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Discussion Starter #1
Okay so Clyde walks pretty well on a leash when we are on public trails. When we go to the dog park he takes off at like 40 mph exploring the park and I see him looking for me like every 5 minutes. This summer we will be camping and hiking trails a lot. I would like to let him off leash when we are in more remote areas but I am afarid he will he running off like he does at the dog park. I see other V's that sort of walk along side their owners while they are off leash. How do I get him to do that? He will be one on June 1.
 

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When I collected Bentley from the Breeders, she told me to take him to the middle of nowhere for his first walk off the lead and he will stick like glue to you, due to being very unsure of himself. I was sceptical and a little nervous at first but gave it a go, but she was spot on as he sticks with me the whole time. He trots a few steps in front and looks back to see where I am. He has got a little more confident now but still will not allow me to get too far behind, although generally follows from behind me!! He went out with a year old Viz on Saturday who kept charging into the woods out of sight and he tried to follow but only got about 20 metres in and stopped, looked at me and came straight back. I rewarded and praised him for doing so.Not sure if this will still work, but maybe if you take him out and hide from him in the woods, calling his name, he will come running. This really does work and keeps them stimulated too. Good luck and have a nice holiday.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I did the same thing when he was a baby but stopped after a while. I will start doing that again. Thank you.
 

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Cedar (10 months) has never stayed beside me when she is off leash. However, she doesn't go far and is always checking to make sure I'm still around. There is one sure way of getting her to come back to me, and I will practice this when it is safe to do so (ie. no other dogs or people around). I will let her get a bit ahead of me, then I will hide behind a tree. She will notice I'm "missing" then come back to look for me. I reward her with praises when she finds me, but never put her back on leash. I will keep doing this so she understands that its fun and not always to get her back on the leash.

Another thing is using the "touch" trick (we learned this in obedience classes). It's a simple "touch" of her nose to my hand, and she gets a treat. When walking off leash, I will ask her to "touch" and give her a treat. It's a nice way to get her to check back in with me.

I've started training her for a dog show she will be in at the end of May, so I will walk with her in the heel position, not on leash but just hanging on to her collar. If you slide her collar up behind her ears, she doesn't pull and will walk beautifully beside me. When we go for out nighttime walks, I will practice this type of walking for a block or so, then let her go back to her "fun" (more freedom) walk for a few blocks.

When I first got Cedar, I was so stressed out about the walking and heeling properly, and she was pulling me like crazy. The one thing I've learned is that her evening walk is supposed to be fun - not the work that we do in training and classes. So even though we may practice some of things we've learned, I try to keep it fun for her. I am more paranoid about her going off leash these days, so giving her more freedom and making her walks more fun, is the next best thing.

Hope this helps. :)
 

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When Kian was bout 5 months old I took him to a wooded area and let him off leash for the first time. I was impressed/surprised at how he would always check in on me when he got too far ahead. I did the same as rchadwick and would hide behind trees and bushes until he found me. Lots of praise and the odd treat.
Now he's 14 months and when he takes off into a forest, he will go out and do his sniffing thing and still check back with us. If it's just me and my gf. If there are other dogs around especially V's then he's pretty much being entertained by them and running around like a madman.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think Clyde would do the same, I am just so nervous. What if he wants to find me but cant? I lost him once for like 15 minutes. I just had this sick feeling inside me, imaganing going home that night without him was a horrible feeling. Now I have so much anxiety about letting him go.
 

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Most of these issues go away with maturity, training and conditioning. They really do. In the interim (sp.) look into one of the electronic collars. it doesn't have to be a correction collar either. A wide array are available that make electronic noises, and have GPS locators built into them, and of course stimulation. They can be pricey for a quality version, but the peace of mind is worth it. Even a standard hunting bell works, but in deep cover the sound doesn't carry as well.

You'd really be surprised at how close your dog can be to you in the woods and be virtually invisible to your eyes. A sound making device makes them audible.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I do have a training collar I just hate using it but he will wear it just as added security like you said. You say it takes maturity. Clyde is a year. When will he be "mature"?

