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My 7-month-old puppy does not understand the "no" command or any other form of negative reinforcement. When it comes to learning new tricks that can be taught through treats or praise, like going outside, sit, down, stay, come, heel, etc., she learns quickly. But when it comes to breaking her of bad behavior, like jumping up on me and and my wife, incessant licking, or getting on the sofa, I cannot get her to stop. I've tried a big, scary "no," a calm, stern "no," a "tsk," and a "nuh-uh," but none evokes any response. The only way I've found to get her to stop bad behavior is (1) to yelp at a high pitch, which stopped her from nipping me when playing, and (2) to walk away and ignore her, which will get her to stop but which doesn't seem to affect future behavior.

She is a mutt (mainly German Shepherd with some Basenji, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Doberman, and possibly others) whom the local SPCA picked up as a stray when she was approximately 4 weeks old. She was not with her mother or litter mates when they found her, so we are not sure how much she learned from her mother before being brought to the shelter. Around both people and other dogs, she is timid at first but becomes friendly pretty fast. We rescued her at 4 months and have had her for 3 months now.

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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I don't usually try to teach my dog what not to do, because it's so much faster & easier to teach her what TO do. For instance, teaching her to jump off the sofa when asked, or teaching her to keep all four paws on the ground during greetings. If I yell at her, it actually serves to reinforce the "naughty" behavior, because she's getting attention...if I make sure to give her attention, praise, treats only when she is calm, then I get better behavior overall! Sounds like you are in a similar position, and also that you've done some great work already in teaching your girl some good things to do in other situations, so you can use those same tools to help build some better behaviors in the tricky areas still remaining.

One good place to find specific training tutorials is in the threads here: Training and Behavior Stickies

"Polite greetings" might be a good place to look for video tutorials about keeping four-on-the-floor during greetings. I also think that the exercises in "impulse control and calmness" are invaluable. Sometimes, before we can reward a dog for being calm, we have to teach them HOW to be calm!
 

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When your dog is jumping up on people, what would you like your dog to do instead?

Would you like him to sit? Lay down on his bed?

Teach him to do that behavior you want him to do in your spare time with your dog and build up to doing it with high distractions. Then when you think your dog is going to jump on someone, tell them to do your trained alternative behavior instead. You will get a dog who is laying on the bed, instead of jumping on the guests.

Also, if your dog does jump on you or someone else. IGNORE it like the dog doesn't even exist. Don't look down, touch the dog, push him off, nothing. As soon as the dog is sitting or doing whatever you'd like him to do instead PRAISE like you just won the lottery, (but not enough to over excite him to get up).

This recipe can be used for anything you'd like your dog to stop doing. Just give him something else to do. Saying "no" really isn't effective, because dogs don't understand the meaning of it. Making a loud sound may just have the dog associate it with something else. (Like if the dog tries to sit on the couch with you and they make a loud noise, the dog will think, "hmm... going close to my owner makes a scary sound happen, i better not get close to my owner".
 

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If the dog doesnt accept you as a pack leader, you are screwed. He needs to earn the praise and treats. As you also need to work for the salary and respect. If you wouldnt, if everything would be permitted and given, I would be curious of your reaction if someone says no. You need to start to educate your dog. When he gives up, wait a bit and then say ok and give it to him. Later you can start the basic things like sit, or down. You need to build up your pack, he needs to learn that, he is not the leader. If you have any questions, I am happy to answer. I also have a youtube channel, check it out, you might find something interesting and Im also waiting for ideas for future videos. http://goo.gl/6LcyVU
 

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I think anyone with a treat in their hand can train behaviors, they don't have to be a 'pack leader'. I agree with SnackRat and Mollydoggy, teach other alternative behaviors. I don't have a huge repertoire of stuff the dogs do but they sit, which is pretty easy to teach, and while they are sitting they can't jump up on people.
 

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Let's use the example of jumping up - I find many of these behavioral issues created by people from the get go. 8 week old puppy is cute, someone is sitting on the couch with puppy in lap, puppy is jumping up licking the persons face. It's really cute when a puppy is 8 weeks old, not so cute when they are a year old and 70 pounds. I realize you got the dog at a later age but someone likely conditioned it. The dog needs to learn calm meet and greet.

There is a reward for the dog jumping up - typically affection. The dog wants the reward (affection), but is simply going about it the wrong way. I prefer letting a dog figure out the right way of doing things - it's easier to make your dog think that actually do the thinking for it.

You'll need a couple of friends that typically get jumped on... Throw the treats on the counter as you won't need them, leash your dog and stand say 10 feet from the door. Have the dog sit, wait until it's calm - this is what you want from your dog every time, sit and calm. Most important here - don't correct the dog, let it be a dog and perform the default behavior. You want the dog to figure this out on it's own - and it will.

