4 months and still no down

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doglove
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4 months and still no down

Postby doglove » Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:41 pm

Birdie just refuses to learn down. I've been trying for four months, using a clicker and capturing the behavior, but she just sits there and stares at me and it's as if there's no lights on upstairs. She refuses to be manipulated into the position. She refuses to be lured into the position. So I tried capturing it.

I started out trying to use a lure, I tried that for two weeks and she still refused to even budge. Then I tried gently pushing her down, and that really hurt her feelings so that's out.

Then I read about capturing the behavior throughout the day. Sounded like a plan! I know she'll lay down on her pillow, so I'd tell her to go lay down, and wait with a clicker and a treat until she actually laid down on it, and then click, treat, praise. After the very first time I click/treated for a down position on her pillow, I called her to me and told her to 'go lay down' again. She went, but then sat there and stared at me, and I'm not exaggerating, for almost 15 minutes. I was able to watch most of an episode of the Simpson's while waiting for her to down. Then I click/treated, and repeated. She'd randomly refuse to lay down and just STARE at me. Not much blinking, no moving, no yawning, no twitching her ears. Just STARING. It was infuriating, but I persisted, and she'd get a click/treat.
I started click/treating whenever we were around the house and I saw her lay down anywhere. After I'd click/treat, she'd either lay there and STARE at me, or get up, walk around, then sit down and STARE at me.

Eventually she'd stop just sitting there staring at me, but her behavior showed that she didn't really give two poops about my stupid clicker OR the treats. I've tried everything. Hot dogs, bologna, chips, fries, bread, carrots, liver, popcorn, even bits of steak. Nothing seems to be working. You name it, I've tried it. I've gone through so many bags of different kinds of dog treats it's stupid. This is a dog that LIVES for food, but she just does not care about it when it comes to downing.

Eventually I just gave up wishing her attitude was thrilled, like my other dogs. At least she was downing and accepting treats. We got to the point where I would say the command word 'pats' and as she would be laying down. Then we got to the point where I'd say it right before I knew she was laying down....

But she still refuses to accept commands to actually lay down. Four months later if I tell her 'pats' she STARES at me like I'm some kind of idiot.

Nothing else motivates her. She doesn't like toys that much, she's not much of a chewer, she loves food but obviously nothing is working. I've had people tell me to force her into a down and eventually she'd get it, but I don't want to force her. Well... when she's just STARING at me I feel like shoving her down just so I can feel better but that doesn't actually fix the problem, does it?

I have hopes of us doing rally, obedience, agility. She loves to be active and loves to please me. We can't do any of those if she absolutely refuses to accept the 'pats' command.

What else can I do? I've stopped feeding her treats. I just don't see the point. She's not earning them, so why should I feed her? She's so different than the other dogs. The other dogs LOVE to learn new things because it means goodies coming their way. Getting her to lay the F down is like pulling teeth with a pair of tweezers.

doglove
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Re: 4 months and still no down

Postby doglove » Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:45 pm

Like right now, in a last ditch attempt, I said 'pats' as she was laying down, and she stopped, sat up, and now she's STARING at me.

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jamielvsaustin
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Re: 4 months and still no down

Postby jamielvsaustin » Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:54 pm

lol, I'm sorry but you're a humorous writer.

I know what her reward is-she likes trying to make your head explode.

Have you thought about luring her underneath something that will cause her to be so low she'll almost be laying down....you could come up with a contraption...but if you're coffee table is low enough that might work. Start with that and then get her to stop actually crawling through to the other side. I'm not sure how you'd do that part. May have your hand halfway under the table with the treats...and then maybe if you fed multiple treats while she was in that position she'd get tired and lay down, then you could throw a party? :dunno:

What if you got infront of her and got really low and encouraged her to do the same????

Is there something wrong with her? Does it hurt her to be in that position? Are you asking her to lay down on weird surfaces-where she wouldn't normally lay down?

I'm just throwing ideas out there...I'm sure someone with better ideas will come along.

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Adrianne
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Re: 4 months and still no down

Postby Adrianne » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:02 pm

Backup took months to learn to down. Some dogs just pick it up more slowly than others. Backup also can stare for what feels like hours. Its frustrating to say the least. He also sucks at luring.

So I tried another method and finally got him there by positioning him. I would sit him and gently pull his front legs out. Once in this position I praised like crazy and we started over and over. Eventually he got it, it's not conventional but it worked for him. Just be positive you're gently moving and not making this uncomfortable. I got to the point I could touch his legs and he'd down, then reach and he'd down, then offer a flat hand towards him and he'd down and now we're to a command only no hand movement down.

