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Troubleshoot Training Please

I've posted here a few times.  I have an Australian Shepherd puppy. She's now about 10 months old. She's really a fabulous dog but before we got her she had developed some really bad habits.

She is super smart. She's house trained and kennel trained. She has a strong sit and leave it. She knows "wait" when I'm walking up the stairs and will wait until I say "okay come" before she trots up or down them. She has a pretty good lie down and come as long as the neighbor dogs aren't out in their yard. She also knows some tricks. I taught her "jump through" with a hoola hoop (I keep it pretty low because she's still a pup but I know she would have no trouble clearing a high held one.) She shakes and will get her ball when prompted. She will take a diaper from DH and bring it to me in another room for DD. She also plays frisbee like a champ. She's also fabulous with DD. 

She has two major, annoying habits though and I have got to figure out something. She jumps when we have visitors or on DH when he gets home and she has TERRIBLE leash manners. 

I've tried totally ignoring her, turning my back and leaving and she just continues to jump. (We did the consistently for several months) She spins around in circles. I know she's just excited but this is seriously the most annoying thing. Since her sit is so strong we try prompt her to sit but when visitors come all of her commands are just out the window. When DH gets home from work now he basically gets down to her level and rolls her over on her belly to try to calm her.  I've resorted to putting her in the kennel anytime we have company. I HATE this. I want our visitors to experience what a wonderful dog she is 90percent of the time.

Walking on the leash is a nightmare. I know she is getting better but it's taking so long. We have an easy walk harness which is great but if we see any other dog she goes nuts. I've taught a let's go command and we'll turn the other direction but she gets SO worked up. I try to walk her on one particular road where there are no neighborhood dogs. There is an office building with windows though so when she sees her reflection she goes nuts. It's so weird because she's awesome with other dogs. We've done a couple of puppy dates and she's so playful and not the least bit aggressive with other dogs.

So, does anyone have any awesome advice for me? This dog is so smart, I think sometimes too smart. She learns quickly and I've found it's so hard to untrain these bad habits whereas learning new skills is easy for her. 

 Additional info: We don't live anywhere near any dog trainers. The humane society about an hour away does training but only for dogs adopted through them. :(

CONDENSED VERSION: I need help untraining jumping and leash pulling/reactivity. 

[IMG]http://i49.tinypic.com/2r7awbc.jpg[/IMG]

Re: Troubleshoot Training Please

  • She's an Aussie. Yes, they're insanely smart. They need loads of physical and mental exercise, and it sounds like you're doing a good job on that score.

    For jumping: work on a "place" command. When someone knocks on the door, you give the command. The intent is that she must stay in her place while the person enters and until you give her the "okay" to go greet. This alone is going to take a lot of practice. Basically, if she moves at all, the door closes/the person goes back outside/the situation resets and she doesn't get to greet like she wants to. It's best to work on this either with your DH or have a friend come over JUST to practice this.  You need someone willing to come in/go out repeatedly.

    If, once she gets the release from her spot, she jumps even once, you give her the "eh eh!" noise and take her away. You can either reset completely (have the person go back outside again), or just take her away to sit/stay while she calms down. If I come home and I need to do something right away rather than get down and snuggle Zoey as soon as I walk in the door, she'll follow me, wiggling like crazy, but by the time I actually get to greeting her, she's much calmer than if I did it right away.

    For walks: take treats with you. Work on a "watch me" command where she has to look at you to get the treat. You can start the groundwork for this inside with no distractions, and gradually move to areas with minor distractions, then more distractions. It will take time, but she will eventually know to look at you and watch you. This can help immensely in taking her fixation off other dogs (regardless if she's excited to play with them or if she were aggressive in any way). Keep doing the about face and walking away if she doesn't continue to walk nicely when she sees another dog. You can get friends with dogs to help you work on this too. Take the dogs on walks together (side by side), so she starts feeling like it's just routine for other dogs to be around on walks. Have a friend with a dog go down the street, then try walking towards them and keeping her calm. Any reaction, and it's about face.

