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Discussion Starter #1
hi,
my boy, basil, is mostly well behaved. he is trained to an e-collar and leash pressure. he passed the therapy dog certification a couple of months ago before i realized that id rather have a SD and cut away from the program before he was accepted into an organization. he is a little over a year old, so he is quite a bit younger than the other SDs ive seen (most were at least double that, and those were the young ones).
recently, he's been having an issue with down-stays extending past an hour and a half. he will let out a whine every minute or couple of minutes when he gets bored, which is unacceptable and is seriously making me rethink his eligibility for service work. i believe he is whining from boredom because he is young and it really tests his impulse control to sit still away from the house. i wanted to take basil to college in order to further his training, but i dont want to disturb the class or take my attention from schoolwork. i have 2 classes back to back for an hour and a half each, so this leaves about 15 minutes between either class. its enough for a quick romp around the campus field, but not enough to alleviate boredom for another hour.
does anyone have any advice? should i continue training him for another year or so and see where we get before i take him into a setting as demanding as school? should i bring my dog on select days that i feel confident enough to deal with anything he throws at me? should i maybe bring him a nylabone for the second period?
this is my first time training with a SD, so i am a bit unsure.
 

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Puddles
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There is a reason SD's are older. They receive basic training with a puppy raiser for the first 12-18 months and expected to pass like 42 different commands. Then back to the institute to do advanced, speciality training for at least another year. There is usually another 3 - 6 months training with the person they are assigned to help.

Maturity will help with lots of things but never do anything now that you don't plan to do when they progress. Basically giving a bone is teaching him if he whines he gets rewarded, not a pattern you want to start. JMHO but you are asking your pup to do something he's not mature enough to handle. He needs continued training and time to grow up. There are lots of dogs with very mellow & laid back personalities that can handle this at 1 yr but they are the exception more than the rule. This is also the reason that service dog organizations breed their own puppies.

I'm not opposed to e-collars for certain specific training but pretty sure NO service dogs are ever trained on e-collars. They are taught from the beginning to bond with their people. The training is always positive as you want the dog to WANT to be with you vs. doing it to avoid pain. I'm also pretty sure you will not be allowed to use it to pass any certification. Shoot you can't even use it in an obedience competition. Using the e-collar may also be part of the whining problem as least with with what you are wanting him to do.

Do you have someone that can help you train? Someone that has trained service dogs before? Having a good trainer could do wonders for you both.
 

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Golden Ret Enthusiast
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Puddles is correct. You never ever offer rewards for incorrect behavior. Giving a rewards when they are whining or any other unwanted behavior instills that is the wanted or expected behavior.
 

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One might consider looking at it a little differently than 'rewarding' him for whining (saying he is uncomfortable/bored). Giving the dog something 'to do' can serve to prevent the boredom and/or whining in the first place, there fore eliminating the possibility of 'rewarding' him for unwanted behaviors. Due to a major surgery my pup is confined to an x-pen I give him things 'to do' to work his brain, things to chew to help to tire him out so that he doesn't get bored and prevent him feeling the need to whine (or bark) for attention or to get out. In essence I am 'rewarding' him for not barking and whining.
 

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There is a reason SD's are older. They receive basic training with a puppy raiser for the first 12-18 months and expected to pass like 42 different commands. Then back to the institute to do advanced, speciality training for at least another year. There is usually another 3 - 6 months training with the person they are assigned to help.

Maturity will help with lots of things but never do anything now that you don't plan to do when they progress. Basically giving a bone is teaching him if he whines he gets rewarded, not a pattern you want to start. JMHO but you are asking your pup to do something he's not mature enough to handle. He needs continued training and time to grow up. There are lots of dogs with very mellow & laid back personalities that can handle this at 1 yr but they are the exception more than the rule. This is also the reason that service dog organizations breed their own puppies.

I'm not opposed to e-collars for certain specific training but pretty sure NO service dogs are ever trained on e-collars. They are taught from the beginning to bond with their people. The training is always positive as you want the dog to WANT to be with you vs. doing it to avoid pain. I'm also pretty sure you will not be allowed to use it to pass any certification. Shoot you can't even use it in an obedience competition. Using the e-collar may also be part of the whining problem as least with with what you are wanting him to do.

Do you have someone that can help you train? Someone that has trained service dogs before? Having a good trainer could do wonders for you both.
This 1000Xs over. Bolded my emphasis.
 