Again, not conventional and not a clicker method but it worked for my doofus of a dog and it may be a viable option for yours.

doglove
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Re: 4 months and still no down

Postby doglove » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:06 pm

There's nothing wrong with her, no. She has absolutely no problem lying down all by herself, and is one of those lazy dogs that would rather lay down than stand or sit for long periods of time.

All of our 'training' time spent on the down position is done on her dog pillow. She loves that thing, even drags it around the house sometimes. She's currently curled up on it snoring. All other times it's on her own and I just catch her doing it. Those times it is on the hard floor, but if she had a problem with it, she wouldn't lay down there! She's a very practical dog.

I actually have tried getting low. I've tried laying on my belly, but didn't want to mention it cause it's embarrassing. She got bored with me in about three seconds and refused to come to me when I called her until I sat up and started acting sensible.

I haven't tried the obstacle yet. I have to wonder if it'd even work. If she refuses to accept a command after 4 months of being fed treats on a pillow, what's going to change her mind about laying down under a table or something similar?

This dog definitely has a sense of humor. I just wish I knew if all of this was funny for her. I think I'd probably pop her one if she could actually laugh at me. :stick Thankfully, the one good thing that has come out of all of this is that I've learned patience, and I've learned to recognize the warning signs of me getting really irritated and when to say enough and just put her away.

doglove
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Re: 4 months and still no down

Postby doglove » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:12 pm

Adrianne wrote:Backup took months to learn to down. Some dogs just pick it up more slowly than others. Backup also can stare for what feels like hours. Its frustrating to say the least. He also sucks at luring.

So I tried another method and finally got him there by positioning him. I would sit him and gently pull his front legs out. Once in this position I praised like crazy and we started over and over. Eventually he got it, it's not conventional but it worked for him. Just be positive you're gently moving and not making this uncomfortable. I got to the point I could touch his legs and he'd down, then reach and he'd down, then offer a flat hand towards him and he'd down and now we're to a command only no hand movement down.

Again, not conventional and not a clicker method but it worked for my doofus of a dog and it may be a viable option for yours.


I will give this a shot! Where you sitting in front of him for this? Bending over him? Standing in front and bending over? Squating? Did you use any treats, or just praise? How many times during the training sessions would you say you manipulated his legs? Did he ever resist, and if so, what did you do?
Any more details would be very appreciated.

She was very resistant to me trying to push her down, even though I was gentle, and then she spent the rest of the day sulking, shooting me dirty looks, walking around me cautiously as if I'd beat her. She got over it after dinner, though.

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pacopoe
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Re: 4 months and still no down

Postby pacopoe » Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:52 pm

You say she will lie on her pillow on command? If so, strengthen that by doing it all over the house/yard until she's doing it reliably, then begin the process of de-stuffing the pillow until it's just a shell of fabric. If you continue to practice and make the "pillow" smaller and smaller, then you can eventually phase it out.

Just a thought.

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Amie
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Re: 4 months and still no down

Postby Amie » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:39 pm

Liberty doesn't lie down - she sits as a default behavior, and she sprawls when she's resting, but she doesn't down. I taught her to do it in a series of shaping sessions. You can see part of the procedure here, where I'm teaching her to do it in a crate. This took 18 minutes.

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Maven
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Re: 4 months and still no down

Postby Maven » Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:29 pm

I would do as Jamielovesaustin suggests. I kind of went through this with the Xolo. So I spent some time with my trainer and she suggested two chairs and a broomstick.. It works and works great!!! Click treat.. yippee.
Now I get random "down" where sit used to be offered. It's kind of cool! I was able to remove the "prop" after 5 repititions. He is the smartest little dude!!

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April
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Re: 4 months and still no down

Postby April » Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:20 pm

Take her favorite treat then let her sniff it.
Now close your hand but leave it open just enough for the dog to smell the treat.
Now put your dog in a sitting position then put the hand with the treat on her nose then lower your hand to the grown
make sure your dog is following the hand or at least looking at it go down.
Hold your hand there(Down on the floor or closes to the floor as possible) and tell the dog the word "Down".
Usually the dog should lower its head and try to eat it, they will eventually lower their body to accommodate.
Don't let the dog eat the treat, repeat until the dog lays down.
That worked for me and my dog learned it that day but it took weeks for it to do it without any rewards.

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gixxerific
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Re: 4 months and still no down

Postby gixxerific » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:15 pm

I can't give any real advice other than keep doing what you are doing and it will come. It sounds like my Lucy she wouldn't do a "down" for anything. Than one day she did and since than she has been more than great with it. I also find she won't be so reliable on slippery surfaces like tile ( her little butt keeps slipping) lol , but on carpet grass, concrete she is spot on. Go figure that one out.

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starrlamia
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Re: 4 months and still no down

Postby starrlamia » Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:46 pm

Ive been trying to teach brie shake a paw for 8 months, if thats any consolation.


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