifts or turns), then we do a private for an hour but that is often shared with my other dog.  I try to work in small short increments at home and since I can't walk far now, I play fetch with her in the yard as well.  We do not work every day.

 

Need to get through this... I've been told its not uncommon to have some issues... and I work extremely hard at keeping her focus... but I'm not always successful and its not only embarrassing but its disruptive to the classes.  I need to fix this.  Ideas?



#2 CptJack

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 08:54 AM

You are punishing her sit and return - she is smart enough to know that coming back often leads to an end of fun.  I would probably get her back by whatever means, reward her and as counter intuitive as it feels LET HER GO AGAIN.   Repeat as necessary.   She'll figure it out, but if coming to you stops fun, it stops fun.

 

I will say that my BC - now 3.5 - often runs large laps at her (private) agility lessons.  For her, in that situation, it is a means of blowing off steam/regulating her own stress level.  The first few times she did it, it was not exactly with my approval and stressed me out.  At this point I throw a toy and tell her to 'take a lap' and wait for her to be finished running to even try to recall her.   Once she's done, I've got my partner back - ie: she's focused, engaged, and ready to work.    For her, I don't need to wrestle her for attention or compete with the environment but I do need to let her relax and have mindless movement some - an hour in a class with other dogs or a half hour of no-play all work is just too much for her.

 

No clue if that's going on or a factor with your dog, but food for thought and something to consider.  

 

Also consider that even if it's not you may have more luck allowing her to do the thing (at home) on purpose, than trying to stop it entirely. Not let her blow recall mind,  or run wild in class (and disrupt other dogs) but run wild for a bit as a planned part of playtime, at home.  If the only time she can do it is blowing a recall and it's valuable enough she'll keep blowing the recall.



#3 knightrider

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 09:12 AM

Yes, I thought that I was punishing her sit and not the running.  I guess I could put her on lead, walk her to the area we do stuff and let her off lead to run and play.  Good idea.  The hard part is often this starts during times i'm only wearing socks. lol.  So I probably need to be more prepared and wear shoes.

 

I'm not sure exactly if its the same thing with the agility classes, but a good thought.  It would be frowned on in class even though she's very social. She will go visit and try to play.  My standard poodle is kind of like your dog.  She used to come into the ring and start out super fast and then get the zoomies.  Once around and she was done and worked well the rest of the time.



#4 CptJack

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 09:41 AM

Yes, I thought that I was punishing her sit and not the running.  I guess I could put her on lead, walk her to the area we do stuff and let her off lead to run and play.  Good idea.  The hard part is often this starts during times i'm only wearing socks. lol.  So I probably need to be more prepared and wear shoes.

 

I'm not sure exactly if its the same thing with the agility classes, but a good thought.  It would be frowned on in class even though she's very social. She will go visit and try to play.  My standard poodle is kind of like your dog.  She used to come into the ring and start out super fast and then get the zoomies.  Once around and she was done and worked well the rest of the time.

 

I buy a pair of cheap ugg knockoff boots every winter and abuse those times I have to go out with the dogs and don't want to bother with real shoes or laces.   They're terrible and impractical but they've got soles and keep my feet warm out in the yard.

 

And yeah, I'd never do that in a group class.  Running up to other dogs is not great.   Her mindless movement (or nearly so) in a class would be tug or a bunch of high energy, high,  bouncy handtouches.  Both of those things ramp a lot of dogs up more.  Her, they calm.  Anyway, running might be well worth it for time in the yard, or something you can do before or after class so she learns it's an okay thing as long as it's in the right time/place, though. 



#5 knightrider

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 12:34 PM

I did think that part of the original problem was that I was at work all day and then we'd go outside for a bit and straight to class... so she really didn't have time to blow off steam.  but when I worked from home one day and took her for the private, i still lost her attention and she took off to visit people and dogs outside of the ring.  

 

Is this a phase we are going through .?  Teenager stuff?  My other dogs have done different things at young ages, but they have all had excellent recalls/focus.

 

Its a new world I guess with BC's...



#6 urge to herd

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 01:35 PM

When I remember where I read this, I'll post the book title. I do remember the concept ~ it's a game called 'Freeze & Go Wild'. You alternate allowing the dog to run around like a crazy dog, ask for a BRIEF sit/stay, enforcing if you need to, then let the beast run around some more. Gradually increase the length of the sit/stays, alternating w/the crazy dog action. 

 

Start this at home. Do just a few reps and then go inside with her. And do something special that she loves right when she comes in with you. Butt scratch, head rub, belly rub, whatever kind of thing is more calming than exciting.

 

Good luck, let us know how it goes.

