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General Dog Training Question


Guest joescho
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Guest joescho

There was a topic in this forum about someone who was having trouble with their new grey and not having it sleep in their room which strarted a discussion about training. Not wanting to hijack the thread, I've got a follow-up question:

 

I guess I have a general dog training question as in Fruitycake's posting got me thinking about training and instead of just saying NO , to offer an alternative. I understand "not on the couch", but "here, lay on your bed" or "on THIS chair". Well, what about those things that you don't want them to do at all with no alternative (eg. counter surfing). Would I want the dog in the kitchen wih me when I'm doing something? Certainly, he/she is my buddy but if the dog decides to counter surf or jump I'm not sure what I would do besides saying NO and getting the dog away from the situation. In that case I don't think the dog would have any idea that I do not want them doing that.

 

 

Work to train him to stay out of the way by blocking his access or putting a great bed where he can see you when you're in the kitchen but not get in the way or counter-surf. If he tries, you can tell him "no" but it won't tell him what you do want, and then you lead him to where you want him to be or encourage him to be elsewhere and reward the behavior you want. He's like a little baby, and just telling him no when he does something you don't want doesn't really tell him how to do stuff that you do. There are millions of things that we don't want our dogs to do, and if we only said "no" when training, they would never figure out that sitting/lying over here is a good thing for everyone, and behaving in this way is appreciated more than the thousands of other choices he might offer.

 

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Guest normaandburrell

I don't like the dog in the kitchen when I cook, so I direct him to a spot outside the kitchen where he can see me but is not underfoot. If he did go after something on the counter, I would say "off" and direct him out of the kitchen to the same spot. When we eat on the couch, which we do quite often, he has been taught to go to his bed and wait for a treat. Yes, we do spoil him by giving him table scraps, but only when we are done. When we have company and use the dining room table, he lies on a rug where he can watch and wait for the scraps.

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Guest Wasserbuffel

"Well, what about those things that you don't want them to do at all with no alternative (eg. counter surfing). Would I want the dog in the kitchen wih me when I'm doing something? Certainly, he/she is my buddy but if the dog decides to counter surf or jump I'm not sure what I would do besides saying NO and getting the dog away from the situation. In that case I don't think the dog would have any idea that I do not want them doing that."

 

 

There's nothing wrong with a correction (removal from the counter, verbal interruption of sniffing or licking at food), but it's just part of the training process. I like using the penny can trick to keep dogs from counter surfing. Tie a bait item (preferably something the dog can't eat quickly, I use a large stale bagel) to a soda can that has some pennies in it. Place the bait within the dog's reach and leave it. When the dog takes it the can will crash to the floor and it should startle them. Be sure you're near at hand to pick up the bait and re-set. Don't give the dog time to get over its fear and eat the bait. If the behavior (taking food) leads to unpleasant results (scary noise) and no reward (no food eaten), then the dog had little incentive to repeat the behavior. Another advantage is that human scolding isn't required. The dog won't learn to just steal food when you're not watching it -- this food watches itself! I've used it on my dog and several fosters, and have yet to have a dog pull it down more than twice. I even up the ante after the first time they take it by smearing wet cat food in the hole of the bagel, so it smells that much more enticing.

 

I trained my Jayne to not beg at first by teaching her to go to her pillow when we were eating. After that was sufficiently engrained, I relaxed the rules and would share a bite or several with her, until I said "mine". She's always OK to come over with her ears up and ask for a taste, but once we say "mine" she never gets another bite. Consistently applying this approach has lead to a dog who will come ask, have a few bites if we're willing, then completely give up and go lay down once we tell her no more is coming. She often anticipates when we're done sharing and wanders off to lay down. I think we give a non-verbal cue we're unaware of that she understands means we're about to stop sharing.

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My opinion will differ because I do not believe in scaring a dog to teach it something.

 

I had a counter surfer and when I caught her I just said down and as soon as 4 paws were on the floor, I praised her and it worked, she stopped counter surfing. I also have very clear countertops so that may have assisted in training.

 

She doesn't counter while I'm cooking, rather it was when my back was turned and there was cooked food on the counter, so my situation may be different than the OP's.

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There's ALWAYS an alternative behavior. Lying on her dog bed. Playing with a toy. Sitting immediately outside of the kitchen. Lying in her crate working on a chew toy. I could go on.

 

Of course, it requires you to train that alternative behavior first so that when the dog comes in the kitchen, you can redirect her.

 

There's also management, aka. prevention. You don't want her countersurfing - don't leave food on the counter unattended, block her access to the kitchen, etc.

 

And let's call a spade a spade. In order for a "correction" to effectively decrease or stop the undesired behavior, it has to be seen as a punisher to the dog. In other words, the dog has to find it aversive (painful or scary) enough for it to have an effect on the behavior. I for one don't want to train my dog that way, and I certainly don't want to be associated with those things (anyone now only need your dog to see you picking up the water bottle or tje can of coins in order to stop what they're doing? Congratulations, *you* are now the punisher).

 

OP, check out Pat Miller's book, The Power of Positive Training. I think you'll find it very helpful. It's available through Amazon, Dogwise, etc, but my local library also carries it.

Edited by NeylasMom

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Guest joescho

There's a lot of good suggestions here. I don't normally leave food on the counter, but what scares me the most is once in a while I'll get some cooking oil and deep fry some fries or home made chicken nuggets then leave the oil on my stove to cool. The dog really needs to stay away from that.

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There's a lot of good suggestions here. I don't normally leave food on the counter, but what scares me the most is once in a while I'll get some cooking oil and deep fry some fries or home made chicken nuggets then leave the oil on my stove to cool. The dog really needs to stay away from that.

In these instances, put up a baby gate so he doesn't have access.

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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There's a lot of good suggestions here. I don't normally leave food on the counter, but what scares me the most is once in a while I'll get some cooking oil and deep fry some fries or home made chicken nuggets then leave the oil on my stove to cool. The dog really needs to stay away from that.

 

This is true, but the best thing for this particular situation is completely blocking access if you cannot supervise. Baby gates aren't just for babies! They can be exceptionally helpful in a wide variety of situations: having an open door to move furniture or carry lots of groceries through, you're handling something heavy and/or dangerous in the kitchen, eg. large pots of boiling liquid or frying something and don't want to trip over a sneaky dog that comes through and gets behind you at the wrong time. It is a purely mechanical method of preventing the dog from being where it is dangerous for them or for you. A $45 babygate could save you hospital bills (broken wrist anyone?) or vet bills (trip over dog and dump something on them, or they manage to pull a chicken carcass from the counter or garbage can). It isn't in place of training, but it can be a great support for you and the dog to help with the training. We have a babygate to the kitchen, and my dogs both know the term "Out" to get them to move to the livingroom so I can lock them out. (Helpful when I am baking, or when the cat is eating his canned food and I don't want him bothered by dogs drooling over his shoulder, or when we come back from grocery shopping and don't want to have to move the dogs around our tiny kitchen when putting items away.)

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My quote function doesn't work, but regarding allowing cooking oil to cool - put it in your oven or microwave if you can't babygate your kitchen. My kitchen area opens to my living room, so is too wide to gate. We've learned to be creative :)


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Guest joescho

My quote function doesn't work, but regarding allowing cooking oil to cool - put it in your oven or microwave if you can't babygate your kitchen. My kitchen area opens to my living room, so is too wide to gate. We've learned to be creative :)

 

That's a great idea. Thanks for the idea.... :D

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