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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 650

How do I teach my dog that things that are in my hand belong to me, and he is not allowed to just take them out?

We were at the park today playing fetch with sticks, and all of a sudden Bodie jumps up and snatches the stick out of my hand! He has never done that before, and he tried to do it again with the tennis ball and chuck it.

We practice strict NILIF every day, and he fully understands that all food is mine until I release him to go eat. The same goes for treats (he lets the cat eat first if she is there), but with toys, I think he thinks it's a big game.

Once he has the toy or stick, I can out him and take the toy away with no problem, so it's not a resource issue. All the toys in the house are put away until I decide we want to play with them. We do SchH so we play tug a lot, I'm wondering if this may have something to do with it? Also what was the appropriate reaction when he snatched the stick out of my hand? I turned around and walked away, but should I have taken it from him?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 07:16 PM
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Location: California
Posts: 264
Re: Mine

I'm no training expert, but I would think you would want to react the same way you usually react when he does something he shouldn't?

If you normally turn around and walk away when he does something for you--perfect reaction. If you normally give a correction, then your reaction may have said "it's ok to snatch a stick/ball/toy from him as long as I'm ready to stop playing with him".

Again, novice to training. Just thought I'd offer something up since no one else has yet

Anyone else?


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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 12:33 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Vancouver BC
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Re: Mine

I would say off as a correction. They are not to touch things or me without my permission.

THen again I am not a dog trainer and I don't play one on TV either
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 08:16 PM
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Re: Mine

I would handle this one of two ways. If I clearly saw the approach coming --that is, I saw that my dog was about ready to jump up and take what's in my hand -- I'd give a command that could NOT be done at the same time -- most likely, a Down.

This assumes, though, that your dog has good obedience skills and self control. If he does, give the Down command, and reward profusely. Do what is sometimes called "jackpotting": give small bits of treat but one right after another. The dog will feel like he's hit the jackpot more than if you give one large treat. The entire time, praise profusely. Act like he just won the Nobel Prize.

If Bodie doesn't have solid obedience, stop the game. Be reeaaally clear about what you're doing. My GSD loved soccer. I mean, he lived and breathed his soccer games. When he was young, he'd sometimes jump up to try to get his soccer balls out of my hands. I'd gasp (in my most hurt voice -- not angry -- rather hurt, disappointed. ) "Camper! Oh!" Then I'd simply say "No Soccer." And I'd go in the house (or pack up our stuff to go back to our car if we were elsewhere). And that was it. No Soccer meant "you blew it, Sweetie. Game over."

He'd run next to me, with his best obliging behavior. I didn't even need to leash him up. He'd be in a perfect heel as though to say "see, Mom? I can be perfect? Can I have another chance?" But I didn't give chances. I wanted the lesson to be perfectly clear. And consistency is very important.

It took Camper about 3 times to learn that HE controlled whether we played soccer. There were a couple of times that I'd see him start to leap (or get that bright look in his eyes, like he was going to), but he'd stop himself. Playing soccer was more important than grabbing the ball this one time.

I'm not a big fan of using corrections in this situation. Our dogs are doing this behavior because they're very excited. I don't believe in correcting happy excited dogs if I can possibly help it. Instead, I want them to learn that they control what happens in their lives. If we can teach our dogs self-discipline and self-control, it's something valuable that they will use in all aspects of their lives.

It worked perfectly. After the 3 or so incidents, he never jumped up on Dh or me for a soccer ball, frisbee, ball or another item again.
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