I knew the day was coming, for a long time now, she (my lady - a dog person) has been softening me up, getting me used to the notion.
And now here she is. Maddy (for Madeleine) 35lb Shepherd mix.
Probably a little over a year old (she’s a stray from the humane society).
Been with us about a week and a nice sweet dog, well behaved,
except when she’s teasing the monster 9month Newfie “pup” next door,
or if she’s spotted a rabbit, but she comes home.
Fortunately, we’re in the boonies enough so she’s got plenty of acres to run and she does come back home.
Even comes when I call her, well if I’m persistent and she’s done doing her thing.
Paula suspects she suffered neglect, but never abuse, as she’s shy but not scared or squirrely.
Now the challenge of keeping her sweet while learning to live within some rules.
Turns out as she’s gotten comfortable a bit of the barker is coming out, this worries me. Not too bad yet, but I fear for the future.
Also at first she didn’t know what a chew toy was, totally uninterested, except when it came to her leash and harness collar.
Now it seems she’s getting the hang of it, unfortunately she’s also discovered that shoes make pretty good chew toys too.
Caught her in the act a couple times now. No real damage inflicted, shoes removed to safety… but I fear for the future.
So then, how does one train a dog. I’ve got a bit of the harsh in me when push comes to shove so I’ve got a little self training to do.
Fortunately I am 60 and have a bit of life lessons to keep in my mind and me in line.
She likes me, I like her, Paula laughs that she’s becoming “my” dog and she certainly does shadow me a lot, and she trusts me.
I also know that that trust is a ‘precious vessel’ once busted it’s gone, and I never want to cross that bridge with her.
So then, anyone have any suggestions on how to evolve a good young dog into a good old dog?
How to train, not barking, chew only the toys, coming to you when called and other such etiquette?
I’ve actually thought about a little ‘obedience school’ for both of us, but town is far a way and I’ve already got too much going on.
Can anyone suggest any internet or YouTube sources that are relatively reliable ?
I knew the day was coming, for a long time now, she (my lady - a dog person) has been softening me up, getting me used to the notion.
Training is mostly a matter of setting appropriate goals and expectations, timing reinforcement correctly, and being consistent.
In terms of expectations, dogs are dogs, not humans, and some of what they do can’t necessarily be trained out without damaging them because it’s part of their core species-typical behavior. Never barking, showing excessive enthusiasm, chewing on anything we’d rather they not chew on, etc., is an unrealistic expectation doomed to fail. I’m not suggesting you have such expectations, just that I see them often when clients come to me with behavior problems. If you aim for a reasonable level of compliance with our weird human demands, you should be all right.
The key to shaping behavior is timely reinforcement of desired behavior. The hierarchy of value for reinforce starts at food (or play for some dogs) then drops to praise and attention, so find the reinforcers that motivate your dog and use them. The notion they should work “because they love you” and it’s wrong to use food as a motivator is nonsense. Timing of reinforcers is key. Dogs, especially puppies, have a short attention span. If they do something you want and you feed or praise them 5 minutes later, it’s a waste of time. Most of the training failures I see involve improperly timed reinforcement. With specific commands (sit, etc.), the reward should come immediately with compliance. With more general behavior shaping (encouraging a dog to sit quietly with you instead of tugging at your shoelaces all the time), remember to refinorce the behavior you want. Parenting books sometimes call this “catch them being good.” Often we forget to reward unobstrusive behavior that we actually want to encourage. If the shoelace tugging works to get your attention and lying at your feet doesn’t, which do you think your dog will choose?
As for negative reinforcement (aka punishment), it’s a lot less effective. A sharp “No” or “Uh-uh” is useful as an interrupter, but it doesn’t actually teach anything. When interrupting behavior you don’t want (jumping up), you have to instantly follow this by rewarding behavior you do want (e.g. sitting) or the behavior doesn’t change. Old-fashioned punishment which hurts or frightens has long been recognized as the wrong approach, both ethically and because it isn’t very effective at teaching anything other than that you are scary and unpredictable, which isn’t how you want your dog to view you.
