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Oh! Dear! Back to basics

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Old Shep, Apr 18, 2011.


  1. Old Shep

    Old Shep PetForums VIP

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    My little collie has a history of being difficult to "catch". He used to do that infuriating thing where they say just out of reach. I tried everything (and it's bloody difficult being cheerful and happy on the beach, in the dark, in winter when he's been ar*ing around for over an hour) but we got there in the end.

    Or so I thought!

    Today I just could not get him to come at the end of our walk. I don't know if it has anything to do with him getting a bit of a doing from a wee terrier earlier (no actual harm done, just lots of noise) and him not being out for a proper walk all week (I've been a bit poorly). It's very disheartening.

    I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts about how I should manage this. I can always tell when he isn't going to come by his body language (though I have difficulty describing it) and, as I said, it hasn't happened for ages.

    In the past I have tried all the usual stuff (he was on a long line for about a year at one point) and somehow the behaviour just faded away.

    Am I overreacting? Should I just treat this as a blip and not change anything?

    Today I was worried that he would start to chase some children who were playing on scooters (he's a bit fixated with wheels--though he doesn't chase bikes or prams. He chases our wheely bin and the weelbarrow, which isn't a problem. Well it hasn't been.).
    He's also terrified of skateboards-I think it's the noise- and I've been trying to get a hold of one so I can leave it, unmoving, in the garden and gradually get him used to it. He would bark furiously at them and I think it would be a bit scarey for kids. I was a bit concerned today when he was running around refusing to be caught that a kid on a skaetboard would appear and he'd go a wee bit mental :eek: I think he sensed my anxiety.

    Phew! Sorry to be so longwinded. All suggestions gratefully recieved.

    Thank you.
     
  2. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Does he have games he likes? After my guy tried not coming out the park once to go home, or discovered wandering off with a toy, I'd rather not just leave there, I have made a little ritual of having a short play session near the park gates. Course I make it easy on us, by having things in my pack, so he can never be 100% sure what game it will be, which makes him curious. Has really cut the slacking and malingering, on avenue down towards exit.

    The reactivity stuff, is basically the same as most of the other BC threads we've had lately. If you haven't check over this thread and resources, lemmsy's suggested a book to if you like dead trees http://www.petforums.co.uk/dog-training-behaviour/159731-breed-specific-behaviourists.html :)
     
  3. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Have you tried taking tit-bits in your pocket and calling him/them to you, rewarding and then letting them run off again at random intervals during your walks?
     
  4. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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  5. Pawsitive

    Pawsitive PetForums Junior

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    I know this sounds silly but have you tried running away? (not properly running away of course, but pretend running away whilst keeping an eye on him?)

    Melon can be a little monkey when she gets a whiff of something interesting so I move about ALL the time, which is great with Collies as they like to herd me and know where I am ;)

    I also use high pitched voice, a squeaky toy and yell 'bye then' which my two know means I'm off somewhere - and they usually hare it after me as I make it sound like I'm having a right old party :D The reward when they get to me is a ball chase - is he fixated on balls or anything specific that you can turn into an extra special reward?

    I also find stepping out of sight when they run off and whistling makes them look for me (it's also a great game which knackers them out a bit!)

    Do you make sure you call him back and let him go lots of times before putting him back on the lead and heading home?

    I also reckon you could be right about it being a blip - of course there's no harm to keep on with the training but sometimes my two will have a bad day and play up more and other times they will be so perfect I'll wonder where my dogs have gone and who put the angelic replacements in their place ;)

    (as an aside, I think we need a Collie thread because I am a sucker for Collie pics!!! :) )
     
    RobD-BCactive likes this.
  6. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    The thing is though, the OP has allowed it to get beyond a blip.

    I saw a "teenage" sign, and corrected myself right away, rather than hope it was a blip. The thing is, you cannot fool a Collie, he knows when he's going home, so best to have something he looks forward to.

