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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-27-2013, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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Refusing to do basic commands

Normally Brody is pretty solid on his basic commands. I tell him to sit and he just pops into a sit. But, once in a while, he just flat out refuses to do it. He looks at me like I'm some sort of alien talking gibberish.

This morning was a case in point. As we get ready for work, he gets treated for letting me put his boots on, after putting his harness on, if we are putting his coat on then he gets a treat for being cooperative with that. I do, however, want him to sit nicely for the treat. Nope. Wasn't happening. He looked at me like I was some sort of crazy person and just wouldn't do it. So, no treat. It was a high value treat too, freeze dried beef liver which is one of his favourites.

He's in his crate now, at work, pouting. This dog remembers when he's "owed" a treat.

Tracy and Brody


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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-27-2013, 12:33 PM
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I've been taught that dogs do the best the can, at any particular time, under any particular circumstances. We don't always know WHY they don't comply, but there is likely a reason. …not to suggest that non-compliance desires a reward!

The other part of this is that if you ALWAYS give a reward for s specific behavior, or under specific circumstances, (like EVERY time you put his boots and coat on) it becomes an "expectation" rather than a reward. So then when you DON'T give it, it actually becomes a punishment. (negative punishment)

Finally, dogs attach meaning to the LAST thing they do before being given a reward. So if you make him sit after he gets his clothes on, before giving him the treat, you are actually rewarding the sit, not the fact that he let you put his clothes on. Not that that has ANYTHING to do with you choosing not to reward the non-sit, but I don't think you are usually rewarding what you think you are, anyway!

The MOST effective type of reinforcement is variable reinforcement, where you SOMETIMES give them something for doing a specific behavior, and they can never guess which time it might be. This also prevents the "huffy" reaction when they DON'T get the prize!


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Last edited by krandall; 11-27-2013 at 12:36 PM.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-28-2013, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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You are right that I always give him a treat (or most of the time) for being cooperative with putting on clothing (boots, coat, harness, etc.). I'm not sure if it makes a difference that his treat rewards are delayed. It goes something like this: 1. put on his boots 2. say, "ok, let's go get your treat" (although most of the time he runs to the treat table anyhow in anticipation).

Anyhow, all day yesterday he just flat out refused to do a sit whether a treat was involved or not. Today he's back to normal and sitting like a champ. Go figure.

Tracy and Brody


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-28-2013, 09:53 AM
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Is he an adolescent? I've read this is not uncommon behavior during this stage of development?
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-28-2013, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
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No he's passed adolescence, he'll be 3 in February. He's done that one time before quite a while ago where he just flat out refused to even acknowledge that he knows what "sit" means. He seriously looks at me like I'm some sort of nutjob. Sometimes I think he's just being a jerk! ha ha He wouldn't sit for either of the guys at work either.

Tracy and Brody


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Last edited by misstray; 11-28-2013 at 10:22 AM.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-28-2013, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misstray View Post
No he's passed adolescence, he'll be 3 in February. He's done that one time before quite a while ago where he just flat out refused to even acknowledge that he knows what "sit" means. He seriously looks at me like I'm some sort of nutjob. Sometimes I think he's just being a jerk! ha ha He wouldn't sit for either of the guys at work either.
Just wondering, since Sofie is a week shy of 11 months and actually does that at times.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-28-2013, 05:48 PM
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I'm with Karen on this . Cognitive research in dogs over the last several years suggests that dogs do have cognitive expectancy biases. This means that if you always give a treat after a certain behavior the dog is going to come to expect a certain treat after that behavior in the future. This might be - P if the targeted behavior was reduced but like you mentioned , operant conditioning is time sensitive. You could put it on intermittent R ,who knows if that has anything to do with it. Maybe he was just pissed he didn't get a good night's sleep lol . Save 100 per cent R for behaviors like recall , and one I like also is separation departures.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-30-2013, 07:39 PM
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I would up the ante, and give him a better morsel, like real chicken.
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