Training Myths Article

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Postby fenella » December 19th, 2010, 10:43 am

I found a great article on the myths of dog training, and I happen to agree with all of them...discuss. :dance:
http://www.dogsincanada.com/fairy-tales-the-top-10-dog-behaviour-myths
Fairy tales: The top 10 dog behaviour myths
October 30, 2008, By Jean Donaldson, ARTICLE, BEHAVIOUR
There are a lot of myths about dog behaviour so I whittled it down to ones that were pervasive and that made myth criteria, which are:

a) there is no (zero) scientific evidence supporting the contention;

b) there is scientific evidence against the contention and/or scientific evidence supporting alternatives.

1) Dogs are naturally pack animals with a clear social order.
This one busts coming out of the gate as free-ranging dogs (pariahs, semi-feral populations, dingoes, etc.) don’t form packs. As someone who spent years solemnly repeating that dogs were pack animals, it was sobering to find out that dogs form loose, amorphous, transitory associations with other dogs.

2) If you let dogs exit doorways ahead of you, you’re letting them be dominant.
There is not only no evidence for this, there is no evidence that the behaviour of going through a doorway has any social significance whatsoever. In order to lend this idea any plausibility, it would need to be ruled out that rapid doorway exit is not simply a function of their motivation to get to whatever is on the other side combined with their higher ambulation speed.

3) In multi-dog households, “support the hierarchy” by giving presumed dominant animals patting, treats, etc., first, before giving the same attention to presumed subordinate animals.
There is no evidence that this has any impact on inter-dog relations, or any type of aggression. In fact, if one dog were roughing up another, the laws governing Pavlovian conditioning would dictate an opposite tack: Teach aggressive dogs that other dogs receiving scarce resources predicts that they are about to receive some. If so practised, the tough dog develops a happy emotional response to other dogs getting stuff – a helpful piece of training, indeed. No valuable conditioning effects are achieved by giving the presumed higher-ranking dog goodies first.

4) Dogs have an innate desire to please. This concept has never been operationally defined, let alone tested.
A vast preponderance of evidence, however, suggests that dogs, like all properly functioning animals, are motivated by food, water, sex, and like many animals, by play and access to bonded relationships, especially after an absence. They’re also, like all animals, motivated by fear and pain, and these are the inevitable tools of those who eschew the use of food, play, etc., however much they cloak their coercion and collar-tightening in desire to please rhetoric.

5) Rewards are bribes and thus compromise relationships.
Related to 4), the idea that behaviour should just, in the words of Susan Friedman, Ph.D., “flow like a fountain” without need of consequences, is opposed by more than 60 years of unequivocal evidence that behaviour is, again to quote Friedman, “a tool to produce consequences.” Another problem is that bribes are given before behaviour, and rewards are given after. And, a mountain of evidence from decades of research in pure and applied settings has demonstrated over and over that positive reinforcement – i.e., rewards – make relationships better, never worse.

6) If you pat your dog when he’s afraid, you’re rewarding the fear.
Fear is an emotional state – a reaction to the presence or anticipation of something highly aversive. It is not an attempt at manipulation. If terrorists enter a bank and order everybody down on the floor, the people will exhibit fearful behaviour. If I then give a bank customer on the floor a compliment, 20 bucks or chocolates, is this going to make them more afraid of terrorists next time? It’s stunningly narcissistic to imagine that a dog’s fearful behaviour is somehow directed at us (along with his enthusiastic door-dashing).

7) Punish dogs for growling or else they’ll become aggressive.
Ian Dunbar calls this “removing the ticker from the time bomb.” Dogs growl because something upsetting them is too close. If you punish them for informing us of this, they are still upset but now not letting us know, thus allowing scary things to get closer and possibly end up bitten. Much better to make the dog comfortable around what he’s growling at so he’s not motivated to make it go away.

8 ) Playing tug makes dogs aggressive.
There is no evidence that this is so. The only study ever done, by Borchelt and Goodloe, found no correlation between playing tug and the incidence of aggression directed at either family members or strangers. Tug is, in fact, a cooperative behaviour directed at simulated prey: the toy.

