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So the positive training thread on the field forum got me thinking. Do you ascribe to the notion of "want to" versus "have to" in your obedience training? Do you consciously monitor the level of "want to" vs. "have to" in your dog. Does it differ from exercise to exercise?
Do you think "want to" is natural or trained? Do you feel enough "want to" can eliminate the need for building the "have to"?
Are there certain techniques you use to instill more "Want to" or "have to" within each exercise?
 

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There is an element of "have to" in everything I train. Yes, I want my dogs to "want to" work, but I find that by eliminating choices and them knowing they have to, that actually increases them wanting to. I play a lot with my dogs and make working with me lots of fun and they really "want" to go work with me, but at some point on every exercise my dog has chosen not to and I have shown them that is not an option.

For me, the way I train, and the level of training I want to achieve with my dogs, the want to does not eliminate the have to. Flip WANTS to do a lot of things, a whole heck of a lot more than my Lhasa ever did, but I still have to teach him that you HAVE to do them my way.
 

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BTW, when I say I put the have to in every exercise, I don't mean it has to be an unpleasant experience. Many of my corrections are just slipping my hand in the collar and guiding them to do what I want them to do if they don't do it on their own. Or a fun bounce. Broken stays, not so much fun. But the bottom line is, I don't let them get away with ignoring a command. It doesn't matter if they don't fully understand the command, or they are feeling too stressed to do it on their own, or they are distracted, or whatever. If I give a command then the dog is going to do it, and if that means me walking in and doing it for them then I will.
 

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This might not be as clear an answer to be helpful, but...

Everything I do with my dog has a reward attached.

Some of that reward is praise, some play, some treats, some is following through with releasing my dog.

That "release" is a reward because it's essentially me taking all pressure away and letting my dog be as silly as he wants (within some level of control) before I reel him in to work again.

The reason why I started training very early with Jacks is to really establish that "training is playing" mentality in his head. I didn't do that with my Danny, and it caused some difficulties in motivating him later on.

So I firmly believe that if you want that "easy route", it's best to start building a correct foundation as soon as your puppy comes home. I know I will be better at that with my next dog, but as it is - it really makes training a pleasure and a breeze with Jacks.

That's where the making your dog "want to" comes from.

"Have to"... when I ask my dog to do something, it's either:

1. I'm teaching/training him and making it very easy for him to perform that action and win rewards. Over time as he is more consistent and spot on, it becomes -

2. I'm testing/drilling him and it's sometimes more difficult than he'd ever encounter in a trial. Rewards are still used, but are more of a jackpot. I'm asking him to do more good behaviors before he wins a BIG reward.

Either way, I never ask my dog to do something I don't think he CAN do. And those rewards or release don't happen until after he does that action. He has to do it right, otherwise a correction happens and we repeat.

Probably a good example was something I did with him this evening. I saw his rawhide bone was down the hallway. I pointed him in the right direction and told him to go get/bring the bone. Even though he didn't particularly want his bone, he still went and got it.

If he hadn't, I would have taken him by the collar and a bit more firmly sent him.

Very early on when I was sending him outside to bring his toys in or having him pick up after himself, I obviously made that retrieve a lot easier for him - breaking it down individual actions (going out to the object, picking it up, and bringing it back to wherever I wanted him to bring it before I tell him "OK).

*** I should make it clear I am very gentle and soft handling with my dog. Corrections can be gentle and get the point across. ;)
 

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I would say that from day one, while I am training my dogs to 'want to' work with me, they are also being trained they 'have to'. Throughout their training, for competition or living manners', they are cued and they either follow the cue or are assisted in doing so.

This does not mean harshly, but it might be a finger/hand in the collar or a repositioning or a verbal 'Hey' or whatever.

ETA: No, I do not consciously monitor the 'have to' vs the 'want to' but there is allowance for the early learning stages - there are many exercises that are not natural to the dog and I have to work at 'want to' as I work on their 'need to''.

But then a funny thing happens, they begin to want to do the very things they formerly were trained that they needed to do, to earn their reward. A very good example might be, goldens are notorious for their teeter problems in agility. And male goldens are even worse. But make this obstacle rewarding enough, break it down into its components (height, bang, width, movement, approach, end behavior) and let the dog know that while he has the right to be afraid and cautious, but he needs to take that obstacle, in very little time you have a dog who wants to bang that teeter and might even become a teeter suck :)

And no, I do not feel that enough want to will negate the need for need to. For example, my dogs love heeling. They want to heel, But they need to remain parallel to to ground (well most times LOL), they need to keep their noses off the floor and out of stewards butts. These things are trained - gently and consistently, but they are trained behaviors.
 