Don't everybody laugh.
 

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He can walk off lead at a year old, but you'll have to be on top of your game with him and recognize when he's about to get squirrely on you. It's just time and exposure no matter what age.
Next time you take him to the forest, or off lead area. Play with him for about a 1/2 hour first on the check cord. Work him on his heel and come commands and just kind of put him through some paces and take the edge off. He'll be a little more focused with you when you finally let him off. You can also keep the check cord attached and just let him drag it behind him. If he starts to get away the cord will get tangled in the underbrush and slow him down, or stop him.

Does the collar make a constant noise? Some have a "running mode" and a "point mode". Their pretty loud and would make it easy to locate him by ear. I've never tried the GPS Models.
Don't hate using the collar. Used properly they're a very valuable tool, and will help you get from point A to B a little quicker. The collar is just an extension of the leash.

Gunnr is going to get her first off leads here in the next few weeks. It ought to be fun. I may have to get back into 10K shape. ;D She's very independent, but lately has shown a lot of signs of wanting to stay included in the group. I've done a lot of conditioning with her over the winter and early spring months. She's very much improved. Each day I see more and more that makes me anxious to see what she's really got under the hood. She is very impressive, If I can be allowed brag on her a bit. Tika is so layed back that I'm not too concerned, but if the little princess gets some scent in her nose, we may be off to the races too. ;)
 

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Doglover,

I thought 1 year would bring an adult dog but then i found out most "large" breeds are considered adult at 2. Then I was told, well he's a vizsla so it could be three or four years before he really grows up........ I did notice quite a change in behaviour around the 18 month - 2 year mark (better in some ways but thats also when some of our problems started). I'll be interested to see what happens with him in the next couple of years...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just finished our third week of training and I am frustrated. I have been doing Clydes weekly exercises at home and he is PERFECT. Learns super quick, does exactly what I ask, I generally do not need to repeat commands. What is wrong you ask? When we go back to class he is so rotten that he makes me look as if we did not do any homework what so ever.

When we are in class he is way more interested in the other dogs than he is in training. I have brought the tastiest treats possible but he is just not food motivated especially when there are more interesting things around. I can barely get him to eat tasty food when it is just him and I.

Will he ever transition from behaving in public like he does at home?

The class is all based on positive reinforcement. I am supposed to make myself more interesting than everything around him. I think that is kind of a joke. He sees me day in and out. I think I am about to use some tough love and throw the e collar on him.


Maybe he needs to start having some consequences for his actions instead?

What do you think?
 

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Sounds similar to our training experiences. (Said with hindsight) I guess the best benefit was learning self control. I don't think we ever got her to do all of the exercises perfectly in front of the other dogs, but she has learned, sort of, to maintain composure when on leash around other dogs. At least on walks now she is often better than the dogs we pass by.

We used different trainers, classes, and styles. Ended up with the positive one and I struggled with the same things. Still today this is a big problem--when she's being naughty stealing or eating stuff I often can't find something more interesting or rewarding to take away. But keep at it! Persistence and consistency go a long way.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
JP or anyone for that matter do you have a training collar and have you found it more effective than all this positive training.

I know with my kids I try the same thing "honey can you please clean your room" One hour later "sweetie did you get your room done" After about four hours of sweet talk I have to resort to "freaking out" as my kids would say and then they go clean their rooms.

I feel like when I try to be positive no one listens.

I am thinking kids and Clyde need to start having consequences. I am pretty sure I am going to start using the training collar I got for Christmas. I rewatched the training video that came with it just this afternoon.
 

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Hi doglover,

Been there done that too. What I found particularly frustrating was that at classes merc would behave beautifully for the trainer but not for me...... We also had one dog that during off lead heeling exercises would go and sit next to the trainer and just gaze at her and completely ignore his human! The explanation we got was that there are less associations with the trainer and the trainer gets less upset when the dog misbehaves and so is "more fun" or "less stressful" to be around.

