Are some dogs untrainable?

(52 Posts)
permaquandry Tue 11-Dec-12 13:44:05

Permapup 4 mths, mini schnauzer girl. Attending puppy training once per week. Is ok at it but very inconsistent, they use a clicker and treats which I don't use too much at home as it would be click & treat for every waking minute,

She is fully housetrained but I think that's more to do with good control than 'training'. She bites every time you're near her, to say hello, to play, but no aggression.

She will respond to sit, if there is a treat in sight but rarely does any other time. Walking is a mare, I try to take her everyday for a short walk but she just tugs and circles me or bite my shoes. I stop and ask for a sit, which she occasionally does and will only move once shes at least stood still but then she's tugging again.

I've changed her food to Symply and her coat is much nicer and she smells less but is still so bitey and hyper. Got the Perfect Puppy book. Going to read again and follow it to the letter. Think puppy classes were wrong for us, she would probably respond much better to one on one.

Has anybody else been through this and ended up with a well behaved dog? Can appreciate this may just be the puppy stage but I'm worried if we don't get it right now, she'll always be like this.

Cuebill Tue 11-Dec-12 13:54:11

No - I have yet to come across any dog that is untrainable. I work in rescue so have dealt with thousands of dogs.

You use clicker training at puppy classes but not at home - THAT is your problem.

Use clicker training consistently and you will have a dog that is very very very trainable.

She is a baby why should she sit if there is no treat? What is the problem in her associating you with nice treats and praise when she does things right. Start off with treats and keep things happy you will have a dog that will do anything for you.

The one item of dog equipment noone should waste money on is a dog bowl grin Use her daily feed allowance to train her. She will be a star in no time at time.
Look at kikopup videos for inspiration and how to train just about anything including loose lead walking, stopping biting and jumping up.

kikopup free videos

CajaDeLaMemoria Tue 11-Dec-12 13:56:12

I don't think any dogs are untrainable, but then I've worked with Guide Dogs, where they have to be trained regardless of personality!

I think choosing one reward method works best. Clicker + treat is good, but only if you do it all the time. Just doing it at puppy training won't be very effective. What treat method do you use at home?

If she responds to the clicker, I'd stick with it. Click and treat all the time at first, then click but only offer a treat 3/4 of the time, and work down. It doesn't take as long as you'd think, and it's a good method for hyperactive puppies! You'll probably find walking her much easier then, too.

The perfect puppy book is very good, and you'll probably find it very reassuring smile

Cuebill Tue 11-Dec-12 14:01:02

Sorry totally disagree with Cajadelamemoria you must treat every time you click.

When the behaviour is learnt you do not need to click every behaviour but if you click you MUST treat.

However with a puppy click and treat until the behaviour is learn very well.

permaquandry Tue 11-Dec-12 14:04:14

The reason I don't want to use the clicker and treat at home is that it's difficult to always have clicker and treat to hand. Running around for sch run, sorting kids out etc. Also, we never used this for our old dog and he was so well behaved and we had him from an 8 week old pup.

I'm going to go back to the clicker and treat and ur so right about the dog bowl, I'll just use her food.

Watch this space, I will keep you posted. Thanks for the replies.

permaquandry Tue 11-Dec-12 14:06:04

Also, what do I do when she doesn't respond, I was standing outside for about 5 minutes, just saying sit over and over again and she just stood there looking at me. Should I show her the treat, or just move on and try again?

PeriPathetic Tue 11-Dec-12 14:07:27

Quite possibly mine bucks this trend hmm

She's totally unfocused on treats. Really couldn't give a flying one. And I've tried every treat known. She will be OK in the house if the mood takes her, and can do a few good moves. But when outside treats will. not. work. At all. Ever. People offer her a treat from their stash and she will either stick her nose in the air or gently take it and drop it on the floor.

She hated the first clicker I got, so I had to get a quieter one <stoopid creature!> Made not a jot of difference, I assume because she is not treat driven.

Any suggestions?!

Cuebill Tue 11-Dec-12 14:11:07

Get a hair tie put in on the clicker and wear around your wrist in the house.

She does not know what sit means (yet) so there is no point at all in repeating it over and over again.

If you have a bit of food lure her into the sit, click and treat. Do this several times a day DO NOT SAY SIT. Then she will sit without being asked. You can then click and treat and start to say sit.

Teach her the behaviour first then add the word.

So for her next meal time, have a handful of food and lure her into a sit click and treat. Throw the treat on the floor so she has to get up from the sit. Next time lure her into a sit click and treat and again throw the treat away from her, she will probably very soon start to offer the sit without your luring her into position.

Let us know how you get on

Cuebill Tue 11-Dec-12 14:12:00

Please can I come around and show you - I love it when owners get to see the wonders of clicker training pleeeeeeeeese i'll bring biscuits smile

Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 14:15:38

Cuebill, where do you live? Anywhere near Hants? I've got the hang of clicker, but I'd love a bit of face to face instruction on reducing fear with it.

permaquandry Tue 11-Dec-12 14:16:47

Cuebill, are you darn sarf? Will the be choc hobnobs?grin

Cuebill Tue 11-Dec-12 14:24:20

Yep darn sarf near Hampshire obviously chocolate hobnobs - is there any other kind of biscuit?

permaquandry Tue 11-Dec-12 14:26:48

U really want to come and do training??????

Cuebill Tue 11-Dec-12 14:27:13

Peripathetic if your dog really does hate treats there are other things to try. However try cheese hotdogs, liver cake etc and cut down or miss out a meal before you start training.