    Making her sit and watch you can also take the excitement down a notch so she'll be ready to walk nicely again.

    It all just takes a lot of practice, and she's still a puppy. Like I said, Aussie's are SMART, so while they'll pick up commands very quickly, they'll also sometimes decide to do their own things. You just have to take the strong lead and show her that you're in charge and she needs to look to you for any/everything. 

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  • Ditto Lucky's advice.  We have had great success with the "place" and "watch me" commands to the point where my dogs will see another dog (or for one of them, a bird/squirrel/other small animal) and will immediately look up at me with no command necessary.

    I found that the keys to training these behaviors were (1) working very gradually so as not to put the dog in a situation that is just too overwhelming (as Lucky said, start in the house with no distractions and only move to the next level when she is 100% at the level you're currently training - when you move outside, start with the other dog very far away); and (2) absolute consistency (if even one person gives her attention one time when she's jumping up, it will reward the jumping and set her back in the training). 

    Also, I would stop rolling her over to calm her when you get home - that is a form of giving her attention (and she might think it's a form of play).  Instead, I would completely ignore her until she has calmed down.  Change your clothes, look through the mail, start fixing dinner, for as long as it takes for her to get the message.  Only when she is behaving nicely (for us that means sitting calmly) will you greet her, and if she then jumps up, go back to completely ignoring.  We use "place" for when other people come over but don't make the pups go to their "place" when we get home (they can follow us around but again, no greeting or attention unless/until they are sitting nicely) - you can choose what works best for you.  GL!

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  • Thanks guys. DH and I were just talking the other day about doing something similar to her ?place? but weren?t sure exactly how to go about it. I think it will work well. She actually knows an ?out? command when we?re eating and will sit right at the edge of the dining room. I think we?ll give her a spot near there and start working on that.

    We know rolling her over is not a good solution but it was literally the only thing we could do to calm her. I think this will work better. We also have 1 friend who would help us. He has a pretty well trained Vizsla that we do doggie dates with. All of our other visitors just can?t help themselves and pet her even when she jumps even though we?ve asked them to ignore her. That?s why I resorted to putting her in the kennel. We also have a gait going up the stairs on the fifth step where our handrails stop. I tried putting her behind the gate rather than the kennel but she can and has jumped it going up and down with ease. I?ve never seen a dog so agile!

    I think the watch me command will work too. I am going to start working with her ASAP. She's such a good dog and deserves to be trained well ;)

    Thanks again guys. I appreciate your detailed responses. You?re always so helpful!
    [IMG]http://i49.tinypic.com/2r7awbc.jpg[/IMG]
  • image LatteLady5:


     All of our other visitors just can?t help themselves and pet her even when she jumps even though we?ve asked them to ignore her. That?s why I resorted to putting her in the kennel.

    I feel you on this one - visitors who insist that the jumping is "fine" or they "don't mind" can be very frustrating and can set you back in your training even though their intentions are good.  People often said those things to me when I was training both of my dogs, particularly because they are small, so people think it's no big deal for them to jump up.

    In case it's helpful, my solution when we encountered people who encouraged the jumping or tried to give attention when the dog was jumping was to remind the dog to "sit" as we approached the other person and, if he jumped, I gave an "eh eh" and told him to sit.  If the dog was just too excited to control himself or if the other person tried to pet/give attention when he wasn't sitting nicely, I would step in between them to get the dog's focus on me.  If necessary, I would also remove the dog from the situation entirely (walk the other way down the street or go to another room in the house).  It's helpful to have the dog on a leash if you think you might need to lead the dog away.

     I was also quite firm with our visitors or anyone we met on the street and simply did not allow any petting unless the dog was behaving properly.  If the other person said "I don't mind" or something similar, I usually responded by saying "Well, we do mind, and jumping is not allowed."  HTH!

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  • image Caz1221:

    image LatteLady5:


     All of our other visitors just can?t help themselves and pet her even when she jumps even though we?ve asked them to ignore her. That?s why I resorted to putting her in the kennel.

