When the "leave it" command loses effect...

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Postby bustersmama » September 12th, 2006, 8:58 am

In the sense that Punkin doesn't hear anything when she "catches" her flirtgpole. She goes nuts, like she is in KILL KILL KILL mode. I have never ever seen a dog act like this with an inatimate object (or in a dog fight for that matter). She REALLY wants to kill the pole.

My question is - is the command not strong enough in all situations? (When i say leave it in other situations, she leaves it) Or can it be weak specifically when we have the spring pole out.

It takes me like 5 tries and sometimes I have to choke her off the pole. I, of course immediately put it up and we don't play with it anymore after her failure to comply - but I dont think she is "getting it"

Anyone have advice or opinions?
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Postby Marinepits » September 12th, 2006, 9:01 am

I have the same issue with Indy, and only with the flirt pole. Would love to hear advice, too! :)
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Postby SisMorphine » September 12th, 2006, 9:06 am

Dogs can only focus on one sense at a time. They can continuously switch which sense they are using, but still can only use one at a time. So when that prey drive and/or fight drive kicks in, that is all they can focus on. So you can scream all you want and they won't be able to hear you. This is why Beagles seem to be "untrainable" or "dumb" because when they get a smell . . . which they do often . . . they cannot focus on anything else.

Unfortunately I have no training suggestions for this, just wanted to explain why this happens :)
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Postby Marinepits » September 12th, 2006, 9:21 am

Oh, I can see when he "switches" and goes into full-blown prey mode. His pupils blow, he has this amazingly intent focus on just that Jolly Ball on the end of the rope, and a nuclear bomb going off in the backyard couldn't distract him. I know the why/what he's doing, I just want him to drop the damn ball the first time I tell him to, LOL.

What I usually do is stop trying to get the ball away from him (no more "struggling prey") and wait until he stops the shaking and growling, then I grab his collar and tell him "drop" and pry the ball out of his mouth. He usually gives it up without too much fight.
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Postby Romanwild » September 12th, 2006, 10:34 am

I taught the out early on with Dreyfus because someone told me it would come in handy owning a pit bull.

Diamond came to me as an adult with no out but she did learn it pretty quick. Even on the springpole she will out.

Michelle's Riggs wouldn't let go no matter what a few weeks ago but with training she has made a lot of progress. So it can be done even with a dog that truly won't let go.

Training and lots of patience.

Currently Michelle's technique involves cheetos. :D
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Postby mnp13 » September 12th, 2006, 11:16 am

I've been choking Riggs off of stuff for the past 6 months. It never made a dent.

You need to figure out what he wants MORE than the toy he has. Some dogs want air more (so the choke works). Some dogs want the toy that you have more (so the toy switch works). Some dogs want to be with you more (so calling them as you run away works).

Some dogs want Cheetos. :D

The problem I ran into with Riggs and choking him off was that if I did it over and over, he actually gripped harder on the toy and it took progressivly longer to choke him off every time. His tongue and eyelids were purple before he'd let go. This was even with him knowing that he was going to get the toy back almost immediately; because as soon as I got it from him I threw it again. I gave up because I was really worried about the physical damage I was doing to him by having to choke him over and over to let go of anything.

From there we went to the toy switch, which saw results slowly. The longer we played toy switch the faster he would spit out one to get the other. However, every session we seemed to start from scratch.

Last weekend, we double handled him to get him to stop diving for the toy in my hand. It got the point across realtively quickly and I've gone from there. He's at about 50% now for Cheetos. Once I get him up near 100% I'll start weaning him off of them.
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Postby Big_Ant » September 12th, 2006, 11:54 am

On September 12 2006, mnp13 wrote:I've been choking Riggs off of stuff for the past 6 months. It never made a dent.

You need to figure out what he wants MORE than the toy he has. Some dogs want air more (so the choke works). Some dogs want the toy that you have more (so the toy switch works). Some dogs want to be with you more (so calling them as you run away works).

Some dogs want Cheetos. :D

The problem I ran into with Riggs and choking him off was that if I did it over and over, he actually gripped harder on the toy and it took progressivly longer to choke him off every time. His tongue and eyelids were purple before he'd let go. This was even with him knowing that he was going to get the toy back almost immediately; because as soon as I got it from him I threw it again. I gave up because I was really worried about the physical damage I was doing to him by having to choke him over and over to let go of anything.

