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.

permaquandry Tue 11-Dec-12 14:49:42

Lougle, is patch a jack Russell?

PeriPathetic Tue 11-Dec-12 14:51:58

Cuebill - the only thing she will go for is butter... which is so not practical in a coat pocket grin Not toy driven either.

She's a primitive breed, a Shiba Inu and well documented to be a pita who will only obey when it suits

Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 14:52:54

Hmmm...good question, permaquandry. If you asked the breeder I bought him from prior to the wisdom of the doghouse, he'd say 'pure-bred Staffordshire bull terrier.'

If you ask dog-house experts here, you'd get either 'Parsons Jack-russell cross Staffy' or 'Staffordshire bull terrier x Whippet', or 'whiffy', as scuttlebutter coined it grin.

He's too tall, long and lean to be pure Staff, although his smile is to die for.

PartridgeInASpicyPearTree Tue 11-Dec-12 14:54:07

I have a puppy the same age and he is totally hit and miss at puppy training because there is so much going on. I use the clicker and treats all week and just see the classes as practice with additional distractions, rather than aiming to get any significant training done during the class iyswim. We don't need to lure now as he knows the words but he still needs to see a treat in my hand to do it. It's a long process withdrawing the food and you may need to occasionally reinforce the behaviour for the rest of the dogs life. Some dogs are definitely more compliant than others naturally though. <Looks envy at the other puppy parents whose dogs come back straight away despite having done no recall training>

D0oin <boak> at the idea of using NatureDiet fish for training. I ordered a case of 18 and by the last one I was gagging when I dished it up. We are strictly lamb and chicken now!

Cuebill Tue 11-Dec-12 15:01:19

Peri if he likes butter would he like the squeezy cheese in tubes? That is easy to keep in your pocket and let him have a quick lick for a treat.

A breed that will work and are highly intelligent but you need to find the trigger. If you once use aversive training you will have a mountain to climb to get them back on track.

I would be as stubborn as he is. Every meal he has to work for his meal or no meal. No punishment, no cross words etc just ignoring.

digerd Tue 11-Dec-12 15:36:40

Not had a schnauzer, but at 4 months she is teething, and at this time all pups are chewy. At 6 months she will have her adult teeth. She does seem a handful/hyper. She should not be biting you and you must discourage this, A sharp loud OWH!! and glare at her, and stop greeting her might work, as that his how the litter pups let eachother know when play fighting. should pass once her adult teeth are through, but make it clear to her that you are not pleased. I had this when they were up to 6-10 weeks, but not at 14 weeks. They soon learn at that age. They all want to please, and you must make it clear to her. Hold a chewy toy for her to bite instead of you.

RedwingWinter Tue 11-Dec-12 16:33:59

Peri, just be really stubborn. One of my dogs is very independent and would literally spend ten minutes thinking about whether to obey a 'sit' command or not. It was like you could see his mind whirring away - 'I can smell that she's got a treat but I don't like to do what I'm asked ... shall I or shan't I'. Then one day I had to wait 20 minutes and I thought, thank god, an extinction burst. After that it only took two minutes ;)

Mine also would rarely take treats outside at first. I had to laugh at yours taking them gently and putting them on the floor - mine is the same sometimes.

RedwingWinter Tue 11-Dec-12 16:38:49

P.S. Mine is a rescue that was previously hit. It didn't help that he was afraid of doing things wrong in case he got hit.

OwlLady Tue 11-Dec-12 17:30:40

you can train all dogs but I personally don't think if you have a dog with problems initially (ie. not a puppy, an older dog) you sometimes have to accept that with any amount of training they could still have problems. I had a dog with a lot of problems and some things I just had to accept ( she was a chaser for example) and limit the behaviours and make sure she stayed safe iykwim

But your dog is a puppy, just keep training and training and it will all click ebetually, you just need to be consistent

OwlLady Tue 11-Dec-12 17:32:39

lol at the stubborn dog, I know that one well grin

PeriPathetic Tue 11-Dec-12 18:25:57

Hm, squeezy cheese might work - I'll see if I can find some here.

Don't get me wrong, she's very good most of the time and I'm far more stubborn than her wink Redwing how interesting you dog does the same with treats. Mine's so sweet and gentle with the person offering them, then so dismissive!

I'm with her pretty much 24/7 so she's steady with me. Takes very little notice of DH though. And she's got sod all recall, but that was a known trait and therefore catered to. And OMG to her prey drive! Crazy!!

Inthepotty Tue 11-Dec-12 18:42:31

Peri use her prey drive to your advantage! My boy is very 'driven' and works brilliantly for his toy- which is just a bit of fleece tied onto a rope, I drag it along the floor and he chase and catches.

CalamityKate Tue 11-Dec-12 18:53:40

I'm obsessed with clicker training and if I had my way, along with the dogs I'd also have a pony, a rat and a parrot to play with lol!