Friend enters, now you figure out at what point your dog reacts. If the dog reacts badly, friend goes back outside and closes the door. Nobody says a word, don't engage the dog. Get the dog to sit and wait til it's calm.

Have friend enter again, if the dog reacts, have friend leave again. Keep repeating. Trust me, your dog likes your friend, wants the affection (reward). The dog is likely getting confused at this point - why doesn't my friend want to meet and greet - this is point the dog will start to think, gears turn and it tries different things. The dog will figure it out that sit and calm gets the affection from the friend - reward the dog with friends affection when the dog stays calm. When a dog learns on it's own, it doesn't forget.


Every action from a dog - both negative and positive - seems to have a reward. Male aggressive dog on leash, barks and lunges at men nearby - man typically backs off - the distance is the reward. That's the way I tend to look at things - I like to generate scenarios to make the dog think, to learn on it's own.
 

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This is a positive reinforcement forum. Anyone suggesting aversive methods will have their post edited or removed. Continued disregard for forum rules will result in infractions and banning.

Please read the rules before posting.
 

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If the dog doesnt accept you as a pack leader, you are screwed. He needs to earn the praise and treats. As you also need to work for the salary and respect. If you wouldnt, if everything would be permitted and given, I would be curious of your reaction if someone says no. You need to start to educate your dog. When he gives up, wait a bit and then say ok and give it to him. Later you can start the basic things like sit, or down. You need to build up your pack, he needs to learn that, he is not the leader. If you have any questions, I am happy to answer. I also have a youtube channel, check it out, you might find something interesting and Im also waiting for ideas for future videos. http://goo.gl/6LcyVU
"If the dog doesnt accept you as a pack leader, you are screwed."

Oh boy. Dogs don't see you as "pack leader". Please read up on the dominance theory :)
 
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My dog understands "no" only in terms of training.
For example, if I'm working on a sit-stay, I train this as asking for a sit and she must stay sitting until I release (I do'nt ask for a stay, it's built into sit). If she breaks the sit before I say the release word, I simply say "no", and re-set up the command. So she understands "no" to mean "that wasn't what I wanted so no treat for you, let's try again".

For stopping bad behavior, I have a growly "uh-uh". This "growl" in itself is not a punishment, it's an interrupting noise to redirect her attention to me. It's become conditioned to mean "I'm about to ask you something and if you do it you'll get BIG reward but if you don't look at me right now and continue what you're doing then I'm going to be disappointed in you and you get no treats". Usually I have to resort to the growl when I've made a mistake in not watching her closely enough so we're at a point past threshold and It's a hail mary pass to stop her from doing something she shouldn't (like chase a rabbit).

So if she was doing something "bad" (jumping onto the bed) and I said "no" or "growled" at her...she wouldn't know to STOP jumping on the bed, she doesn't understand that those words mean "change your behavior" she knows they mean "pay attention to me so I can guide you through this".
 

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Ok guys. First of all. Dominance doesnt mean that you are cruel to your dog or beating him. The second is, it seems like Cesar Millan is a loser according to you with the pack leader theory. As I see, he is right. When he arrived to the US he was shocked. The country is full of insecure dogs. Everything is allowed for them and later try to say no. What I was telling you is basic dog training with the food. My dog is sitting front of his plate waiting for permission as I know you now you think Its about power or dominance. No, its not. He doesnt steal food, doesnt eat what he finds on the street or what strangers give him. He is well educated. He asks permission to be on the sofa, so we have time to put his blanket on it to keep the sofa clean, he never goes on it when we are not at home. He doesnt bark, doesnt chew on furnitures, he is very social with all animals and adults and children. He knows so many tricks and he is happy to do them. I praise him a lot, pet him a lot. He is a happy, balanced dog ho loves to play, he is not threatened. You can ban my comment I dont mind, you have the right to do it. I am leaving the forum dont worry. So good luck with the dogs and a bit of positive thought. While the dog is chewing on your shoes, sing my little pony, praise him and give him treats. NEVER SAY NO, because then you would be the dominant. This is what you want to hear I guess. Im out of here.
 