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what she said X2
 

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So the positive training thread on the field forum got me thinking. Do you ascribe to the notion of "want to" versus "have to" in your obedience training? Do you consciously monitor the level of "want to" vs. "have to" in your dog. Does it differ from exercise to exercise?
Do you think "want to" is natural or trained? Do you feel enough "want to" can eliminate the need for building the "have to"?
Are there certain techniques you use to instill more "Want to" or "have to" within each exercise?
Yes I have to focus on want to vs have to all of the time. It does differ from exercise to exercise because some are stronger in the want to category than others (i.e. retrieving vs. heeling).

I do not consciously monitor it in the sense that I am thinking it needs to be X amount of time. However, I will set-up circumstances at a low level where I know my dog will fail so that I can establish the have to.

I think want to can be both natural and trained. I think the natural part is one reason why we find differences in breeds--goldens are high on the list of wanting to work for people. I also believe you can build it. My trainer has a nice flat coat (HIT dog) that she never intended on keeping. He was not the working pick by any means...was always the aloof observer. But, tragedy struck with her choice puppy and she kept him. She has remarked how it took a lot of work (and years of experience on her part) to bring some of this working ability in him. She has done Search&Rescue and has remarked how he is not a SAR dog though. Somethings you can't train.

No, I don't really feel like want to can overcome have to. I mean, part of me thinks maybe for certain dogs. I know with the one I have now while she likes to generally work and is very smart she also has a mind of her own. She can love retrieving and be a super star but if you catch her on an off day she might do something totally silly and unexpected. She might decide that she wants the judge's attention or that piece of tape on the floor is really cool.

As far as putting them in the exercise yes. It needs to be appropriate for the exercise, the dog, and the dog's skill level. I think this is where a lot of proofing comes in. Prior to proofing I don't think there is a lot of have to it is largely want to work. Scout is on proofing right now. I have been told if you do it right you get a dog that works harder on each exercise. So far when we add stuff in that can be a distracting factor and teach her she must still work around it--she's come out better. Like she is more focused and trying harder.
 

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I think it is incredibly important to instill want to in training before you instill have to. The pro I saw this week has told a friend not to FF her dog until that dog has a stronger desire and love of retrieving bumpers. I thought that was sound advice.
 

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Wow – I just had a clickable event J

Yes, we build 'want to' into the retrieve, before any form of 'have to' is enforced. The want to is built through breaking the event down into very small increments and using praise and rewards for the successful completion of the step (open mouth, reach for dumbbell etc). I do not force fetch my dogs. I do however, proof my dogs on the retrieve. So I am curious if these two function (force and proof) are more similar than they might appear.

For proofing, while I do not use force, my dogs learn that they 'need to' pick up that dumbbell/bumper/bird. It can be by themselves and they will be rewarded, it can be with resistance where they still have to pick up that dumbbell/article/bird/glove and I will make sure they do it if I have to go all the way with them etc. But they will wait to be sent, pick up whatever they were sent for, they will return directly to me, without mouthing and they will sit for delivery, giving up the object by opening their mouth and moving their head back when cued to give. They will not attempt to take the object back. There really are many elements to the retrieve and by the time my dogs have learned all of them, they usually so 'want to' retrieve J

All of these elements are taught in a positive, calm way and built slowly during the initial teaching phases, and each is proofed before I start to combine the elements. And once the elements are proofed individually, I then begin to proof combined elements.
 

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In the very early stages, you can use a piece of food behind or on top of the bar :) Present the dumbbell very close to the mouth/nose and the dog will usually open the mouth to get the treat. You might have to go back to some food once the dumbbell is on the ground, but probably not if enough time was spent on the initial stages.

I think of it as - you want the dog to open his mouth. How? You can use an ear pinch, you van use a toe pull, you can use food or there are probably dozens of other ways.

Also, the dogs I have had from earliest puppyhood never have to even have food used. They are offered all kinds of objects and told to 'Take It' as their mouths naturally open since thats what pups do best LOL Then its 'good Take it'. My Faelan went to a basic hunt class, and never even needed the kind method presented by my mentor - he just knew what was expected from his puppy hood days.

With Ms Towhee, since her original owners taught her things in her mouth were very bad, I did need to physically open her mouth else she would clamp it shut. It does depend on the dog..
 

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Ok, I understand how you are teaching it but what happens when you've been through those stages and you throw the dumbbell and the dog chooses not to pick it up? You say you will make sure they do it even if you have to go all the way. How? How to you make them do it and instill that have to?
 

