Working on Distance with Chicken Distractions (video)

Ravenbird

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So, we are working on training for RH, a thing in IGP translates to "SAR Suitability". One of the exercises is to send the dog to a table and have it Sit, Stand and Down from a distance, then return. My dog training area happens to be in the chicken yard - usually they keep their distance, but they've realized now that when I come out with Asha they find food that she drops. LOL, makes for good training. Chickens are a non-event to Asha, so it isn't really a challenging distraction...

 

Kswoodssue

Jr Member
@Ravenbird I have a couple questions, if I may. Have you always just used the AKC type reward based training methods, or have you incorporated some training with ecollar or prong collar? Our Sasha is 51/2 months now, and about to test for her STAR class next week. She knows the commands, and LOVES the classes.. She performs with exuberance, slapping her front feet to the floor on down...hopping happily between treats with loose leash walking. She will sit to be treated when meeting someone, but "stay" is still relatively short lived.. She becomes overstimulated with the treats sometimes and frustrated, as she cannot understand why we ask her to do the same thing over and over, when we could just shell out the treats in our pockets and be done with it.. (There are several fluffy little "poos in the class that are her age and perform perfectly. i wouldn't trade her for the world, and love her joyousness.) My husband (the guy who was unsure about obedience classes) went to walmart and bought 2 big bags of plastic balls last night, since she was afraid of them in the obstacle courses. And btw, we too have chickens that assist us in training. lol! She has very selective hearing, and if we are in the house, she is not interested in "come" unless a treat is in hand. Are we where we should be for age, do you think? Suggestions? The trainer is quite good, and she adores Sasha, but Sasha is close to 50# now. Do I just buy cheese by the ton (her preferred snack) and keep plugging away? BTW in a public place, she walks beautifully with the prong collar, but STAR prohibits them for class, BTW, is there a link with these abbreviations somewhere I can study? Thanks so much, Sue
 

JanS

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Very impressive!

Side note, but I see your rooster had to ham it up for the camera a little too. LOL
 

Ravenbird

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I have a couple questions, if I may. Have you always just used the AKC type reward based training methods, or have you incorporated some training with ecollar or prong collar?
This could turn into a long discussion, but first let me say you are doing great for Sashas age! Asha (I just realized that's Sasha without the "S"!) is going on 3 now! In short, I learned the hard way that stopping behavior with treat rewards didn't work for my dog - leash-pulling & barking at strangers to be specific. In fact, they backfired and we had lots of un-learning to deal with. So those "Do Not" things had to be reinforced with correction that meant something to her (prong/e-collar). ALL my training to do something (sit, down, come etc.) is reward based with marker (clicker or "yes") and food or toy. I didn't move into toy rewards until she was about 1 1/2 because she would spin out of control at the ball or tug and not listen. It took maturity on her part & patience on mine to move up to toy rewards. Also I used half her meals in training because I used tons of marker "loading". Repetitions when she was correct, like 15 or 20 in a row. She'd have a very unbalanced diet and I'd go broke if I had to use so many treats!!! I'm lucky though to have a very food motivated dog - she'll work for kibble, even if she's had breakfast. We had lots of setbacks due to Ashas belligerence and independence and was a very difficult puppy at times, so if anything, it sounds like you might be ahead of where I was at 6 months. I was also interspersing nose work with all the obedience stuff - she is always thrilled to do nose work, and very good at it. It works as a mental stimulation and the fact that I never tell her what to do or how to do it, regarding finding hides. For her personality this was huge. She hates being told what to do, she loves being boss, so this sport gives her the freedom to do that and get rewarded for it. Nice break for her to do this between everything else.

The order of training: Teach the "thing". Add duration, distance, distractions, but each of those one at a time and in very small doses. So "Stay" is understood, then add duration ( a bit longer, adding seconds, not minutes!), Distance (go further away, then around a corner in your home - again for seconds, not minutes!), Distractions (Stay while food is dropped several feet away, if she stays pick it up and give it to her at her stay position). But never add all this stuff at once - it takes months turning into years to get it all. Tiny steps will get you there.

