Proper Motivation

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Proper Motivation

Postby kkelly » Sat Jul 05, 2014 12:07 pm

Hi Guys,

Like in previous stated posts, I am new to gun dog training and new to puppies. I have a 9 week old pup Male Golden x Black lab. I'm having a hard time with a basic command with him. He has 'sit' down very well when he's in work mode: either I have the treats or his bumper and decently when not in work mode. But "here" is the hard one. He recalls well when I have the treats. But when there are no treats involved, his recall leaves A LOT to be desired. I will have him on a 15' cord on his walks (has to have a leash where I live) and gets distracted like a normal pup. So I give him some time to sniff around and explore. When its time to go I'll give him a "Here boy" and a gentle tug. Nothing. It gets to the point where he will lay down and refuse. Consistently it is when 1) its warm outside and he's sniffing and exploring in the shade and the area I'm calling him to is out of the shade and 2) when we're walking next to a house where there's another dog (even if the dog isn't home). I get frustrated and tug a little less gently (still not yanking him) and he'll start walking and does fine from there or I will pick him up and hold him for the rest of the walk. Any thoughts on what will motivate him to recall? I praise him in excited tones when I don't have treats on me or give him a "Good" or "Good Here". I pet him quite a bit as well. Any ideas?

Am I asking too much too soon and need to just focus on "sit"?
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Re: Proper Motivation

Postby HNTFSH » Sat Jul 05, 2014 6:03 pm

I think Hall explains this best but think about this in terms of lifestyle and habits not training.

He's 9 weeks old and you've got this 'issue' cornered into recall?

Just work to be patient and vigilant and show him want you want - ALL THE TIME. I am not against treats at that age for a job well done but am against 'formal' training which it sounds like you expect?
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Proper Motivation

Postby Bluesky2012 » Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:29 pm

Dude honestly I may be way crazy but for me, I don't care at all about anything other than socialization until at least 5 months. I love to socialize, take my pup (after parvo shots) to bass pro to see tons of people, to the lake, ride in a boat, play with a bird, etc. if my dog won't sit or recall well at that age that's okay To me. I'd rather have a well socialized and bird crazy dog. Aside from socialization, I think much can be lost by overdoing it as a puppy. I'm not a pro, that's my opinion. Balance is key but if you must, it's better to let it be too much a puppy than the opposite

At 9 weeks I'm more concerned with not pooping in the house and learning not to bite everything. Let it be for a good long while.

I come from a more pointer focused background and retrievers are relatively new to me but I still think that remains the same
Last edited by Bluesky2012 on Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Proper Motivation

Postby Rick Hall » Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:32 pm

kkelly wrote:Any thoughts on what will motivate him to recall?


Conditioning.

For the next couple or three weeks, NEVER call him unless he's already coming or you're certain he will, for instance to eat, play, go out or some other natural reward. (I've no experience with treat training.) "Good boy" him, too, if you like. Just be sure to associate being called with outcomes he enjoys more than whatever he was doing when called. Don't wear it out, it's not a drill, just a way of life you're easing him into. After a few weeks of that, coming when called will be becoming a conditioned response, and you can gradually start calling him when he's otherwise distracted, beginning with mild distractions and working your way up to greater ones over time.

When something goes awry, and he ignores your command go get him and physically bring him where you wanted him, with the idea being not to punish him but to ingrain the notion that ignoring you simply is not a viable option. Doing this while he's small enough to be easily caught will go a long way toward convincing him there is no escaping you, ever - as long as you never show him that he can.

There will, of course, be times when you simply cannot make a correction, and the trick there is to minimize the damage to his good conditioning by not repeating what you can't enforce and unwittingly reenforcing his awareness of your weakness. Best then to bite you tongue, still your feet and revisit the lesson in places where he can't get away with blowing you off. Play those cards right and chances are he'll forget his slip and continue on with his good conditioning as though it never happened.

Begin practicing that approach of slowly building a framework of good habits and avoiding bad ones now while he's young, and you may well avoid the need for checkcords and collars and such down the road. Know I have.
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Re: Proper Motivation

Postby Tanner01 » Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:07 am

I have a two year old and was thinking back about all of our training.
At about 9 weeks I complained to the breeder she did not seem to like retrieving and did not always recall when called. The breeder is also my trainer. She told me to remember she is just a baby and a few other comments I won't repeat.
She told me this dog was breed for the natural retrieve and I better nurture it and as far as recall use a lead and only command when you can enforce it. Thing I learned is you can't teach them everything in a day, it takes time and repetitive training and maturity. Enjoy it, sounds like you are trying to learn so you both should get there if you don't rush it.
I say this knowing that I did a lot of the same things. Worried she wouldn't learn fast enough, always working on something. Just turned two and we have 3 passes for our master hunt title for pointing dogs. The dogs we brace with are usually 4 years old or older and I see the difference maturity makes.
Advice I can give you is enjoy the.puppy and have fun and keep learning.
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Re: Proper Motivation

Postby Dawnsearlylight » Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:34 am

Rick Hall wrote:
kkelly wrote:Any thoughts on what will motivate him to recall?


Conditioning.

For the next couple or three weeks, NEVER call him unless he's already coming or you're certain he will, for instance to eat, play, go out or some other natural reward. (I've no experience with treat training.) "Good boy" him, too, if you like. Just be sure to associate being called with outcomes he enjoys more than whatever he was doing when called. Don't wear it out, it's not a drill, just a way of life you're easing him into. After a few weeks of that, coming when called will be becoming a conditioned response, and you can gradually start calling him when he's otherwise distracted, beginning with mild distractions and working your way up to greater ones over time.

When something goes awry, and he ignores your command go get him and physically bring him where you wanted him, with the idea being not to punish him but to ingrain the notion that ignoring you simply is not a viable option. Doing this while he's small enough to be easily caught will go a long way toward convincing him there is no escaping you, ever - as long as you never show him that he can.

There will, of course, be times when you simply cannot make a correction, and the trick there is to minimize the damage to his good conditioning by not repeating what you can't enforce and unwittingly reenforcing his awareness of your weakness. Best then to bite you tongue, still your feet and revisit the lesson in places where he can't get away with blowing you off. Play those cards right and chances are he'll forget his slip and continue on with his good conditioning as though it never happened.

Begin practicing that approach of slowly building a framework of good habits and avoiding bad ones now while he's young, and you may well avoid the need for checkcords and collars and such down the road. Know I have.


This^ x10. Every time you let a dog disobey a command and continue to do something he would rather do, you are actively teaching him to ignore you and disobey. Never give a puppy a command you cannot immediately enforce. Teach the command, condition the response, confirm the response via proofing and correction. The trick is to never correct until you are 100% sure the dog knows the right response, and it takes awhile to get to that point with a baby.
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