9) If you give dogs chew toys, they’ll learn to chew everything.
This is a Pandora’s box type of argument that, once again, has zero evidence to support it. Dogs are excellent discriminators and readily learn with minimal training to distinguish their toys from forbidden items. The argument is also logically flawed as chewing is a ‘hydraulic’ behaviour that waxes and wanes, depending on satiation/deprivation, as does drinking, eating and sex. Dogs without chew objects are like zoo animals in barren cages. Unless there is good compensation with other enrichment activities, there is a welfare issue here.

10) You can’t modify “genetic” behaviour.
All behaviour – and I mean all – is a product of a complex interplay between genes and the environment. And while some behaviours require less learning than others, or no learning at all, their modifiability varies as much as does the modifiability of behaviours that are primarily learned.

Canadian Jean Donaldson is the founder of the San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers. Her books include The Culture Clash, Dogs Are From Neptune and MINE! A Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs.
Illustration by Wes Tyrell

This article originally appeared in the January 2008 edition of Dogs in Canada. Subscribe now and never miss an article.
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Postby TheRedQueen » December 19th, 2010, 11:04 am

Great find, Jenn! I :heartbeat: Jean Donaldson...:D
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Postby ArtGypsy » December 19th, 2010, 11:10 am

:)
This was a nice 'gem' to read first thing in the morning.....thank you for posting this!!!

I may steal it and post it on facebook.....There's way too many of my facebook friends who adhere to the whole "pack theory'........
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Anger that things are the way they are.
Courage to make them the way they ought to be.”----Augustine
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Postby amalie79 » December 19th, 2010, 11:13 am

I agree with most of these, too, so my post won't be much debate... :)

But I do have a related link to add. Patricia McConnell has a great post about reinforcing fear (and how petting a dog when afraid DOESN'T). Simon was very storm phobic when he was younger, so I was always looking for ANYTHING to help him. I think it ended up being 2 things that helped him. 1)he's going deaf and can't hear the thunder, and 2) when we added to the crew, he got to see dogs that didn't care. First night we had River there was a huge storm and Simon was much less upset. At any rate, we were always told not to pet him and to ignore him. Social ostracization. Sounds like a great remedy. :rolleyes2: But we didn't know anything...
http://www.theotherendoftheleash.com/you-cant-reinforce-fear-dogs-and-thunderstorms

I particularly love 4 and 5; I always find it really unreasonable to ask for my satisfaction to be enough for my dog. Culture Clash was a great read regarding these things.

Also, I'm pretty convinced that tug games had the opposite result at our house; I think they were instrumental in helping Robin's initial toy guarding. Don't get me wrong-- I'm not recommending pulling things from a guarding dog's mouth as a remedy for guarding! BUT... Once Robin learned the game, she started bringing toys to me and putting them in my hand. She has such a strong association between my hand on whatever's in her mouth and funtimes that it's made taking things from her much, much easier. :| Who knows.
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Postby furever_pit » December 19th, 2010, 12:31 pm

That's a good link. I agree with most of the stuff listed.

Generally, I think genetics are a stronger force than the author likes to recognize, particularly with poor nerves. I have seen dogs that have had NO socialization and NO life experience for the first year or so of their life be uber-confident. I have also seen dogs that have been socialized and had positive associations built with whatever causes them to be fearful and I have seen these dogs fall apart. Masking issues only work to a certain extent, that crap will resurface under increasing pressure and stress.
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Postby mnp13 » December 20th, 2010, 12:05 am

I agree with a lot of it, but here are my thoughts on a few of them

3 - In our house, enforcement of "the pecking order" is absolutely necessary. When we have been lax, Connor acts like a total ass - including marking on our bed in the spot Ruby sleeps. When we are strict about the "order" he doesn't do it, but it seems that when we are not, he decides to "show" her that he's in charge by marking, and other obnoxious behaviors. He'll pick at her until she gets so pissed off she draws blood.

4 - ever try to train a cat? If they don't think it's worth their time, forget it... and even then it's not a sure thing. Some dogs absolutely do want to please. The boys work their asses off to make us happy, Riggs is an ass, but anyone who has watched us at training will attest to him really working to figure out what I want of him. Ruby, well, she works until she decides that she doesn't want to, and then steak won't get her to look at you.

6 - Ruby's noise phobias started when she was sick, right around her second birthday, and have never gone away. However, they have lessened somewhat over time. I can say that when we were still in the "coddle" phase of dealing with it her reactions seemed a lot more extreme. In my Brats class, dogs that turned to mom and dad every time they got worried about something tended to be the ones that acted out the worst. When mom and dad were told to not react or comfort the dogs, over time, most of them improved. I think a lot depends on the source of the issue, but just like picking up a child every time it wimpers, you condition that child to wimper all the time to get comfort and they never learn to deal with anything.