From there we went to the toy switch, which saw results slowly. The longer we played toy switch the faster he would spit out one to get the other. However, every session we seemed to start from scratch.

Last weekend, we double handled him to get him to stop diving for the toy in my hand. It got the point across realtively quickly and I've gone from there. He's at about 50% now for Cheetos. Once I get him up near 100% I'll start weaning him off of them.


Personally, that sounds like a problem from the original Owner, or maybe I'm just alone, but I teach every dog I have the OUT while they are a pup. As they get older I incorporate choking them off if they don't follow the command after it has been learned. IMO, it's important that all bull breeds learn the OUT. Sure there will be slips, but usually that can be addressed as well with some additional reinforcements.

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Postby mnp13 » September 12th, 2006, 12:14 pm

Original owner was Chris' wife April, and I would guess that he was ok there, but he was sold around 6 months (I think). for the next 2.5 years of his life he had no rules, no boundries, no anything. Then he got dumped back off at Chris' last year because he was out of control (go figure). Then he was in a kennel for a year with some training. Then he came to me, where I made some of his bad habits better and some of them worse.

He outed off of the decoy when I got him, but he and I have a few respect issues that only got worse when he got more and more snappy with me. What a dog will do infront of someone they respect is VERY different than what they will do with someone they are "testing." and no, he was not snappy like attacking me, snappy like "dive for the toy and grab it and your hand if you don't let go fast enough." Eventually I gave up because he was actually injuring my hands (and I type for a living.) Now we're back to working on it, and it's getting better.

The cheetos get him to out, but diving at them gets him in trouble as well. We have lots of things to work on all at the same time, and that gets to be a problem all by itself.

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Postby lellis34 » September 12th, 2006, 12:18 pm

Ok, please please please forgive me for being totally ignorant here. :? But, what is an OUT command? I've been working with King for weeks but only on basic obedience stuff. He's good with sit, come (good on the recall), stay (up to 25 feet away), leave it, take it, walks well on loose leash, and is good with combinations of the above. We'll be moving on and doing more training, but I've never heard of OUT. Help?
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Postby Big_Ant » September 12th, 2006, 12:21 pm

On September 12 2006, mnp13 wrote:Original owner was Chris' wife April, and I would guess that he was ok there, but he was sold around 6 months (I think). for the next 2.5 years of his life he had no rules, no boundries, no anything. Then he got dumped back off at Chris' last year because he was out of control (go figure). Then he was in a kennel for a year with some training. Then he came to me, where I made some of his bad habits better and some of them worse.

He outed off of the decoy when I got him, but he and I have a few respect issues that only got worse when he got more and more snappy with me. What a dog will do infront of someone they respect is VERY different than what they will do with someone they are "testing." and no, he was not snappy like attacking me, snappy like "dive for the toy and grab it and your hand if you don't let go fast enough." Eventually I gave up because he was actually injuring my hands (and I type for a living.) Now we're back to working on it, and it's getting better.

The cheetos get him to out, but diving at them gets him in trouble as well. We have lots of things to work on all at the same time, and that gets to be a problem all by itself.

baby steps... baby steps...


Sounds like you are moving in the right direction and I can definitely see where the issues came from, that's alot of moving around.

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Postby mnp13 » September 12th, 2006, 12:22 pm

When your dog has a toy and you put your hand on it and it lets go of the toy that is an "out"

Outing off of a spring pole would be when the dog lets of it.
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Postby Big_Ant » September 12th, 2006, 12:28 pm

On September 12 2006, mnp13 wrote:When your dog has a toy and you put your hand on it and it lets go of the toy that is an "out"

Outing off of a spring pole would be when the dog lets of it.


OK, Michelle, a question for you, do you always use the hand on the item, or do you strive for the OUT without the touch?

I have an escalation method, the first OUT is verbal without touch, then it's verbal with touch, then the final level is a choke off.

By touch I mean either just putting your hand on it, or physically grabbing it.

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Postby lellis34 » September 12th, 2006, 12:31 pm

On September 12 2006, mnp13 wrote:When your dog has a toy and you put your hand on it and it lets go of the toy that is an "out"

Outing off of a spring pole would be when the dog lets of it.