Whatever specific behaviors you want, you need to be consistent about what you ask for and how you ask for it, as does everyone else in the household. You also need to regularly reinforce behavior as an ongoing part of your interactions with your dog. Some things will become habits, but most behavior can’t simply be taught and then forgotten. The behavior you never ask for or reward isn’t likely to happen when you want it only on rare occasions.
Avoidance of opportunities for undesirable behavior is also important. If shoe chewing is a problem, for example, keeping the shoes out of sight while getting the dog accustomed to more appropriate toys is important. It is likely that after habits are ingrained and the dog is grown, she won’t be interested in shoes anymore and you can relax the rules a bit, but at first banishing them from sight is a smart move.
I do think a training class is a must for most people since, as I said, the timing of reinforcement is the biggest cause of trouble I see. Unfortunately, there are no real credentials, and anybody who wants to can print a business card or write a book and sell dog training advice. The obvious is example is Cesar Milan, who is rich and famous and a complete idiot in the view of almost everyone with any actual training or credentials in animal behavior. So when you look for resources, be wary of rigid rules, exaggerated claims, aggressive techniques, and things that just don’t seem to make sense. Most mainstream training classes are fine (local humane society, Zoom Room and other chains, etc.), but there’s still a lot of stupid out there.
I do think a training class is a must for most people since, as I said, the timing of reinforcement is the biggest cause of trouble I see.This is the key. I've been through training classes with a half dozen dogs, and each trainer stressed that training people is more important to them than training dogs. As Mac said, everyone in the household has to be consistent, otherwise the dogs gets confused. The biggest hurdle to training dogs is learning to think like a dog. They aren't small people, they are domesticated wolves. Dogs evolved from the wolves that were people friendly, and they want to be told what to do. Left to their own they will make their own rules so it is important that you and everyone in the family set the rules and enforce them consistently. By enforcing I mean rewarding desired behavior with treats, love and enthusiasm.
Unfortunately, there are no real credentials, and anybody who wants to can print a business card or write a book and sell dog training advice. The obvious is example is Cesar Milan, who is rich and famous and a complete idiot in the view of almost everyone with any actual training or credentials in animal behavior. So when you look for resources, be wary of rigid rules, exaggerated claims, aggressive techniques, and things that just don't seem to make sense. Most mainstream training classes are fine (local humane society, Zoom Room and other chains, etc.), but there's still a lot of stupid out there. have fun!I recommend watching a few minutes of a Cesar Milan show so you'll know what not to do around dogs. Edit: My wife got home and reminded me that dogs are excellent at picking up on patterns, hence the need for consistency.
Good advice thanks. It’s working out well, she does react to scolding and disapproval, it’s been fun watching Paula talk with her and spell out expectations. On the one hand it could be written off as crazy since dog’s can’t comprehend what she’s being told. But danged if she doesn’t seem to get the drift.
I’m noticing she does want to please us and adjusts her dog’edness to please us, until she spots a rabbit, or Mishka. It’s actually working out pretty good, like you’ve both pointed out the person needs the real training such as accepting that she does always seem to come right back when done with her current distractions. Even the dynamic between the beast next door and our sweet little ‘innocent’ girl has been amazingly interesting and pleasing to see develop. They are definitely becoming pals, with the ups and downs that entails.
We’ve left her alone in the cabin a couple times, today for a few hours and come home with all’s well - no trauma to dog or house. Things are looking splendid. :coolsmile:
Good to hear she doesn’t have separation anxiety. My wife and I have three dogs. We would have four but the city won’t allow that many.
All dogs want to do is server their master. The one that needs training is the master. Everything after that is simple.
