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Author Topic:   Help! my dog chases shadows and won't come when called
hmammons
unregistered
posted 07-31-2003 02:26 PM           Edit/Delete Message
Hello all. I am new to the site and looking forward to learning a lot from you all. I recently got a laborador retriever puppy that is about 6 months old now. he is very smart and I have been working with him to teach and train him the many things that dogs do such as sit, speak, stay, shake hands, down etc. However, my hugest problem is that he loves to chase shadows. He completely tunes me out if I give him a command and he sees a shadow...he then preceeds to pounce on them like a cat. what am I supposed to do? when I want him to come to me he simply continues to pounce on the shadow regardless if I move or not. please help me!

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posted 20-01-2011 13:11 PM           Edit/Delete Message

nern

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Posts: 1591
From:NY, USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 07-31-2003 06:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nern     Edit/Delete Message
Give him a really good reason to come. Trying using a really tasty treat...use cooked peices of meat if you have to. If you call him to come and he knows that there will be a special treat for him when he does Im sure it will be much easier to get his attention. Just and idea.

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Maisey
Member

Posts: 1387
From:Portland, Oregon US
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 07-31-2003 06:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Maisey     Edit/Delete Message
YUP! What she said...a puppies favorite game seems to be "catch me if you can"...and if you actually chase after them...holy cow what fun! You have to make the reward for coming to you BETTER than whatever it is he is doing that is so much fun. I kept a box of noisy treat on my TV stand next to the backdoor for several months teaching my puppy to come when called. When he would go out to go potty, I would stand in the doorway or on the patio and wait until he had done his business, when he was just about done, I would pick up the box exclaiming "good boy!" as he stood I would rattle the box, he knew he would be getting a treat and would come running. This was so much easier than running around my yard in my night shirt at 6 AM calling my pup!
Smiles, Maisey

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Gabrielle
unregistered
posted 11-05-2003 03:08 AM           Edit/Delete Message
My Dog has a very similar problem to the first poster.

She is 6 months old. She likes to chases shadows when the sun is shinning. She will stare at the ground and walls looking for a change in the light, and will then pounce on the reflection. She will ignore all everyone and everything around her. She ignores all commands.

Is this normal?
Will she grow out of this?
How can I stop her from doing this?

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Jamiya
Member

Posts: 1392
From:
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 11-05-2003 06:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jamiya     Edit/Delete Message
They may outgrow it to some extent, or they may not. Gabrielle, is your pup a border collie? That sounds like pretty typical border collie behavior. I don't think they outgrow that.

The longest and hardest part of training a dog is "proofing". This is where you add all sorts of distractions and teach the dog to ignore them. You have to start small and work your way up.

For instance, when teaching STAY I use the formula: time before distance before distractions. Meaning, first I stand right next to my pup and slowly increase the time I expect her to stay. I correct her for moving, and reward her for staying. When she is doing that well, I add distractions. Start with little ones, like jingling the leash. Then move on to something a little more distracting, like tugging on the leash. Move your way up through distractions - these have to be based on your dog and what distracts them.

Good big distractions can be things like tossing a ball, having a child run through the room, having a cat walk by, etc. Depends on your dog. One good one for my dog is for me to sit on the floor and tap my fingers on the floor. I got her with that one this morning, but after I put her back in her stay, she ignored me the next time I did it.

When the dog is doing well with all of these, then you increase the distance you are standing away from them and start over with the time and distractions. Add time first, and then the progressive distractions. Rinse and repeat.

The final steps are to do it off-leash. This starts with just dropping the leash, and progresses to having a short tab attached to the collar that you can grab onto, and finally no leash at all. Everything has to go slow and in small steps.

It works like this with whatever you are teaching them. Chasing shadows would be a BIG distraction for your pups. Try to train them in a distraction-free place at first. When they are doing well and you are adding distractions, make sure you proof them with the shadow distractions as well - but this should be one of the last ones you do.

Make sure you reward them for good behavior - a treat, petting them, and an upbeat happy voice and a smile. You have to put some energy in your voice and sound excited when you praise them - but don't overdo it or they will get too excited and not be able to concentrate.

