Why does my dog do a behavior wrong? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-17-2008, 09:06 AM Thread Starter
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Why does my dog do a behavior wrong?

We all have opinions on this and I would love to hear yours!

Joel Silverman

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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-17-2008, 09:26 AM
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Re: Why does my dog do a behavior wrong?

My personal opinion is that dogs only very rarely choose to be disobedient. The vast majority of the time if a dog makes a mistake or appears disobedient it is because the dog either lacks the understanding of what he should be doing (lack of training, mixed signals or unclear communication from the handler) or the dog has been placed in a situation beyond his current level of ability (distractions too high, etc...).

So more often than not, it's a trainer/handler/people problem, not a dog problem.


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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-17-2008, 09:36 AM
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Re: Why does my dog do a behavior wrong?

Dogs only do what they 'know'.

If they are doing something wrong then they do not know the right way to do it.

Teaching them the 'right' way to do anything is the job of the OWNER.
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-17-2008, 09:40 AM
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Re: Why does my dog do a behavior wrong?

We're not talking about puppies are we? My 7 year old female knows right from wrong and if anyone - my children included - do something wrong, she lets them know. I call her The Enforcer.

My puppy, he just likes to be naughty to see what he can get aways with. When I catch him doing something he knows is wrong, like sitting on the couch with a bone, he looks at me like 'Gonna tell me no?'

Luther was the same way as an adult, I adopted him when he was 2 and I think he was allowed to get over as a pup. Taught him to push his luck but I wouldn't let him. He spent a lot of time in timeout the first few months he lived here!

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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-17-2008, 11:01 AM
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Re: Why does my dog do a behavior wrong?

There are no bad dogs only bad owners.

I agree if the dog doesn't know any better its the owners fault not the dogs!

They all love to test the boundries and see what they can get away with Brady included

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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-17-2008, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Why does my dog do a behavior wrong?

We are talking about dogs over 1 year old. Great responses!!

Joel Silverman

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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-17-2008, 11:40 AM
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Re: Why does my dog do a behavior wrong?

I'll stand by my first response - even for adult dogs - and add one more thing ...

The reward from doing the wrong behavior is greater than the consequences of being caught doing it.

Case in point – my Cocker Spaniel and stealing food. Like most typical Cockers, Tazer loves food. He adores food. He WORSHIPS food! And he steals food.

We have tried many different ways to remove this behavior but if he succeeds even just once in a million tries – the reward from that one time (getting the food) is worth what he went through the other 999,999 times.

The one thing we haven’t tried is to put an electric collar on him, set him up by leaving something like a loaf od bread on the counter and then we would hide out of sight with the remote, using it to negatively mark (shock) him every time he goes for that loaf of bread.

I KNOW we would wear out the batteries before HE gave up trying.

And it’s not just the tasty stuff he goes after. We’re talking about the dog that broke into my suitcase to eat half a bottle of blood thinners and a handful of anti-depressants!

We know his limitations – he cannot resist food – and we remember to not put things where he can reach them.

At least we TRY to remember … we won’t talk about my garlic bread from dinner last night that went MIA when I left the kitchen (and left it sitting right at the edge of the counter).
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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-17-2008, 11:43 AM
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Re: Why does my dog do a behavior wrong?

i've got to disagree a little... while the above responses are correct alot of the time - my dogs will do a behavior incorrectly out of laziness and/or eagerness. i compare them to a child - when you tell them... "clean your room and you can have an ice cream cone" all of a sudden the room is cleaned in record time and they're ready for their reward, upon inspection you see that the books are just thrown onto the bookshelf, not stacked, and the clothes are all shoved in the closet.

now i will take responsibility and say that once upon a time the dog was probably rewarded anyway for only doing a mediocre job and thats why they see fit to test their limits, but either way... thats how and why my dogs will do a behavior wrong... they're trying to see if they can get away with the bare minimum. i'm sure of this because often times i'll still only give the command once ("speak" for instance) and i'll watch Gia struggle with a whine, then a mumble, then a little bark, then a big bark but breaking her sit position, then finally she'll sit again and produce the bark i want and i'll toss the treat. its the same with sitting before they eat - i let them take as long as they want to do it, but the bowls dont go down until both are seated and looking at ME, not each other and not the bowls.

any opinion on my theory?

eta: after reading lauri's response - i understand and agree 100%. now my question would be... after realizing my own fault (in once upon a time awarding the behavior) and correcting me, becoming more strict, etc etc... how long will it take for them to then shape up. seriously, Gia's been trying to get away with a cheap bark for a few years now and i refuse to give in.

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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-17-2008, 12:15 PM
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Re: Why does my dog do a behavior wrong?

I agree that if a dog is doing something wrong it is because they either don't understand what is being asked of them or they have been taught to do the behavior wrong (usually because their person has unconsciously reinforced an undesirable behavior).

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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-17-2008, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Why does my dog do a behavior wrong?

Let's make this a little more specific. Let's do this. Imagine that you gave your dog a cue to "sit". He did not "sit". Can you specify the reason why he might not have sat"?

Joel Silverman

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