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Incorrigible puppy

This is a discussion on Incorrigible puppy within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; Originally Posted by Tess Seems like a really good way to teach a dog NOT to "look at me"... as he gets an immediate aversive ...

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Old 06-20-2012, 06:10 AM
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Seems like a really good way to teach a dog NOT to "look at me"... as he gets an immediate aversive for his compliance.
Yes, I know he complied this time, but pretty much guaranteed if you continue to tell him "no" when he does what you just asked him to do, you are teaching him not to respond to your initial cue. It does not matter if he understands "oh, she is saying 'no' to the barking I was doing a second ago." or if he is thinking "oh, I did the wrong thing by turning to her when she said 'look'". The whole sequence is going to add up to a negative experience and he will stop complying to your initial cue.

Or put more simply, how many times in a row do you expect a dog to focus on you in order to receive a scolding? Pretty soon he's going to learn to turn away and avoid you.

Not trying to be hard on you, but I really feel obliged to comment on this, from the perspective of Classical Conditioning.

Here is THE easy to read book to understand these principles. Its actually a fun read and highly recommended by many here on DF.

Amazon.com: Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training (9781860542381): Karen Pryor: Books
most of what I have learned and done is classical conditioning, I just have been trying to get him to understand the word No also lately and realize it means not to do something (of course telling him no after look at me is dumb) Our trainer had told me it is ok to have him go for a little alone time if he is doing something he shouldn't and he has been redirected a few times and it isn't working.
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:08 AM
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Oh duh.. that makes sense, some times I am learning as I go here. The dog trainer told me to give a firm No. I was thinking if I had him look at me I would have his attention. but yea that was dumb. Next time I will just tell him no. and go from there with out the look at me?
Its OK... we are all, always learning!

If you need to tell him "no" as per your trainer's advice and it interrupts his naughty behavior, that's a start, but then you can give him something else to do. This is called "redirection." So for example, give him a cue such as "come" or "come sit" and have him come to you for a positive interaction.

First you want to train the other behavior until it is really solid, and he enjoys doing it. The "enjoys doing it" part is important. It should be a happy thing for him. So use your clicker/treat system (is your trainer helping you with this?) and cue him "come... sit!" and reinforce with a click treat. Do this often throughout the day at all sorts of times, starting with when you know it will be easy for him to comply (that is not while he's very occupied.)

Once you have that sequence nice and strong, and he is coming to you easily with a happy expression, then when he is barking at the cat, call him to you for a "come... sit! ". This is called teaching him a "behavior incompatible with the problematic behavior." It is also teaching him something TO do, rather than NOT to do, and that is in the long run, a better program for the dog... something he can do more readily.

Also, you can do little exercises to help him learn to be calm around the cat. For example, put the puppy on a leash and ask him to sit while the cat is nearby. Click/treat for calm behavior. It also sometimes helps to feed both the cat and dog small treats from your hand... keeping them far enough away from one another that the puppy can remain calm. There is something magical about both being fed by the human.

All these exercises are reinforcing (rewarding) the dog for being CALM around the cat. The more practice the pup gets doing the RIGHT thing, the better. Its all about habit formation.

Also, let me just remark that for the most part, cats and puppies work things out in the long run, particularly if the cat was there when the puppy arrived. Puppies typically are very animated and playful with cats, but cats often subtly have the upper hand. They know how to position themselves to keep control of the situation. A lot of the barking the puppy does is just simple frustration that the cat won't play. The human does not always need to step in.

Hope something in there helps...

Last edited by Tess; 06-20-2012 at 07:10 AM.
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:18 AM
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most of what I have learned and done is classical conditioning, I just have been trying to get him to understand the word No also lately and realize it means not to do something (of course telling him no after look at me is dumb) Our trainer had told me it is ok to have him go for a little alone time if he is doing something he shouldn't and he has been redirected a few times and it isn't working.
Yeah, time outs can be helpful to help the puppy disengage from what ever he is obsessed with. I'd just be pretty careful about hauling him away by the collar. Some dogs can end up with a real aversion to having their collar grabbed this way. (Cavs are generally very "soft" dogs, so can be sensitive to negative experiences... you may not see any sort of "fallout" right away... might pop up later though.)

One thing I noticed with our puppies, is they get more "naughty" and persistent with things like hassling the cats, when they are over tired. Puppies have so little self control anyway, and just like a tired toddler, are prone to meltdowns when they need rest. Sometimes its really just a matter of putting puppy down for a nap, and this can be done in a non-punitive way. Some crate time with a toy or kong, will soon result in sleep.

Another thing my male puppy did a lot, was to become super naughty when I was on the phone or on my computer. Clearly he was seeking my attention, even if it was in the form of stopping him from doing something! Keep that in mind, and notice if your puppy is naughty when you are busy! Sometimes we humans don't realize that we are inadvertently reinforcing things.

