Teach "lead" on command/shaping behavior?

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Teach "lead" on command/shaping behavior?

This is a discussion on Teach "lead" on command/shaping behavior? within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Let's see if I can explain what I mean. Last night, Mira was extra fussy right around bedtime (my bedtime, not hers. She'd been sleeping ...

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Old 08-29-2017, 01:38 PM
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Teach "lead" on command/shaping behavior?

Let's see if I can explain what I mean. Last night, Mira was extra fussy right around bedtime (my bedtime, not hers. She'd been sleeping on the sofa next to me for a few hours already). I took her outside; I gave her water. She was still whining and fussing for attention. I looked down at her and held my hands out and said, "What? What do you want? I don't have anything else for you."

She took my right hand in her mouth, which she does sometimes when she's playful and excited, and when she does that, I take my hand back and turn away or stop whatever I'm doing for a moment or two to show her that that's not how we play. I don't want to encourage teeth on skin, even very gently in play, but this time, I was, like, what the heck. Let's see where she's going with this little game. So I let her tug gently on my hand and darned if she didn't lead me to the sofa in the living room. She hopped up on the sofa, my hand still gently in her mouth, and pulled my hand (and therefor me) to the left side of the sofa. I sat down and she curled up next to me.

I thought maybe I imagined the whole thing and that it was just a coincidence and she wasn't actually leading me anywhere, so I stood up and took a few steps away from the sofa, and she did it again. She got up, hopped off of the sofa, took my hand gently in her mouth & pulled me back to that same spot on the sofa.

I have no idea if she was trying to communicate anything other than the obvious: Sit here next to me, Mom. It was adorable but I don't know if I want to encourage the behavior. I don't want her to think she can just take random people's hands in her mouth and lead them around whenever she wants. On the other hand, I like the idea of taking something she wants to do anyway and making it a formal command to do on cue.

Is there any way I could morph this into some sort of interactive game or trick that we play together with a certain command to let her know that *now* it's okay to play lead the human but that it's not something she can do with anyone whenever she wants?

Or should I stick to no teeth on skin ever? Alternately, I guess I could use some sort of loop of fabric or leather so she could lead me without putting my hand in her mouth, but first we'd have to learn that "lead" with object is different from "tug o' war".

I don't really have any experience training a dog by shaping behavior and I guess that's what I'm asking. Is there the potential to shape this behavior into something functional and/or fun?
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Old 08-29-2017, 03:21 PM
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Oh, I'm a doofus. This is herding behavior, isn't it? I think of herding as heel nipping and barking and chasing, but I just told the story to a coworker who said that her German Shepherds would herd the kids if they crossed over the property line by taking them gently by the arm and pulling them back onto the property.

Still wondering if I should I discourage this behavior entirely or if I could make it something useful and put it on cue, but now it makes more sense to me. Mira was trying to teach me sit/stay.
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Old 08-29-2017, 03:29 PM
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I know THREE people with Goldens that do this. All three of them have some variation of "Hold hands" as their cue, and the dog puts their hand in their mouth and walks with them.
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:04 PM
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Ha! Excellent. Thank you!
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:52 PM
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Lightbulb hand-holding dogs

actually, this is not "herding" -
altho it's a well-known trait in some GSD lines, it's also found in some Scottish Deerhound lines, & in Great Danes - these 3 aren't closely-related breeds.

it appears to be carried in the maternal line, tho it can show up in Ms as well as Fs - often it's dam to daughter, more-rarely, dam to son.

I rescued a GSD who'd been abandoned by his #$%@! irresponsible-jerk, abusive, neglectful owner; she actually LEFT A NOTE taped to a mutual neighbor's door, asking the neighbor to take her sad-a$$ semi-starved dog to the local-SPCA , where he would have been killed -
he was filthy-dirty, he stank, & after 4-weeks of my walking & feeding him, "Satan" [her name for him... ] still had visible ribs, altho his vertebral spines were now covered.

She had kept him chained to the metal step of her trailer, & he slept under it in all weathers - when it rained, water ran under the trailer & he slept in the mud.
He had to sh*t where he was chained, & of course tread in it - the chain was only 5-ft long. Thus he walked & lay in a muck of mud & feces, & smelled godawful.

The neighbor said she didn't have the heart to take him in, they'd kill him [true].
I persuaded our landlord to let me keep him long-enuf to find a new home.

I brushed him for 2 hours before i found he had a white zigzag of lightning on his chest, & he wasn't sh*t-brown, he was a pale taffy with chocolate-brown tipping shading the edges of his ears, & a mask.
I filled a grocery bag with mats & wads of dead hair; when i let him in the house, he tried to leg-lift on the door-frames. He was intact, & had never been indoors before. // He was 2-YO, & weighed 48#.