    Agree totally the best way to catch a Collie is to have a call to heel recall, and use it when you go somewhere fun, and move away from them. But you cannot be boring about the rewards for compliance, same old food reward won't be exciting enough if there's squirrels to chase.
     
  7. Old Shep

    Old Shep PetForums VIP

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    Thanks for all the responses, guys
    Twiggy said:
    He is not particularly responsive to tit bits at the best of times, and particularly so when he's in this frame of mind, unfortunatly. When walking I regularly recall him and give him a fuss before letting him go. I also call him in to sit whenever a cyclist or group of people go past. He waits untill they are gone and then I release him. He likes this game, but I only do this on narrow-ish paths. We were in playing fields when he was acting up the other day.

    Pawsitive said:
    If only it were that simple! He does come with me. He isn't running off, he's just staying out of reach!
    On the beach once, I decided I would just get in my car and see what he would do. The little b***er watched me from a distance them eyed up the beach for someone else to follow. He caught sight of a family group and just started following them!

    Rob & Tripod:
    i'm going to have a look at the links. I Think Rob's plan to have a rucksack with all sorts of goodies in it would work if he was not actually recalling. The difficulty would still be catching him, I think. Have I got that wrong? As I say, it's not the actuak recall (in fact he'll turn on a penny if I shout him and head back. People compliment me on that! I just can't get him close enough to get the blo*dy lead on!).
    I'm going to have a look at Tripod's link as I was going to start clicker training with him. Perhaps this would be a good excersise to introduce it with.
    D'you think that'd be a good idea or would that just confuse him?
    One thing I am now certain of is that he is not confused. he knows precicely what I want him to do. He is merely trying to prolong out walks. I'm pretty sure, anyway!

    Edit: Just want to add that I've had a quick look at Tripo's backchaining article and it addresses this actual problem! Hooray! Will be starting this immediatly (just going out for some more primula cheese first!)
     
    #7 Old Shep, Apr 20, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2011
  8. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    I avoid any grabbing, by playing... tug is perfect, idea is to leash during game whilst playing with left hand and continue it afterwards on leash. Hope it works for you.
     
  9. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    Its important that all dogs know how to deal with being grabbed. Colalr grabbing a familiar dog is a common cause of bites, especially as we will often be grabbing the dog in an arousing situation.

    This is why I teach collar grabs as one of the first stages of recall training - this means it builds up a massive reinforcement history and we proof this vital skill so that the dog loves being grabbed.

    Collar grabbing and hand targeting (the first two stages of back chaining recalls) are easily taught with clicker training. Good luck!
     
  10. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Its important that all dogs know how to deal with being grabbed. Colalr grabbing a familiar dog is a common cause of bites, especially as we will often be grabbing the dog in an arousing situation.

    This is why I teach collar grabs as one of the first stages of recall training - this means it builds up a massive reinforcement history and we proof this vital skill so that the dog loves being grabbed.

    Collar grabbing and hand targeting (the first two stages of back chaining recalls) are easily taught with clicker training. Good luck!


    Absolutely - couldn't agree more.
     
  11. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    By grabbing what do you mean? Taking hold of the collar to attach leash. Or stepping towards dog and firm hold, with view to pulling dog in?
     
  12. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    All of that.

    Collargrabbing should be part of socialisation for puppies as its a situation we will expect our dogs to cope with most likely at some point in its life.

    Teaching your dog that collar pressure is pleasant and proofing that will help in LLW training, having to restrain your dog in potentially arousing situations, attaching the leash, recall training and lots and lots of other applications.
     
  13. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    By grabbing what do you mean? Taking hold of the collar to attach leash. Or stepping towards dog and firm hold, with view to pulling dog in?

    As Tripod has already explained plus we use it a lot with our competition dogs for winding them up before retrieve, sendaway, throwing a ball, etc. etc.

    A good for instance is my two oldies. If I threw a ball for them out on a walk they would both end up lame; Quiver through sheer old age and Leafy because I've only just got her sound after 9 months, so instead I hold/grab their collars, wind them up and only throw the ball about 2 ft. They think its very exciting and at least they get their go.
     
