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Cannot Teach Stella Anything


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My Stella is 8 years old. She's wonderful. She likes treats, but there just ok. I am trying to teach her to shake a paw. Nothing. I lift up her little foot saying shake a paw while giving her the treat. Repeatedly. Not once has she ever lifted that paw on her own. Is she just refusing? It doesn't really matter if she does it or not, but it would be a nice bonding thing if we did some training. Any ideas?

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Sounds like my dog, Crow. He is not bright. At all. After 6 weeks in a training class, the only thing he learned is "touch" and he's even hesitant at that one. Some dogs, it just take a loooong time to click. Start small and reward any tiny movement of the paw, even something so subtle as shifting her weight. Also - up the treat game - make it something super yummy: people food like chicken, hot dogs or cheese. Good luck!

Edited by turbotaina


Meredith with Heyokha (HUS Me Teddy) and Crow (Mike Milbury). Missing Turbo (Sendahl Boss), Pancho, JoJo, and "Fat Stacks" Juana, the psycho kitty. Canku wakan kin manipi.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

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My Cash was like that! Cash had BLING! She didn't do 'obedience' hehe. Not at all. She did no commands ever-not even a sit. Cash liked to socialize and 'dress up' and go to Ice Cream socials :) I would rack my brain and try to identify fun things that Stella likes and then go from there. It's all good! Anyday spent doing anything with your dog is a good day! :beatheart

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You also may want to start with something a little easier so she understands that she gets the treat in exchange for doing something. This is why "touch" is a good first step to teach. With Heyokha, my other greyhound, at the second week of training, a light turned on and he suddenly understood "the game" and started offering behaviors like crazy.


Meredith with Heyokha (HUS Me Teddy) and Crow (Mike Milbury). Missing Turbo (Sendahl Boss), Pancho, JoJo, and "Fat Stacks" Juana, the psycho kitty. Canku wakan kin manipi.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

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Remember that you have to find something the dog wants in order to teach them. Positive reinforcement training is fabulous, but it's only a reward if the dog finds it rewarding. Most dogs find food and/or toys rewarding, but not all. Some only find certain really high value treats rewarding, whereas others are so food motivated you can train with kibble. Most dogs like real meat morsels for treats... but some dogs prefer carrots, apples, and celery. I had a dog in one of my obedience classes that was super motivated by apples - the owner would come to class and pick an apple off my tree to cut up and use as treats for the class (they were nice apples, not crab apples).

 

Play around with different treat options. Cook up some chicken breast or a steak and cut up into tiny pieces. She only gets this treat for training. Or try toys instead. Loves to shred paper? Her reward could be a piece of tissue paper to destroy. She loves getting up on the bed/couch? You only let her up once she does 1-2 repetitions of whatever the newest thing you're trying to teach is. Be creative.

 

Train just before you feed breakfast/dinner so she's hungry.

 

Keep training short. I usually tell people 5 minutes and under, but for really low motivation dogs I would honestly do 2-3 repetitions and then call it quits.

 

Choose easier behaviours to teach at first. Shaking a paw is probably too hard. Sitting and laying down are too hard. Start with focus/eye contact, or hand touches. Very simple, very short, very fast to do several repetitions and requires no major manipulation or movement from the dog.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sN18pcmDrg

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Thanks for the tips. What is teaching them to touch? What are they touching? I know one thing she has learned, us "go slow" when we go down the outside stairs. She skipped and skidded down them last winter. I dropped her leash so at least she didn't get strangled too. We now say "go slow" at the top and she does mindfully go down slow.

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If you watch Krissy's video posted above she explains about touching.

 

Nancy...Mom to Sid (Peteles Tiger), Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos).   Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie),  Ruby (Watch Me Dash) Nigel (Nigel), and especially little Mario, waiting at the Bridge.

 

 

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Even my "smarter" dog would not unterstand what I want if I'd done it that way. You teach your hound "If my ower lifts my paw,I'll get something." So why should she try it on her own? It is easier to enhance something a dog allready shows.

 

Struggling to teach mine "sit", as he only does it by himself on special occiasions where I've been to slow to reward it.

 

 

Clicker training and "free shaping" might be away to go for you (and my non-sitting hound)

Edited by Rakete
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How long have you been working on it? A couple of mine have been slow to learn that one. That's OK!

 

That said, if there's anything she does on her own that you'd like her to do on command, start "catching" her doing it, put a name to it, "Good girl!" (or click) and treat.

 

For best incentive, we use treats like poached chicken, cheddar cheese slivers, hot dog slivers, freeze-dried salmon -- the good stuff.

 

 

If you're looking to get her used to the idea of training and do some bonding, see if there's a nosework class in your area. Easy and fun for everybody.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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how about touch with peanut butter smeared on bells attached to the door knob.you can introduce the dog to touch by presenting the bells/w peanut butter to her prior to hanging it. she should try to lick them while you hold the bells. when your dog touches the bells to eat the peanut butter, praise and let her out"YES, LET'S GO OUT!". that's the reward. try this 5 times in a row. then just leave the bells attached to the door. repeat the same activity the next day and repeat until you see the pup touching the bells. then let her out and of course- PRAISE every time the bells are touched w/ or w/o peanut butter. then you can add touch to your hand- have some peanut butter on it. that is one way that you can start opening up the dog. i agree, all training on an empty stomach.

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You will probably find that if you crack one trick, you will suddenly find your grey more receptive to learning other things in general as they will understand the process. My guy learnt "sit down" (he actually lies down, but we call it a sit) as his first trick and that took quite a long while because I was using two things to teach him: I was saying sit down when he was standing on the couch and moved into a sit on his own to settle near me then praising heavily and fussing him, and I was actively training him by leading him under a chair with a treat so he had to lie down to reach it (and saying sit down as he did so), then clicking the clicker and giving him the treat. The clicker is an important part of establishing the fact you're training them. Once we'd got that one trick down, he picked up "paw" in literally about 2 or 3 sessions. I then also went for the low hanging fruit and taught him to "turn around" (which he does all the time anyway while pacing) which I now use to get him to wipe his paws in the utility room.

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