The rest are pretty good overall. I especially like 10, 8 and 7
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Postby TheRedQueen » December 20th, 2010, 12:25 am

mnp13 wrote:I agree with a lot of it, but here are my thoughts on a few of them

3 - In our house, enforcement of "the pecking order" is absolutely necessary. When we have been lax, Connor acts like a total ass - including marking on our bed in the spot Ruby sleeps. When we are strict about the "order" he doesn't do it, but it seems that when we are not, he decides to "show" her that he's in charge by marking, and other obnoxious behaviors. He'll pick at her until she gets so pissed off she draws blood.


I used to enforce a pecking order, but for the past few years, it's gone by the wayside...because they just don't give a shit. 8)

4 - ever try to train a cat? If they don't think it's worth their time, forget it... and even then it's not a sure thing. Some dogs absolutely do want to please. The boys work their asses off to make us happy, Riggs is an ass, but anyone who has watched us at training will attest to him really working to figure out what I want of him. Ruby, well, she works until she decides that she doesn't want to, and then steak won't get her to look at you.


Yup...I've trained my cats. Most of them have at least one trick up their sleeves...and Fry is very well clicker trained, and can do many things. He works for food, just like the dogs.

If Riggs wanted to please you...wouldn't he OUT when you told him to do so? :neener:

Nope, I don't believe that dogs want to please me...they're selfish little beings that are always working for their own good. If listening to me and working for me pays off MOST of the time, they're willing to work and listen. They're not stupid, after all. There is a long history of reinforcement from me, which is why they work for me. They also work for other people that have a clicker and treats...and I can tell you, they don't give a crap about *pleasing* these strangers/friends/clients. They work for them because it pays off, just like it does for mom.

6 - Ruby's noise phobias started when she was sick, right around her second birthday, and have never gone away. However, they have lessened somewhat over time. I can say that when we were still in the "coddle" phase of dealing with it her reactions seemed a lot more extreme. In my Brats class, dogs that turned to mom and dad every time they got worried about something tended to be the ones that acted out the worst. When mom and dad were told to not react or comfort the dogs, over time, most of them improved. I think a lot depends on the source of the issue, but just like picking up a child every time it wimpers, you condition that child to wimper all the time to get comfort and they never learn to deal with anything.

The rest are pretty good overall. I especially like 10, 8 and 7


They've done testing on dogs, and found that the levels in the brain (I think it was cortisol...someone correct me if I'm wrong) and such don't change when dogs are "coddled" during fearful situations. Scientifically, it just doesn't hold water.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » December 20th, 2010, 8:39 am

I think the coddling during fear thing was really a difference of emotions vs. behavior. You can't make emotions worse by coddling them (if I'm given $20 every time I see a spider and get the heebie-jeebies, my heebie-jeebies aren't going to get worse). However, in Michelle's situation, running to mom and dad for coddling is a behavior. Picking up a crying kid is reinforcing a behavior. I'm not explaining it real well, but I remember that's what the difference was - emotions vs. behavior.

Inara used to be fearful of thunderstorms, and I did the whole ignoring thing. She would either pace a bit or just curl up somewhere and look very uncomfortable. Finally I said eff it and allowed her to curl up next to me, where she wanted to be. The world was a better place and she doesn't fear thunderstorms anymore.
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Postby TheRedQueen » December 20th, 2010, 9:54 am

pitbullmamaliz wrote:I think the coddling during fear thing was really a difference of emotions vs. behavior. You can't make emotions worse by coddling them (if I'm given $20 every time I see a spider and get the heebie-jeebies, my heebie-jeebies aren't going to get worse). However, in Michelle's situation, running to mom and dad for coddling is a behavior. Picking up a crying kid is reinforcing a behavior. I'm not explaining it real well, but I remember that's what the difference was - emotions vs. behavior.

Inara used to be fearful of thunderstorms, and I did the whole ignoring thing. She would either pace a bit or just curl up somewhere and look very uncomfortable. Finally I said eff it and allowed her to curl up next to me, where she wanted to be. The world was a better place and she doesn't fear thunderstorms anymore.