What type of dog do you have?

Tbh toy orientated dogs are really really easy to train as there reward last longer than a quick bit of cheese and so they tend to work harder to get the reward.

Cuebill Tue 11-Dec-12 14:28:02

Just a thought it may also be a fear issue if she will eat indoors but not outside. Outside can be very very scary for some dogs

Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 14:28:13

Cuebill...do you charge, and if so, how much? Sorry for the hijack permaquandry grin

D0oinMeCleanin Tue 11-Dec-12 14:30:54

My dog wasn't un trainable but he used to be un trainable around other dogs.

Getting him to do things at home was easy. Outside - do-able but not easy. Outside in view of other dogs - never going to happen. He'll just spend the entire time straining on the lead to go and play and nothing I do will ever be more interesting than other dogs.

I dabbled in clicker training for ages but got very into it a few months ago, when I was preparing my most ill behaved, ill mannered dog to go to college with me, where he would be working in close proximity to other 14 other dogs shock

He wasn't perfect but he did learn. He learnt look over there, stand in(side a hula hoop), beg, loose lead walking around other dogs and targeting which is going to make luring some behaviours much easier.

On the way home (one bus, two trains accompanied with very interesting train stations and lots of new people) two separate people commented on how "well behaved" and "chilled" he was [smug]- this is dog who used to have people stop and comment "He's a feisty one isn't he?" or "What a big personality he has"

Do you want to know what is more interesting than other dogs? The clicker itself - once it is used properly and consistently. If my dog even so much as catches a glimpse of the clicker his attention is 100% on me. If I don't give a command after a minute or so he starts throwing different behaviours at me trying to "win" his click.

Cuebill's advise is great. Do that. I also carry a pocket full of dry treats with me everywhere (cheesy bites is what mine like best) and have millions of clickers. I have clickers in almost every pocket I own (they cope surprisingly well with a fast spin cycle grin)

I don't always use food treats, that would be boring. Sometimes I use a ball or a tug rope and a game of rough and tumble - even live rabbits in some instances (not pets I might add and he never catches them)

Peri try different foods (cheese or liver cake is usually a winner) or play also train when your dog is hungry. Do what Cuebill said and use his meal for training (don't use Nature Diet Fish and Potato for this - the smell will stay on your hands for days)

Karen Pryor's Beginners Guide To Clicker Training is a good book to start with and The Complete Idiots Guide to Positive Dog Training.

I luffs clicker trainer grin

permaquandry Tue 11-Dec-12 14:31:11

Hijack away Lougle, I'm angling at 2 for 1 here grin although I'm not hants.

Cuebill Tue 11-Dec-12 14:36:52

No I wouldn't charge it Christmas!

Dooin how was BB?

wishingchair Tue 11-Dec-12 14:38:05

Do you have a place you can move her too when you're rushing around and you don't want her under your feet. Agree you can't be clicking and treating when you're trying to get kids out of the door!! What about putting her in another room with a kong filled with either that goop or treats to keep her occupied?

About the biting ... all puppies do this but you need to train them out of it. Our puppy trainer told us to do a high pitch short yelp every time we felt teeth on skin and then ignore them for a bit (like a minute). That's what they would do if one of their siblings got a bit too rough.

Also, if they don't respond, just say "too bad" and carry on. Otherwise they're gettign a shed load of attention for not doing what you want.

When you walk her is she off lead? Sounds like she's not. I'd let her off so she can run around and tire herself out! Take your clicker, a whistle and super treats like cheese/ham/bits of hot dog. Make sure she knows you have the treats before you let her off. Blow your whistle (I find 3 short loud pips gets their attention), and as soon as she comes back click and treat.

Puppy stage is hard work. FWIW, ours is a male lab and is now 2 yo and super super chilled out. See if you can find a puppy trainer that will come to your house. Ours did.

Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 14:38:23

See, Patch is extremely food orientated, and he can go from full on tigger bouncing to sitting at my feet at the sight of a clicker. BUT he is petrified of all things outdoors. People, dogs (+++), post-men, leaves, etc.

I have had a session with a behaviourist, but what I really need to do is to take him on a walk with someone experienced so they can see his reactions and reassure me that I can deal with it.

There is a history of dog-aggression towards my Westie (who now stays with Mum and Dad because everytime Patch sees him he goes for him sad) but his general reaction to dogs is fear.

D0oinMeCleanin Tue 11-Dec-12 14:43:20

Lougle you need the book I have just bought for fear aggression Cuebill mentioned it on someone's else's OP ages ago

I am expecting miracles by the way everyone talks about it.

It was great Cuebill. I loved every second. So did Devil Dog. He came home made sure his bed and dishes were still there and then just went splat on puppy's bed and stay there for 14 hours grin

permaquandry Tue 11-Dec-12 14:44:12

Cuebill. I'll pm you.

Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 14:45:56

Ooooooooh Dooin! Guess who has some amazon vouchers? Moi! wink

permaquandry Tue 11-Dec-12 14:47:53

No, we don't get far enough to anywhere to go off lead, it's so atrocious just getting 15 mins away.

Haven't got another room to out her safely (she's just chewed the fibre optic Xmas tree cable, it wasn't on thk goodness), I crate her when she needs to be out of way.

Got friends for tea, so she'll have to be crated, I'm wondering gif that part of the problem? Going stir crazy? But she can't be out when I'm out and when were in we keep her out of crate. There's a lot of coming and going tho and more crating than norm. This might not be Helping?

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