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Ashleigh
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One might consider looking at it a little differently than 'rewarding' him for whining (saying he is uncomfortable/bored). Giving the dog something 'to do' can serve to prevent the boredom and/or whining in the first place, there fore eliminating the possibility of 'rewarding' him for unwanted behaviors. Due to a major surgery my pup is confined to an x-pen I give him things 'to do' to work his brain, things to chew to help to tire him out so that he doesn't get bored and prevent him feeling the need to whine (or bark) for attention or to get out. In essence I am 'rewarding' him for not barking and whining.
I would very much agree with this. Giving your dog something to do is not the same as rewarding them for whining. If your dog whines and you give him a treat every time, marking the behavior, that would be rewarding it. Setting your dog up for success by giving him an outlet is far different.

I would also say it sounds like perhaps he’s too young to do this for that long and he is communicating so.. and as others have said regarding the e-collar, they’re not accaeptable for service dogs (or any dogs IMO). Training should be fun.
 

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Golden Ret Enthusiast
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One might consider looking at it a little differently than 'rewarding' him for whining (saying he is uncomfortable/bored). Giving the dog something 'to do' can serve to prevent the boredom and/or whining in the first place, there fore eliminating the possibility of 'rewarding' him for unwanted behaviors. Due to a major surgery my pup is confined to an x-pen I give him things 'to do' to work his brain, things to chew to help to tire him out so that he doesn't get bored and prevent him feeling the need to whine (or bark) for attention or to get out. In essence I am 'rewarding' him for not barking and whining.
I would very much agree with this. Giving your dog something to do is not the same as rewarding them for whining. If your dog whines and you give him a treat every time, marking the behavior, that would be rewarding it. Setting your dog up for success by giving him an outlet is far different.

I would also say it sounds like perhaps heÂ’s too young to do this for that long and he is communicating so.. and as others have said regarding the e-collar, theyÂ’re not accaeptable for service dogs (or any dogs IMO). Training should be fun.
I agree as well. The point is to redirect the energy to something productive for the dog, not giving a bone when they display unwanted behaviors such as the whining mentioned. Even going through obedience behaviors like sit stay heel and wait then move and repeat just to get their minds on to other things. Get them focusing on you
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thank you for responding. i was a bit unsure about the age piece because he's been doing so well that i guess i've been pushing him too far past his threshold. as to the e-collar, i live in a blue-stars state that is lenient with its access rights (even SDiT have the same access rights as long as they don't disturb the public) and does not require certification. i worked with a professional trainer, and while my dog does not require the e-collar to respond, he is a large dog and still in training, and if there's ever a time when i need to correct him, my muscle condition keeps me from being able to catch up with him. it's really for my own security.
anyway, do you or anyone else have any suggestions for how to proceed with training? for now, im thinking i should hit the library or starbucks where i have the freedom to leave or step outside if i need to
 

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Puddles
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I had a client with a large Akita who kept the e-collar on during their outings (not a SDIT) but it was more about her fear than something needed so totally get what you are saying. Funny thing is this was a wall trained dog, she just didn't trust the training.

Your goal as a SD is to bond so closely that there is no where else they want to be than by your side. But this takes time and sounds like you are doing great. Continue with the training, set him up to succeed with lots of practice session where he can be rewarded for the long downs and released. The length of time will increase as he understands his job (your expectations).

Just an example, but remember every dog is different. My golden and I began to bond at 8 weeks. Started with rewarding every time she laid at my feet. I carried treats in my pockets at all times. ALWAYS reward a behavior you like. By the time she was 10 months we went to a cheerleading competition with hundreds of screaming little girls, thousands of people and really loud music. She sat quietly while people ran back and forth then laid quietly at my feet in the stadium during the 3 hr competition..... no corrections or commands needed.

At 2 we attended a CCA event in a training facility (metal building) hundreds of dogs/people and she quietly laid at my feet for hours. No curious sniffing, no squirming or whining, just total calm with all the people, pups and chaos... and lunch table :)

There are 3 dogs in this house right now but she is laying at my feet with her head on my shoes. No command necessary.

This is your goal, to have a dog that wants to be with you no matter where you are or what is going on around you. This takes time and lots of training & attention from you. It also helps to have a quiet natured dog :) Keep up the good work and remember to reward, reward, reward with love and praise.

FWIW service dogs wear a vest & head halter when they are working. They understand when "dressed" they are on the job. They never run and play when dressed for work. CCI also discourages too much group doggie play, they encourage quiet play with you to enforce the bond process and discourage your dog wanting to focus on anything but you. A SD is not a pet but your constant companion for whatever your SD needs are. Everyone needs time off but for a couple of years this pup should be in constant training mode. Free time is earned and not used to burn off energy. Your pup needs to learn self control and skills for what your needs are. Intense training like this will burn off energy if you are dedicated to the process.
 

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SOME SDs are trained with e-collars. It’s not usually recommend BUT it does have its place. I believe it’s more often seen with wheelchair users. That said it doesn’t sound like he’s ready to be going to class with you as he still has some maturing to do.
 
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