I gotcha now... :D
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Postby amalie79 » December 20th, 2010, 10:29 am

Also, this:

Fear is aversive enough that no amount of petting or sweet talk is going to make your dog more likely to shiver and shake when she hears thunder rolling as the clouds billow and the rains begin....The fact is, it is almost impossible to “reinforce fear.” Fear is highly aversive, and if anything, it works in reverse. I suppose, if you did it often enough, you could create an association between thunder and petting that would make your dog afraid of petting, but it is extremely unlikely to go the other way around.


That's from Patricia McConnell's blog post...She uses the example that, if someone breaks in to your home and a friend comes to comfort you and give you tea, would that make you more afraid if it happened again? She also says in another post, regarding behavior vs emotion:
The bottom line is you could indeed cause problems by inadvertently reinforcing behavior in certain contexts. There are two things that are important to remember here: one is that fear is an emotion, and “reinforcement” refers to something that increases a behavior. You can’t, technically, reinforce an emotion, but you can increase the frequency of a particular behavior. In the case of thunder phobic dogs I don’t think there is ever a problem, because you are trying to decrease the emotion, which would indirectly decrease the problem behavior. Besides, if you sit beside your dog and stroke him while it thunders, and he stops pacing in circles but sits beside you, then if you are reinforcing anything it is him sitting beside you and not pacing.


She also says somewhere that there's further complications about your own emotional state and how your dog perceives it and reacts to it.

What she doesn't go into are the ramifications of the drugs we use for extreme phobias. For example, I was given Ace for Simon with little understanding of how it worked. It was finally explained to me that it could sedate the dog almost to the point of paralysis-- which is what it did to Simon-- but doesn't necessarily knock the dog out. So he can hear the storm and everything else, and be totally aware of everything and yet unable to do anything about it. Now THAT can increase fear during subsequent storms. But I suppose for a dog that throws itself through plate glass windows, you pick the lesser of two evils. Simon was physically and dangerously destructive during storms, but we found alternative management measures. And valium. :wink:
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Postby TheRedQueen » December 20th, 2010, 10:35 am

amalie79 wrote:What she doesn't go into are the ramifications of the drugs we use for extreme phobias. For example, I was given Ace for Simon with little understanding of how it worked. It was finally explained to me that it could sedate the dog almost to the point of paralysis-- which is what it did to Simon-- but doesn't necessarily knock the dog out. So he can hear the storm and everything else, and be totally aware of everything and yet unable to do anything about it. Now THAT can increase fear during subsequent storms. But I suppose for a dog that throws itself through plate glass windows, you pick the lesser of two evils. Simon was physically and dangerously destructive during storms, but we found alternative management measures. And valium. :wink:


Yeah, I didn't know this until a few years ago...and horrified me! :shock:

I steer clear of Ace anyway, since my Aussies can have a bad reaction to Ace if they have a certain mutant gene (the same one that causes issues with Ivermectin).

I had a friend that kept Ace on hand for boarding dogs (she boards in her home also). When I found out what Ace really does, I said..."oh wow...do you know what Ace really does to them?" She casually responded..."yes, I'm a vet tech, I know what it does". And I had to ask..."and you just give it to dogs that are barking too much or scared of thunder, while they're staying with you?" The answer was yes. I was aghast. :o I NEVER give meds to anyone's dog without prior approval...and it's always meds that they've brought with them. :(

Sorry...I'm off topic again. Just call me Joycie.
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Postby amalie79 » December 20th, 2010, 10:42 am

I was pretty horrified, too... And my vet felt terrible. He's a younger, junior vet in the clinic. Simon has aggression issues, so things like xanax weren't really an option, and Ace is what the senior vet prescribes. He gave us the lowest dose, but Simon reacted so badly to it-- he was fine for about 2 hours, no effects at all. And then he laid down for a nap and couldn't stand, 3rd eyelid wouldn't go down. He couldn't lift his head. No one warned me it could be this extreme. I read everything about a medication now before Simon gets it and if it's not life or death and if it's not antibiotics, I start with half the dose the vet gives me. And I watch him like a hawk with everything else.

I cannot IMAGINE giving it to someone else's dogs. :shock:
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Postby mnp13 » December 20th, 2010, 12:03 pm

Actually, some vets don't seem to know that that's how Ace works, mine seemed surprised when I told her. And the other problem is the associations of what happens when given the drug. And the other issue of break through behaviors which can manifest due to fear, and with an aggressive dog the results could be a disaster.