All dogs want to do is server their master. The one that needs training is the master. Everything after that is simple.That's a hoot. Besides, personal inclination, I have no interest in being anyone or anything's master. This dog may want to please me, but it's certainly not interested in serving me. She's too busy being a dog, digging on her new found freedom and the great outdoors, along with the friendly home base for some companionship, a safe place to sleep and good food on a regular basis. Guess in the case of an actual full-time working dog, it's possible to instill that sort of sense of duty and partnership (oops there I go with my hippy-dippy attitude) - never could wrap my head around the master, slave thing. in any event, I doubt dogs have any innate sense of duty or obligation towards man or woman. Though I believe the relationship can sometimes develop into a partnership of sorts. I myself never wanted to sacrifice the time or commit to the other obligations, but I know how much it means to Paula and that changes everything. Fortunately, I usually have had a good rapport with most dogs and now that the Fates have placed this one in my care I'll do my best.
Training classes work well for dogs (and owners) also because they get to watch other dogs interact with their owners and with other dogs. Social skills and stuff. I suspect that getting dogs more exposure to others also helps them deal with separation anxiety, such as when we go to work.
To train a dog to enjoy a chew toy, have your dog watch another dog have fun with it.
If you have the right kind of chew-toy, some dogs also really enjoy a good tug-of-war.
Also: IMHO it’s a good idea to give your dog a “sanctuary”: someplace they can go where they know they won’t be disturbed, and someplace they can retreat to if they know they did something wrong. My parents typically use a decent-sized dog travelling crate, depending on the size of the dog. Once you establish one, it’s important to not disturb them while they’re in it outside of dire circumstances.
Also: IMHO it's a good idea to give your dog a "sanctuary": someplace they can go where they know they won't be disturbed, and someplace they can retreat to if they know they did something wrong. My parents typically use a decent-sized dog travelling crate, depending on the size of the dog. Once you establish one, it's important to not disturb them while they're in it outside of dire circumstances.That's interesting, never thought of it from that angle. Although in a two room cabin, (well okay, also tiny bathroom and tiny kitchen <28sq.ft. floor area, that she's naturally stayed out of while we fix meals - great omen that one was.) not that much room for a sanctuary around here. Then again (interestingly) I must admit, she has carved out a little space behind the front door and also under the bed in a small area not occupied by boxes, when she wants to be alone. Also under the front porch is a good sanctuary and our pal Mishka can't fit down there. Thanks for bringing it up, worth pondering for sure.
Your dog sleeps under the porch? You might be a redneck.
Your dog sleeps under the porch? You might be a redneck. ;-)I'm proud to say I actually sport one, once in a while. A red neck that is :coolsmile:
Tips for Training Your Dog]
From The Onion, so you know they work.
To train a dog to enjoy a chew toy, have your dog watch another dog have fun with it. If you have the right kind of chew-toy, some dogs also really enjoy a good tug-of-war. Also: IMHO it's a good idea to give your dog a "sanctuary": someplace they can go where they know they won't be disturbed, and someplace they can retreat to if they know they did something wrong. My parents typically use a decent-sized dog travelling crate, depending on the size of the dog. Once you establish one, it's important to not disturb them while they're in it outside of dire circumstances.I have three dogs. An elderly developmentally delayed dog (he wasn't too swift when I adopted him, but his seizures really fried some of his brain cells, thankfully they are now medically under control), a middle aged dog we rescued to help with the first dog (he was ball obsessed and didn't know how to find the back door when he was let out. He would stay in the back yard barking neurotically until we went out and caught him) which worked perfectly. He showed the older dog how to find the door, and broke his singular ball obsession. We rescued the third dog a few months ago, to play with the middle aged dog, because the older dog is too old to play with him. The first was not smart enough to train except for basics (sit, stay, out etc), the middle aged dog belongs to my son, and although he is pretty well behaved (we don't let dogs on furniture or certain rooms of the house), he is overly protective of the house.. The third rescue's training is coming along very well. He has nailed sit, down, heel, leave it and drop it. Yes, I recommend they all have their own separate 'time out' area where they can go to be left alone, or if they have done something they shouldn't have. My grandkids know to leave them alone when they go to their 'spots', and they all love the kids (although they are always supervised around the children). I am totally a dog person. :)
