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  1. #1
    Moderator Tailfeather Community Moderator notredamebird's Avatar
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    Dog Training Question: Lying Down during Walks

    As some of you may remember, my mom and I talked about her getting a dog to celebrate getting through cancer treatments. She now has Jenny, a golden retriever who is about 6 months old. She loves this dog!

    Some of you will enjoy this story: A month ago, mom called once to tell me that she'd lost 5 lbs in two weeks of dog ownership. A couple weeks ago, she told me that she talks about Jenny nonstop and thinks about Jenny nonstop, and the radiation treatments have just been this annoying distraction in her mind! And this week, she told me that Jenny's got her walking briskly around the neighborhood 3-4 times a day for a 1/2 hour. Whoo-hoo. Maybe doctors should prescribe puppies as treatments!

    Okay, now to the question. Mom's had a couple of sessions with a dog trainer. They've got Jenny walking on a leash. She's better on the gentle leader, however. She's also good about going potty outside. She's crate trained.

    But there's one hitch... If Jenny doesn't want to do something ... or if she wants to pull up grass or pick up stones (which is not allowed)... she'll just lay down and refuse to get up.

    So far, my parents have two different approaches to this behavior. My dad just hauls her back up on her feet -- which works on the leash I guess, but is offbounds with the gentle leader. My mom has been told by the trainer to offer a treat so that the dog gets up and comes to you. Both these approaches work some of the time, but the behaviour continues.

    Does anyone have insight into how to manage this?
    Last edited by notredamebird; 07-09-2009 at 06:57 PM.
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  2. #2
    Tailfeather WyleeWhippets's Avatar
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    Re: Dog Training Question: Lying Down during Walks

    Several approaches can be taken. All depends on the training methods being used.

    Personally, if my dogs choose to pull a stubborn toddler tantrum like that, they get corrected for it. A correction can range from a leash pop to a spray with the water bottle to a nerf gun. All depends on what I have available to me.

    That, or I redirect the behavior to something constructive. For example, it the dog lays down while walking, I would start running and jumping and getting excited. The dog generally will naturally follow.

    However, this again depends on the source of the problem. So, if the problem is that the dog is trying to get her way, you could possibly be reinforcing it by doing several things. In this case, your dad getting her back up is giving her the attention she wants and your mom giving her a treat does the same. She needs to be treated for doing the command (example, heel) and not laying down and then getting up. So, if she goes with the treat method, have her make the dog heel rather than just treat her for laying down.

    I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE gentle leaders. HATE!!!! They simply DO NOT solve the problem, just manage it. I NEVER, EVER use one unless it's absolutely necessary (the older woman that bought a very, very hyper puppy for example) and only then after explaining to the person why I hate them, lol. In most cases, once on the GL, you are always on it. The dog does not truly learn anything from it in most cases. I'd rather take a flat buckle collar and do turns and stopping and teach the dog from day one that pulling is not okay than ever having to resort to ANY tools, let alone a GL. I can wean a dog off a pinch collar with little to no issues. But, I'd rather not ever need one to begin with.

    Anyway, off my box for a while. I don't know if that helps or if there is too much ranting going on. LOL.

  3. #3
    Moderator Tailfeather Community Moderator notredamebird's Avatar
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    Re: Dog Training Question: Lying Down during Walks

    Thanks for the suggestions, Roxy. A couple questions, if you don't mind.

    That, or I redirect the behavior to something constructive. For example, it the dog lays down while walking, I would start running and jumping and getting excited. The dog generally will naturally follow.
    I like the idea of redirecting her. A question though.. Do you think getting excited might count in Jenny's mind as praise ... or as "submissive" pack member begging the alpha (=what Jenny wants to be) into coming along?

    If she ignores the encouragement, should mom get more excited, or switch to correction?

    However, this again depends on the source of the problem. So, if the problem is that the dog is trying to get her way, you could possibly be reinforcing it by doing several things. In this case, your dad getting her back up is giving her the attention she wants and your mom giving her a treat does the same. She needs to be treated for doing the command (example, heel) and not laying down and then getting up. So, if she goes with the treat method, have her make the dog heel rather than just treat her for laying down.
    So if they're using a treat-based incentive, they should command her to "heel" (even if she's already doing it?), then treat her. After this is done, how do they actually get her back up? Use the "come" command and then offer a second treat?

    On yet another note, do you think it does any good to turn one's back and ignore the dog completely? Someone told my mom to do this. But she's not sure who won that contest! My mom turned her back. Jenny stayed put for a couple of minutes. Then Jenny got up. Mom turned back around and then continued walking. We're not sure if this means that Mom won, because Jenny got up, or if Jenny won, because she got to stay all comfy and the ground for two whole minutes.

    Sorry if this is too many questions!
    Last edited by notredamebird; 07-10-2009 at 11:01 AM.
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  4. #4
    return to real life Tailfeather
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    Re: Dog Training Question: Lying Down during Walks

    I agree with Roxy about the gentle leader. They are a bandaid, big time. Just because it is uncomfortable for a dog to pull doesn't mean the dog "doesn't pull".

    Personally, if this was my dog, I wouldn't let them get as far as the lay-down behavior in the first place. The best way to stop a behavior is to stop it before it starts. If your mom can get her walking before she even starts to lay down, you may break the habit completely.

    I have a couple more suggestions:

    A) Walks should be structured. Is the dog staying at a tight heel (i.e. a short 2 foot leash) the whole time? Keeping the dog at a short enough leash that they are focused on walking and their owner, and not grass or rocks can really help. Walks are a great time to reinforce pack structure by controlling the dog's actions through out the walk, instead of letting the dog control the walk. This sort of feeds in to what I was saying before, with stopping the behavior before it starts. If she never gets the opportunity to go for grass and rocks, she certainly can't lay down out of stubbornness.

    B). When the dog lays down, I would break the habit by making the dog do a different activity. For example, when she lays down, have her "come" and then "sit". Then treat her, and move on with the walk. This does a few things. A) it ignores the "bad" behavior and B) redirects to a positive sequence of behaviors with a reward and C) reinforces dominance. If she is ignoring treats, you need better threats

  5. #5
    Moderator Tailfeather Community Moderator notredamebird's Avatar
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    Re: Dog Training Question: Lying Down during Walks

    Rachel, I'm also forwarding your post to my mom.

    Your point about the walk being too 'structured' to allow plopping down is interesting. So is the idea of substituting a completely new activity, rather than trying to win at the original game. They don't have many commands down with Jenny yet, but they're starting a group class in two days. So maybe they'll soon have one.

    Come to think of it, that might work really well for her. She can be stubborn, but she does like to have things to do that please. So it might be natural for her to prefer coming over and doing tricks, rather than plopping herself down in the dirt.
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