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    1. #1
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      Obstinate puppy!! Is he becoming a teenager?

      Barley just turned 4 months and is teething and generally being a pain in the butt at times. He would come when called before - but now (at times, usually he complies) he will basically sit and stare at me when I tell him to come. He will immediately come if I have a treat - but I do not always have one nor do I want to always reward every behavior with a treat. What do you suggest I do in this situation?

      Thank you!
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      Forever in my heart - Sweet gentle Moby - lover of belly rubs, bacon, and Barbara 9-10-2001 to 11-2-2015

    2. #2
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      Put him on a long lead. That way you can reinforce the come command. Of course there are times when he can be running free in the yard but when you are going to train, use the leash. Sometimes you can have a treat, sometimes not. Always train with love and patience, being consistent. The long lead helps you keep that consistency and he'll learn that when you give a command, he needs to listen.

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    4. #3
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      Barley isn’t coming when called because he doesn’t realize that you are the boss, and there isn’t a choice involved. Unfortunately, when you call him to you and he just looks at you and doesn’t come, in his mind he’s saying “no food?, nothing in it for me?, why on earth would I get up and go over there”. If you call him offering food, he is going to run to the food because he is food-driven, but he doesn’t care that you called him – he just wants the food. Unfortunately if you do not show him that when he is called – it is not an option for him…it is demanded. If not – these kind of puppy habits lead to other dominant tendencies.

      This is the reason I don’t agree with a lot of positive reinforcement only training. You are correct – it is not realistic to always have food on you. This is also why I do not reward any obedience with food. Obedience is something that I demand. It is not an option. I am not going to reward a dog for coming when called with food. I will praise him with affection and reward him with a “good boy” “good come” or “good here”. But never food.

      The problem with training a dog with food and rewards is that the dog will always look for something for everything that he does. Especially labs that are extremely food motivated. They will work happily and willingly for food. The problem with training obedience with food, is that every time you command and the dog complies, they are looking for food. If you don’t have food or some type of reward, they say well screw you…I want food for doing that.

      I am not by any means saying you have a dominant dog on your hands. It can easily be corrected at this age. The problem is when you have an older dog that is dominant. Picture this. You and a dog in a room. You are standing. The dog is standing. You say “Dog, here”. The dog looks at you, you look at him. You are now standing off. The dominant dog is saying, yeah right…I’m not coming to you. Now what.

      Well the way that we train obedience to a dominant dog is with a lot of correction and sometimes force. I would put the dog in a sit stay on one side of the room, with a leash on, facing me. I would then walk to the other side of the room facing the dog – standing off now. I would say my command “here”. If the dog doesn’t come to me, I would walk over to the dog, pick up the leash, and walk quickly backwards. Big correction “I SAID HERE”, again correction, “I SAID HERE”, again correction “I SAID HERE”. Now I would praise the dog tell him good boy. I would put the dog in a heel. Walk forwards drop the leash and walk backwards saying HERE. Dog will follow. Again, I would walk forward with the dog, drop the leash, walk backwards, and say here…the dog should follow again. Then we would do the same thing over again, I would put the dog on the other side of the room, stand off and say “here” If the dog comes to me, BIG PRAISE, BIG EXCITEMENT, LOTS OF PETS, LOTS OF PRAISE. If the dog didn’t come – we would start this process over again. NEVER use food for this.

      Now I’m not recommending anyone train this if they don’t have a lot of experience with dominant dogs or aggressive dogs. If you can’t read a dog’s body language, know how to correct an aggressive “standoff” etc. DO NOT TRY THIS.

      BACK TO BARLEY – I know that this is an extreme example – and I am not by any means telling you that this is what you need to do in order to fix this problem. Pups that are less than a year old are so easily taught obedience and dominant behaviours are so easily fixed. There is a lot of time to correct these behaviours before you get to a stage like my example…a dog that was never shown what is acceptable, what is not acceptable. Scale my example down 100 times and that’s how you can work this out.

      Get a long REALLY LIGHT lead, even something like a cat- leash. Very limpy wimpy line. Walk away from the dog and say “here” if nothing, give some pops on the collar. When the dog comes to you, lots of praise. Lots of affection. I don’t reward with food. The idea is to teach the dog what the word “here” or “come” (or whatever re call command you want to use) really means. An understanding that “here: isn’t an option to the dog. Understanding that here means come to me...not come to me looking for food.