 

Ruth & Gibbs



#7 CptJack

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 01:48 PM

It isn't breed so much as individual dog and various tolerance and drive levels and how they play together.   What IS a breed thing is often... emotional sensitivity, sensitivity to their handler's emotional state, and being inclined to stress the heck out, but it's only part of the picture with something as broad as recall. 



#8 GentleLake

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 05:10 PM

It isn't breed so much as individual dog and various tolerance and drive levels and how they play together.   What IS a breed thing is often... emotional sensitivity, sensitivity to their handler's emotional state, and being inclined to stress the heck out, but it's only part of the picture with something as broad as recall. 

 

Very much this.

 

I find it very frustrating to hear so many people blame all sorts of general behavioral issues on the breed (and it can sometimes be breeds other than border collies) when it's really a lack of training or understanding how dogs in general learn, etc. And I'm convinced that most people who can't do well with border collies or "shouldn't" have border collies really shouldn't have any kind of dog at all.

 

Not saying that the OP hasn't trained or shouldn't have a dog, but there is a hint in that last post that the thought process could be headed in that direction. ;)


"People in your life always come and go all the time; the dogs are always there for me. Always." ~Samantha Valle


#9 urge to herd

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 10:02 PM

You can also practice a catch and release game - call her to you, reinforce w/a good dog or head scratch, and release. Do this several times randomly throughout your day. She learns that returning to you is a good thing always, and doesn't necessarily mean the fun stops.

 

You might choose a specific cue or settle down command. 'Settle' is a good word, probably not used often in daily speech. Add that in to your catch & release game. 

 

Hope that's helpful.

 

Ruth & Gibbs



#10 gcv-border

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 10:11 PM

As I read your post, I was having several of the same thoughts I saw posted in response.

 

You are ending her fun by making her sit and then bringing her inside (by whatever means).  So yes, I would be calling her to me, rewarding, then letting her go and play again.

 

I would also call her when I was standing at the door, reward when she comes, and let her go play.

 

And bring her inside, reward, then let her back outside to play.  Or at least reward hugely for coming inside with you.

 

Get the idea?

 

Also, are you only doing fun training outside? Why not continue with some fun training inside the house so she is engaged fully with you there too?  From what you have written: Outside = fun, Inside = ho hum.


Jovi

"Folks will know how large your soul is by the way you treat a dog."  Charles F. Duran


#11 D'Elle

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 12:16 PM

I have always trained the recall by making it a Good Thing For Dogs to come when called. 

When training, coming to me is always, every single time,  rewarded with a high-value reward, and then the dog is turned loose again with a release word.

 

It's like training "drop it", or "give". You ask the dog to let it go, then give the dog a high-value treat, then give the thing back again. And repeat hundreds of times.

 

Doing it this way essentially teaches the dog that coming when called or dropping the toy is a win-win for the dog. 

 

If you build up a reward history of this (and I am talking a long reward history, meaning hundreds of repetitions over weeks, maybe months), then the few times that the dog is not rewarded for it with something tangible, or is not let go again after coming, and is only praised, will not change the behavior.

 

but you gotta be patient, and above all persistent and consistent.

 

I always have a pair of season-appropriate slip-on footwear next to both the front and back doors for quick put-on.


D'Elle

and family.

Left to right: Kit, Jester, Boo, Digger

 

 

Mydogs12-2013Smaller.jpg
"You gonna throw that?" --Jester:  2001 - June 24 2016. Remembered with much love.
"I'm grouchier than you are" --Kit

"I love everyone!" -- Boo

(Boing! Boing! Boing!)--Digger

And not pictured, Benjamin the cat, who thinks he is a small border collie with superpowers.

 

 

 


#12 urge to herd

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 03:40 PM

Knightrider, look for my post on Sept 27th, about how recall saved my dog's life.  I can't copy paste on this web site, so you'll need to scroll down. It describes what I've done w/Gibbs for the 7yrs I've had him and how it paid off.

 

I would say that my choice at this point is not to reward him every single time w/a treat. I ALWAYS  ​acknowledge that he has responded correctly. I'll praise and/or give him a good head scratch.  

 

I've worked this lesson in every location I could. It's worth every minute.

 

Ruth & Gibbs



#13 D'Elle

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 11:14 AM

Agree with Ruth how worth it this (and all other) training is.

For me,  because I have trained a few dogs, it really has become such a habit it is almost like a reflexive action on the important things like wait before going in or out a door or vehicle, recall, and so on.

 

If you do it enough it's no longer like a Training You Have To Remember To Do, and certainly is not something that you have to set aside time to do for X amount of minutes each day. It just becomes integrated into the habits of daily life.

 

If I have a piece of carrot, someone needs to do a behavior to get it. I don't even need to tell them to wait at the door. We practice recall every day on our walks, always reinforcing with food and/or lavish praise. Behaviors are asked for in order to get bedtime biscuit. And so on.