A great video on training dogs is from Leerburg kennels, called Basic Dog Obedience. It is an EXCELLENT video and focuses on positive methods, breaking commands down into tiny steps, and how to proof your dog. It's sort of pricey but well worth it for every new dog owner: http://www.leerburg.com/302.htm


Jamiya

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NewLabOwnr
Member

Posts: 169
From:New York, USA
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 11-05-2003 06:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NewLabOwnr     Edit/Delete Message
Come is a very hard command for puppies to learn IMHO. There are so many interesting things out in the world that can get them distracted from you. I was speaking to my trainer last night and his theory is in order for a puppy to learn a command (consistently do it 99% of the time)they have to actually DO the command 20 times in 20 different scenarios in 20 different locations. So thats 8,000 different times of doing a command! He said that at 6 months (which my puppy is also) working on off leash obendience is very counter-productive. If you call your dog to COME and he doesn't do it and he's not on a leash you already are teaching him that it's ok to make him not COME. Cause you have no way of disciplining him if he doesn't. We also learn to use words like THIS WAY or HERE to make your dog follow you around and that COME should be run to me and sit facing me. COME is a position. Furthermore don't ever discipline your puppy when you call him to COME. If you call COME and he doesn't come but finally you convince him to by trying the methods above, don't grab him and say BAD DOG because you are frustrated that he didn't come the first time. The way he sees it is that you are yelling at him for coming to you. DOn't call your dog to put him on a leash after he's been running free or to give him a bath or any negative consequences. He will not see coming to you as anything exciting. I use a 50ft rope to practice this command with Max, and use THIS WAY a lot. Hope that helps!

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crystal81
New Member

Posts: 5
From:conroe, tx, usa
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 11-13-2003 07:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for crystal81     Edit/Delete Message
My dog chases shadows as well - It all started after i arrived home from a 10 day trip. I left the dog home with my husband, who was there as well since the day we got her. Honestly i don't think it is something that they will grow out of, it is a type of anxiety. And form what my vets have said the onyl way to cure it is to give them doggie xannax, yeah right who want's to do that. My dog enjoys herself very much when she does this, her tail is wagginf and she is smilling from ear to ear. But it drives me NUTS, instead of chasing the frisbee she chases the shadow it makes!!! UGH, and i sure don't think that any sort of treats will make a dog stop this - Maybe for the time it takes them to eat it!!! If anyone has any good advice please help.

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Maisey
Member

Posts: 1387
From:Portland, Oregon US
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 11-13-2003 09:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Maisey     Edit/Delete Message
Have you tried using treats to distract? or are you assuming it won't? Have you tried obedience or working with a trainer? What kind of dog do you have and how old is it?

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crystal81
New Member

Posts: 5
From:conroe, tx, usa
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 11-13-2003 12:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for crystal81     Edit/Delete Message
I have spoken to 3 dog trainers as well as my vet - It is a type of anxiety that dogs can get from separation from there owners, or not the attention that they are looking for. They have said that it is a dogs way of trying to get attention - In my dogs case it happened from separation anxiety, the only way to cure it is doggie prosac or waite to see if they stop doing it. I have a 2 year old female pit bull, that gets more attention and love than some peoples kids do. Doggie treats might get them to come to you but it sure won't stop them from chasing shadows.

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Maisey
Member

Posts: 1387
From:Portland, Oregon US
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 11-13-2003 01:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Maisey     Edit/Delete Message
I commend you on talking to trainers and going to your vet...it's great that you are on top of it for your dog. However, if you haven't tried it (which is what I asked) then you shouldn't knock it for someone else. What works with one dog may or may not work for another. I don't think "doggie prozac" is the only answer, of course thats my opinion. I'm sure that separation anxiety is not the only cause for chasing shadows as well. You have to start somewhere in finding a solution...I don't see how trying to use treats or distraction techniques could harm anything.

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crystal81
New Member

Posts: 5
From:conroe, tx, usa
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 11-14-2003 07:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for crystal81     Edit/Delete Message
I didn't say it won't work for everyone - All i meant is that it is a time being solution, it could not stop them completely from chasing shadows. The vet and dog trainers have said that the dog will either stop doing it on it's own or you will have to stop it yourself with medication - Or just leave the dog be.
I have used treats to get my dog to come to me, but when she is done and there is no more she goes right back to chasing shadows. It will NOT stop them from chasing shadows alltogether, maybe for 10 minutes - or when you call them.

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