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Starting Formal Training


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Guest breakxdownn

We've had Finley for about a month and a half now and he's pretty settled in and we have a solid foundation of a relationship with him. He trusts us and has already picked up on a lot of little basic commands from just living with us. I think we are ready for a little formal training with him.

 

What kind of things have worked best for you with training? Is there a certain order of commands that seems to be best? I planned on starting with "watch me" but I'm not sure what to work with him on past that. Are there certain commands that seem to lead up to others?

 

What are some things that have worked best for you? Any secret tips most welcome ;)

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I'd find a good, positive reinforcement based beginning obedience class and take it. So much fun, and it's good to work around other dogs -- the socialization (and distraction) is part of the process. I find it helps me remember to practice with Beth more too when I know we're going to be "performing" around others once a week!

 

People here will say the trainer should have experience with greyhounds, or recommend a greyhounds-only class, but I certainly don't live where such things exist. I actually had a great experience going through all the classes at PetSmart, had a very experienced trainer there, and I've done classes with a different trainer too subsequently, and Beth has done very well indeed. A couple of weeks ago I posted about how this member of a supposedly non-sitting breed won a "musical hoops" sitting contest in our class.

Edited by PrairieProf

With Cocoa (DC Chocolatedrop), missing B for Beth (2006-2015)
And kitties C.J., Klara, Bernadette, John-Boy, & Sinbad

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I've had good experiences with positive training basic obedience classes, too.

 

The training at the one Nutmeg, Romie, and I are going to now thinks the "watch me" is a good command to start with. She also suggests marking every desired behavior with an excited "yes!" -- a variation of clicker training where you don't have to carry a clicker with you. Other early commands have been "leave it," "take it," and "drop it." You do leave it/take it with a tasty morsel in your hand, let the dog smell it, and say "leave it." When the dog first looks away/moves its nose away, you say "YES!" and make a big fuss. When you're ready, say "take it" and open your hand so dog can take the treat. "YES!"

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Ellen, with brindle Milo and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, Nutmeg, and Jeter

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I don't think that positive reinforcement training is right for all dogs, it is great for some though. Just like with kids, there should be some negative reinforcement. For example with kids being grounded or taking away tv privileges are taken away. I think a firm "no" is important as is removing a dog from a situation and taking away toys. I don't believe in hitting or anything like that. Do some research and find the training that you feel is best for you AND your dog. I wouldn't ever use a choke chain on my boy because he is timid, but I firmly believe it is right for some other dogs if used correctly.

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Guest CountryDogs

I'm a professional dog trainer and love to talk training. :colgate

 

I believe in positive reinforcement methods for all dogs and especially greys. Greys will shut down with harsh training or even too much boring repetition. That doesn't mean you have to be purely positive. A mild correction now and then can be helpful but shouldn't be the basis of your training program. I always keep training sessions short - maybe 2 or 3 minutes a couple times per day. Pick one or two skills/behaviors to work on at a time (not trying to work on everything your dog knows or should know all at once).

 

The first thing I do is make sure the dog knows when they did the right thing. I use the word "YES!" and quickly follow it with a treat. Same idea as clicker training which is also hugely fun. Once your dog knows "YES!" equals a treat you're building his confidence because he learns he can make good things happen.

 

Watch me is a good foundation behavior - one of the biggest problems my clients have is not being able to get their dog's attention around distractions. So practice getting your hound's attention on your face, saying "YES!" and feeding treats.

 

I usually teach sit before lie down, and never work on stay and come in the same session since they are so different and I don't want to risk confusing the dog.

 

Good luck!

Edited by CountryDogs
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don't look at the other dogs in your class. most likely they are labs and goldens who will repeat an exercise over and over agin with out ever getting bored. boredom is the #1 problem in working w/ a grey. they get the info really fast and then just need to have it incorportated in their every day life.