 

Little bits here and there every day, on top of the concentrated training that you do to teach the behavior in the first place, and it becomes reflexive for the dog as well. :-)


D'Elle

and family.

Left to right: Kit, Jester, Boo, Digger

 

 

Mydogs12-2013Smaller.jpg
"You gonna throw that?" --Jester:  2001 - June 24 2016. Remembered with much love.
"I'm grouchier than you are" --Kit

"I love everyone!" -- Boo

(Boing! Boing! Boing!)--Digger

And not pictured, Benjamin the cat, who thinks he is a small border collie with superpowers.

 

 

 


#14 urge to herd

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 11:43 AM

^^^ Agreeing particularly about getting it to the reflex stage. Both for me and the dog. It was reflex that made Gibbs turn on a dime and trot happily back to me. It was reflex on my part that made me say "HERE!" 

 

It's also become reflex for me to look for things to do with my dog on walks. Practice a sit/stay. Practice wait. Practice circling one way or the other. Doing any thing w/these dogs that engages them with you is a good thing. 

 

Ruth & Gibbs



#15 knightrider

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 01:52 PM

Thanks for the responses.  I haven't been online this weekend but did actually do a bunch of what was suggested.  I do play inside alot.  Actually more inside than out because I've had an injury that kept me from doing our hikes.  But I've been feeling better and got the dogs out on a couple good walks.

 

I did do a bunch of catch releases... and sometimes used food, sometimes good hard play with a toy and sometimes without, and sometimes some really nice scratching and praise.  Then released and let her do her thing and repeated.  I also brought her inside for a treat, let her go back outside for some fetch or some agility play which she loves.

 

This dog really wants to be outside more.  Its the time of year when its dark early and with my injury, her exercise outside has been limited.  So its either the yard or the classes.  I'm feeling better and am trying to do more walks which may help too.

 

Inside I've started changing up her fetch games.  She often wants me to throw a toy in the house.  So I've incorporated tricks into the game.  Go to mat in a down, then throw the toy... repeat with a different trick at the mat like cover your eyes or crawl.  She seems to really enjoy that.  And I'm trying to work on new tricks to add to the games.

 

She was better this weekend, but had a couple instances where she totally blew me off.  A lot of it occurs around either the cat or finding the mice the cat brings in the yard - yuck.  I have my classes this week and am going to try to do some work before we go.  I might also try to limit the time we work with the other dogs and do similar things with her... go work on a contact, put the leash on her, leave the ring, play, scratch, treat... return...one of the instructors thought she ran away one time because she knew she was going to leave the ring and didn't want to leave so she ran off.



#16 GentleLake

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 09:14 PM

You might want to train a good "leave it" cue so you can use it both when she's focused on the cat and on the mice the cat's bringing into the yard.

 

I'd probably make sure it's pretty well proofed with less valuable items like toys before expecting to get the desired results on the cat and mice though. ;)


"People in your life always come and go all the time; the dogs are always there for me. Always." ~Samantha Valle


#17 knightrider

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 09:06 AM

I had a really good leave it until she found the mice! At least so I thought! LOL... Perhaps not as good as I thought...revisiting that as well. 

 

Class was not bad.  She was a little wild initially but worked through a lot.  the environment we are in has several different dogs running right next to her...so overall she was good and came back much quicker even though she left our task at hand.  Definite improvement.

 

I do have a question though... while we are going through this, would it be better if I continue on with the classes or just take the privates with less distractions (although there will be other dogs around and people, the chances for it being right next to us is greatly reduced)?  I know we have to work through this so I can see the benefit of the classes, but doing only the privates once a week could give us more direct focus on handling and course work, plus a lot more help privately from a very good instructor... thoughts? 



#18 CptJack

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 01:14 PM

You would be better off doing privates to build an understanding of the game and staying with you,  and building value IN staying with you before introducing a crazy amount of distractions.


In training always train the behavior first, then slowly increase the duration, distance, and distractions slowly - as slowly as you can .  Otherwise you are essentially setting the dog up to fail, and in failure developing a habit in the dog for NOT doing the thing and undoing all the training you did.



#19 knightrider

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 02:08 PM

Ok, thanks.. that is where I was leaning towards.  My dog had great focus on me prior to moving up to the handling class and the other class where we can have 4-8 dogs in the same ring using equipment, running, etc.  both my problems started about the time these classes started.  My trainer who I'm taking privates with thought both my dogs had actually too much handler focus when I first started and then introduction to the class heightened environment has lost some of the focus. I think she's not mentally there yet and I've been putting an enormous amount of pressure on myself to fix the issue - meaning fix myself and my handling to prevent the issues.

 

I've been in this class program for a long time and feel like I should continue on, but between the maturity level of my dog, the issues we are encountering and the work I need to improve on in myself it probably is better to do more consistent privates.




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