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Old 01-03-2013, 01:43 AM   #21 (permalink)
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That's one reason why I really harp on positive training on these forums. It's actually really hard to mess up with positive training once you get the hang of it (the big hurdle for most people is learning to manage their dogs so they never have a chance to misbehave/react poorly). I mean, you can definitely hit road blocks and not make progress if you're not doing it quite right, but you're probably not going to be making the behavior worse or creating other unintended consequences for further down the line.

Basically, positive training methods teach your dog that you're the person he needs to listen to (for his own benefit, even!), and builds trust and confidence. Using corrections correctly can lead to the same result, but using ill-timed or inappropriate corrections can very quickly go in the other direction. For a less experienced handler, I think clicker training or similar methods is the way to go in virtually any situation.
I would love to find out how to do this - "..they never have a chance to misbehave/react poorly).."

Could you, or someone else who is a "positive only" advocate, PLEASE explain in detail how to achieve this?

Is this sort of what you mean? When I asked my trainer at the local obedience club class I was attending a while ago about how to stop my dog from "counter surfing" looking for something to eat - Her answer was "Don't leave anything on the counter!"!

Is that it? Do not allow my dog to be tempted whatsoever - then he will never misbehave, right?

If we are using treats (rewards) couldn't a not very skilled trainer end up rewarding the wrong thing or at the wrong time and actually Reinforce the very behavior that we are trying to get the dog to stop?

Just curious how the dog can learn what is improper or wrong behavior if we never tell them that.

And what if a bad unwanted behavior is "self rewarding" to the dog and he/she would rather that reward than whatever click or treat or other rreward that we can give them? And please don't trot out the "higher value treat" that so many Pos trainers seem to rely on.

My dog has turned his nose up on the highest treats (ie real raw meat) to do things that he wants to do at the moment!

Thanks for your explanations and responses about the POS approach.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:52 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I would love to find out how to do this - "..they never have a chance to misbehave/react poorly).."

Could you, or someone else who is a "positive only" advocate, PLEASE explain in detail how to achieve this?
I think it would be impossible to keep a pup/dog from ever having the chance to misbehave/react poorly. But I do think that we (as the handler) can set the pup/dog up to succeed easier than we can correct a behavior that is unwanted.

An example would be a dog/pup reacting to a distraction. For the sake of this conversation, lets say another dog. If a handler is walking their dog and sees their dog begin to focus on another dog, the handler redirects at that moment. Before the dog has a chance to react to the other dog. The mistake would be if the handler waits until their dog reacts to the other dog by lunging or barking. Then it's more difficult to change the behavior of their dog.

Potty training. It's eaiser to set the pup up to succeed by taking the pup out to potty often. Reward the good behavior. It's more difficult to potty train if the handler allows the pup to potty in an unwanted area (in the house) because the handler waits till they see the 'signs' that the pup has to go outside.

Counter surfing. Same as trash diving. If there is a high value object in the trash or on the counter, I'll help my dogs succeed by moving it out of their reach. Something of lower value (bread etc.) will be ignored. Put a chicken on the counter and it's like crack to an addict. I know this. Same as if a stray dog comes into my yard. My dogs will react.

I try to use positive only training. But I have my limits. There are some behaviors that I will correct.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:07 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I tried something this morning.

Every morning at 8am, a neighbor walks her 2 Maltese dogs past my home. Kira waits for them, and goes bonkers at the window.
My normal routine, is to call her off and make her lay near me somewhere in the house. This usually calms her and gets the job done.

Today, I decided to try some gentle persuasion. As soon as those dogs got close, and as soon as Kira saw them, I offered a treat after a "down". I allowed her to watch them, and every time she took her attention away from the dogs , I timed a treat under her nose.
She ended up never making a sound, and just looked away for the most part.

How did I do?

Was this a good approach?


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Old 01-03-2013, 12:33 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I think it would be impossible to keep a pup/dog from ever having the chance to misbehave/react poorly. But I do think that we (as the handler) can set the pup/dog up to succeed easier than we can correct a behavior that is unwanted.

An example would be a dog/pup reacting to a distraction. For the sake of this conversation, lets say another dog. If a handler is walking their dog and sees their dog begin to focus on another dog, the handler redirects at that moment. Before the dog has a chance to react to the other dog. The mistake would be if the handler waits until their dog reacts to the other dog by lunging or barking. Then it's more difficult to change the behavior of their dog.

Potty training. It's eaiser to set the pup up to succeed by taking the pup out to potty often. Reward the good behavior. It's more difficult to potty train if the handler allows the pup to potty in an unwanted area (in the house) because the handler waits till they see the 'signs' that the pup has to go outside.

Counter surfing. Same as trash diving. If there is a high value object in the trash or on the counter, I'll help my dogs succeed by moving it out of their reach. Something of lower value (bread etc.) will be ignored. Put a chicken on the counter and it's like crack to an addict. I know this. Same as if a stray dog comes into my yard. My dogs will react.

I try to use positive only training. But I have my limits. There are some behaviors that I will correct.

Does that mean that you don't "proof" your dogs behavior?

I.E. You (and/or other Pos trainers) don't believe in and don't follow the approach of Teach, "Distract" and then "Proof" a dog's behavior?

If one never "tempts" the dog (after you are sure that he/she knows a behavior, then how can one be sure that he/she is going to be reliable when it is needed?
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:53 PM   #25 (permalink)
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YES Anthony You got her 'before' she had the chance to go bonkers..

I swear dogs can tell time, and I also think, for examply, say Kira does this every single time those maltese go by at the same time and gets the same reaction from you..

