> 17 week female black Lab, Jenny
> 1. When we play fetch she grudgingly gives up ball(I hold her nose and say
> "drop, good girl". Then she will sometimes put her feet down and bark at me,
> even a short sort of growl sometimes. Is she just telling me to hurry up and
> throw it again
> or is this barking stuff something I should discouage?
> If so, how?
She barks/growls - game ends. Put the ball away, out of her reach. Do
other stuff (with or without puppy) for a few minutes, then get the ball
out and re-initiate game. Repeat as necessary.
> 2. Last week we went to first obedience class. It's an hour of heel, sit, stay,
> come, etc. plus 10 minutes twice daily. She doesn't seem to be enjoying it
> much. Am I asking too much of her?
Perhaps. Start incorporating "obedience training" into everyday
situations. Puppy sits to have her leash put on for walks, sits or
downs at dinnertime, sits and waits at doorways and sidewalk curbs, that
sort of thing. Reward LAVISHLY for prompt compliance. That means HAVE
A *PARTY*, make a BIG fuss, YippEE! HooraY! Wah-HOOO! What a most
EXCELLENT dog! Yeah, you'll feel like a complete idiot, and an hours'
worth of this will wreck your voice, but it *works*. The biggest
problem I see in group classes is trainers that fail to promptly and
sincerely PRAISE/REWARD their dog. They get into class, feel
self-conscious about getting silly with their puppy, praise with a gruff
"good dog" at the end of the hour - and wonder why the dog isn't
thrilled to participate. Trust me, nobody is even looking at you, much
less wondering why you're crooning show tunes and doing the hokey-pokey
because your dog finally sat without physical prompting.
The other big problem I see is people who expect every dog to be just
like every other dog. Some dogs love to be touched - physical "praise"
is easy for these dogs, and very rewarding. Other dogs would rather
have a cookie. A dog that loves physical praise will eagerly allow you
to position them in a sit or a down, but are so rewarded by the touching
that they aren't inclined to sit or down on only the command or signal.
A dog that hates to be touched, and considers physical praise a minor
form of abuse, will really dislike being positioned - but will likely
sit or down on command/signal quite readily, if only to avoid being
touched. MOST dogs are somewhere in the middle, of course. But the
point is, you have to learn what is "good" and "bad" to YOUR dog. If
your dog doesn't care about collar corrections, but melts when you speak
harshly, then FOR THAT DOG a collar correction is a "lesser" correction
than a verbal "AH-AH". Learn what your dog will work to earn (food,
verbal praise, physical praise, a game of fetch, etc.) and will work to
avoid (verbal correction, physical correction, isolation or being
ignored, etc.), and remember that every dog is a little bit different.
Keep it *short*, keep it *fun*, reward often, praise sincerely, and read
> She is no big fan of "***collar" and
> bolts when I give her the down command from sitting position. My trainer says
> "get her on the ground even if you have to pick her up" Her technique is to
> pull leash down and forward to get dog down but my gal isn't getting it.
Y'know, I've trained 3-4 dogs myself, and taught about a dozen classes
in the last 8 years, and I've *never* seen anyone get that "pull leash
down" thing to work. Every time, the dog stiffens its front legs and
pushes UP against the pressure.
> (By the way, before class started I could get her down no prob with
> treat, for about 3 seconds, but I have discontinued this because I don't want
> to confuse her)
Use the treat, if it works. What I usually tell students (and what's
worked for me) is to hold the treat in your right hand, and use that
hand to signal for the down by describing an "L" in front of the dog.
From just above the dog's head, to the ground at her toes, and then away
from her. Most dogs will follow the hand/treat by going into a down.
The hand signal part becomes associated with the treat part, and
eventually the two can be separated. Give the signal without a treat in
hand - if she downs on the signal, praise, release, give her a treat
from somewhere *other* than your signal hand. You want her to
understand that treats are always POSSIBLE, even if she can't see/smell
> 3. Toy snatching. My 3yo turns away from her toys and the pup moves in. When
> she gets the toy I tell her no and walk toward her to take it but she runs. I
> think it is not a good idea to chase her but she is quick and I can't let her
> chew up the toy. Any advice?
Grab another toy and try to get *her* to chase *you*. Two can play at
that game! You might also consider playing chase or tag or whatnot, on
YOUR initiative, without being coerced by toy-snatching. For the most
part, this is a bid for attention and interaction, so one of the things
you can try to do would be reduce her need/desire to engage your
attention with "bad" behavior. This means increasing the attention,
praise, etc. for "good" (or even "neutral") behavior.