Is my dog smarter than me - or How can i outsmart my dog?

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Is my dog smarter than me - or How can i outsmart my dog?

This is a discussion on Is my dog smarter than me - or How can i outsmart my dog? within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Sophie is a diva, she does not care about toys, she does not care about walks and she does not like kibble. The only thing ...

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Old 07-25-2014, 07:38 PM
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Is my dog smarter than me - or How can i outsmart my dog?

Sophie is a diva, she does not care about toys, she does not care about walks and she does not like kibble.
The only thing she likes are apples, melon and treats (homemade).

Over the last few weeks I have been giving her random rewards when she would lay peacefully next to me.
Now she starts to jump on me or my arm or start eating on a book in order for me to call her over and give her a treat. It seems she nows that I should not punish her for jumping and scratching me or eating on the books. She will also bark at me or do something else that is bad...

I guess she figured out if I do this bad thing, I will get called over and get a treat. If I don't get a treat, I just go back to being bad.

Honestly I am a wits end on what to do with positive reinforcement alone. There have been days/nights where it seemed there was no way around punishments. Any suggestions?
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:59 PM
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LOL... yes, this phenomenon is called loopy behaviour and can happen any time you reward the dog, regardless of whether you punish them or not. Essentially, the dog is learning to press the 'treat machine'.

A good way to keep them guessing a bit more is to not wait until they do something undesired before giving the command. Break the loop by asking something of them when they are just not really doing anything else. You can also randomize the command you give to redirect undesired behaviour: 'leave it', 'go to the mat', or 'down' may work just as well, depending on the situation. And of course, where possible, prevention is also very effective (our dog will bark at the window to be told 'quiet' and get a treat, so when he does this we just shut the blinds).
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:10 PM
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You could also do this training to teach not to mug to get treats. Only good behavior gets the treat.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4IzTn-kMU0
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Old 07-26-2014, 12:50 AM
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Raider will occasionally pester the cats in order to get me to give him attention. I typically call him to me and reward him for the recall... The last few days I've been a bit shorter than usual (my tone-- I'm a yeller as a parent. Something I'm actively and consciously trying to change as it helps NO ONE.) as my kitchen table and chairs have taken quite the beating lately between my daughter, the cats and now the dog. So, when I see this herding/look at me please!! behaviour start I immediately douse the flame with a quick refresher of known behaviours, and then work on something we're starting to get his wheels turning. It seems to help us, and satisfies whatever goes on in his noggin. Other times I'll take him for a walk around the back field so he can do other "doggy stuff" like chase the gazillion chipmunks that seem to be taking over-- he's able to be off leash and recalls like super stellar out there and therefore burns up more energy. Seriously, this one time he had to be... Idk... 800 metres away and when I called he came barrelling towards me and my daughter. I couldn't give him his pork fast enough IMO for that one.

I guess what I'm saying is, maybe when she's not behaving as you would like her to... Sock the training to her more seeing as how walks just don't seem to be up her alley (read quite a few of your threads) Make her work just a little longer/harder. :-) I bet you end up with the talk of the block of a dog. :-D
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Old 07-26-2014, 03:22 AM
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Everyone else has good points. I also want to ask- how much exercise and stimulation is she getting? You say she doesn't like walks, but do you do anything else to burn off energy? Do you actively train her in designated sessions working on skills you'd like her to have, or are you trying to only use positive reinforcement to break up her bad behaviour?

I ask because it sounds like you have a bored dog who is being destructive to entertain herself, and that you are still in the mindset of dealing with bad behaviour after the fact, hence resorting to punishment, rather than setting her up to succeed with adequate exercise, management of her environment and teaching her better skills to pre-empt bad behaviours. Reinforcing calmness is great, but it's not going to be enough for the dog that you have.

Well done for trying to stick with PR though, I know it's hard when it seems like a yell or a jerk could achieve something faster. But we promise you, PR will pay off for you and Sophie in the long term, and it will make more sense as you get more experienced.
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Old 07-26-2014, 08:30 AM
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Another thought... Has anyone pointed you in the direction of Sue Ailsby's Training Levels? I remember recommending them to someone before, but cannot remember if it was you. If your stuck on what to train, or need a better sense of direction when it comes to training, or goals to achieve with Sophie, these Levels I cannot pray highly enough. I was lost at what to train Raider, how to proceed, and how to achieve the things I was seeing on YouTube (distanced and instant Downs from kikopup's splash particularly--I want that BAD). For me, as a beginner clicker trainer, these levels have been priceless. And the best part?! You get them for free.

I'm on my phone, so I cannot direct link you to the page that contains the levels, but check out Introduction

It's all there.
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:30 AM
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I am not sure if she gets enough exercise. I just to run with her a few times a week at least. But with temps in the triple digits and an injury on my end, there has been no running and walks are now short (2 times a day for a total of 1 - 2 hours, at her pace ~ 3-4 miles).
When she sleeps during the day I let her sleep. Once to twice a day we do a training session. They are either brining me the Frisbee (we can now do 5 feet distance) or recall (with my wife).
I would love to entertain and exercise her more, but this is where the problem comes in that she doesn't care about any of her toys or her bones or a walk. The exhausting thing she likes is the dog park, but the issue is there is no one before 6 -7 pm and all the behavioral issues (as in my other thread).
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:55 AM
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Yeah, that sounds tough. You've got some limitations there, but it's good you're trying.

Just had a look at your dog park thread- it seems to me the consensus was that her play was appropriate? Is the problem the lack of recall? I don't know, you could have some success getting the contact details of another owner with a dog she gets on with and arrange a play date at another safe off leash area instead of the dog park. That would be a much easier scenario to keep under control than the free-for-all of the park, and give her the same level of exercise and stimulation. Or how about looking into hiring a walker who could take her out for you? Often they walk groups of dogs at the same time, and she might be more inclined to go for a walk if she has other dogs to interact with.
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Old 07-26-2014, 10:39 AM
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Maybe she'd benefit from more variety in her training sessions? Just throwing that out there :-)
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Old 07-26-2014, 11:52 AM
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You can also teach dogs a lot of games, which she might take to given her motivation for her special treats: the cup game, hide and seek, nose work games, impulse control games. I also find simple games like 'pick the hand I'm hiding the treat in' very useful for when I need to distract/occupy the dog out in the world (getting squirmy at an obedience class, don't want them pestering someone at the park, etc.)
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