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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 06:25 AM Thread Starter
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Question Discouraging undesired behaviour



I browsed through the older topics and did not exactly fin the right match, so Im posting a new one and hoping for your advice!

Mocha is 3,5 months old and she's the sweetest little thing - she's a very fast learner, knows 5 different commands already, had no problems with potty training, goes to work with me and everyone loves her there too. BUT there's one thing that's not coming along so smoothly - it's discouragement from doing things we don't want her to do.

I realise that this is probably because she's still a puppy and is teething, but she's very persistent with chewing on several things - my UGGs, a few plants, toilet paper and 1 t-shirt of mine. We never shout at her or smack her, but use only praising for the good behaviour (e.g. letting go of things when we ask), we don't pull anything from her like we do when playing tug, yet our NOs seem to be working for just like 10 seconds. She lets go/stops doing something, once we turn around, she goes and does the same thing again. She even had a light poisoning from the ZZ plant she chewed on this week

I continue to believe positive reinforcement is key, but would like to hear your thoughts on how to best discourage her from doing things that she's not supposed to be doing?

thank you!

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 06:49 AM
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Well, there are several issues. First, it is MUCH easier to teach a dog to DO something than it is to teach them NOT to do something. Scond, it is unlikely that she has any real I dea what "No!" Means, and even less idea what she should do instead. Right now, the word is only working as an interruptor. Last, of course, is that she IS a very young puppy, and doing EXACTLY what puppies do... explore their world with their mouths.

The most important and effective way to deal with it for now is to manage it, by either confining her or keeping these things out of her readh. (ESPECIALLY anything that could harm her, like toxic house plants!!!) Then you can begin to teach her both "drop it" and "leave it" commands that will stand you in good stead later.

But for the time being, you need to keep her and anything that could harm her (or that she could harm!) physically separated!
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 07:31 AM
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Removing objects from reach is the only realistic option at this chewing stage...oh, toilet paper is going to be a high value target for a long time. Cassie still checks one of our bathrooms regularly to see if someone left a roll for her. There have been some "cute" pictures posted of Havanese paper trails.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 08:20 AM
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My puppy is 22 weeks I think? Maybe 23 lol I lost count if I go into the bathroom and don't pay enough attention the first thing he goes for is the tp lol he's addicted to it I just try to keep the door shut and watch him if he goes in with me to avoid a big tp mess
He also loves to "steal" anything he can reach off the coffee table just have to keep everything out of his reach


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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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thanks everyone for the comments! I did notice toilet paper is THE thing for most dogs

I wasn't aware of what a ZZ pant can do for a dog if eaten, so only removed it after the incident - instinctually I knew right away it was the plant once she started vomiting. Luckily, she didn't get much of it, so no real damage was done. After this happened to Mocha I sent out a list of dangerous house plants to all the dog owners I know, I wish someone would've warned me too.

I realize that at this stage our duty as owners is to make sure she doesn't reach anything thats either dangerous to her or the thing )) things are a bit complicated by the fact that we just moved into our new apartment and while waiting for the walk-in closet to be finished, we have a lot stuff in open hangers with shelves at the bottom of it - gold mine for chewy stuff )

What's really interesting though is that we seem to have taught her not to chew on several things like the kitchen towel, door mat or even human face (hands and feet are still under attack pretty often) - these were part of her favourites too, but the things I listed in the original post seem to be too precious to give up.
What commands do you use when training our dogs to stop doing something - do you words or maybe have come up with some special sound commands for example shhh if you want them to keep silent?

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 09:55 AM
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Stanley's trainer has taught the concept of "exchange for item of equal value," which helps me remember it! So, initially teaching him "drop it" by giving him a chewy or something he loves, holding a similar or same-type chewy in my other hand so he can see it. As soon as he drops the first I say "yes" (or you could click) and give him the alternate. Keep doing that for a couple of days. Then add the phrase "drop it" when he drops the first item. Do that for a good long while! THEN, I always make it a point to have a few treats on me so that if he grabs something he shouldn't in the yard (for example he LOVES to pull up huge long bermuda grass runners, and can do so with remarkable speed ) I say "drop it," and the moment he does I say "yes" and treat him. Now he will sometimes drop it on his own even without a treat...yayyyyy, success!
Around the house I just have an appropriate chewy or bone nearby at all times to give him when he starts to head for the wrong thing, and try to never leave him near anything inappropriate he could pick up.
I hope this helps. I'm not an expert by any means, but this has helped us, as Stanley is 4 1/2 months, so similar age.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiste View Post
What commands do you use when training our dogs to stop doing something - do you words or maybe have come up with some special sound commands for example shhh if you want them to keep silent?
It really make NO difference what specific words you use... You could make the command, "Orange Cupcake" if you wanted!!! The important thing is that you TEACH the "drop it" and "leave it" commands separately, not when she already has something she values highly in her mouth already.