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Careful because they ban your comment as they have banned mine. They dont support these kind of methods. So good luck to them. But they allow the dog everything with no limit and they are wondering why it doesnt understand no. If he thinks he is on the to of the hierarchy, he will not only be confused when you command him to do something, but on worse cases his gonna try to protect his position and being agressive. The way he sees the house is his territory and he chews on anything he wants to and being anywhere where he wants to and you are coming saying no. I remember one friend of mine left his 4 months old husky with me for the weekend. What a mess!!! He was chewing on my furnitures, growling at me and my dog, ate everything found on the floor if i dropped a paper tissue it had no time to touch the floor. She stole food from my plate she was barking and howling. I started her training, it was really difficult to work with a husky princess. When I put a bit of food on the floor she jumped at the food as a rocket and when i didnt let her get it, she growled at me and tried to bit me. On sunday evening my friend was very surprised about the dog sitting front of the food waiting. When they got home there were more surprises. She was barking less, when he said no while she was chewing on the furniture she stopped, she didnt growl at him any more. But on this forum it seems like its cruel. By the way my friend was about to give the dog away because she was out of control destroying everything and the neighbours were also fed up of the constant barking and howling.
 

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Recommending aversive methods are against forum rules so, yes, those posts will be removed.

My dog also asks to come on the furniture, does not chew on my furniture or my kids toys or my shoes, she gets along with every animal and person she meets, she doesn't steal people food or even come in the kitchen when we're eating. She has a long list of tricks and commands that she knows. I take her on hikes (off leash) quite often and have zero issues. Not one single aversive method was used when training her. She is a happy, well balanced girl. She goes everywhere with me and I always get compliments on how well she behaves. My dog is not one of a kind. Most members here have dogs who are very similar (or better!) than my dog.

I'm proud of what my dog and I have accomplished together and I'm proud of our relationship.

You are welcome to leave or stay on this forum. If you choose to stay, you must abide by the rules.

Any further comments or questions regarding forum policy may be addressed in the Talk to the Team section.
 

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Careful because they ban your comment as they have banned mine. They dont support these kind of methods. So good luck to them. But they allow the dog everything with no limit and they are wondering why it doesnt understand no. If he thinks he is on the to of the hierarchy, he will not only be confused when you command him to do something, but on worse cases his gonna try to protect his position and being agressive. The way he sees the house is his territory and he chews on anything he wants to and being anywhere where he wants to and you are coming saying no. I remember one friend of mine left his 4 months old husky with me for the weekend. What a mess!!! He was chewing on my furnitures, growling at me and my dog, ate everything found on the floor if i dropped a paper tissue it had no time to touch the floor. She stole food from my plate she was barking and howling. I started her training, it was really difficult to work with a husky princess. When I put a bit of food on the floor she jumped at the food as a rocket and when i didnt let her get it, she growled at me and tried to bit me. On sunday evening my friend was very surprised about the dog sitting front of the food waiting. When they got home there were more surprises. She was barking less, when he said no while she was chewing on the furniture she stopped, she didnt growl at him any more. But on this forum it seems like its cruel. By the way my friend was about to give the dog away because she was out of control destroying everything and the neighbours were also fed up of the constant barking and howling.
It sounds like the "husky princess" wasn't badly behaved because of positive reinforcement training, but because of having received ZERO training. Be careful not to confuse the two.

I train my dog the same way I treat my staff at work. The methodology is the same, the form of communication is the only thing that changes. When I have staff that do a good job on their work, they are rewarded. When I have staff that are underperfoming, rather than "punishing" them with harsh criticism, insults, giving them unwanted tasks as a consequence of bad performance -- I discuss with them what type of outputs I WANT to see, and how to change their tactics to accomplish that. After numerous trial and error iterations, my staff build positive and productive habits that produce the type of quality work I'm looking for.

Same with my dog, but instead of talking, it is done through non-verbal communication and treats. She does what I ask - treat. She doesn't do what I ask, no treat and I break down the command more clearly for her. THe result is she builds productive habits and learns what behaviors get her rewards and she focuses more on doing THOSE behaviors.
She asks to come up on furniture, she asks to go out for walks, she waits fo rpermission to eat food, she walks nicely on the leash, she comes when called (mostly...still working on it, she's only 1). She's a very solid citizen.

There are numerous paths to the same outcome, the question is about building up an individual (person or dog) confidence along that path or tearing it down. I prefer to build.
 

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If he thinks he is on the to of the hierarchy, he will not only be confused when you command him to do something, but on worse cases his gonna try to protect his position and being agressive. The way he sees the house is his territory and he chews on anything he wants to and being anywhere where he wants to and you are coming saying no.
If what your are saying were true, we would see it. But I don't see anything like that at my house. They don't chew up my house. They come when called, they sit when asked. Some people use treats, some people use praise, but the dog gets the idea.
Im out of here.
There is a lot more to dog conversations. Instead of leaving because others don't think exactly the way you do, you could join in the many areas you agree with others.
 

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Dog can't jump on people if your foot is on the leash. Dog might try a few times but will yield to the obvious limitation. The moment the dog does, the dog receives the consequence of its choice, praise, reward etc.

So simple and effective. Dogs figures it out in short order. We all mostly use leads, use them efficiently and what they were intended for.
 
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