DarronS, The biggest hurdle to training dogs is learning to think like a dog. They aren’t small people, they are domesticated wolves. Dogs evolved from the wolves that were people friendly, and they want to be told what to do. Left to their own they will make their own rules so it is important that you and everyone in the family set the rules and enforce them consistently. By enforcing I mean rewarding desired behavior with treats, love and enthusiasm.IMO, thisis excellent advice and the greatest challenge for human "pack-leaders". Training should always start with simple but important fundamental behavior patterns which are common to both species. Patient repetition without signs of frustration is important as dogs are keenly aware of body language and voice patterns and inflections. It also helps to start with "fun" things such as fetching and bringing things back to continue the game. Most humans have lost the recognition of subtle body language, so one of themost iportant things to learn is to recognize the dog's body language and show the dog that you understand his emotional needs. This reinforces the bond and teaches the dogto express its needs to you. Always use the exact same command for a specific task. The dog will learn the meaning of those commands very quickly as it learns that an immediate response, will always bring a reward. As with all organisms, dogs will always make decisions "in te direction of greatest satisfaction". This link may be helpful; http://dogcare.dailypuppy.com/dogs-communicate-humans-2413.html This funny comparison between a dog's brain and a cat's brain is precious and informative. "The Dog’s Diary" 8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing! 9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing! 9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing! 10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing! 12:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing! 1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing! 3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing! 5:00 pm - Dinner! My favorite thing! 7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing! 8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing! 11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing! "The Cat’s Diary" Day 983 of My Captivity My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates my capabilities. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a “good little hunter" I am. Bastards! There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of “allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage. Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow, but at the top of the stairs. I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released, and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird must be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now ..."
Oh my Grodd. Cats are so much less work. Thank Grodd I’m a cat person. Because I am sooo lazy. :lol:
Oh my Grodd. Cats are so much less work. Thank Grodd I'm a cat person. Because I am sooo lazy. :lol:I'm very allergic to cats. Dogs want to please you, cats do as they please.
But cats are self sufficient and not all needy and clingy. Well, some are. Mine is. Plus, cats are entertaining and weird. Mine likes to get up on top of the closet door when it’s open.
But cats are self sufficient and not all needy and clingy. Well, some are. Mine is. Plus, cats are entertaining and weird. Mine likes to get up on top of the closet door when it's open.funny that. First and only other "pet" I've "bonded" with was the cat of a house-mate about ten years ago. He'd come to my room and hang out while I was pounding the computer keyboard. Lived in one of those double-wide mod homes, with a three foot fake wall to create the sense of an entryway by the main door. I wrapped a carpet strip up the end of that thing and he loved climbing it. Even made a habit of jumping up it to say good-bye or welcome home at eye level when I/we would leave or come home. Very cool. Then the roomie busted his leg snowboarding and next thing you know Blacky's (don't blame me I didn't name him) playing catch with wadded up paper balls. No that's not right, he was playing smack the ball, and man could that cat jump, and bounce off furniture and a certain carpet to heaven in the most gorgeous lunges.
Oh my Grodd. Cats are so much less work. Thank Grodd I'm a cat person. Because I am sooo lazy. :lol:Dogs want to please you, cats do as they please.try telling that to our Maddy, the little imp.
As a behavior analyst oriented person, I appreciate and agree with McKenzie’s behavioral suggestions. If you really want to get into it, there is a book, “Don’t Shoot the Dog” that might be helpful.
I would add that it is important to take in to account the behavioral tendencies that have been bred into your particular dog, in order to best provide for his/her psychological needs and to better understand what is reinforcing and intolerable for him/her.
One other thing, is that all dogs share a common trait. That is they have uniquely evolved alongside of humans, throughout their ancestral history. They are thus, extraordinarily attuned to human emotions as expressed by us (often out of our own awareness) through vocal tones and body language. If you and your dog are having problems, despite your positive and rigorous behavioral training, you might consider how you are coming across to your dog on your own subconscious level.
Or if you’re not into all the technical stuff, you could just try loving, spending time with, and nurturing your dog, and you’ll probably be just fine.