Last edited by Tess; 06-20-2012 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:17 AM
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Yeah, time outs can be helpful to help the puppy disengage from what ever he is obsessed with. I'd just be pretty careful about hauling him away by the collar. Some dogs can end up with a real aversion to having their collar grabbed this way. (Cavs are generally very "soft" dogs, so can be sensitive to negative experiences... you may not see any sort of "fallout" right away... might pop up later though.)

One thing I noticed with our puppies, is they get more "naughty" and persistent with things like hassling the cats, when they are over tired. Puppies have so little self control anyway, and just like a tired toddler, are prone to meltdowns when they need rest. Sometimes its really just a matter of putting puppy down for a nap, and this can be done in a non-punitive way. Some crate time with a toy or kong, will soon result in sleep.

Another thing my male puppy did a lot, was to become super naughty when I was on the phone or on my computer. Clearly he was seeking my attention, even if it was in the form of stopping him from doing something! Keep that in mind, and notice if your puppy is naughty when you are busy! Sometimes we humans don't realize that we are inadvertently reinforcing things.
Oh I know I Am gentle with the collar, I actually use a harness for most of the time, it was just the thing I had to hang on to him by. I didn't want to pick him up, because I was afraid it would make him think he had higher power over our cat. So I took him by the collar, and walked him to his safe area and plopped him on in there for a few minutes.

I did this two days ago outside too, he had Pulled My son off the swing while he was swinging, (the swing had gotten him excited, so I slowed my son down so Bentley wouldn't get hit with the swing) Bentley tried to ues his mouth to pull Nolan off the swing, and I said "leave it!" and He did not respond and So I said "NO" firmly which caught his attention but he wanted to go back to pulling him off the swing, and I said "time out" and had him go in for a little bit, after about 2 minutes we came in and worked on leave it for a while, treat when he left it, not treat when he didn't. But he had on his harness at that time so it was easier.

We do that with Pepper, actually the one cat he chases, if he can be calm around him we give him treats. Jasmin he just likes to sit and bark at sometimes. She ignores him.

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Old 06-20-2012, 10:23 AM
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don't get me wrong, the majority of what I do is positive re enforcement, treats and clicks for doing what I ask and good behavoir, and redirect bad behavior into a training session ect. But there are times when he will get out of control that I find the time out to just be that useful tool that he needs to just re group. He doesn't like missing out, but it gives him a minute to calm down and when he comes out he is able to focus better. This is just cases where he is so obsessed or wound up about something that I need to just have him take a break.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:27 AM
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lol you all realize that after I read this and did the "OMG I am such an idiot, to say no after he looked at me" I sat there for like 10 minutes just working on "look at me" with him, cause I was afraid I screwed up all the work we did on that. Thankfully he had no issues with it and thought the session was great since he was looking at me before I had to say it.. he was like "wow back to basics, this is an easy treat day!"
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:54 AM
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lol you all realize that after I read this and did the "OMG I am such an idiot, to say no after he looked at me" I sat there for like 10 minutes just working on "look at me" with him, cause I was afraid I screwed up all the work we did on that. Thankfully he had no issues with it and thought the session was great since he was looking at me before I had to say it.. he was like "wow back to basics, this is an easy treat day!"
No worries! You really sound like an awesome puppy mom! Yes, I have made loads of mistakes with my dogs, some of which have taken MONTHS to fix! So this was a little one and you caught it early!
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Old 06-20-2012, 11:38 AM
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No worries! You really sound like an awesome puppy mom! Yes, I have made loads of mistakes with my dogs, some of which have taken MONTHS to fix! So this was a little one and you caught it early!
lol aww you are sweet.. I am trying to be a good doggie mom, I am so new at this. But I do make my share of mistakes and then worry about them. but I guess that is what happens, you learn from your mistakes. This is why I got a cavalier and not a dominant breed lol now you know! I make dog training dumb mistakes more often than I like to admit but thankfully I have stayed in touch with our trainer and I always ask her advice and correct what I am doing wrong. so hopefully Bentley will not turn out too bad after all. crossing my fingers
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Old 06-20-2012, 01:03 PM
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most of what I have learned and done is classical conditioning, I just have been trying to get him to understand the word No also lately and realize it means not to do something (of course telling him no after look at me is dumb) Our trainer had told me it is ok to have him go for a little alone time if he is doing something he shouldn't and he has been redirected a few times and it isn't working.
Maybe try something like this instead of no
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Old 06-20-2012, 01:12 PM
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This is great! thanks! I have done some work with a clicking noise that I make with the side of my mouth, but not to that extent, I think I am going to try to do it just like that, the noise means a good thing is coming, to stop what he is doing. I have certainly distracted him with two different Noises that seem to work to grab his attention but I will choose one and get him a really positive association with it.
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