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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Frodo is having a hard time in obedience class… the trainer says he is just timid and bashful… but the little booger isn’t cooperating. We have mastered “sit” and “watch me” pretty consistently now… but I cannot get a down for the life of me! He’ll sit and dip his head down… but the rest of him won’t follow no matter how I maneuver the treat. He won’t take treats in class…. No matter what we try- spits on them… or worse rolls around on the treat like he is putting on perfume! The trainer laughs so hard saying she has never seen that and trying to video it… I’m afraid he is going to be the class clown! He will take the biljac PB and Nana treats at home sometimes but not in class. He has refused all offerings including a beef rawhide in school! He walks loose leash well so we are progressing… but I am stumped on finding a way to reward him enough for cooperation! Today for his homework I sliced up fresh baked ham into pieces… worked well for a “sit” but no go on “down”- Any ideas for treats or training? The pitbulls in his class get it on the first try… but not my boy! I’m going to have to get a bumper sticker that says my basset failed puppy obedience school:rolleyes:
 

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Anabelle was also the class clown in her obedience class. She had no problems with "down" actually it was the getting her back up that was the most difficult. Are you standing up in front of him? Anabelle did better when I kneeled in front of her to start with but she is VERY short.

In our class if the dog didn't "get it" we would eventually as a last resort just put them there until they understood what we were asking of them. For example for down start tugging on their front legs gently. But again that's probably best left as a last resort.

The stars of my class were a standard schnauzer and a cattle dog.

Anabelle also refused treats the first class or two, so we started bringing a mixture of hot dogs, ham, and chicken. They are very distracted at class so they're not quite as interested in food as normal.
 

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A general tip if your trainer hasn't emphasized it is to only say a command once. Otherwise you may end up with a dog that only sits to "sit... sit... sit... sit" as opposed to "sit".
 

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Another way you could get him to do a down would be to lure him under your leg. Just sit on the floor with one foot on the ground. Your leg should make a triangle. Then, try and lure him under your leg with a treat. You probably won't be able to do this in class but you can practice this way at home. As soon as he's completely on the floor, click him (if you're using clickers which I assume you are), and then treat him. I would also make a huge deal over him. I wouldn't pair it with a word just yet. Let him get used to the movement and then, when you think he's ready, say 'down' as he's in the process of going down. Then click and treat him when he's completely on the floor. Eventually you should be able to phase out the leg and just say 'down' and he'll go to the ground. Good luck! Once he figures out what you're asking of him I'm sure he'll pick it up pretty quick. And they are very distracted in class. Good luck!
 

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Took us forever to learn down too. "put a treat between their front legs & most dogs will instinctively lay down." BS!!! Certainly not when they can still reach it standing up!!! We parked it in the living room with a big bag of treats over a long weekend & decided we were either going to have a porker or a dog that learned to lay down! She's got it now but I'm not entirely sure she really knows the difference between sit & lie down, she just circles through doing everything she knows until she gets the treat! It's a real good thing she's got her looks! :)
 

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I find the "under the leg" trick works well. Bassets are usually difficult when teaching the "down" - surprising, since that seems to be their favorite position the rest of the time!:D

Have you tried cooked liver? My dogs will do backflips for that.
 

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To get Maddie to do a "down" I get her in the "sit" and circle the treat around her body (she prefers to "spin" to the left) and she's eventually forced into a down trying to get the treat. She ends up in a curled position rather than just the stretched out "down" most dogs perform, but it worked well for us!

Keep up with it, Maddie is kind of a rare Basset - my trainer said - because she seems to LOVE to learn. Regardless, she has the same stubbornness that is found in most Bassets. Be persistent and it will pay off!
 

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find the "under the leg" trick works well. Bassets are usually difficult when teaching the "down" - surprising, since that seems to be their favorite position the rest of the time!

Personally I have never been able to transfer the under the leg to an actual behavior because getting down and leg bent at knee etc becomes part of the cue for the dog but what works great for me but will never work in a class setting to teach is a technique called capturing. IT works well with dogs that understand clickers but if you are prepared with treats you do not need a clicker.