So now it's becoming ingrained, the maltese are coming at 8, I'm going to go bonkers, Dad is going to call me off and I go lay down elsewhere...It's 'ingrained'...

With that, I'll bet if you do what you did this morning, THAT is going to become ingrained and routine, and better than the first scenerio:

Make sense??
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:57 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Does that mean that you don't "proof" your dogs behavior?

I.E. You (and/or other Pos trainers) don't believe in and don't follow the approach of Teach, "Distract" and then "Proof" a dog's behavior?
I think life proofs your dog. Life will make sure someone decides to eat dinner in the living room and places their plate on the coffee table and goes back into the kitchen for a drink.

Life will make sure you don't notice Fido charging out of his yard towards you.

Life will make sure you take your dog to Petco and your dog smells another dog's urine soaking in the food sacks.

Life will help you realize if you've created a solid foundation for your dog or if you need to continue to build on it.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:02 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lilie View Post
I think life proofs your dog. Life will make sure someone decides to eat dinner in the living room and places their plate on the coffee table and goes back into the kitchen for a drink.

Life will make sure you don't notice Fido charging out of his yard towards you.

Life will make sure you take your dog to Petco and your dog smells another dog's urine soaking in the food sacks.

Life will help you realize if you've created a solid foundation for your dog or if you need to continue to build on it.
So THAT'S why he always wants to sniff the corners of those sacks! LOL
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:57 PM   #28 (permalink)
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I tried something this morning.

Every morning at 8am, a neighbor walks her 2 Maltese dogs past my home. Kira waits for them, and goes bonkers at the window.
My normal routine, is to call her off and make her lay near me somewhere in the house. This usually calms her and gets the job done.

Today, I decided to try some gentle persuasion. As soon as those dogs got close, and as soon as Kira saw them, I offered a treat after a "down". I allowed her to watch them, and every time she took her attention away from the dogs , I timed a treat under her nose.
She ended up never making a sound, and just looked away for the most part.

How did I do?

Was this a good approach?


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Sounds great! Now you can use the same approach when walking with Kira, before she gets reactive when she sees another dog.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:33 PM   #29 (permalink)
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In my opinion and experience there is no tried and true method to deal with reactivity posative or negative. It all depends on the dog and its motivation for the behavior.

My current little project is a classic case of genetic weak nerve.

She sees another dog while wlking on the leash she focuses on it head up ears forward, tail lashing, the closer the dog get her head drops growls and then lunges. Same reaction every time, if I get her at the right moment a quick correction throws her off and stilts her escelation. If we sit/stand close to the object of her reactivity she relaxes after a minute or so and then wants to play. Every time no matter what type of dog.

Take her to the dog park, throw the E Collar (She is collar conditioned) on her let her loose. She spots a dog hackles lunges, gets stimmed breaks off, even apporaching another dog to intensly leads to a stim, she always breaks off the approach then re approaches and uses her nose properly. Then she wants to play, same pattern as when we are on leash.
Her overwhelming response is exitement mixed with an equel if not greater dose of insecurity. Which leads to the lunging growling etc.

Her excitement level when around other dogs generally precludes the use of treats as her fixation on the other dog or dogs is to high, only a correction can refocus her attention. Then she is open to an alternate message.

People is a bit different. Generally she is much more sharp indoors, so I will use her responses in those settings as she generally ignores people outside.
Any individual apporaching us leads to growls, or if it was allowed an abbreviated lunge. Correction of this reaction yeilded a submissive yet still fear aggressive dog. As in the dog is in a down but still hackling growling. There is no tail waging in this response, instead you see hackles up, ears back, head low and tail tucked.
I diagnose this as fear / insecurity
Once the object of her reaction has stopped moving and is relatively still she is now (with a lot of work is able to relax) as in sniff the person, take treats do some light OB etc.
I mainly treat this reaction exclusively with treats, as in as soon as she relaxes I give her a treat, then the person in question gives her a treat. We are now moving to having the stranger talk loudly, move suddenly, move arms around etc. Any aggressive response recieves a light correction more of a redirection, then once she relaxes immidiately get rewarded by myself and the helper. Also, I will do light OB around the helper then hold the treat right against the helper or at the helpers feet so she make posative associations.

These are just some examples, I have found that a mix of correction and +R timed appropriately is the most effective approach.

I dont know why people insist on applying absolutes to dog training simply to suit their own biases and perception of how the world should be. IMO use what works plain and simple, most world class trainer/handlers use a healthy mix of both approaches. Political correctness has no place in working with dogs as they unlike human beings are immune to BS.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:16 PM   #30 (permalink)
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I too tried a little experiment today. One of the issues with Stella is her barking at the cat or dog in my neighbor's yard. Lately I have been using an e-collar, under a trainer's guidance, to stop this unwanted behavior. Well, I forgot to put the collar on this afternoon. And of course she started her usual nonsense. If she does not have the collar on I generally have to go out and get her. This usually means me chasing her around the yard until I either catch her or I can try to redirect her to play ball. Both of which are so much fun for her!!!! Today I grabbed a piece of salami (she loves it, and rarely gets it) and as I approached her, waved the salami around. She came over, but not too close. I let her take a bit of the salami and took a few steps back towards the house, continuing to wave the salami. She was very undecided which way to go....bark mode or salami. Every time she turned away from the other dog or cat across the street, she got a bit of salami. It took us some time to work our way across the yard but in the end we did it. So positive training does work....to a degree. If she really wanted to continue barking, the salami would not have interested her. I have had filet mignon in my hand to entice her in the past and she chose to bark.....
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