My dogs love the clicker. In fact my older dog who came to it quite late (she was 7 when I got her) goes positively giddy at the sight of it.

portraitoftheartist Tue 11-Dec-12 19:34:31

I don't understand clicker training. Why is Clicker - Treat any more effective than saying," Good Girl!" then giving a treat?

Cuebill Tue 11-Dec-12 19:56:31

portraitoftheartist you may regret asking I can go on for hours and hours about clicker training smile

The click is instant, quick and accurate so marks the exact behaviour.

If you say good girl that can cover the dog sitting, standing and sitting back down again for example.

Also the clicker holds no emotion to it. Click means correct.

You can say good girl in many different ways which would all have a different meaning to the dog.

There have also been studies that have shown that the clicker sound actually penetrates a learning area of the brain (I will try and locate the paper on this)

The dog does not ever get told that they are wrong, only that they are right eg the click. This means the dog tries harder and harder to get the click and the reward. The dog is quite happy to try anything so may offer incorrect behaviour but is willing to keep trying until they get it right. So dogs that are clicker trained will work much harder than just treat trained dogs who often just get bored with the treat.

Again a study shows that dogs will try hard to get the click and sometimes by withdrawing the click the dogs will actually speed up their response to the command to ensure they really do make that clicker click.

Many other reasons ...........but will stop before I bore you smile

D0oinMeCleanin Tue 11-Dec-12 20:01:26

Portrait the click is generally more accurate. The dog knows exactly what she was doing when she "won" with "good girl" she'd need to work out whether it was she was doing at the start of you talking, the middle part or the end. They will eventually learn that way but the clicker helps the dog out a bit and makes learning quicker.

Dachshunds are untrainable. Fact

Cuebill Tue 11-Dec-12 20:24:02
Rhinestone Tue 11-Dec-12 21:11:59

ALL dogs are completely trainable. 'Tis a well known fact. Every single dog on the planet responds to some kind of training stimulus, if your dog is 'untrainable' you're doing something wrong.

hmm <glares at completely untrainable husky sprawled on expensive sheepskin rug>

That's not a trick, it's just jumping excitedly at the prospect of food. Then it's ryes are just following food. As well as being untrainable they are also terribly greedy. Dachshund fact 2 grin=

RedwingWinter Tue 11-Dec-12 23:30:38

'the clicker sound actually penetrates a learning area of the brain'

Obviously not literally, or brain surgery would be required wink. I am not convinced of this at all (or indeed of how anyone would know, since so far there is only the one published paper on canine neuroscience).

I think some people find the clicker a better marker because it's easy to get the timing right with it. However 'yesss' or 'good' are both short sounds too, so they are also good markers.

I only know one study which compares dog training with and without a clicker. It was done with basenjis who had not seen a clicker before. There was no benefit to using the clicker in teaching the dogs to touch a traffic cone with their nose. The only advantage was when they had an 'extinction' trial in which they stopped pairing the touch with a food reward, but for the clicker dogs they still used the clicker. With the clicker, the dogs kept going for longer even though they were no longer being rewarded. So perhaps it is useful for maintaining behaviours once they are taught, although note that this broke the cardinal rule of always pairing click with treat.

RedwingWinter Tue 11-Dec-12 23:32:49

Macaroni - eyes following food = important principle of dog training smile.

PeriPathetic Tue 11-Dec-12 23:35:37

Surely the clicker is just another demonstration of the Pavlovian response?

Beamur Tue 11-Dec-12 23:43:33

I sometimes think my dog is. The reality is that we've never spent enough time or effort on training her.
This was brought home to me recently. DP usually walks our dog. I hate walking her as she pulls and is a bit unpredictable. However, due to DP's absence I had to walk her, twice a day for nearly 2 weeks.
After 2 weeks of consistent expectations (mine) she was very different. Less pulling, less giddiness.
It's not the dog that is the problem.
My dog is hard to motivate - does not respond to food or praise out of the house! But she does have the capacity to learn.

Cuebill Wed 12-Dec-12 17:17:41

redwingwinter when I am at home I will have a search for the study. Dogs had electrodes on the brain which measured the brains response to the click and the part of the brain that was activated. So there was some evidence not just a general comment. smile. They were then tested to see if the human voice eg yes or good boy had the same response which it didn't.

I am not surprised that dogs first introduced to a clicker were not trained any quicker to start with. However once the dog is charged to the clicker they will learn quicker.

Also the accuracy of the clicker allows dogs to learn more intricate commands quicker.

It is no surprise that since clicker training is used more and more, the standard of all dogs sports, agility, obedience, HTM and assistance dogs has gone so very much higher.

From your other post it would take forever to train a dog to drive a car if you were not using a clicker

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