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Grins. Okay, my dogs know that if I have to get out to them, and I put my hands on my hips and I tell them to fetch it up, if they do not fetch it up and quickly, game time is over, my hand is in their collar and another dog gets their bird/bumper. They are crated or put up in the truck; they encounter the walk of shame with total silence.

I guess you could call it an indirect correction, but it works.

Please know my dogs are used to praise and/or encouragement so silence with no smile on my face is a serious correction for my crew, which they will scramble to avoid. This is for field, agility, obedience or rally. And a part of their training from day 1 - they don't want to play - fine; game over. I'll play with one of the other dogs.

My friends would be able to tell you my dogs are quite good at distingushing between my Oooooh, what did you do? Silly dog and my Game's Over, too bad, so sad.


But honestly, if the ground work has been laid out and proofed, you should not have these issues. I had an issue with Faelan with a cripple - fine, he was trained and proofed with cripples, problem over. I have issues with him not being able to work through a heavily scented area when his bird is outside the AOF. I am working on it. But honestly, since the days when I left force fetch behind I have not had a dog refuse to pick up a dumbbell, bird etc unless there was an element that needed further training.
 

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I do think "want to" can eliminate or decrease "have to" in obedience, but I have my doubts about that in field work. I want the dog to make the correct choice, one that is rewardable( variously, not just treats etc). I'd like to eliminate as much "have to" from training as possible, by building histories of correct choice and profound attention from early babyhood. I like the Dawn Jecs idea that the dog is not wrong, but he is not rewardable. My goal is to achieve results of increasingly advanced criteria with as little "have to"as possible. Teach it, use it, proof it, expect it( without reward). Where trainers get bad wraps as cookie pushers is when they lure or they reward but do not raise the criteria. I train the dogs all day long. I just played ball with Copley, and in there gave him a down. If he doesnt go down in a way that meets my criteria( spinx down, lightening fast), too bad the game is over. If he does it, the fun game goes on. I won't let a dog practice/rehearse behaviors I do not want, and set up behaviors I do want, so that they quickly become internalized. I also will give certain feedback like a no reward marker(too bad/blech), but I won't give a physical correction in training. I do not ever repeat a command, ever.
 

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I have trained three Goldens to a CDX and one to a UD. I have never force fetched them and none of them every flunked a retrieving exercise by refusing to pick up a dumbbell. I was told by much more accomplished trainers that I wouldn't have a reliable retrieve without force. Sally, Laney, and Cookie positively proved them wrong.

I'm probably coming from a less serious training aspect that the rest of the posters because if I thought my dogs weren't having fun, I probably wouldn't do it. Right now I am working with one of my girls that I have come to realize was ruined by her conformation handler. Ironically, her mother, also shown by the same person displays the same behaviors and I gave up training her for obedience because of it. With the success I am seeing with her daughter, Tiki may actually be able to be trained the same way. I realize now that those two girls learned very well how to shut down in the conformation ring and it just transfers thru to everything I do with them.
 

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Many people tend to associate putting "have to" in an exercise with force fetch, but I really think it is more about follow through with any exercise and in a variety of ways. If I tell my dog to sit and he doesn't, my hand is going to be on that rear in an instant to make sure he does sit. He doesn't have an option. If I told you to sit it has to be done. I don't have to make him do it in an ugly manner, but yes he will sit. Something as simple as the dog giving me five, if I tell him to and he gives me a blank look, I will take the paw in my other hand and bring the paw up to me - praise, ask again, and most times the dog will do it. I ask for a spin and dog doesn't spin or doesn't complete the spin? Hand in collar, spin the dog, praise, repeat command.
 

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If I tell my dog to sit and he doesnt but he knows the command through and through, I am going to walk out and shut the door. The efficacy of this though, depends on him caring. If I tell my dog to sit, and he doesnt meet my criteria( a straight sit lightening fast), I might tell him too bad, and try again. I will never physically force my dog to do it, bc I think he will know it better if he works out how to choose the correct response in order to earn a reward.
 
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Most posters are definitely coming from a different place than I am. Today, my OTCH trainer friend was working with Emmie and me. Now Emmie knows down, it is her default behavior. So tethered to the wall, I told her down. She gave me a blank stare like I was speaking to her in Chinese. So then she gets the "no reward marker" and I walk away.....the point was to (obviously) get her to lay down without luring, my hands on her, etc. it was time consuming, but eventually she was spot on. I guarantee the next time we practice, she will be even better. It is an alternative way to train a dog to want to do something as well as reliably do something. I haven't always trained this way, but my first golden would've died if I ever corrected her...second golden was trained with a micro prong collar , third golden was trained entirely by clicker and so have the next six.
 
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