Liz - using your spider example, if you got $20 every time you freaked out about a spider, everything would start looking like a spider. If "freak out" equals reward, in my opinion the threshold for what makes you freak out will decrease.

She uses the example that, if someone breaks in to your home and a friend comes to comfort you and give you tea, would that make you more afraid if it happened again?

Well, yes, it can. Associations can trigger emotional, psycologic and physical reactions. Think about it, did you ever have a "song" with a partner, then have a bad breakup? That song can then trigger a bad reaction when you hear it later. I used to have near paralizing panic and anxiety when a certain song came on the radio, for literally a year.

Using her example, if that friend brought over tea that you had never had before I would be willing to bet that a month later when you go to her house and she serves you that tea you'd have a "reaction" to it. Be it a rise in your blood pressure, panic or other mental or physical thing.
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Postby amalie79 » December 20th, 2010, 12:14 pm

Using her example, if that friend brought over tea that you had never had before I would be willing to bet that a month later when you go to her house and she serves you that tea you'd have a "reaction" to it. Be it a rise in your blood pressure, panic or other mental or physical thing.


Yes, but that's a reaction to the tea, which she does say could happen. It's not necessarily a reaction to the scary thing that happened in the first place. She points out fear can work in reverse-- making your petting associative with fear, but not necessarily increase the fear to the original trigger.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » December 20th, 2010, 12:24 pm

mnp13 wrote:Liz - using your spider example, if you got $20 every time you freaked out about a spider, everything would start looking like a spider. If "freak out" equals reward, in my opinion the threshold for what makes you freak out will decrease.


And see, I'm pretty sure that if I got $20 every time I saw a spider, I would eventually learn to look forward to seeing the spider. Classical counter-conditioning. It's the same way I'm working with Inara's reactivity - at the beginning, when she saw dogs, no matter what she did I'd shovel food into her mouth. And yes, at the beginning it was literally shoving it into her mouth because she wouldn't stop freaking out to even breathe. As time went on, her reactions decreased because she learned that dogs=Very Good Things. Now a freak out is rare for her.
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Postby mnp13 » December 20th, 2010, 2:42 pm

Yes, you may start to look forward to seeing the spider, but if the $20 only came when you freaked out (like the coddling that some dogs get when they see something "big and scary") then you are teaching "good things come when you freak out" but when you are calm and deal with the world good things don't. That's why dogs in my class were not allowed to be cuddled. We marked calmness, eye contact and other behaviors. Freaking out did not get rewarded.

I see what you are getting at with inara, but when she was having a melt down, did you ever pet her and sooth her? I'm guessing no, and if you did, did the behavior go away? Probably not. Yes, I understand the counter conditioning of the treats, but I'm referring to the petting and cooing.

And back to the tea, is it a reaction to the tea? Yes and no. The tea is a "trigger" for the memory / emotion / response. The association goes with it. "Smell peppermint tea and have an anxiety attack" are you going to buy some at the store next time or avoid it?
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Postby amalie79 » December 20th, 2010, 3:28 pm

And back to the tea, is it a reaction to the tea? Yes and no. The tea is a "trigger" for the memory / emotion / response. The association goes with it. "Smell peppermint tea and have an anxiety attack" are you going to buy some at the store next time or avoid it?


But does that affect your fear/perception of the break-in/burglar/attack? Does it make your fear worse, or just make it so you can't have peppermint tea? Maybe it's ruined tea for you, but has it made you MORE afraid of the burglar?

And as for the freak out and spider-- the two go hand-in-hand. In other words, there is no spider WITHOUT a freak out, but you do probably have freak outs over things without a spider involved. I wonder if, eventually, knowing that after the "spider + freak out" you get $20, the knowledge of something good to come overrides the negative feeling. The spider is the original trigger. You probably freak out about other things and don't get $20-- the trigger that's specific to the $20 is the spider. Does that make sense?
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Postby furever_pit » December 20th, 2010, 5:33 pm

I don't agree with coddling fearful or anxious behaviors in dogs. I prefer to give the dog the chance to work it out on its own. My cocker spaniel that I had growing up was afraid of thunder storms and used to hide under the bed. We all just left him alone and went about our business. We started to notice that the dog started coming out from under the bed before the storms were over and eventually he just stopped hiding all together.

