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This weekend I will be getting my first border collie! He is a 7 week old smooth coated tri colored puppy from working parents with great personalities. For the past couple of weeks I have been trying my best to prepare for him. Since I have only horses as livestock, I hope to keep him busy with another job through obedience training and when he is old enough, agility and similar sports. I'm so thrilled and excited about him joining my family. I've wanted to add a border collie to the family for years and the right opportunity has finally arrived. After weeks of going back and forth for the past couple of weeks I’ve finally decided on the name Tobias. Here’s some pictures of him too.

 

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Thanks guys. These past couple of weeks can not go by fast enough. I really wanted to call him Atlas because of his markings but aloud it sounds too much like Alice to me. After reading the book Divergent I fell in love with the name Tobias. I love the meaning of it too and that its uncommon and more masculine sounding then Atlas.

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I think my timing is a little off for saying 'yes' (I'm not using a clicker I'm trying to use a marker word instead.)

But here is all that Tobias has learned in our first week. :D

 

 

 

 

(And yes art2184, I am too!)

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Nice job, Tobias!

 

Your "yes" is coming a little late. It should come at the instant he does what you ask him to do. Right now it's working OK, but if and when he gets to the point where he's starts doing something else instead of waiting to see what you're going to do next, then you'll have lost the moment to mark the behavior -- or you'll end up accidentally marking something you don't intend to -- because the other movement will come so quickly. It happens to many dogs, especially when you start shaping other behaviors and they start throwing movement out to see what will get marked and rewarded.

 

There's one time when you ask him to put his "feet up" when they're already up. Is there a reason for that? Most people would mark the behavior (yes!) and then toss the treat away so he moves his feet off so that you can then ask him to do it again. Unless you're trying for duration? In that case, don't ask him to do it again when he's already doing it, just wait a little longer for the marker and reward, extending the duration longer and longer before you mark it.

 

One last thing . . . he obviously understands your "yes" as a marker, but you might want to consider the tone of voice you use. I notice 2 things. 1 is that your tone isn't always consistent, and dogs can be very sensitive to tone. For example, Bodhi only responds to the release word "OK" if it's said with a certain inflection, and he'll sit there with a cookie on his nose ignoring various OKs until someone says it just right. <_<

 

2nd, you say "yes" in a tone that's often heard in normal conversation, which could be confusing to Tobias if he hears it in another context when you don't mean it as a marker. You might consider a bright, slightly higher pitched and emphatic "Yes!". Just a thought, not necessarily a requirement.

 

You're off to a great start with the cute little guy though. :D

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Thank you so much Gentlelake for your detailed critique! I know I’m not fully getting the marked behavior. I know how important timing is with training horses but this is the first time I’m ‘clicker training’ a dog with a marked word. With horses it’s a mostly a physical release of pressure so my actions are a little slower than my voice. As for the asking for his feet up when already there was a mistake. I really need to just set the camera down for now so I’m not focusing on training and filming at the same time. And so true about the tone of voice! I did a quick session again tonight while being more conscious of my tone and he responded really well. I’ll be keeping that in mind for now on. :)

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The timing doesn't have to be a difficult concept. If you're asking for sit, the instant the but hits the floor you say "Yes!" If it's lie down, the instant his chest hits the floor, "Yes!" For feet up, it's the instant both feet are on the top of the dish.

 

When he's got these down, then you wait a second to train for duration, then 2 seconds, then 3 and so on. Her's one place a clicker is helpful because you can actually mark your release word (like "OK"), which makes the release a reward in itself. You can't do with a verbal marker because you can't say both the marker and the release word at the same time.

 

Most people will have a negative marker word as well, something like "Oops!" if he gets it wrong or breaks position when you're working on duration.

 

The timing will be even more important if you're shaping for a less natural position or a more complex one, because then, if you're a second late you'll have missed your opportunity and/or accidentally marked another action. So it'll be good for you to try to hone your timing. It might be helpful to watch some clicker training videos on YouTube. See if you can mark the behavior at the same time as the trainer does. That should help. :)

 

Have fun!

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Another question... Im aware that puppies have to go potty all the time but is needing to go every 25 to 40 minutes normal? I take him outside constantly and he's really good about going every time I put him out. He holds it four to six hours at night. But durning the day despite my best efforts he still has frequent accidents...

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When I got Lily, she was about 9 weeks, and she needed to go out pretty much every 30 minutes (and even so, she had quite a few accidents over the first week), so I'd say that sounds normal to me. He is quite adorable. :)

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His "down" might be the cutest thing ever. I love how he sliiiiides into it. So cute! :lol:

 

I agree with Gentlelake on the timing. Your "yes" seems to be timed with when you give him the treat (not in all cases, but many) more so then with the behavior being correctly performed. The point of the word or clicker is so that you can mark the behavior more quickly and precisely then you can with giving a treat. IOW, you can say "yes!" when he performs a correct behavior and it won't matter if you have to fumble in your pocket for a few seconds to dig out a treat. He'll understand that the marker word meant he did what you wanted and that a reward is coming soon.

 

Just wanted to say "bravo" on training thus far. His focus on you looks fantastic and you two are doing so well just one week in. Oh, yes, and he's super, super adorable... :wub:

 

ETA: I think every 25 - 40 minutes for potty at that age is not all that unusual. Keep in mind that every time he drinks water or has a meal you should be scheduling a potty break within the next fifteen minutes. As I understand it their digestive systems are such a "fast track" at that age that whatever goes in is gonna' be coming back out in short order. Sure, he can hold it for more the 30 minutes, but he needs to learn the discipline of doing so. When my pup was very young I would only have him loose around the house if I could keep an eagle eye on him, otherwise he was in his crate. You could also tether him to you with a leash or long line so that he can't sneak out of sight to have an accident.

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Thanks for all the advice! He's actually started the last three days going and touching to door with his nose when he has to go poop. :) And he's learning what 'outside' means. So I ask him if he has to go outside when he starts wondering and he hops around and runs to the door. Accidents in the how have decreased greatly. Not that it was bad before but I can see a big change now. He really is a smarty pants.

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Here's his video from week two! Tobias has improved so much on all of his tricks except for the one where I'm trying to teach hind end awareness by stepping on the bowl. He'd rather chew on it lol. But he also learned how to spin and just today started to learn back.

 

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