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dog goes on trick auto pilot

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I have a 2.5 year old black lab. She is by far the smartest dog I have owned. I adopted her at about 1.5 years of age. Amira learned very quick. Amira learned the basics very quickly. I got into training as a result. Taught her how to play hide and go seek with toys. She sits, stays walks great on leash. Great off leash. Learned to roll over. Do a spin. Even clean up her toys and put them in a basket. Unfortunately lately when I attempt to train Amira she goes on trick overload. Basically she just does any command then will start doing tricks back to back hoping for a reward. Rather than doing the trick I asked for.
I am Sure this behavior is a training error on my part. I want to fix it but am unsure how. She is a very food motivated lab. I used this to teach her but now treats just get her in a trick frenzy. Amira is a healthy wieght and well fed. I feed her grain free stuff. Before she had dandruff and a dull coat. Now she is shiny and healthy.

I would love some advice on how to help with her progress in her training. Thanks andy
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She has problems with stimulus control! There are four components to stimulus control:
  • The dog does the behavior immediately upon perceiving the cue
  • The dog does not offer the behavior without being cued (doesn't "throw" the behavior at you during training sessions)
  • The dog does not offer the behavior in response to some other cue
  • The dog does not offer any other behavior in response to the cue

I'm sure @kmes will have more suggestions, but to train stimulus control I pick a behavior, we'll say "high five". I'll do five quick reps of high five. Then on the sixth rep, I say nothing and do nothing. My dog, recognizing that high five is currently paying well, offers me a high five. He doesn't get his click/treat. Once he puts his paw down and waits for a second, I give him his cue and reward.

I then build up to asking for one behavior five times in a row, then asking for a different behavior on the sixth rep. This will hopefully get him to actually listen to the words I'm using.
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I agree with it being a stimulus control thing! It's not really a training error on your part! Often it's just something people haven't trained yet or have no clue how to train (tends to be a higher level concept)!

Essentially you'll be rewarding attention/waiting for a cue by cueing a known behavior. A tricky concept! Both to really understand and implement!

I would start out just like Shandula suggested above. I do the same or very similar to start.

Choose well known behaviors that look the way you want them to look. Anything not quite there isn't ready to go on Stim. Control yet.

Some dogs catch on super quickly that they need to wait/give attention to get you to give the next cue. Some get really frustrated. If you see this with your dog, what seems to help is to initially click/mark and treat any pauses between behaviors and then cue the behavior right after feeding. Also interrupting and resetting with a hand target, especially if you start to see stressy/frantic behavior!
@Shandula is right on! I use this with my girl because she will literally stand in front of my and give me every trick she knows (sometimes). It's like she's putting on a show haha. Using the above method has really helped getting her to focus on me rather than her reward.
Chaining of trained behaviors is a goal at many times but your dog is just beating you to the punch and most likely exhibiting this behavior when it is not desired nor intended. Think of a simple game of fetch as it is a trained behavior which involves at least three distinct behaviors. The chase to the object, the retrieval of the object and the release of the object. The dog exhibits all 3 skills in this task and then is rewarded. However, the finished product is many times taught in separate sections and then ultimately combined. At times, trainers will back chain to utilize the final behavior as the one which has the highest reward factor. In doing this in reverse order, the dog will accomplish the release of the object and be highly rewarded therefore the chase and retrieve lead to the release of the object which has the highest reward factor if done properly by the trainer.

My guess is your dog might be used to a certain beginning point such as a sit or just the notion that it's training time and the dog does its entire repertoire knowing that it leads to the reward. The other posts regarding impulse control make good sense and should be incorporated in your training sessions. If you desire a trained behavior to remain a single behavior than a default hold or wait needs to be incorporated into your sessions after each command is completed. If the dog fails the hold then you need to reset the dog and start anew. Your positive and negative verbal markers will aid you as well as the positive reward for success. Also, become less predictable and start each session with a different beginning command and mix it up. What I have found to be the best way to keep my dog paying attention and focusing on what my next command might be, is training right and left leg step aways. I started with verbal cues matching my right or left leg step away and then removed the verbal cues making the dog key on which leg steps forward or backwards first. If you choose to do this, your consistency is significant. You walk away from your dog left leg first, the dog heels. You step away right leg first the dog stays in the previous commanded position. When using verbal cues during the initial training it sometimes is easy to screw up and step away with the wrong leg and a verbal cue which contradicts the skill being taught.

What's great about your situation and dog is the ability of your dog to chain trained behaviors. This should lead to more complex and involved skills if you choose to train that way.
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