With the dogs I work with now I prefer to either a) completely ignore the dog and allow them the time and space to explore the scary object or situation on their own or b) to use their drive to help them come through a situation. The latter builds a positive association with a formerly negative stimulus without ever acknowledging the dog's fear and without any cuddling or other coddling. For example, if I had a dog that was afraid of thunderstorms I would start taking the dog outside every time it rained and would play fetch or tug or whatever that particular dog was really crazy about. Over time the sounds of the storm itself signals to the dog that something fun and positive is coming.
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Postby mnp13 » December 20th, 2010, 5:44 pm

amalie79 wrote:
And back to the tea, is it a reaction to the tea? Yes and no. The tea is a "trigger" for the memory / emotion / response. The association goes with it. "Smell peppermint tea and have an anxiety attack" are you going to buy some at the store next time or avoid it?


But does that affect your fear/perception of the break-in/burglar/attack? Does it make your fear worse, or just make it so you can't have peppermint tea? Maybe it's ruined tea for you, but has it made you MORE afraid of the burglar?

Good point. No, it doesn't make me more afraid of the burgular, but the tea is certainly ruined for me. The tea brings up the memory, because it is distinct.

This is kind of like dogs that are dog aggressive due to fear, or dog aggressive due to confidence - end result is still a dog aggressive dog, but when we are looking at roots of behavior so that the issue can be "fixed" the method of that "fix" is probably going to be different depending on the root. You'd work with a fear aggressive dog very differently than you'd work with Riggs, but you are still working on the end result - avoiding a potential dog fight.

And as for the freak out and spider-- the two go hand-in-hand. In other words, there is no spider WITHOUT a freak out, but you do probably have freak outs over things without a spider involved. I wonder if, eventually, knowing that after the "spider + freak out" you get $20, the knowledge of something good to come overrides the negative feeling. The spider is the original trigger. You probably freak out about other things and don't get $20-- the trigger that's specific to the $20 is the spider. Does that make sense?

Yup. Makes sense, and I could see how it could over ride eventually.

However, unless you don't talk to your dog (and some people don't) the coddling behavior is not all that special, but it still reinforces. The food, on the other hand, is rather distinct (unless you feed your dog constantly of course.)

In my class, the dogs are rewarded as follows: dog freak at another dog, and the owner gets the dog's attention, marks it and treats. We start with the owner being a "pez dispenser." Over time, the dog starts to realize that paying attention to mom brings rewards, barking doesn't. Then, there is that "click" where the dog looks at another dog, barks, then looks at mom "where is my treat? I barked and then looked at you." That's when, in my opinion, the dog has picked up on the "rules" - they are now working the system. That's when we institute a correction because (again, in my opinion) the dog knows what the expected as evidenced by it doing the "bad" behavior so that it can get the reward for the "good" behavior.

This is directly related to the dog that knows where heel is, and constantly wanders so that it will be rewarded for stepping back where it belongs. If the reward is always given as soon as the dog is back in place, the dog does not learn to walk in heel, it just learns to leave and come back and leave and come back because the come back is rewarded, not the staying in heel.
Michelle

Inside me is a thin woman trying to get out. I usually shut the bitch up with a martini.
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mnp13
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Postby fenella » December 20th, 2010, 5:52 pm

pitbullmamaliz wrote:I think the coddling during fear thing was really a difference of emotions vs. behavior. You can't make emotions worse by coddling them (if I'm given $20 every time I see a spider and get the heebie-jeebies, my heebie-jeebies aren't going to get worse). However, in Michelle's situation, running to mom and dad for coddling is a behavior.

I think Liz is right here. My question with the article was, "Isn't the difference that humans can rationalize that the candy/money/whatever isn't associated with the terrorist/spider/whatever?" Murphy is quick to make associations...once he got a collar stuck in his crate while eating (I know). For a while, he was afraid to eat. I had to switch him to a different bowl to get him to eat again (even when feeding in a different room). He paired the bowl with the scary event, even though the bowl didn't cause the collar to get stuck.

That said, the veterinary behaviorist said that I didn't have to worry about reassuring Murphy when he was afraid, that it can help sometimes, since he trusts me and looks to me for reassurance. I do encourage him, even when he is afraid, but in a confident tone. This is one area where I am still :|

I like to think that I'm not making him worse, though, so that's what I'm going with until I get evidence to the contrary. :wink:
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fenella
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