Because at it basics "down" is something that you need not teach the dog they already know how to do to, what you need to do is teach them to do it on cue.

step one is increase the likelihood the dog will lie down by rewarding it. When you now the dog is tired or other times you know the dog is perparing to lie down such as getting up on the bed etc. You reward the dog right as the go down. Lure then back up and wait for them to lie down again reward. Over time They should start doing this pretty quickly. Once that is happening you can start to add a cue just when the dog is about to lie down say down over time the down becomes the cue to lie down. It is a no muss no fuss method you just need to wait for the appropriate oppurtunity to train.

see How You Get Behavior Really Does Matter
Capturing
Capturing is usually the first “hands off” training technique tried by most new clicker trainers. The concept is incredibly simple: When the dog does what you want, click and reinforce it!
Capturing is necessarily limited to behaviors that occur naturally in their finished form. It’s rather unlikely that the average dog is going to offer a full set of weaves the first (or second or third or…) time he sees the poles, but it’s a pretty good bet that he’s going to sit, lie down, or bark at some point.
It’s also limited to behaviors that occur with enough frequency that the dog can figure out a pattern to the click. It seems obvious to us what we’re clicking, but the dog may not be focused on that particular aspect—or any aspect—of his behavior at that moment. It’s only with consistent capturing of that behavior that he can figure out the common denominator of each clicked situation.
Like the Boy Scouts of America, the motto of any trainer who wants to capture behavior should be “Be Prepared!” Behavior happens quickly, and if you aren’t ready, an opportunity to catch it can be missed. This doesn’t mean you have to follow your dog around, clicker in hand, twenty four hours a day. Instead, identify the times that the behavior most commonly occurs or the events that generally precede the behavior and be ready to capture the behavior then. For example, to capture a bow, catch your dog when he is stretching after waking from a nap.
Although capturing is limited to the frequently-occurring behaviors included in a dog’s personal repertoire, it ranks fairly high on problem-solving ability because the click is the only information given. The dog must experiment to work out what he can do to earn a reinforcer. Happily, nearly all of the behaviors desired by pet owners occur frequently enough to be captured. It’s quite easy to teach a complete beginner’s class—even a class of pet owners with no desire to become trainers—using only capturing.
Another pro to capturing is that it teaches new trainers to anticipate behavior and to see the smaller responses that occur just before the desired behavior. This, of course, is the first step on the road to shaping.


How to Use Your Clicker to Capture Behaviors



HOW TO CAPTURE BEHAVIOR



How to Add the Cue


 

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the trainer says he is just timid and bashful… but the little booger isn’t cooperating. We have mastered “sit” and “watch me” pretty consistently now… but I cannot get a down for the life of me! He’ll sit and dip his head down… but the rest of him won’t follow no matter how I maneuver the treat. He won’t take treats in class…. No matter what we try- spits on them… or worse rolls around on the treat like he is putting on perfume!
Provided he will take the same treats at other times. Say like what happens if you take outside the class room and then give him the treat? If he has no problem eating it in other contexts and situations he is stress to much in class for any real learning to occur in that setting. You need to seriously consider a smaller class or individual instruction. or Sometime an instruter will allow you to audit a class ie attend without a dog, or you can try and desensitives the dog to the class by having him outside the area training occurs and reward for attention etc. Slowly working closer to the training activity but always looking for signs of stress

see
CANINE STRESS SIGNS

Self Control and Overstimulation
Emotional reactions originate in the limbic part of the brain, which allows for fast-acting response to events based on quick impressions. Survival depends on quickness of response — allowing you to notice and duck when you catch a glimpse of a fast-moving object about to fall on your head.
Limbic over-rides cognitive. When an animal is in a state of adrenalin arousal from fear, defense, excitement or just plain sensory overload, he not only doesn't listen, he can't hear you. It does no good to repeat "sit sit sit" to a dog who is on emotional overload. He isn't thinking, he is simply reacting to the stimuli around him. He must tune-in and re-connect with you before he will be able to hear what you have to say. You must be able to get his attention first, before you tell him what you would like him to do.
Food Motivated
The third reason a dog might not be food-motivated is stress. When a dog reaches a certain level of stress, fear or anxiety, they stop accepting food. If a dog is normally motivated by treats at home but refuses them outside of the house, then he is probably too anxious and is in the wrong working environment. If this is the case, you should consult with a qualified trainer or behavior consultant to determine the cause, so that you can learn how to decrease your dog's stress and safely work him towards more challenging situations. Stress is the primary cause of aggression in dogs and can lead to compromised immune systems and illness.
FOOD-MOTIVATED
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you for the wonderful ideas... I've been trying the capture it this evening... he has the most beautiful down position when its his own idea! He is very iffy on treats even at home... he dumps his kibble on the floor to eat... and may refuse a meal just cause he is busy... I've only found a couple of treats he really likes... but if I use them too much (the PB & Nana) I'm afraid he'll get bored with them too... Chicken doesn't work as he gets baked chicken topped on his kibble every meal (we have a diabetic dog that we use as a protein source for her and the rest all get a sprinkle too)... sometimes he ignores the chicken in his dish even... I may look at the liver or chicken gizzards... though I've never cooked a gizzard in my life!
 

