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Obedience & the dog that's one step ahead of you

1126 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  LifeOfRiley
I've always suspected that Riley's "the smart one" in this relationship (he's "the pretty one" too - lol) but we've hit a little wrinkle in his obedience and now I'm sure of it.
He anticipates what I'm going to ask of him next and goes right to that, skipping a couple steps in between.

He likes this game where he brings me a toy, just so I can toss it back to him. Well, I've always had him sit for me before I do. Then, once in a while, I'd ask for a sit AND a down. Lately, I've been asking him to sit and then 'say please' (bark.)

Starting last night, he's going into a sit, a down and saying please ... all at the same time. LOL. It's like he knows that I'm going to ask at least one of the three, so he just does them all.
I'm probably not explaining it very well, but how would I go about getting him to do only what's asked? Like, giving me a sit and just stopping there?
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And he was SOOOO pleased with himself! "It makes you happy when I do these, see, I can do them without any help! Aren't I a smart dog??".
The thing is that we assume the "WAIT" command in the middle of the sequence, but the dog doesn't. The actual sequence in Utility, for example, is Stand, wait, down, wait, sit, wait, come, wait, finish. Whew, lots of commands. But the only ones we give the dog are the stand, down, sit, come, finish. Wait is an "assumed command" in that the dog shouldn't do anything else until told to do so.
So Tito just needed to learn gently that he needs to wait for me. The trainers told me to simply tell him "wait", or give the hand signal for stay, and not walk so far from him. Then return to him, and reward him for WAITING, not for having to get a second command.
So start using the actual wait command, verbally, until he realizes that it's part of the sequence. Then you can phase it out.
And yes, anticipation is a good thing. It really is!
Oh yeah, Riley looks like he's quite pleased with himself when he does this. All bright-eyed, looking at me like "Look ma, I did everything before you even had to ask!"
That makes sense. He does know a "wait" command already. He'd taken to pushing past me when I'm walking through a doorway. Not that it bothered me all that much, but our doorways aren't real wide and it never failed that he'd do it when I'm carrying a hot cup of coffee. So if I see that he's in steamroller mode, I have him stop and "wait."
So if I can get him to follow the wait command in a different context, we should be good.

MurphyTeller said:
Are you using a clicker? You can do a couple of things. If you can catch just the "sit" (if that's what you're asking for) before he does the rest of his behaviors, start to mark (click) the initial butt hits the floor part of the sit.
I've never used a clicker before, but it might not be a bad idea, here. If I can't get him to understand the wait command in a different situation, without getting frustrated, I'll try it. That's a problem with him - he's easily frustrated. When he was doing the sit, down, say please all at once last night, I was backing up, repeating the sit command after he came towards me. Poor boy just kept doing all three at once, looking at me like "Look dummy, I'm doing what I KNOW you're going to ask me to do... what's the problem?!"
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