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Question: My rescue puppy is almost a year old. She has received excellent training from a professional trainer, but she is STILL doing things like jumping up on the countertop, jumping on me when she wants to, etc. It is like she knows what to do when she is on her leash and we are practicing her training, but then she goes nutso and forgets everything, (or is she choosing to forget everything) when she is off-leash. For example, she ignores all kinds of verbal cues like "off" "come" etc... except, for what seems like, when she wants to obey. Do dogs even think that way?

Thanks..she is one very bright pup. The trainer said she is one of two that he's trained in the past 20 years that picks things up so quickly. She is working on the "take it, hold it, thank you" commands and is doing a great job. She has mastered sit, down, stay, heel, and loose-leash walking (except when she doesn't want to loose-leash walk!), and come.

Thoughts?
 

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Maybe when you are training, she gets bored after a bit and needs to let off steam. Intelligence plus a short attention span will result in boredom setting in pretty quickly.

she ignores all kinds of verbal cues like "off" "come" etc... except, for what seems like, when she wants to obey. Do dogs even think that way?
Of course. Dogs don't do 'good' and 'bad' - they do what 'works', what gives them the best outcome. Pretty much like humans do a lot of the time.

While there are others, I think the three main reasons for a dog not doing what you ask are these.

First, she doesn't understand. That's where training comes in, you need to teach her what you want, and reward when she gets it right so she knows she has done the right thing.

Second, the motivation or reward of doing what she is already doing is higher than the motivation or reward of doing what you are asking. This is why some dogs won't, for example, recall when they are playing or chasing squirrels. So make sure what you offer is of far higher value - or, if you can't beat something like a squirrel chase, don't allow the opportunity for it to happen (i.e. don't set her up to fail). Use a leash or a long line to keep control.

Third, you are working against a deeply rooted breed trait that the dog has been selectively bred for over centuries. There is a reason why we don't use terriers to herd sheep - it can be done but it is a lot harder.

It's likely the second one you are dealing with. So, what's in it for her to comply? What happens when she recalls - do you reward / play / release, or is it end of fun, leash on and home? When she is jumping the excitement makes that self rewarding. I find a solid 'sit' works (she can't sit and jump) but maybe you need to be more creative, like switching between sit, down, spin, between your feet, going to a place etc.
 

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One thing to keep in mind is that you have a teenager. All teenagers, human and canine, test their limits. Making training fun and meaningful for the dog helps a lot at this stage.

Additionally, all dogs have trouble generalizing that rules apply across all situations. I once did a funny experiment with my young dog. He knows how to sit on command. He's done it hundreds of times. So, while he was standing at the top of the stairs, and I was standing at the bottom, I asked him to sit. Guess what? He didn't sit. He though sit was something he did when he was next to me looking up. Looking down at me from the top of the stairs? He didn't understand. After that I made a point to add lots of odd scenarios to our training practice.

Counter surfing is one of the most difficult behaviors to stop. It's an intermittently rewarded behavior, similar to gambling with a slot machine. Sometimes the dog jumps up and find an interesting snack. Sometimes she doesn't. Intermittently winning a prize like this taps deep into instinctual behavior. In the wild a dog would return to the same game trail where she once caught a rabbit, because there's a good chance other rabbits use the same trail, and eventually she'd get another meal. That's why counter surfing is so addictive for dogs. The best way to stop the behavior is to ensure there is never a prize waiting for her on the counter.
 

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Something else I find, when a dog is being naughty, is to try asking the dog to do something that taps into the same urges. In general, I divide commands into active commands and motionless commands. An active command would be something like wave a paw, jump, or spin. A motionless command would be something like sit or lie down.

So, when my dog is jumping on me, he's being very active. It's hard to change an adolescent's mindset from active to motionless. Thus, if I simply ask the dog to sit, he may not obey. He's got a full on case of the wiggles, and sitting is just too hard for him while he is in that state. Instead, I ask him to do something else that is also active. I ask him to back up. I ask him to jump in place (not on me!) I ask him to spin. Giving him these active commands gives him an appropriate outlet for his energy without setting him up to fail.
 

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It is like she knows what to do when she is on her leash and we are practicing her training, but then she goes nutso and forgets everything, (or is she choosing to forget everything) when she is off-leash.
If your dog always does her training on-leash, you may inadvertently be sending the message that being on-leash equates to obedience required and being off-leash makes it optional.
 

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Dogs always want to have fun with a loved one and you can say care for him. so create fear for them to give them understanding to don't do such things otherwise you will be punished. take some time to train without harming him.
 
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