      My number one piece of advice is to start looking for an obedience trainer. Someone that uses a mix between corrections and positive reinforcement. I NEVER teach obedience with food – like I keep saying over and over again, I don’t reward what I demand. Obedience is not an option…it is demanded. A lot of people are intimidated by the word “obedience”. 90% of the training is FOR YOU. Learning how to handle your dog in various situations, learning etiquette, learning about what to expect in situations, and how to fix and correct bad habits. You will be up “on the floor” working the dog but there will also be a lot of lessons for you to learn.

      Obedience training can be demanding to a pup. A lot of verbal praise and a lot of affection through pets make it very positive. When you work on your basic obedience commands like “Sit, down, on your feet” etc. And the dog immediately sits, immediately lays down, jumps back onto their feet, immediately sits again, downs again….IT IS REALLY EXCITING. It’s a direct reflection of your hard work. You and your pup are in it together and Building trust together. An obedient dog has a fantastic bond with their handler.

    5. #4
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      puppies tend to be more apt to follow you and stay wtih you (thus easier recall). you are still lots of fun at that age. As they mature and gain some courage and independance they realize there are things more fun than you.

      Time to start working on a formal recall. Using the long line and the info from Poptop is awesome. DOn't use the recall word unless you know he will come, in other situations go get him. ESPECIALLY when you are calling him to do something less fun (or ending his fun). Actually I would not use recall to end fun of any kind nor to get him to do something he doesn't want to do. Not until you have worked hard on a good recall wtih postiive associations. One example is don't call a dog to give them a bath or trim their nails, always go get them so they don't associate the recall word to "icky stuff".

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    7. #5
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      Quote Originally Posted by xracer4844 View Post
      Barley isn’t coming when called because he doesn’t realize that you are the boss, and there isn’t a choice involved. Unfortunately, when you call him to you and he just looks at you and doesn’t come, in his mind he’s saying “no food?, nothing in it for me?, why on earth would I get up and go over there”. If you call him offering food, he is going to run to the food because he is food-driven, but he doesn’t care that you called him – he just wants the food. Unfortunately if you do not show him that when he is called – it is not an option for him…it is demanded. If not – these kind of puppy habits lead to other dominant tendencies..
      I respectufully disagree. he's a puppy he just hasn't really learned that come mean come all the time even when there are more fun things to do (since when they are young often you have more value all on your own so you don't proof with distractiosn and plus he's young that the OP hasn't had TIME to proof the command). This has zero to do with being a dominant puppy. dominance has to go with access to ressources. if a puppy hasn't completed their training they won't know what is expected and when it's expected.

      this just seems like a basic training issues. the recall hasn't been fully trained and proofed. nothing to do with a puppy that will want to be boss and doesn't respect you.

      But to each their own.

      Picture this. You and a dog in a room. You are standing. The dog is standing. You say “Dog, here”. The dog looks at you, you look at him. You are now standing off. The dominant dog is saying, yeah right…I’m not coming to you. Now what...
      Again this scenario is mostly a TRAINING issues. the person hasn't TRAINED the dog to come. So the dog didn't come.

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    9. #6
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      never mind I'll just end with this:

      NOt using any reward isn't a great way or a fun way for dogs to learn. especially puppies. YES you absolutely need to be careful not to lure and not to create a dependancy on treats. But you absolutley need to reward the dog when they do well ESPECIALLY for recall. When the dog decides to ignore a fun thing to come to you that's a big deal and needs to be reward (at least during trianing as this is a mile mark). We are not such amazing humans that dogs work for just a smile on our face or just to please us.

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    11. #7
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      I don't see a problem with using a treat. Eventually he'll learn. Even my 6 year old dogs, they load into their crates a lot quicker when I have a biscuit in hand. You'll be able to wean off them in time, just not yet.
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    13. #8
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      Lab puppies are sooooo easy to train when they are little! Many people think their dog is trained when they are three months old because they enthusiastically do whatever is asked of them -- sit, down, recalls, stays, etc. However, this is not actually the case. Eventually the puppy will have a mind of his own and wonder if they have to do what is asked and will challenge. They also have not been alive long enough to have a complete understanding of the commands. They are not solid. There are lots of dogs in the classes I take who start out as star pupils so the owners think they are done, then they come back when the dog is 80 lbs and out of control and the owners say that the dog was such a good puppy, they don't know what happened! They stopped training is what happened.