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Try simply cutting back on the amount fed you may be overfeeding. see corpulent canines

from the food motivation link above
The most common cause is that the dog is given free access to food throughout the day. Even if their owner fills the bowl two times a day, the dog takes hours to clean the bowl. The food is always available and so the dog decides when they want to eat. For these dogs, limiting each feeding session to no more than 20 minutes not only encourages your dog to clean their bowl (which will help you spot health problems later on), but also puts you in ultimate charge of that resource.
Some dogs receive a steady stream of treats throughout the day for simple behaviors that they have been performing for years or simply for following the owner into the kitchen. With many of these dogs, the owner is forced to find new and unique treats because the previous treats were overused and have become as commonplace as dry kibble to the dog. While it's nice to give the dog a snack now and then, there's no reason to give it away for free!


I have general found that a basset that is not a food focused is most of the time overfed there is alway a few exceptions but it is very rare. In the case where the dog is truely not food motivated you need to look to other rewards. Remember it is the value the particular dog assigns to a reward that is important not what we think it should be the follow may give you some ideas on food and non food based rewards

when it comes to picky eaters I find smelly treats general work better sardines, salmon, liver etc.

List of Reinforcer
 

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I had one that could be picky with treat in that you need to use a rotation because the if a treat was used ferguently it loss value. Something a bland as a milkbone or charlie bear would have great value if she had not had any for sometime. but in the end what I discovered is that the class room setting was just too long for her attention span working in shorter more intense burst worked much better for her and you did not need to be as diligent with the treat rotation.
 

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My most recent picky eater was not overfed. Sailor was extremely lean, but at the best of times didn't care much about food and is stressed would stop eating altogether. The cure for him turned out to be to reduce his food further until he was cleaning his bowl at every meal. In his case the food had to be reduced to 1/4 cup, which is a very tiny amount for a dog his size. But with such a small amount he actually became hungry and would quickly clean his bowl for which I was able to praise him. During the time that I gradually increased his food he got into the habit of eating his food right away, reinforced by attention and praise and sometimes a special treat once the bowl was clean. Now he eats well and doesn't look like a poster dog for third world Bassets.

Stress is definitely another factor. Leila would get stressed in class and in the ring to the point that she was literally "not there" at which point she was totally incapable of even hearing what I was saying. She is gradually improving.
 

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Leonard also had trouble with "down". He wouldn't do it no matter what and on the day of the final test I took some chopped up hot dogs with me to bribe him. We went through the obstacle course and on the "down stations" I had him sit and then gave the "down" hand signal cupping the hot dog. He went down so fast! I was shouting OMG he went down so loud that I think everyone in the store heard and they all congratulated us afterwards. Something clicked and he still goes "down" to get his treats for being a good boy outside.
 

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To teach Doppler down I just waited for him to lay down and then clicked and treated him. After a little while he figured out that laying down was a good thing that he got treats for. I added the word as he was in the process of down and clicked and treated him. Then he'd only get treats when I would ask him to go down. He eventually figured it out!
 

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Another way you could get him to do a down would be to lure him under your leg. Just sit on the floor with one foot on the ground. Your leg should make a triangle. Then, try and lure him under your leg with a treat. You probably won't be able to do this in class but you can practice this way at home. As soon as he's completely on the floor, click him (if you're using clickers which I assume you are), and then treat him. I would also make a huge deal over him. I wouldn't pair it with a word just yet. Let him get used to the movement and then, when you think he's ready, say 'down' as he's in the process of going down. Then click and treat him when he's completely on the floor. Eventually you should be able to phase out the leg and just say 'down' and he'll go to the ground. Good luck! Once he figures out what you're asking of him I'm sure he'll pick it up pretty quick. And they are very distracted in class. Good luck!

this's how we taught Fred and she FINALLY got down after about 3 weeks.
 

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To teach Doppler down I just waited for him to lay down and then clicked and treated him
capturing! I find it very effective especial with puppies because the tend to lie down more than sit. Round here down is the default behavior. waiting for cookies, to go out, while a meal is prepared, how most use a sit. Capturing the behavior with a young puppy is general very easy and quick to train I find it easier than any other method.
 

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I can send you a video link to a short clip I did for a friend who was trying to teach the "down" command to her dog. She says it really helped. Let me know if you want me to send it to you.
 
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