There are LOTS of YouTube tutorials on teaching "Drop it" and "Leave it", but I'm a fan of Kikopup, so I'll give you those as a starting place:

https://youtu.be/tVivnOwiMoA

https://youtu.be/zNAOe1djDyc
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 03:20 AM
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Originally Posted by krandall View Post
It really make NO difference what specific words you use... You could make the command, "Orange Cupcake" if you wanted!!! The important thing is that you TEACH the "drop it" and "leave it" commands separately, not when she already has something she values highly in her mouth already.

There are LOTS of YouTube tutorials on teaching "Drop it" and "Leave it", but I'm a fan of Kikopup, so I'll give you those as a starting place:

https://youtu.be/tVivnOwiMoA

https://youtu.be/zNAOe1djDyc
Perry's been working on 'leave it' (which I think is one of the most important commands) with things he likes but sees as low value treats. I'll put a piece of carrot or apple in front of him and tell him to 'leave it' - rewarding him after a little while (once he decides to ignore it). I wish I could take some pictures though because his thought process is hysterical. First he starts with 'can I take it in my mouth', when he's told no, he thinks about it for a minute then it goes to 'can I touch it with my foot and pull it toward me'. when that's a no, then it's 'if I lie on my side and my leg happens to fall on it maybe I can pull it toward me', when that's a no, he finally gets it and decides he can wait . When the ignoring is sufficient (building up time right now because he's just started with it) then he gets a treat. It's useful, especially when we're out and there's something he wants to pick up, to tell him to leave it - or when we're in the kitchen and I drop something like an onion, to get him to leave it until I can pick it up.

Re: chewing on inappropriate things - Perry is a huge chewer, but we've been doing very well with making sure he has enough different toys around, and when he does get into something else (rarely so far) by 1) getting it out of his sight and (2) substituting one of his toys for it.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Melissa Brill View Post
Perry's been working on 'leave it' (which I think is one of the most important commands) with things he likes but sees as low value treats. I'll put a piece of carrot or apple in front of him and tell him to 'leave it' - rewarding him after a little while (once he decides to ignore it). I wish I could take some pictures though because his thought process is hysterical. First he starts with 'can I take it in my mouth', when he's told no, he thinks about it for a minute then it goes to 'can I touch it with my foot and pull it toward me'. when that's a no, then it's 'if I lie on my side and my leg happens to fall on it maybe I can pull it toward me', when that's a no, he finally gets it and decides he can wait . When the ignoring is sufficient (building up time right now because he's just started with it) then he gets a treat. It's useful, especially when we're out and there's something he wants to pick up, to tell him to leave it - or when we're in the kitchen and I drop something like an onion, to get him to leave it until I can pick it up.
It's good that you are teaching, "Leave it"! But try NOT to say "No". "No" has very little meaning, because dogs hear it SO often... and it is not teaching WHAT to do. Also, to me, touching the item in ANY way doesn't accomplish what I want. I want "Leave it" to ALSO keep my dog safe from the oven door, the camp fire or a skunk or porcupine... in your case, I would suspect that there are also possible encounters with venomous snakes. All those things are asdangerous to a paw as they are to a mouth.

However, I would ALSO not be working on "Leave it" using known, acceptable food items like apple and carrots, even if they are lower value food items. While inhibition of movement can be taught very effectively with food items, (we call it "Doggy Zen") and can be VERY. Effective in helping teach dogs the concept of waiting and delayed reward, that is NOT the same goal as "Leave it". (Which means, in my dog vocabulary, "This is something you may not have or touch. Period. Not now and not later. If you listen to me, you will get something BETTER from me."
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 11:27 AM
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Leave It

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Originally Posted by krandall View Post
It's good that you are teaching, "Leave it"! But try NOT to say "No". "No" has very little meaning, because dogs hear it SO often... and it is not teaching WHAT to do. Also, to me, touching the item in ANY way doesn't accomplish what I want. I want "Leave it" to ALSO keep my dog safe from the oven door, the camp fire or a skunk or porcupine... in your case, I would suspect that there are also possible encounters with venomous snakes. All those things are asdangerous to a paw as they are to a mouth.

However, I would ALSO not be working on "Leave it" using known, acceptable food items like apple and carrots, even if they are lower value food items. While inhibition of movement can be taught very effectively with food items, (we call it "Doggy Zen") and can be VERY. Effective in helping teach dogs the concept of waiting and delayed reward, that is NOT the same goal as "Leave it". (Which means, in my dog vocabulary, "This is something you may not have or touch. Period. Not now and not later. If you listen to me, you will get something BETTER from me."
Hi Karen

Thanks for the advise, but I've taught 'leave it' to several other dogs very successfully using this method. Perhaps we're using a different interpretation of the terms - which, since I'm not working with a dog someone else has trained, is fine in my opinion. Your version of 'leave it' is not the definition I'm teaching. Leave it, in my definition, is that you can't take it yourself (or you can't take it until I tell you you can) - if I choose to give it to you later (or allow you to take it later) that's my prerogative. For things I don't want him to ever touch I'm using 'yucky'. (maybe juvenile, but works for us).

I do understand what you mean about no, what do you use instead as a correction when they're not quite getting it? I understand that you say that they hear it a lot but don't know what it means, but in my experience they do 'get' that what they're doing isn't quite what you're asking for so you can work on what you do want.
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