AAAHHH ok. We' have been working on that. I've been using "drop it". "Leave it" for something he doesn't have but wants (food, toys, trash, dead birds on walks, etc) and "drop it" for something he has that I want (toys, miscellaneous stuff he finds and brings me like shoes, socks, underwear, toilet paper rolls, cats, etc.)
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Postby mnp13 » September 12th, 2006, 12:33 pm

I want the out to mean "spit out / let go / drop whatever it is that you have in your mouth as soon as I say the word"... so I guess I just explained it wrong. oops.

And just a thought - you are giving your dog three commands before you make it out, basically teaching it that they only get consequences if they ignore you three times. Don't give commands that you can't back up :wink:

(and yes, I am working very hard at following my own advice!)
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Postby Big_Ant » September 12th, 2006, 12:43 pm

On September 12 2006, mnp13 wrote:I want the out to mean "spit out / let go / drop whatever it is that you have in your mouth as soon as I say the word"... so I guess I just explained it wrong. oops.

And just a thought - you are giving your dog three commands before you make it out, basically teaching it that they only get consequences if they ignore you three times. Don't give commands that you can't back up :wink:

(and yes, I am working very hard at following my own advice!)


OK, let me elaborate a bit as well.

Whenever we're doing anything physical, bitework, tug, springpole, etc., I NEVER have to escalate to step 2.

Step 2 is usually only reached once in a while, and it's usually when we are in the house and the dog gets worked up really good over whatever they found (usually something that is a high value treat: mini stuffed animal) and it's not always a consistent thing, just depending on how hard she gets worked up.

Step 3 is an extreme rarity, and I honestly couldn't give examples because it's not that often.

So I would say that I'm taking 2 times at most, which although is not perfect, it's close, and we can always strive to get to STEP 1 only.

The reason I don't mind so much is that Step 1, in terms of bitework, tug, springpole, etc. is the most rock solid, once and it's OUT! I loved going to Schutzhund and everyone with the Mals and Rotts looking at me like I was some sort of nutcase, but yet whose Mal needed to be drug to the parking lot and have it's jaws pried (literally) from the sleeve? Not mine was it!!!

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Postby Romanwild » September 12th, 2006, 12:43 pm

I always use the word "release" because I thought it sounded cool but a single syllable is always better IMO. lol

I tought it to mean drop whatever is in your mouth. If they don't and I move towards them to take it they will drop it then. Bastards made me get up!


I agree Ant that bull breeds should learn it young if possible. Might help not using break sticks in the future. lol
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Postby Big_Ant » September 12th, 2006, 1:36 pm

On September 12 2006, Romanwild wrote:I always use the word "release" because I thought it sounded cool but a single syllable is always better IMO. lol

I tought it to mean drop whatever is in your mouth. If they don't and I move towards them to take it they will drop it then. Bastards made me get up!


I agree Ant that bull breeds should learn it young if possible. Might help not using break sticks in the future. lol


The OUT actually helped me a while back when Weda was attacked by a Chow and Lassie-Type dog.

The Chow wasn't getting into it, but the Lassie dog was all over Weda trying to bite her. I was on the bike, trying to figure out how to get off without the risk of getting knocked down. Weda thought it was fun, she thought they were playing.

I realized the dog was getting serious so I gave her her old Schutzhund command for TAKE HOLD/ATTACK, and she actually remembered. She hopped up and mounted the dog from the rear and grabbed it's neck. Not Biting dog serious to injure though. She held the dog in place, once the owner got a little closer I gave her the OUT command in german (figured it might work better if she thought it was Schutz and nothing serious), and she immediately let the dog go and it was completely uninjured, but it was unable to injure her while she had it, and that was the most important part.

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Postby Marinepits » September 12th, 2006, 2:19 pm

With Indy, his "drop" command is rock-solid for everything, including food. The flirt pole is a new toy and new concept for him and I just need him to see that "drop" applies to the flirt, too. Maybe as the "newness" wears off.....?
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Postby bustersmama » September 12th, 2006, 6:05 pm

Thanks everyone. I will give the "Toy Switch Method' a try and continue to work with her. She is so damn fiesty!
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Postby satanscheerleader » September 12th, 2006, 7:27 pm

I never really had a problem in this area until I got Nyx and Tank who were raised, or not raised, by someone else. What I do is just always have a breaking stick handy. When I want them off, I give the command once, if they don't let go bascially immmediately I pry them off. Now when I say leave it, they let go right away. :| I praise big time when they do it on their own and mild praise when I have to pry them off. I just kept repeating that. It's worked really well.
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