Join Date: Sep 2007
Dogs Name: Ori AKA Harold DogDog (Hairy Dog), RIP Caesar, Katana, Kip, Capri
Titles: DogDog Mouthe Extraordinaire; Kip Mr. Behavior; Capri Mis-Behavior
Dogs Age: DogDog 3 yrs?; RIP Kip 11 yrs; Capri 7 yrs; Katana 9 yrs; Caesar 13 yrs
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MDRK9--about redirection--how do YOU work with a young puppy who is nipping too much--do you go straight to the isolation stage? Many nipping puppies see any kind of attention (negative or positive) as a reward; a nipping puppy wants attention and play. Redirection to me is simply showing him the proper way to play and to get attention--if he doesn’t quit the obnoxious nipping, isolation is the next step. But he needs to know that there is some way to communicate and play with you...just that biting is not the way that gets your attention.
Frankly, I’ve never had a problem with a bitey puppy. I give him the attention he wants and make the game fun by showing him a toy and then playing with him and the toy--if he messes up and keeps nipping--he goes in another room. Pretty soon the pup will start bringing me the toy to get me to play with him (or plays an obvious “come and get me" keep away with it, which is still a puppy form of play that you can modify with training when you want to).
On the other hand, one of the more common misuse of rewards that I see is when a person releases a dog from a stay and THEN rewards him. Then you really are rewarding the wrong behavior. You reward the dog WHILE he is staying--then release him without making a big deal of it.
Another related mistake I often see people make is to put their dog in a stay, put some food (or whatever you are using as a reward) on the floor and then after a length of time, release the dog and let him grab the food. I ALWAYS pick up the food, hand it to the dog with a “good boy” and then release him. That way, the dog learns that the ONLY way he is going to get that reward is through me and my actions. I can literally throw the dog’s treat at him and the dog maintains eye contact with me, waiting for his reward--from me. Sometimes I reward with food from my hand, and then pick up what is on the floor, put it in my pocket and then release the dog. The point is, he gets his reward, but only through my action.
About treat training--one of the parts of that kind of training (or any reward training) is that once the dog has learned the basic command, you begin to phase out the reward--you reward at irregular intervals--frequently at first and then less often. And you also start to string behaviors together before the dog is rewarded, so the dog waits longer between rewards (which can be praise, a chance to tug on a toy, a ball, and yes, food), and never knows when he will get a reward. It will teach him patience and better attention toward you, waiting for his praise. But you never take the reward away completely--everyone needs some reward to continue to try doing what someone else wants them to do.
It’s rather like the reason people gamble. “Next time I’m going to win the jackpot” keeps people going. If you never win, you will quit pretty quickly. If you get used to winning all the time, the first time you lose (or if you start losing often) you are more likely to quit. It’s that irregular unpredictable win, the reward, that gets people hooked.
Last edited by melbrod; 11-20-2016 at 10:39 AM.