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Hi...
So many questions! I'll try to go through them one at a time.
My dog is pretty good with listening to commands but there are some times when he just wants to ignore ... is a major distraction, like someone else has food and I don't and I tell him to come to me.

There are essentially three steps to training a dog. The first is teaching the dog the command - what the word means, and that he'll get rewarded when he responds correctly. The second is generalization. Dogs are very environment-specific in their learning. For example, if you teach your dog "sit" in the kitchen, he knows what the word means in the kitchen, but he may not respond in the living room. The third step is introducing distraction, or "proofing." It is in this third step that most people give up. But what good is it to have your dog do a perfect recall in your backyard, but he doesn't respond if he's in the front, running toward the road? That's where your proofing comes in. And it usually involves correction (which is why I'm not a PRO trainer).
He might also ignore the come command if I tell him to come and he seems I am holding his toothbrush or if he knows I am leaving and I plan to crate him.

Rule of thumb - if you want a good or near-perfect recall, NEVER call your dog to you for something unpleasant. Go get him. Keep in mind that what gets rewarded gets repeated and what gets punished gets extinguished. You can teach your dog a "kennel" command. It's funny, but mine don't like to be led into their crates, but if I say "Kennel!" they'll run right in.
So, how do I make sure he listens to me even when the above circumstances are present? Do I have to go back to square one and start over?

You have to go through the proofing process. You don't have to start over. But if you're looking for a perfect recall, you need to make sure that you can reinforce the command. That means having your dog on a long line, or (God forbid!) an e-collar. If your dog has learned that he can blow you off when you call him, you've trained him to ignore you and that "come" is optional. He has been rewarded for ignoring you because he got to do what he wanted. You have to make him do what you want.
Certainly by now he knows what I am asking and he is just not listening. Is this a pack leader thing?

Sort of, but I think of it more as a training issue.
Do other people have dogs that listen to them 100% of the time no matter what? Is this even possible?

A very good trainer once told me that 80% is trained and 90% is very solid. Personally, because it's a lifesaving command, I like recall to be as close to 100% as possible.
If so, how do I get that even with distractions? I would love to have a dog that I can ... there is always a chance he might choose to ignore my commands and run out into the street or something.

Distinct possibility! I suggest that you either go to an obedience class or get a good video. Learn how to use a long line and practice every day in different areas, introducing higher and higher distractions. Or find a good e-collar trainer and use that. I do long line work first, then I introduce the e-collar with a pager mode (vibration or beeper). Frankly, the results I've gotten since I started using the e-collar have been so incredible that I'd hesitate to proof off-leash recalls without one.
Also, in the future, I plan to get some agility equipment and try some of them with him. With this help him learn to listen better or do I need to reach that 100% before trying agility stuff?

If you wait for 100%, you'll never do agility. But it helps to have your basic obedience down first.
If it matters, the agility stuff would just be for fun in our yard never for real competitions or anything like that. Thanks for any help and advice.

My advice is - take him to an obedience class. It's great for distraction proofing. Then take him to a beginning agility class - it's always helpful to have an experienced person help you through familiarizing your dog with the equipment and helping you to set jumps and obstacles at the correct height to avoid injury.
Hope this helps!
Tracy
()
Thanks, that a great idea, I will do this in the future. Quick question though, if I go to him for unpleasant things, does it make him want to run away from me when I try to get him? Or doesn't it work this way?

Not unless he's psychic.
If you've been training your dog, he should be able by now to "sit" on command, right? And with distractions, too.
So command him to sit, walk over and put a leash on him, etc., or just walk over and commence doing the "unpleasant things" (although it's pretty easy to make most unpleasant things pretty damn pleasant if you work at it).
If the relationship between you and your dog is so poor with your dog is shying away from you because he's always equating you with "unpleasant things," you might want to start thinking about why just being close to you (in your presence) is somehow associated with "unpleasant things," and how that happened.
And keep in mind that some dogs may never be completely reliable off-leash.

Ok, so its not just my dog? Good to know. But I will keep at it and try to get as close to 100% as I can.

Recall reliability is directly proportionate to how much time and effort you* put into training for it, how intelligent *you* are about exposing him to certain situations off leash, and how observant *you are when he is.

Handsome Jack Morrison
*gently remove the detonator to send me e-mail
F&@k Cindy Sheehan...
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=19179 http://www.newhousenews.com/archive/lileks081705.html http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=19188 http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=19187 http://victorhanson.com/articles/hanson081905.html
Thanks, that a great idea, I will do this in the future. Quick question though, if I go to him ... to run away from me when I try to get him? Or doesn't it work this way? Thanks again.[/nq]It is important to mix things up. For example, when I first started taking Khan to the dog park, he wouldn't come when I called him to leave, and would play 'Catch me if you can' if I went to get him. So, I started calling him to me randomly (at home, outside, at the dog park, etc.), praised/treated him for coming and then set him free. Since there were no 'bad' consequences 99% of the time, he had no problems coming when I called him.

I also stopped using 'Come' when it was time to leave the dog park, instead using 'Let's go!', which generally means that they're in for a car ride or a hike or a walk or a trip to the pet store .. Now, they hear me say 'Let's go guys' and run to the gate.
Ok, so its not just my dog? Good to know. But I will keep at it and try to get as close to 100% as I can.

That's the idea. You have a really good shot at getting close to 100%, because you're starting with a puppy of a fairly biddable breed. With Khan, I know the circumstances under which he won't be reliable (generally involves high-stakes animals), and don't let him off leash when I suspect that the chance of failure is high.