Here's a link to AKC abbreviations: All AKC Titles Sorted Alphabetically – American Kennel Club
RH & IGP are not listed, even though I noticed the old Schutzhund titles are, including the BH I have. I thought no bite sports were listed by AKC, but not sure how that works. BH (I have listed on Ashas name on my "signature" here) is a prerequisite of all IGP sports - it's basically obedience on steroids and a temperament test involving traffic, people, bikes, joggers, being left tied etc.

Most of all, reward with fun! After the last lesson of whatever you are working on, end on a good note, throw a party! Whatever is Sashas favorite thing - jumping up and down, running after a ball, tugging a rope - pull that out and do that for a few minutes with her.

Set a few goals - even if it's not trialing - and work on that. Take her everywhere you can to expose her to public situations.

Hahaha, there's my short version.
 

Ravenbird

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Side note, but I see your rooster had to ham it up for the camera a little too. LOL
He's a good boy, I named him Stuart & told him it could be shorted to Stew any time. His daddy was a nightmare and had to go. I told this one that if he ever so much as gave us the stink-eye he'd follow his fathers footsteps. And he's been good now for almost 5 years!
 

Kswoodssue

Jr Member
Perfect! Thanks so much! Finding that place to stop training sessions is hard for us yet! She gets over stimulated, frustrated that she can’t get treats faster, she try’s going through sit and down on her own just to hurry the process, and turns to excessive mouthing of my arms when she doesn’t get her way. She doesn’t break skin, but what should be party time ends up being correction time instead. We are learning, and “knowing” certainly doesn’t mean she is “doing”. Thanks so much for your time!
 

Rits

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@Kswoodssue I've been there! Try using a raised surface to help teach her what stay means. The elevation helps them understand that if their feet move and they come off, they don't get rewards. Feet stay on, positive marker (yes or clicker), reward. I wouldn't even say stay at this point. She's learning to keep her body in the place you put her. You can pair the word to the physical action once she is showing she "gets it". If she hops down just redirect her back up onto the platform and then take one step back. Positive marker and reward. Then take two steps back. Or two steps sideways. Eventually work your way to walking around her. Move your body real fast one step to the side. Then eventually move real fast all the way around her. Reward after every small milestone.

We do this for teaching start line stays for agility and they catch on suuuper fast! Also, remember shes 5.5 months so still such a baby in the grand scheme of things. She most likely wont be able to hold a stay much longer than a few seconds while you build duration. Continue to keep everything fun. It will pay off in the long run. Also, do not drill recalls. Go for a walk with her a long line and one time randomly call her while running away. Your movement will make her want to chase you, naturally. The moment you see her turn and close the distance towards you in a very happy voice say YES! Give her a VERY SPECIAL treat. My dogs get a chicken egg because I "often" do these random recalls when we are out checking on the chickens. They venture off to look at something, I do a rare recall and they know to absolutely come every time because they are going to get something super awesome. Not just your boring every day treat, lol. I make sure to stuff some steak in my pocket and do an occasional recall in public too so they don't only come when the chickens are involved. Always have a party. Look at recalls as games, make yourself exciting and super fun. I've talked about recall games on here before, if you do a search for "recall games" you should be able to find it.
 

Rits

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Perfect! Thanks so much! Finding that place to stop training sessions is hard for us yet! She gets over stimulated, frustrated that she can’t get treats faster, she try’s going through sit and down on her own just to hurry the process, and turns to excessive mouthing of my arms when she doesn’t get her way. She doesn’t break skin, but what should be party time ends up being correction time instead. We are learning, and “knowing” certainly doesn’t mean she is “doing”. Thanks so much for your time!
If she's overstimulated I would lower the treat value and duration of training. I would also put her away in a crate for 5 min to process and think about what she just learned before continuing more. Doing this really helps with training! For both ending on a good note, and can be used for a tiny time out if they simply aren't cooperating no matter what you do. Ripley would every so often get time outs at agility class for 100% disengaging and going on a sniffing adventure. She has pretty much outgrown that or rather learned it isn't a good choice. The fun is over if you don't cooperate.