      I take my dogs to basic obedience two to three times after puppy class. I then move onto intermediate and I think I took four intermediate classes with Linus and he is 15 months old. I don't personally think it has anything to do with positive or food reinforcement as long as you are doing it correctly and the key word, consistently. This means that when using food, you also use voice or a word or a clicker that brings your dog as much joy as the food. And, what do you do after the dog completes a command? Do you just give him food and go back to whatever you were doing? Try giving the food with a specific word like "yes!" or "excellent!" and lots of pets and attention, more so than if you were just petting your dog. Make your dog want to work for you because it's fun and tasty and he gets more loves and pets than ever! People who have been training their dogs for years still use food rewards in the highest obedience classes, but they also use other tactics to create happiness and enthusiasm. There are dogs that do it because they are afraid of the consequences, and it shows.

      I personally do not punish my dogs, per say, but once they know what I am asking of them, there are consistent consequences if they do not perform. They also do not receive a treat if the exercise was not completed perfectly the first time. If there is a second command, I will sort of blandly say, "good dog". I also have a "disappointed" voice and for some things a sharp "eh, eh!" that lets them know that what they are doing is not right, but only for things they know better about, like going down during a long sit-stay. This starts with little things like a simple sit on a leash in my own living room. I do not reserve consequences for certain days when I am cranky or when I'm in public or at class. My dogs receive the same positive reinforcement and consequences regardless of where we are or what we are doing. My dogs know I'm serious and that I am a leader. How? They must sit before they eat their meals. Always. The are not allowed to run out the door without permission. Ever. And, if we are having issues I will chop up their food (they are fed raw) and they will perform a task for every single bite for a week or maybe more -- usually the sit, down, stand Ian Dunbar series. If I am asking them to retrieve and they decide to sniff around or not pay attention, the retrieving toy gets put away. I might even put that dog in a down-stay and play fetch with my other dog. We have rules and those rules are followed regardless of when or where we are at the time. I also reserve much of my affection for them for training just like I do not play fetch with them unless we are working. There have also been times when, during class, if my dog is not paying attention, I will put him in a crate for 5-10 minutes and ignore him while he watches all the other dogs get trained with treats and affection, then bring him back out, and you better believe he's all ears and eyes now. That being said, I compete with my dogs and these are some tactics used to keep them on-task and paying attention to me and what we are doing during training and shows.

      I'm not necessarily saying that you should do all these things, but hopefully there are some tactics that you can glean from these exercises. Consistency is key and using a drag-line on your pup will help since he is testing you. I also realize that it's difficult to be consistent if there are other people at home. I had that issue with Sam and he's definitely much more of a "do I have tooooo?" dog than Linus, though he is generally pretty good. I believe that people have the most issues with training when not everyone in the house is on the same page. Obviously, it can work, but probably with more work on the behalf of the main trainer and more classes outside of the home and consistent training sessions, about 5 minutes 1 to 3 times per day on average.
      Last edited by Labradorks; 09-16-2014 at 03:23 PM.

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    15. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by Tanya View Post
      never mind I'll just end with this:

      NOt using any reward isn't a great way or a fun way for dogs to learn. especially puppies. YES you absolutely need to be careful not to lure and not to create a dependancy on treats. But you absolutley need to reward the dog when they do well ESPECIALLY for recall. When the dog decides to ignore a fun thing to come to you that's a big deal and needs to be reward (at least during trianing as this is a mile mark). We are not such amazing humans that dogs work for just a smile on our face or just to please us.
      Training dogs, winning multiple titles, stopping aggressive dogs from being euthanized and assisting in rehabilitating them to be re homed, owning a working dog, competing in rally and agility - I'm sorry but I respectfully stand by my methods. I didn't say anywhere that the pup is being dominant - what I did say was if not dealt with now, it will lead to other dominant tendencies, and that is absolutely correct.

      Anyone is welcome to use treats - I simply wrote an article about what I do and how I do it. I'm not by any means saying my way or the highway.

    16. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by xracer4844 View Post
      Training dogs, winning multiple titles, stopping aggressive dogs from being euthanized and assisting in rehabilitating them to be re homed, owning a working dog, competing in rally and agility - I'm sorry but I respectfully stand by my methods. I didn't say anywhere that the pup is being dominant - what I did say was if not dealt with now, it will lead to other dominant tendencies, and that is absolutely correct. Anyone is welcome to use treats - I simply wrote an article about what I do and how I do it. I'm not by any means saying my way or the highway.

      Your tone makes it sound like it is your way or the highway....

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