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    Thread: Avoidance game

    1. #1
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      Dennism's Avatar
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      Avoidance game

      I have a 13 month old yellow Lab Retriever (Holly). We have had her for approximately 6 months and got her from the animal shelter where she was picked up as a stray. The problems that I’m having with her is when I call her to go for a walk she’ll come pacing to me with a toy in her mouth and stay just out of reach. She’ll then pace back in another room. I’ll call her again and unless I grab her collar to put the leash on she will continue trying to avoid me. I’ve tried ignoring her and have gone in another room to make her wait for me. Occasionally this will work. She also plays the avoidance game when we want to let her outside or to come back in unless she wants to. Any solutions would be appreciated.

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      Oliver does this too!!! Drives me crazy! He's 23 weeks old today and we've had him since he was 9 weeks old so I don't think it has anything to do with being a shelter dog. Anyway, hopefully you get some great advice on this as I could use it too. "Drop it" works on occasion but my dog thinks of it as a game. I accidentally taught my dog a game where he holds a ball or kong in his mouth and I try to smack it out and then he'll go chase it as it bounces along the ground. I am pretty sure that is where he has learned to back his butt up to me when he has something and not let me get it from him. He'll come in from outside and vice versa with no problem, thank goodness.
      “Don't allow your happiness to be interrupted by overly judgmental people. The problem is not you, because even if you do good all the time, they would still find a way to judge you wrongly.”
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    3. #3
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      So it's not that she's playing "keep away" with you, but that she doesn't want to do what you want her to do? And then stays out of reach and runs when you try to grab for her? Am I understanding that right?
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      Quote Originally Posted by Laura View Post
      So it's not that she's playing "keep away" with you, but that she doesn't want to do what you want her to do? And then stays out of reach and runs when you try to grab for her? Am I understanding that right?
      Oh...I guess I read the OP wrong. I took it as "keep away" which is what Oliver does. It looks like the OP's dog is staying out of reach for them. My bad. Oliver doesn't do this unless he is in trouble and knows it. For example, he isn't allowed to go in the kitchen while we cook or eat and he tries to crawl his way into the kitchen and I will tell him to "go" and sometimes he will jump away from me and wiggle his butt like he doesn't want to listen or thinks it is a game.

    5. #5
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      Exactly Laura

    6. #6
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      Have you done any training classes with her? She really is at a terribly bratty age, so I expect some nonsense from her to be honest. I am in no way a dog trainer, but it sounds to me like you need some exercises in establishing yourself as her leader. Some people use NILIF, and I think that works well. I also think that training classes, daily training with high value treats, and structured walks help with establishing leadership. Hopefully someone else will chime in with some suggestions.

    7. #7
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      it's also very possible she is head shy. the motion of "grabbing" a collar can be VEYR VERY intimidating to some dogs and scare them. If this is the case it has nothing at all to do with being bratty or not listening - it's about fear.

      I need to find something on this for someone else as well, but read up on "gotcha"s" and desensitization tot he collar grab - a key part of training we always forget.

      Sounds more like a mix of "not having a clue what you want because they haven'T been taught". and possibly head shy ness. Not "Brattyness"

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    9. #8
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      Howdy and welcome to the forum!!!

      Sounds like the teen rebellion stage to me. She is trying the old "why should I listen to you?" thing. You didn't mention how long a day you work with her or if you go to classes. Is she left to her own devices most of the time or is she under a watchful eye all the time?

      I'm no professional trainer, so this is just advise. I would start making coming to you the best thing in the whole world!!! Her bringing an object to you shows she knows her job, just not how it works. Her idea is the keep away game. You have to turn it into handing it to me is more fun than running away! This will really help in coming when called to go in/out.

      If she is treat orientated, when she comes up with something, offer a trade for it. You get the item, she gets the treat! I use praise. I get the item, she gets a HUGE praise party!!! YEAH!!! BIG HUGS and fanny scratches.. YEAH!!! Then we play with the item! I throw it, she brings it back, YEAH!!!! What a fun game!!!

      If she runs off with it, I'll pick up another prized toy and play with it myself. YEAH! I have a better toy and am having much more fun with it!!! It isn't much fun for her to have a toy and no one wants to play. They catch on pretty quickly that bringing it to you is much more fun than playing keep away by themselves.

      For coming when called, you have to establish yourself as the best thing in the whole world! Holly is still a puppy so you can still be this person, it just takes time.

      Start with calling her inside, 'Holly, come check this out!' Have a fun toy or treat and lots of praise!!!!! Play with the toy as a reward. It sounds like she is off leash outside, as she can just ignore you. Make it the same game. Holly! Come on, lets play with this favorite toy.. Or I have a treat! If she refuses, go inside, shut the door and make a lot of noise having fun playing with the toy, better if she can see you. Make whatever you request a higher value than what she thinks she wants to do.

    10. #9
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      First you must get your dog to master name recognition and the "here" command. You can get a long rope and collar to control your dog. Start off with a short rope (maybe 6 feet long). Throw her favorite toy and say "Holly here" when she picks up the toy. Reward her with praise and a treat as soon as she returns the toy to you. Never use the "here" command for negative things such as a bath or it will spoil the "here" command. If she does not return to you, then you can use the rope to control your dog with a gentle tug. When you master 6 feet in length, increase the length of the rope. Soon you will be able to complete the exercise of getting her to come to you with no rope at all.

    11. #10
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      Archie gets so excited to go for a walk, he'll run up to me, bounce around, run off and get a toy, repeat, repeat, repeat. I've been telling him "Oh, you don't want to go?", put down the leash and walk away. The look on his face is priceless. He's learning that even though he's excited, he needs to stand still so we can go.

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