Dog Gets Annoyed When He Gets Tricks Wrong

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by OllieTeddy, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. OllieTeddy Member


    My cocker spaniel Ollie loves doing tricks, but he gets annoyed if he gets tricks wrong or if he can't get the treat because I'm luring him into a new trick. For example, his Wave (holding right paw in the air) can be a bit hit and miss. He tends to get so excited about doing tricks that he literally leaps up in the air to try and get the treat. I only give him the treat when he holds only his right paw in the air, but he does get frustrated waiting for it. I suppose its good that he's trying his hardest to do the trick right, but is it ok for a dog to be so concentrated on getting something right and is annoyed when he gets things wrong? I never use harsh punishments, but I use sounds like ah ah or no, to signal that he isn't doing what I want. He's quite a sensitive dog. By annoyed, i mean he whines to get the treat, he's never aggressive.

    I don't use a clicker, should this be something I should introduce? I use treats to reward.

    He also does this when I do agility with him in the garden. If he misses a jump, he'll bark and whine. He's also so excited to be doing agility he sort of forgets to concentrate on me. Again, all I say is no or ah ah when he misses a jump. At the moment, if he goes the wrong way round the course, I just ignore it to avoid upsetting him.

  2. Anneke Honored Member

    Frustration is a good thing, it keeps your dog thinking, but if he gets annoyed, I think you may have been at it a bit too long. I know it is hard to know when to stop, but it is important to stop at the right time.
    When I train a trick, of which I know my dog is having a hard time with, I want one good performance, give a jackpot and play.
    That is something you can try, if you see your dog getting frustrated, go do something else for a moment, like play or ask him to do something he does know well, so he will get reinforced.
    I know what it is like to have a barking mad dog:D Jinx does the same thing. On the agility course she will bark so loud, that she throws all the jumps over. She can't bark and jump:ROFLMAO: I then make her sit in front of me and just keep her there untill she calms down a little. Same with tricks. Too much excitement means no reward and no attention.
  3. running_dog Honored Member

    I probably wouldn't even use a verbal correction when trick/agility training. I used to but now if I do I know that I have the wrong attitude for training. Zac does a lot better with NO corrections and lots of praise. When Zac doesn't get something right fast enough (about 4 attempts) he sneezes, lies down, plays dead and goes to sleep!

    It could be that you are trying to move Ollie on too fast, I think I read that the ideal is for a dog to succeed 80% of the time during training, if there is a lower success rate in the repetitions you have to take a step back in training. It sounds like he really wants to please you so the problem is perhaps at least partly that he doesn't understand what you want - he thinks he is doing what you want and that you just aren't rewarding him. Maybe reward him for the slightest movement of his right paw as long as the left stays on the ground? As for the jumping, no corrections, just take him back and make it impossible for him to fail next time. Keep the training sessions really short and successful.
  4. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Yes, i just ignore all wrong moves, and reward the correct moves. I rarely ever ever use the word "no" or "ah ah" with Buddy, and NEVER use it while training ever, i just reward the correct moves.
    Lol, occasionally i will tell Buddy, "oh, so close, but that is not it." if i can't help myself, but, he doesn't know what i said, i said it for me.
    Yeah, for dogs NEW to tricks training, even a few minutes is plenty long. Their ability to pay att'n grows longer with practice.
    I also always end on a trick he DOES KNOW well, so he feels positive (not sure if that is necessary, but, that is what i do) and we ALWAYS follow all training sessions with a toy-play session, so he thinks lessons are fun, and so he can release any frustration he might have felt.
    Once i forgot the toy-play after a lesson, and Buddy came over and dropped a toy in my lap, like, "C'mon, you forgot THIS part..." haha
    running_dog likes this.
  5. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    by the way, about the clicker,
    i resisted using a clicker for a long time,
    i thought, "I don't want to get chained to a clicker" and "I am teaching Buddy things without a clicker" etc etc,
    but WOW, once i DID use the clicker, it all became sooooooo much easier.

