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Thread: Getting dog to ignore distractions

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    Member Majja13's Avatar
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    Default Getting dog to ignore distractions

    Hey all it has been a while since I have been on the boards. I have encountered something new to me with my 6 mo pup. Long story short due to life rearing it's ugly head I missed about 6 weeks or so of any real training with him. Now when we go over to the elementary school I go to, to work with him and through bumpers he gets distracted. If he sees another dog behind a fence he will sometimes run over to the fence. Also he will get distracted by other people on walks and want to go over and say hi.

    When we are throwing bumpers if I give a strong command to come here he will usually stop and come close and then starts a game of keep away. Any suggestions?

    Thanks
    Matt

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    I am new to training but you should use a lead. That way you have contact with him and he can't play keep away.

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    Member jrrichar's Avatar
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    You need to enforce your OB in distraction free settings with a lead! If his OB was strong you should only need to say come/here once and he should come straight in, no exceptions. You set the standard. The standard should not erode because there are distractions, however, you will have to teach him this...progressively. You also need to define retrieving a bumper and practicing OB sessions as work not a time to play or do what he wants. You are the boss!

    You also should have your dog on a check cord when retrieving (if not CC) so that you can reinforce the standard of bringing it back, etc. Also have your dog on a check cord for safety to maintain control over him especially if, as you describe, his OB needs work and he is easily distracted.

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    Senior Member KwickLabs's Avatar
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    The first rule of puppy training is "Teach one thing at a time." Asking him to pay attention to you, retrieve a bumper and ignore distractions are several things.

    First re-focus on his responsiveness to you. Make yourself the center of his universe. Begin by doing fun stuff with very few expectations. For example, take free walks and explore. When that is going well add A FEW retrieves that are reward focused (done with a minimum of distractions).

    After establishing your relationship (see above), what usually happens is a pup is less interested in "other things" because he would rather work with you.

    Apparently, distractions are high on his present list of wants. Already, you are not in charge and he is out of balance.

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Majja13 View Post
    Hey all it has been a while since I have been on the boards. I have encountered something new to me with my 6 mo pup. Long story short due to life rearing it's ugly head I missed about 6 weeks or so of any real training with him. Now when we go over to the elementary school I go to, to work with him and through bumpers he gets distracted. If he sees another dog behind a fence he will sometimes run over to the fence. Also he will get distracted by other people on walks and want to go over and say hi.

    When we are throwing bumpers if I give a strong command to come here he will usually stop and come close and then starts a game of keep away. Any suggestions?

    Thanks
    Matt
    6 mo old puppy and distractions go together like peanut butter and jelly

  6. #6
    Senior Member truthseeker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KwickLabs View Post
    The first rule of puppy training is "Teach one thing at a time." Asking him to pay attention to you, retrieve a bumper and ignore distractions are several things.

    First re-focus on his responsiveness to you. Make yourself the center of his universe. Begin by doing fun stuff with very few expectations. For example, take free walks and explore. When that is going well add A FEW retrieves that are reward focused (done with a minimum of distractions).

    After establishing your relationship (see above), what usually happens is a pup is less interested in "other things" because he would rather work with you.

    Apparently, distractions are high on his present list of wants. Already, you are not in charge and he is out of balance.

    "In the Moment" (link)

    Read this one again.

    Keith

  7. #7
    Senior Member Hunt'EmUp's Avatar
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    I've been known to get distracted and lost, thus my parents tied on a rope and let me drag it around as a child. These days it's everybody else who are lost, only they won't let me tie a rope to them (something to do with political correctness I'm sure)
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    Keep retrieving and your Obedience separate venues for now and bring 'em together later. When you're teaching it's better to have very few distractions- and as Kwicklabs mentioned- make yourself his world.

    Once you've taught and pup understands known commands, add some distractions...and re-enforce.
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    You've had several good suggestions. Keep at it, have patience, don't expect too much progress too soon. Keep in mind that every pup is different and that at 6 mo your pup is entering adolescence and can have somewhat of a teenager attitude for awhile. I would be keeping him on leash or checkcord when any possible distractions are around, for now; when you have a chance take him somewhere open and safe and distraction-free where he can have some time to explore and a few retrieves.

  10. #10
    Member IdahoLabs's Avatar
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    Check cord or leash. Unless doing retrieves, there's no reason for a 6 month old pup to need to be off leash for obedience.

    Distance, duration, distraction, difficulty - change only one area at a time in training.

    My standard for my dogs is that they are never allowed to greet other dogs unless I know the training, temperament, and health status of said dogs (and often not even then), and very, very rarely allowed to greet other people. Don't let your pup develop a habit of feeling entitled to meet every person and dog he sees. (And don't let other people bring their dogs over to meet yours!) Insisting on this will go a long way toward fixing your distraction problems.

    Training puppies is an art where you balance attention, praise and discipline while rewarding effort and obedience. Your end goal is a confident, relaxed working dog who knows his job. Get 10 minutes of good effort and attention, add your corrections and rewards as needed, and quit while you're ahead. (Note here- correct for lack of effort and lack of attention, and realize that "disobedience" is usually confusion or not understanding/knowing the command, esp at this stage.)

    Developing an attention span takes time. I've got a dog who can give me his complete attention for over an hour of steady training doing advanced work - but it took me about 1 1/2 years to get there. If I can get ten quality seconds of attention from a pup I'll reward, release, and then start again. (And no, stays do not require attention.)

    Make sure you have a plan going into each training session. What do you want to accomplish? Make sure you know what you want.

    Set your pup up to succeed. Better than 9 times out of 10, he should be successful at whatever you're asking him to do. Watch for situations where he's going to fail (eg asking for a stay while a pack of 10 year old kids come running over) and avoid them. You want failure to be something you've planned.

    Remember that you can't expect your dog to focus on you if you don't focus on him. Attention is a two-way street. If you're not going to give him your undivided attention, make sure he has a release word so he knows he's not working, and/or put him up.

    KwickLabs has some excellent advice.
    Last edited by IdahoLabs; 04-16-2014 at 03:39 PM.
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