A month later, he weighed 90#, was glossy & solid, & loved to be brushed - he'd "hold my (free) hand" when i brushed him. This seemed to be simply an affectionate gesture. // He also used his mouth to lead me by the hand, to show me something, ask for something, or when he was worried by something.

I shouldn't have put off neutering him; when i picked him up at the vet's, he had a varnish of saliva all down his left foreleg & torso, where he'd drooled while lying in a concrete-floored pen during recovery, & despite being 3-hours later than planned [overtime at work], he walked like a drunk - he was still very groggy.
The vet knew i'd be afoot - i don't know how the H*** he expected me to get him home.
He was desperate to get out of the vet's, but less than a block later, he collapsed - i had to carry him in a shepherd's hold over my shoulders, with his big head lying on my right upper arm while 18-wheelers screamed by us, southbound on Atherton St.
It was over 3-miles from the vet's to my door, on foot - believe me, doing that would have been a lot easier, when he weighed 60#.

2-mos post-surgery, he was housetrained, well-behaved, friendly instead of suspicious, loved to play fetch & Frisbee, & i re-homed him -- via an ad, to a retired couple; he'd just turned 3. // Their previous GSD had died at 14, they wanted a similar dog, & he liked them.

Believe it or not, his rotten irresponsible-arsewipe former owner came back to State College, & told several of her friends she was "going to get MY dog back...". // I went to see his adopters, explained that his fruitcake abusive ex-owner planned to kidnap him, & told them NOT to leave him outside - as in, ever! - alone.
The husband died 3-years before Taffy died - he & the widow lived very happily together; Taffy died under her dining-room table, on Thanksgiving Day, in his sleep; he was 17-YO. // I have wonderful memories of that dog. He had a puphood & early-adulthood from Hell, but his second life was pure happiness.

=======================

Dogs have exquisite control over their bite-pressure [unless they are awakening from anaesthesia, or under the influence of meds such as Ace / Acepromazine, which can lower their threshold for reaction, & also bite-inhibition].
I have no doubt that dogs who use hand-leading / hand-holding know precisely what they're doing, & personally, i'd keep it as a freely-offered behavior, as well as putting on cue.

I WOULD however, tell anyone who is going to care for a dog who does this, what it is, what it means, & be sure they won't freak-out & attack the dog - misunderstandings like this can lead to very ugly, very-final events, for the dog.

- terry

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Old 08-29-2017, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leashedForLife View Post
2-mos post-surgery, he was housetrained, well-behaved, friendly instead of suspicious, loved to play fetch & Frisbee, & i re-homed him -- via an ad, to a retired couple; he'd just turned 3. // Their previous GSD had died at 14, they wanted a similar dog, & he liked them.

The husband died 3-years before Taffy died - he & the widow lived very happily together; Taffy died under her dining-room table, on Thanksgiving Day, in his sleep; he was 17-YO. // I have wonderful memories of that dog. He had a puphood & early-adulthood from Hell, but his second life was pure happiness.
That's absolutely wonderful that you were able to find him a him a loving home where he could live a long and happy life after his rough start. Dogs have an amazing capacity for forgiveness that never ceases to amaze me. My pup is about 2 and a half years old and was beaten when she was around 3 months old. Ruptured her ear drum, broke several of her her puppy teeth and permanently damaged her jaw and some of her adult teeth. She was lucky enough to end up with what seems to have been a good family after that, but after having her for 2 years, they returned her to the rescue, which is how she because available for me to adopt. I've only had her for about 2 months but it feels like she's been part of my family forever. She's snuggling next to me on the sofa with her head and front paws on my leg as I type this.

Quote:
I have no doubt that dogs who use hand-leading / hand-holding know precisely what they're doing, & personally, i'd keep it as a freely-offered behavior, as well as putting on cue.

I WOULD however, tell anyone who is going to care for a dog who does this, what it is, what it means, & be sure they won't freak-out & attack the dog - misunderstandings like this can lead to very ugly, very-final events, for the dog.
Yes, that's kinda why I either want to put it on cue or forbid it entirely. I don't know if this is a behavior typically reserved for close family only or if she'd do it to a stranger, but I'd hate for her to take a child's hand in her mouth with nothing but innocent intentions and have child get scared or parent freak out and assume the worst. If she's outside the house, she's always on a short leash under my control, but I still worry.

Thank you for the reply and the story about Taffy.
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