Lerarning to mis-behave? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-26-2011, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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Lerarning to mis-behave?

Ok, I have a question concerning the learning ability of GSD's in general, and my 3.5 yo male in particular.

I really have come to believe that my dog has learned to play me, and was wondering if others have had this experience.

We have trained Baron to go into his crate when we give him the command "Bed' and he does it very well even under a heavy distraction. However, he also has learned to just go into his crate when he wants to, and we were giving him a couple of small treats to encourage this behavior when he does it. Now he will go in there and stand and wait for a treat. He also does the same thing with his rug where we taught him the "Place" command to go there and lay down. He will do it and just lay there and look at my wife or me.

Even more interesting, we tried teaching him to keep his nose out of the trash can in the kitchen and also in my computer room by telling him to "Leave It" when he would go over to either and giving him a treat when he did leave it.

I think that I have created a "monster" - he now will make a pass at either trash can and stop by himself and come over toward me and look at me expectantly.

The two things above with the crate and rug I can understand more as he is, I believe, offering some trained behavior without a command.

But the stuff with the trash can is not so clear as it requires my canine to almost do some reasoning - i.e. if i go over and stick my nose in the trash I will then get a treat if I leave it alone.

Is it possible for a dog to "learn" and connect the behaviors like this?

I don't have any other explanation!

Anybody else have their dogs "learn" in this manner - doing something that he will treated/rewarded for starting to do something but then correcting himself?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-26-2011, 02:22 AM
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I think it's pretty easy to train behaviors that you didn't know you were training.

I had the brilliant idea of offering a treat in exchange for anything my IG puppy stole (socks, kid's action figures, etc). It worked great. No chasing her around the house trying to get the stolen goods back.

One day, when she was an adult, she kept barking at me, obviously trying to get a treat out of me. I told her to knock it off, and go away. She disappeared into the bedroom, came out with one of my sandals, and did a pretty little sit right in front of me. NOW, I had to give her a treat. Clever clever girl!

So, yeah, I absolutely think he's figured out a way to get a treat out of you, lol!

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-26-2011, 02:34 AM
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It sounds like you have inadvertently created a behavior chain. This is very easy to do, BTW! Dog is good, nothing happens. Dog is "bad", stops doing the bad thing when told to, and gets rewarded for it - dog learns how to get a reward.

Rather than rewarding him right away you can have him do something else and reward him for that instead (acknowledge him coming away from the trash - "good boy!", but don't reward) - "come", "sit", and "watch", for example. Also, make "leave it" mean stay away for longer duration before getting a reward, gradually working up to that, of course.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-26-2011, 02:41 AM
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I read about family with a new baby.When the baby would wake for feedings, the dad got into the habit of giving the dog a treat so it would settle down. Once the baby started sleeping through the night, the dog still expected its midnight snack and ear rub. I think the kid was three or so when they finally figured out that they needed to stop giving the dog a treat.

When my aunt was on hospice, her nasty dog would paw at her morphine pump because we would coax it away with treats. My aunt wanted the dog by her and we had to respect her wishes, but I swear that dog had an evil streak. It ate Christmas lights.

Dogs can figure out how to exploit their owners. Most of the time, I find it funny but my Aunt's dog was a jerk. So much for the loyal dog by the sickbed story.....but teasing you with the trash can is pretty amusing. Baron sounds like a bright boy.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-26-2011, 02:56 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blehmannwa View Post
I read about family with a new baby.When the baby would wake for feedings, the dad got into the habit of giving the dog a treat so it would settle down. Once the baby started sleeping through the night, the dog still expected its midnight snack and ear rub. I think the kid was three or so when they finally figured out that they needed to stop giving the dog a treat.

When my aunt was on hospice, her nasty dog would paw at her morphine pump because we would coax it away with treats. My aunt wanted the dog by her and we had to respect her wishes, but I swear that dog had an evil streak. It ate Christmas lights.

Dogs can figure out how to exploit their owners. Most of the time, I find it funny but my Aunt's dog was a jerk. So much for the loyal dog by the sickbed story.....but teasing you with the trash can is pretty amusing. Baron sounds like a bright boy.
Thanks - could be too smart for his own good (or mine!).
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-26-2011, 07:38 AM
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i taught my dog "go to your crate" and "go to your bed".
he doesn't ask for a treat when he goes to either. he sits
in front of the refrigerator when he wants a treat. when it's time
to go bed and i say "it's sleepy time" he'll go and sit in front
of the refrigerator for his go to bed biscuit. when we get ice
he always sits in front of the refrigerator.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-26-2011, 10:06 AM
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smart doggie! dogs pick up stuff on their own way too fast!

my favorite with my dog is how she puts herself in timeout. we taught her when she was younger that when she misbehaved, she goes to the crate to be in timeout. now when she does something she knows she is not supposed to (like the other day she sniffed the steaks that were on a bench outside getting ready for the grill), she just puts herself in timeout. i did not say a word, she just saw me noticing her doing that. and the funny part is that she complained all the way to the crate (yipping and whining).

not sure if timeout is still a timeout if it is self-imposed
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-26-2011, 10:14 AM
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Yep... your dog is what some call "operant" ... offering behaviors in hopes of a reward. Very clever.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-26-2011, 10:21 AM
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The guy I bought my first border collie from, said to remember one thing "the dog can train you too"

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-26-2011, 10:29 AM
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Smart pups lol.. We started giving Rio a treat when our ferret woke up so we could take it out of its cage and cuddle or play without Rio nudging at it and whining for attention. She coped on fairly quickly that the ferret being out an about brings very good things and has now started pressing her noes up to the cage bars and snorting in the ferrets face to wake her up It never fails as the ferret starts pawing at the doors and gets really hyped up and starts knocking over its food and water and litter trays if its not taken out for an our or two *sigh*
Rio also likes to hoover up the ferret food that falls out of the bars when the cage gets wreaked so its a win win situation for her really.
You do have to think about what you may be encouraging but I like when my girl figures things out for herself, its one of the impressive qualities that GSD's have
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