 

a couple of simple things i do when training:

don't feed before training. it takes a lot of energy to digest that food, so train hungry.

i always bring a rubber backed bathmat for long sits or down, make it comfortable.

play and have fun( the other breeds need lots of repition, play after your pup starts to get it, don't let him get bored)

positive reinforcement

special yummie treats- slices of hot dogs, raw meat, dehydrated liver treats, chunks of cheese(and do not use any of them unless you are working your pup)

 

most of my dogs have LOVED obedience work, except annie who shut down big time. some just aren't cut out for it- it can be frustrating, just read the signals. some are....hopefully you will have a blast and both of you will be a greyt team :rolleyes::rolleyes:

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Guest breakxdownn

Thanks, very helpful! I actually hadn't considered a class until now - we saw one at Petsmart a couple of weeks ago with a bunch of puppies in it and that's what I pictured most of them as being. I'm pretty sure Finley would be way excited/distracted by a bunch of puppies. I'm going to see if there is either a greyhound class or maybe an adult class in the area. However, I think I'll start at home for a little with "watch me" while I do some research on possibly taking a class - that way I think we will get more out of the class rather than trying to get him to focus the whole time. I think we might enjoy a class though - and it is true that it would be great encouragement to practice everyday.

 

For those of you that have taken your dog to classes, how many weeks/classes is the norm?

Also, like I previously mentioned, I would just be worried that he wouldn't be able to focus with all the other dogs. I do think this would be a good experience for him to learn to focus wittth all the distractions. Was this a challenge for your dog - if so was it just incorporated into the training?

Lastly, a couple of you mentioned keeping training short so as not to bore - how does this work with a training class that is far longer than a few minutes?

 

Let the training begin!

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the akc (american kennel club) and apdt(something like that american pet dog trainer's assoc) has listings of trainers and classes all over the country. i would go w/ anything other than pet smart or something like that. clicker training is fun.

 

just talk w/ the director of the school or club about having a greyhound and not really not knowing a "rescue dog's" background and the need for poisitve training. a good trainer/school director will be able to talk to you and make you feel comfortable.

 

when you find someone you are comfortable with do take the time to ask questions and talk to them either before or after classes.

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Guest CountryDogs

I just wanted to add to look for a trainer with Greyhound experience. Unfortunately I have personally seen and heard from my training clients with greys about other trainers becoming frustrated when the grey didn't respond like other breeds (usually involving getting bored or shutting down). If you go to a group class, don't compare your greyhound to the labrador puppy next to you or the german shepherd dog. A good trainer will understand the differences and tailor training advice to your dog's temperament. A one size fits all approach is not helpful.

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We went to a 6 or 8 week class. I talked with the trainer before we signed up and I liked her methods so we signed up. There were a few puppies in the class and a few older rescue dogs. We were the class joke. I brought a blanket for Bu and he decided I brought it for him to nap on. We'd walk into the class, I'd put the blanket down and Bu would immediately lie down and I would have to drag him off the blanket to do anything. He seems to be a lot lazier than even most greyhounds.

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We went to a 6 or 8 week class. I talked with the trainer before we signed up and I liked her methods so we signed up. There were a few puppies in the class and a few older rescue dogs. We were the class joke. I brought a blanket for Bu and he decided I brought it for him to nap on. We'd walk into the class, I'd put the blanket down and Bu would immediately lie down and I would have to drag him off the blanket to do anything. He seems to be a lot lazier than even most greyhounds.

 

 

NAH, just a lot smarter(wanted to take advantage of the blanket situation) :rollin:rollin:rollin

 

annie shut down pretty quickly...one round of exercises and off to bed(just like bu)!every pup is different- felix rooed thru each and every exercise and had a fantastic time(he even knocked dh down on a recall he was so enthaustic), emily had to be the fastest in the class(168 races behind her). they are all different, i used a variety of instructors at the same school. by the time i brought annie to class(my newest pup) the director used to bring the blanket or mat when ever it was time for a down or sit, she was my princess! also the only one who used(as the school director would say) a "magic carpet". we turned training into bonding, carressing time, comfort time- she needed it.

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