I have been to 2 different classes (beginner) and they both teach the way Brigit explained. We started with sit, then stand then down, then come. We started working on the heel by baiting them with a smelly treat held at nose level next to your side. Then we started working on the sit and stay, from one step back to start, and the down/stay, also from one step back. We also taught wait, and Look. All involve hand signals, and using the treats. They seem to learn the hand signals better and will respond to them even when its noisy or chaotic.
Thanks, Birgit. That makes more sense how you explained it than what I have been told before. No one ever said to lure the dog into the position you are wanting before. That is why I could never understand it. They didn't have any reason for the dog to be giving the action they were wanting.
It's all a matter of timing. Think of it this way: Your dog already knew how to sit since she was about 1 week old. She also knew how to stand, lie down, come to her Mom (to nurse), jump up etc. All you are doing is teaching her English. Now imagine you were in China and someone was inviting you to sit down and you did not understand them. Would you rather have them push you towards a seat and push you down or would you rather have them show you a place to sit with food in front of it? Which one would be easier go understand? My guess is you would act on their body language but if you kept hearing the word for sitting every time it happens you would understand soon what the word to sit is. Our dogs are exactly the same. By lifting a food treat straight up over your dog's head (without any pushing on them or even touching them) you give the dog a reason to sit. If you say the word sit before the dog is actually sitting your are teaching the dog NOT to sit when you say that word because your dog learns, just like us, by association. The same goes for every other obedience command. You show the dog what you want (use the food as a lure) and then reward the dog for doing what you ask (using the food as a reward). This is also much faster to teach. If the dog makes a mistake you can be 99% sure that the mistake was in your timing of lure, cue (command) or reward. Only once the dog consistently sits on the hand signal (raised food in hand) should you start adding the verbal cue. This way the dog also enjoys the training a lot more and you can do 10 repetitions in 2 minutes and then go on to something else. Hope that makes sense. Just keep it all upbeat and fun for both of you. Using positive reinforcement and making it all one big play session will work best. If you have a dog that is a little bit worried about the clicker just use your voice instead of the click. But make it a very clear single sound marker like "Yes" and don't use that word for anything else. Let me know if you have more questions. Cheers, Birgit
Thank you all. I decided that I should start here at home with the sit. I know that she is food and voice motivated. She doesn't pay any attention to toys at all, at least so far. Unless you consider my shoes toys. She doesn't chew on them, but she keeps trying to bury them in the carpet with her nose.
Usually a cattle dog will catch on really fast to training, but many people don't think so because they get bored working on one thing. So I have to figure out how long to work on the commands. I have been working just until she doesn't take much pressure to get the sit. I have been advised, though, to start her by letting her sit on her own and praising her. Then when she is doing that pretty well, add the command (clicker training). My problem is I don't understand how you get what you want without giving the command first. Blue did pretty well with learning things that way, but I don't seem to. I think I always gave Venture the command first without waiting for him to do the action first and he learned pretty well that way. Both I used the clicker with. My Aussie I had, Ben, just got scared if I clicked the clicker. I just got a couple new clickers, so haven't tried anything with Cassie, but I did just tell her good sit when she sat down and that ended up with her trying to get in my lap. Oops.
Kathy, I think you are right that many dogs can go from show ring to obedience ring and back easily but it requires very good handling by the owner in both. Some dogs will distinguish by context, others get confused at first. I was thinking mostly about the heeling vs. gaiting difference. Breed makes a difference, too. I think Collie's are one of the easier breeds to train for obedience in many cases, a little calmer than some other herding breeds. Birgit
We have never had any issues with any of the Collies doing both Conformation as well as Obedience at the same time - often at the same shows. Often the only "outwardly obvious' change we made was switching from a shorter show lead to the regulation 6' obedience one. I have literally gone from one ring to the other with nary a problem.
I agree that Birgit's idea of the WATCH command is a really good one to start with. I think I would also work on getting a really solid COME, SIT, Down, and STAY ingrained before I worried about the whole "HEEL" issue.
You also, I think, need to find out what motivates her the most - treats, verbal praise, touching praise (patting her), a favourite toy, etc. - that will make things much easier for you both when it comes to training.
Most of our guys have all been very food motivated, but we've also had a couple that worked best for the chance to play with their favourite toys, and our young lad now is 100% a verbal praise type of guy - not that he would refuse a treat either.....
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Just a short note tonight, it's close to my bedtime. When stacking for conformation you are most likely using body language to get her to stand and look forward/upward towards your hand that holds a treat or toy which is likely at waist level or just above. To make it easier to distinguish you might want to teach a watch command with the treat held all the way up to eye level without giving any command at first. Make sure you stand tall and straight as it is very difficult for a dog to look straight up at you while standing. Then just wait until she looks directly at the food/your eyes for even a second and treat. Gradually increase the time you ask her to watch until you give the treat but encourage her with "good" or similar bridge word that let's her know she is on the right track. Once you have the watch cue solid she may have occasionally offered a sit on her own. If that is the case next time she does give a sit command and treat. I use 3 different hand signals to switch between sit, down and stand and it's all started with food in my hand while the dog is off leash in the house. For sit I lift the food above their head but close to it, for stand I move the food about one foot forward from her head (in sitting position) at chest height. For down i move my hand down to the ground in a straight line from her nose. Back up from a down I move my hand straight up to get the sit or up and forward at about 45 degree angle to get the stand. I suggest waiting with teaching a formal heel until her show career is over as the exaggerated turning of head towards you that makes for precise heeling will affect her gait in the show ring negatively and will be hard to fix once established. Instead just use a command like close whenever there is pressure on the leash and stop dead in your tracks until she puts slack in the leash. Birgit
Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 2/5/2013 (01:10)
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I have not taking any obedience training so can't help with it. All the dogs I have had have been very easy to train and learn my language. They respond quickly and well so no need for additional training. Hope someone can help you. Good luck.
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I haven't been to classes for quite a while and am trying to remember what orders things are taught. I have started working Cassie on "sit" and while on out walk did a little "heel", though not so much heel so I don't confuse her too much at this point. She has only done conformation before this. Can anyone help me figure out again what order is best for training her? I cannot afford the classes and will be working with her on my own.
Also, I think trying to teach her to sit when we are out walking is confusing her because I keep turning toward her to teach her to sit on command and when showing conformation you end up turned toward the dog or turned in front of them. How do I get her to understand to sit when heeling as opposed to stacking for conformation? I know I did this with Annie, but I have just forgotten what I did back then.
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