    Buddy instantly knew which move was THE correct move when i clicked. He began to learn things much faster, with less frustration. If Buddy sees the clicker, he becomes quite happy and follows me closely tail wagging. Buddy LOVES his clicker.

    I *think* it is just easier for the dog to understand EXACTLY what you want done hearing a click rather than a voice. ALSO, BE AWARE, once the dog learns the cue, you DO fade out the click and slowly fade out the treats, too, AFTER the dog learns the trick. I still give treats occasionally, and sporadically, for tricks, but i do not click anymore for tricks he already knows.

    Here is my dog training hero Kikopup discussing clicker training VS using a clicker:
    (any info by Kikopup is great, imo)

    Here is a link with more on clicker training.
  6. OllieTeddy Member

    thanks I have got a clicker but never used it. May give it a try. :)
  7. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    I'm not entirely certain if it is necessary, but, before i ever used my clicker for the FIRST time, (and only the first time) i did what they call "loading" the clicker. What that means, is,
    you teach the dog that the click = treat.
    (there is a thread here on what IS a treat or reward to *your* dog, that you might find helpful, not eveyrone uses food, but many of us do use food.
    i use tiny bits of real meat or hotdogs, but, some people use tug-toys, and i know a person who uses a tennis ball as reward, cuz her dog is crazy about tennis balls) The treat you use can make a difference in the dog's motivation in some cases.

    EVERY click = treat, no exceptions.

    To load the clicker, you simply get your treats (i keep mine very tiny, to avoid a full or fat dog)
    and click, and give dog a treat. For no reason at all, you are just teaching him a click is GOOD!!
    Repeat a few times.
    Later in day, do this all again.
    Maybe on second day, repeat this again.

    THEN you can begin using a click to mark the behavior, or the dog's attempt at behavior, that you want.
    (for example, say you are trying to teach dog to lift his leg, you might initially click for small lift of leg, and reward that, and later on, wait til dog lifts leg further til he gets a click. The small lift was rewarded as "yes, you are headed in right direction" kind of thing, see? almost like the old chidlren game, "warmer/closer")

    You are just teaching your dog that a click = "YES! TREATS FOR YOU!"
    Lol, it will NOT take your dog to learn that, nope.

    also, do NOT leave clicker lying about where ppl will mess with it. That click becomes VERY meaningful to your dog very quickly, and if ppl are just chatting in your kitchen playing with the clicker, the dog gets very confused. so hide your clickers, ha ha!!

    This is similar to how those whales are trained at SeaWorld, is a form of a clicker. Reward the positive, ignore the mistakes.
    and DO keep lessons verrrrrrry short to start. KEEP US POSTED how it goes!! BEST OF LUCK, i can't wait to hear if your dog much prefers the clicker to discover what it IS he is supposed to do??
  8. fickla Experienced Member

    I could be way of base but the first thing I thought of when I read your post was impulse control. Since you say your dog jumps at the treat when he gets frustrated, how is he at making eye contact vs staring at food? Can you hold that treat out to the side of your body, wiggle it around a little, and will he look away from the treat to look at you (without a watch me command)?? Can you train with a bowl of food on the ground right next to you?

    If your dog struggles with those things then I would go back a step and teach him that staring at what he wants doesn't get him the treat. If your dog CAN do those things and harder versions effortlessly, then you do have more of a frustration problem. Then I would likely up the rate of reinforcement and move to free shaping vs luring. When luring a dog it's hard for them to think since they are so focused on the cookie. But you need a high rate of reinforcement when teaching something new, so go back to increasing in the tiniest steps so you're giving several treats per minute. Start with weight shifts rather than full paw waves.
  9. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Oooh, great point, Fickla, i think you are right, too.

    Here is a video on dogs who are overly focused on the treats, *might* be helpful to help for Ollie and her to do these excercises, to help develop some self control around treats..?
    Anneke likes this.
  10. Tâmara Active Member

    If you get (aproximatelly) more than tree times with no chance to reward when training a new trick just go back a step (rewarding something less dificullty, for example less seconds with the paw on the air) or go to another trick than go back or teach him the word "calm", I use this word and try again.
    tigerlily46514 likes this.

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