Suja
Thanks, that a great idea, I will do this in the future. Quick question though, if I go to him ... to run away from me when I try to get him? Or doesn't it work this way? Thanks again.

Another thing you can do is always make something pleasant happen when you call him to come but then do something unpleasant after the good thing. For example, call Maui to come to you. When he gets there, give him a treat, lots of praise, whatever. After you have petted him and told him what a good dog he is, then you pick him up and take him to another room to brush his teeth. There is a break between the command to come and the unpleasantness and there is a connection between coming and good things.

Paula
"Anyway, other people are weird, but sometimes they have candy, so it's best to try to get along with them." Joe Bay
Or find a good e-collar trainer and use that. I do long line work first, then I introduce the e-collar ... gotten since I started using the e-collar have been so incredible that I'd hesitate to proof off-leash recalls without one.

You can also find a good PR based trainer, my dogs recalls are incredible, and I've never used an electric collar.
()

Thanks, that a great idea, I will do this in ... try to get him? Or doesn't it work this way?

Not unless he's psychic.

ok, good to know.
If you've been training your dog, he should be able by now to "sit" on command, right? And with distractions, ... the "unpleasant things" (although it's pretty easy to make most unpleasant things pretty damn pleasant if you work at it).

He is fairly good for getting his teeth brushed but he certainly doesn't like it. Is there a way to get him to like it more? Basically know, its do unpleasant thing for short period of time and get a treat. Then repeat till all the knots are out or all the teeth are clean. I also talk to him when I am doing it, like saying "good boy" and rub his head or belly.
If the relationship between you and your dog is so poor with your dog is shying away from you because ... about why just being close to you (in your presence) is somehow associated with "unpleasant things," and how that happened.

He doesn't do that now, I am just worried that it might start to be that way if I go to get him when I need to brush his teeth or comb out a knot.
Ok, so its not just my dog? Good to know. ... try to get as close to 100% as I can.

Recall reliability is directly proportionate to how much time and effort you* put into training for it, how intelligent *you* are about exposing him to certain situations off leash, and how observant *you are when he is.

ok, I will have to work more on it then.
Thanks, that a great idea, I will do this in ... him? Or doesn't it work this way? Thanks again.

Another thing you can do is always make something pleasant happen when you call him to come but then do something unpleasant after the good thing.

great idea, thanks!
Thanks, that a great idea, I will do this in ... get him? Or doesn't it work this way? Thanks again.

It is important to mix things up. For example, when I first started taking Khan to the dog park, he ... a trip to the pet store .. Now, they hear me say 'Let's go guys' and run to the gate.

great idea using a different phrase, I usually say "wanna go bye bye" when we get in the car and he jumps right in even if he didn't when I said "come". I might have to use that more often at the park or something and see what he thinks.
Ok, so its not just my dog? Good to know. ... try to get as close to 100% as I can.

That's the idea. You have a really good shot at getting close to 100%, because you're starting with a puppy ... involves high-stakes animals), and don't let him off leash when I suspect that the chance of failure is high. Suja

I can't imagine ever letting Maui off lead with a lot of traffic around, that is just something I definately don't want to take a chance with. The park near us is pretty big and there is a little traffic but not too much so I hope to get him to a point where I am comfortable off lead.
Or find a good e-collar trainer and use that. I ... incredible that I'd hesitate to proof off-leash recalls without one.

You can also find a good PR based trainer, my dogs recalls are incredible, and I've never used an electric collar.

There will come those times in most dogs' lives when they will be presented with very strong temptations, e.g., to chase a deer, a rabbit, to greet another dog down the beach (which might not be so friendly), etc., and one that might just result in the dog being injured, lost, or even killed if succumbed to.
When those times come (and they will, unless keep your dog locked up in the basement), and during that split-second decision making process ("Hmmnn. What's the worst thing that can happen to me if I chase that rabbit over there? Nothing? Well, why not chase it then? It's fun! Something not so nice? CONSEQUENCES, you say? Okay, do I really want to chase the rabbit then? Rabbits ain't that much fun. So, nope, I'm not going to chase it. It's just not worth it to *me.*"), etc., if the dog has no fear of any CONSEQUENCES for taking the wrong decision, he will chase the rabbit far more frequently (just once might be one time too many) than he would if he faced them (thanks to the power of operant conditioning, which you either believe in, or don't).

Millions of times each day, humans make similar decisions, and with no harm whatsoever to their psyches. E.g., if we didn't have the fear of costly speeding tickets, loss of driving privileges, higher insurance rates, etc. (i.e., CONSEQUENCES), how many people do you think would be driving 60 compared to the number who would be driving 80-100+?

I don't care how many Shining Path morons are out there weeping in their double chocolate mocha latte frappacinos, I'm going to make sure that my* dogs understand that there's always CONSEQUENCES to their actions and decisions *before they get squashed by the Fed-Ex truck, not afterwards.
I figure I owe it to them.
I figure I owe my dogs at least as much consideration for their lives and well-being as I do for earning some silly style points (by totally ignoring 3 out of the 4 operant conditioning quadrants!) so that all my commie pinko liberal friends down at Starbucks will still think kindly of me.

Handsome Jack Morrison
*gently remove the detonator to send me e-mail
F&@k Cindy Sheehan...
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=19179 http://www.newhousenews.com/archive/lileks081705.html http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=19188 http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=19187 http://victorhanson.com/articles/hanson081905.html
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