It took us four weeks of level 1, four weeks of level 2 and about 6 weeks in the "open" class before things clicked with Merc and he started really wanting to work for rewards. I know you've struggled with Clyde but give it a bit more time. At least he is behaving at home when you work on things!! Some days I couldn't get Merc to do anything at home other than run laps around me. But my experience has been that the positive reinforcement stuff worked better than anything else once the dog had worked it out. If they've been trained by punishment-based methods it takes longer for it to click.

I think a common misconception is that there are no consequences with positive reinforcement - there are. For example, someone walks up to the dog, they jump up wanting some attention, person folds their arms and turns away - dog didn't get what it wanted. The main difference (and I am only new to this so my explanations aren't great) is that it is negative punishment (taking away whatever the dog finds rewarding) rather than a positive punishment (doing something that the dog finds unpleasant). I don't have children so am not qualified to comment on them! But I guess at least with humans you can say explain consequences up front whereas it's a bit difficult to explain to the dog that if they run over to the other dog they will get a squirt / smack / tug on the lead. So in my mind with cleaning the kids rooms you would say "please clean your room" then "please clean your room or you can't watch TV" then you have to turn the tv off and unplug it until they clean their room. It's still a consequence but you're taking something pleasant away rather than doing something unpleasant. And it's no fun for you "freaking out" all the time

Keep at it - you will get there and one day you will look back at this and be amazed. Just today I had someone who used to avoid Merc and I at the park come over and say how much better behaved he is now (compared to 18 months ago). So it takes a long time but will be worth it.

Do a google search on Karen Pryor for better explanations of positive reinforcement training.

By the way - our trainer said food doesn't motivate all dogs, maybe you need to find a special toy or something other than food as a reward? merc is food motivated so it was easy for me
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you, I needed all that positive reinforcemnet myself I guess. I guess I thought that Clyde was going to have this light bulb moment in class because everyond talked about how wonderful it was. Maybe I need to give it more time.

Just frustrating because he knows what to do, I know it, he just chooses when and where he wants to. Hard to imagine he will ever be trained.
 

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Doglover

Lower your expectations of Clyde for a little while.
If Clyde is doing everything well at home in the confines of your yard, stick with that training enviorment. Keep putting him through the paces and keep at it. Work those basic commands, Come, Stay, Heel, on your own. Just you and Clyde.
I personally would think twice about continuing the classes. At this point the frustration level seems to be getting up there. From your post it seems as if neither yourself, nor Clyde are profiting from the experience.
Clyde is your dog, and who cares what others may think of him, or if he is a knothead in public. If you have control of him around the house and in the yard, you are well on your way,and quite a bit further along than you were a few months ago. You both will get there.

Positive reinforcement is just a part of it. The statement is true that "you want to make yourself more interesting than the distractions". It's pretty important in hunting as this is part of what makes the dog move with you in the woods. There are consequences too. Disobeying a known command isn't acceptable,and it's just like the analogy you made about having the kids clean their rooms, in that it's a progressive response. I'll give you a chance to correct your behavior, but then we do it my way is my philosophy. Usually this means back on the leash for a "tuneup session". I've taken away their freedom, and put them back into "my box".

An electronic collar is not a punishment device, nor solely a correction device. It's simply the leash. It works hand in hand with positive reinforcement. They're very easy to use incorrectly, and I am guilty of using it incorrectly, but they can be a very effective tool. Introduce it and use it properly.
Make sure Clyde understands the Collar, and then give him some progressive distractions to reinforce the collar in his mind. Use the collar and the leash simultaneously. FIx the picture in his mind. It will still take some maturity and age on his part, but he may benefit quite a bit by having his boundries redefined.
I don't have to stimulate Gunnr's collar anymore. She knows what the warning tone means, and the consequence of blowing off the warning. When she obeys she gets lot's of praise and attention. I haven't had the eCollar turned on with her for quite a few months now. Tika would freak out if her collar ever gave her a warning tone.

You're going to get there. Clyde just needs to grow up a little bit. ;)
 
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