    I feel you on this one - visitors who insist that the jumping is "fine" or they "don't mind" can be very frustrating and can set you back in your training even though their intentions are good.  People often said those things to me when I was training both of my dogs, particularly because they are small, so people think it's no big deal for them to jump up.

    In case it's helpful, my solution when we encountered people who encouraged the jumping or tried to give attention when the dog was jumping was to remind the dog to "sit" as we approached the other person and, if he jumped, I gave an "eh eh" and told him to sit.  If the dog was just too excited to control himself or if the other person tried to pet/give attention when he wasn't sitting nicely, I would step in between them to get the dog's focus on me.  If necessary, I would also remove the dog from the situation entirely (walk the other way down the street or go to another room in the house).  It's helpful to have the dog on a leash if you think you might need to lead the dog away.

     I was also quite firm with our visitors or anyone we met on the street and simply did not allow any petting unless the dog was behaving properly.  If the other person said "I don't mind" or something similar, I usually responded by saying "Well, we do mind, and jumping is not allowed."  HTH!

    I know I am going to have to be firmer with visitors...Even the lady at the humane society was like holding her legs and telling her, "oh, you're just excited to see me..."

    I think using a leash at home might help her as well because it's like she just can't control herself. She wiggles like crazy and spins in circles haha 

    Thanks for the advice. Oh and FWIW it's drives me equally insane when little dogs jump. My grandma's maltese practically dig at my legs but since they're small it doesn't matter...Confused sigh

    [IMG]http://i49.tinypic.com/2r7awbc.jpg[/IMG]
  • image LatteLady5:
    image Caz1221:

    image LatteLady5:


     All of our other visitors just can?t help themselves and pet her even when she jumps even though we?ve asked them to ignore her. That?s why I resorted to putting her in the kennel.

    I feel you on this one - visitors who insist that the jumping is "fine" or they "don't mind" can be very frustrating and can set you back in your training even though their intentions are good.  People often said those things to me when I was training both of my dogs, particularly because they are small, so people think it's no big deal for them to jump up.

    In case it's helpful, my solution when we encountered people who encouraged the jumping or tried to give attention when the dog was jumping was to remind the dog to "sit" as we approached the other person and, if he jumped, I gave an "eh eh" and told him to sit.  If the dog was just too excited to control himself or if the other person tried to pet/give attention when he wasn't sitting nicely, I would step in between them to get the dog's focus on me.  If necessary, I would also remove the dog from the situation entirely (walk the other way down the street or go to another room in the house).  It's helpful to have the dog on a leash if you think you might need to lead the dog away.

     I was also quite firm with our visitors or anyone we met on the street and simply did not allow any petting unless the dog was behaving properly.  If the other person said "I don't mind" or something similar, I usually responded by saying "Well, we do mind, and jumping is not allowed."  HTH!

    I know I am going to have to be firmer with visitors...Even the lady at the humane society was like holding her legs and telling her, "oh, you're just excited to see me..."

    I think using a leash at home might help her as well because it's like she just can't control herself. She wiggles like crazy and spins in circles haha 

    Thanks for the advice. Oh and FWIW it's drives me equally insane when little dogs jump. My grandma's maltese practically dig at my legs but since they're small it doesn't matter...Confused sigh

     

    I think thats the hardest thing - we are working on the jumping and my brother and his wife are new dog owners and they just let our dogs jump up without saying off or down. Its really hard and takes a lot of work. Our dogs have their "beds" they sit in them when DH and I are eating or when someone comes to the door. Its the same thing as place and works alright with them but still working on them staying in their beds with visitors.

    The leash manners is another thing: a neighbor of mine gave me some advice for my dogs that I am working on- walk your dog around the perimeter of your front yard- them inside you outside and anytime the dog strays or moves from your side say no and stop (do this with a leash of course) and when they can stay by your side walk them with the leash on the ground, if they stray step on the leash since it wont hurt them (your using a harness so that wont jerk their neck or anything). He said to do this 3 times a day every day until they get it. He used to train police dogs before he retired and he has 4 dogs with amazing leash and off leash manners.

    ~E~
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