  14. Old Shep

    Old Shep PetForums VIP

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    Rob suggested:
    Aha! He knows that game! Even if he does come close enough to play tug on the lead he anticipates having the lead attached to his collar and ducks at the last moment!

    I must explain that this has not been a problem for about the last 2 years. It has only just recurred. There has been a major change in his life recently (my other dog dying. I hadn't appreciated just how afraid of him Tip clearly was) which I think may be a factor.

    I have been following the suggestions in the link Tripod suggested. I began by rewarding him with a treat whenever he came close to me. When this was easy, I then added touching his collar and treating. This wasn't a problem (though we were doing this in the garden, though it's a big garden).
    Today I followed this up by taking him for his walk to a place where there are never any other dogs or walkers (well, usually none) to ensure there were no distractions.
    This time I combined Tripod's advice with some of Rob's.
    I treated him whenever he came up to me. Then I called him and treated him. I then added the touching the collar.

    We then had another little blip when I took his favorite squeeky out of my pocket and I could tell by his body language that I wouldn't be able to catch him. He brought the ball back and I threw it for about 15 minutes. His body language changed and I started to ask for a sit or lie down before throwing it. Then I added the collar touch. I then took the ball away and continued the walk ball-less.

    On nearing the end of the walk I simply asked for a sit-stay, approached him and clipped on the lead. I immediatly took the ball out of my pocket and played with him all the way back to the car (while he was on the lead).

    I've continued the treating when he comes up to me at home and he seems to have taken to following me all over the place!! Result!

    Just to add--this is a dog who is not really food orientated.

    Thanks everyone. I will be continuing with this for some time yet (we're going hill walking tmorrow. That's not usually a problem as he is pretty knack*red when we get back to the car!). If the behaviour resolves I shall repeat what I've learned here periodically (is that what's called "proofing"?)
     
  15. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    OK, the dogs I've seen that jink and avoid being leashed, have tended to do it due to willingness to start going after them, and chasing round seems stupid to me and asking for problems getting the dog to stay by you.

    From what Old Shep is saying, that dog really dislikes being on leash and I wonder why?

    Most ppl I see with good off leash dogs can just have them sit by them, or stand, and leash them without any drama. They haven't rewarded any collar grabs that I've ever seen, either...
     
    #15 RobD-BCactive, Apr 28, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2011
  16. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    Being leashed for some dogs is certainly aversive to some dogs - they avoid it by playing catch me if you can!

    Just because you haven't seen a particular behaviour being rewarded doesn't mean its not being - if a behaviour is increasing in frequency something is reinforcing it.

    Plus handling isn't always about operant consequences - being handled is likely to have strong classical associations too.
     
  17. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Dogs, that are doing this often come to me and give me no trouble by simply making them curious, so long as their owner isn't too close to us.

    Oddly whilst away, I saw a funny scene where some people were doing Cesar Milan impression to try to convince a stray to stop greeting their dog by hissing and such, resulting in a woman chasing round it, but it keep going back to greet their bigger on leash dog.

    Another guy, initially tried the sho-ing, then just changed tactic and soon stroked it (rather bravely it seemed), whence it lost interest in the couples dog completely and just stayed with him.


    Really what you're saying about the getting on leash being rewarded and reinforced is down to what happens on leash after, and figuring out why it's "aversive". The Collie knows it's going to be leashed and like Freddie with potential car journeys, may primarily be motivated to avoid that, no matter how nicely rewarded any collar holds are.
     
  18. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    Not necessarily after, being leashed is negative punishment to the recall/being caught behaviour - since its reduced.

    The dog comes back to you rather than the owner because you are not part of the stimulus package of being caught.

    We can turn the situation into a pleasant one for the dog by working on the classical element.
     
  19. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Exactly if you make sure the dog has fun on leash, then it's no longer negatively-punishing.
     
  20. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    Its only no longer negatively punishing if the behaviour doesn't decrease ;)
     
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