Oops sorry @Ravenbird I thought I commented on the OP. Something about chickens and dobes is a fun sight to see. I can only imagine what the neighbors think when I have my mean Dobe in with the chickens 😁 I love Asha's exuberance!!!
 

JanS

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I told this one that if he ever so much as gave us the stink-eye he'd follow his fathers footsteps. And he's been good now for almost 5 years!
LOL!

Phoebe went and met the trainers chickens a couple weeks ago and that rooster was all puffed up and really strutting his stuff around. She just said "knock it off you a##hole". :D
 

Kswoodssue

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I have 7 hens in one coop with a run outside, and 3 roosters in another coop. The 3 bachelors get to roam free during the day, and being Buff Orpingtons are quite gentle EXCEPT if a hen gets loose. Then it is gang activity that is sad to witness. I have tried to give away 2 of them, but no takers, and they are so pretty, I don’t have the heart. I was only supposed to receive 1 rooster, but sexing chicks takes better skill than mine!😂 Below the bachelors running for their life!
 

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Ravenbird

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If she's overstimulated I would lower the treat value and duration of training. I would also put her away in a crate for 5 min to process and think about what she just learned before continuing more. Doing this really helps with training!
Yes, I was going to add this in my comment too. Especially at Sashas age, @Kswoodssue short, short lessons, party then rest. At her age I had an X-pen for Asha near my computer and I'd sit and she'd settle. Very good for them to learn to chill after excitement and they say it really helps process the lesson. Offering many behaviors that they've learned gets a reward (sit, down etc) becomes a thing with youngsters while they're learning. "oh, you got treats out! Look, I'm sitting, I get one now, right? no? what about this down? treat me, I'm doing the thing for you!!!" LOL, I remember all that. They won't act like that calm sweet doodle at this age but that calm sweet doodle won't show that enthusiasm and speed and drive either. Nothing against a doodle, just sayin' when you gather up all the pain in the butt and turn it into performance, it's amazing.
I love Asha's exuberance!!!
Yes, what is now exuberance in work was an insanely difficult puppy. Harness the energy and turn it into something you both love.
 

Ravenbird

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I have tried to give away 2 of them, but no takers, and they are so pretty, I don’t have the heart.
If they don't have hens, they can be just fine. Stuarts daddy attacked us constantly, drew blood twice and almost got my friend in the eye - went at her feet first when she bent over to pick something up. He was nasty! I tried everything to make him civil, and I have more theories now of what caused his behavior, but it didn't matter. He used up all my patience and a hen had just hatched a clutch, so off he went. Now then, current Stuart is a dream rooster. Mind his business & takes care of the hens.
 

Oh Little Oji

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Nice! When I read the tittle, I figured you had placed some bits of chicken about to temp her.

Keep it up, Asha! One day you'll be ready for the Chicken Hawk!

ChickenHawk.JPG
He's small but mighty, and very persistent.
 

AnnV

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Asha is such a good girl! What is that box/table that she is jumping up on?
 

Ravenbird

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What is that box/table that she is jumping up on?
It was a wood shipping crate that my neighbor was going to toss, but gave it to me when I expressed how I thought I could use it. I just turned it upside-down and it's a great sturdy table! I stapled a $3 rug from a thrift shop on top so it wouldn't be slick when Asha jumped on it. It will rot away, being outdoors and all, but should last for several years.
 

AnnV

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It was a wood shipping crate that my neighbor was going to toss, but gave it to me when I expressed how I thought I could use it. I just turned it upside-down and it's a great sturdy table! I stapled a $3 rug from a thrift shop on top so it wouldn't be slick when Asha jumped on it. It will rot away, being outdoors and all, but should last for several years.
Nice! I thought it had that quaint look with the number plate, just like an ornament.
 

Kaiser2016

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She’s doing great with all those chickens so close by. I love doing quick obedience like this and mixing up the commands to keep them guessing. Keeping that Dober brain tired! 😉
 

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