Hepl! Teaching "snarl" command

Discussion in 'Dog Tricks' started by muldypup, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. muldypup New Member

    Howdy all! I stumbled across this site while trying to get help finishing a trick, so hopefully you guys can give me some advise!

    I've been trying to teach a "snarl" command. Just teeth, no growl behind it. I was originally trying to get him to bark on command, but he very rarely barks, and when he does, never long enough to really proof the command. The most I've ever gotten him to do is raise his lip, which I finally decided to just forgo the barking and focus on getting a nice full-toothed "grin".

    I've got him showing them on command, but its very short. Observe:

    YouTube - Mulder- "Get Nasty" trick

    I try to only treat when he shows me gums. But how do I extend the command? Right now it looks like he's sneezing at me... how do I get him to hold the position into an actual snarl?

  2. cali Well-Known Member

    Do you use a clicker with him at all? If so I'd use it to shape this trick up a bit, I know in the video you're using "good" as a marker but I think the clicker would be a little more precise. I would also try to only cue the behavior once- you're repeating it several times and poisoning your cue a bit.
    How long has he known this cue for?
    Once he's giving it every single time you say "get nasty," then you can start extending it.
    So, instead of "get nasty," and GOOD immediately, you would wait just a second. If he barely lifts his lip and then stops, just wait him out. Don't repeat, just wait. He should offer it again- "Erm, HELLO I did it!" and then you can reward that. Then from there keep doing it til he shows you his teeth longer and longer. Does that make sense?
    Hayley Thompson likes this.
  3. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Good tips Cali.

    I personally wouldn't use the command at all until the desired total behavior was produced. Just my opinion.

    Not that it would make him hold it any longer, but I would change your tone of voice....your "Good boy" is fine, but the initial marker, "GOOD!" seems a little angry. No offense! Just an observation. He should know that "good" is good, not bad. Even though he may have the association with good=treat, changing your tone might help him have an even better association with the word. Almost sounded like you were yelling "GOOD!" at him, but could just be because you were closest to the camera.

    Like Cali mentioned, clickers might be more effective if you can click faster so it's at precisely the time that you want to reward him. Say "get nasty" once, and wait him out. This will make him more responsive and better learn what you want from him. Don't expect a MUCH longer "snarl" the first time--work your way up. If he holds it for a split second now, maybe wait for a full second. When he's holding it for a full second, then wait for maybe two seconds, and work your way up to however long you want him to hold it. JACKPOT when he holds it longer, even if it's not much longer.

    Think there are a couple of other people here who have taught this(with a different command), maybe they'll reply and be better help than me. :) Good luck! Can't wait to see the trick when you're all done with it. ^^
  4. laramie Experienced Member

    I agree with tx_cowgirl. Try to get the action before putting a command to it. It will help because you're not confusing your dog with so many things going on at once. Also, he will understand that the command means the action and not the various things he might try before the correct action.

    The clicker would do wonders for you on this trick. It clicks much faster than you could ever speak, always sounds the same, and can reward the instant you get the desired behavior.
  5. sara Moderator

    I taught my boy Oliver "Are you vicious?" He snarls, snaps and lunges... very cute, and somewhat intimidating for people who dont know him... or would be if he was standing up when doing the trick! LOL He has to be lying down when doing this trick, funny guy. I'm uploading a video to you tube at the moment, that trick is on the video... Oh wait, it's done... Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMmtFICKPg4
    Ollie was easy though... he LOVES to "talk"
    tigerlily46514 and running_dog like this.
  6. running_dog Honored Member

    I started to teach this but gave up when it became a groan! The problem with vocal dogs is getting them to realise which of their many sound bytes you want! Yeah I know, get a clicker... :) Maybe with a clicker I could capture his football play growl instead, now THAT is blood curdling.
  7. Anneke Honored Member

    Sorry, I can't help on this.
    But I really have to say... I fell in lve with Oliver:oops::D:love: He is soooo cute!
  8. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Have you tried blowing in the dog's face? Some dogs will snarl or growl if you do that. then you can click when he growls or snarls or whatever it is you wish to reward.

    well, once you've 'loaded' the clicker, THEN you can click at the moment your dog does what you wanted.
    'Loading a clicker' is super easy. Get some teeny tiny yummy treats,
    and click and give treat. Every click = treat, no exceptions.
    Well, some ppl use tug toys for the 'treat'.
    But every click = reward.

    It doesn't take dog too long to learn, CLICK = TREAT.

    Once your dog knows that, you can then begin to click at the very moment your dog DOES jsut what you wanted.

    and yeah, i resisted even trying a clicker, for a long long time,
    i think i said stuff like, "I don't want to be tied to some item for training, and i don't need one." cuz i was plodding along with "yes!"
    or sudden unexpected bits of meat,
    as my 'marker'....

    but WOW oh WOW, it IS so much easier to train dogs with a clicker, imo.....and once i ever tried a clicker, WHOOOOOT, did my dog ever speed up learning his tricks so so much! Suddenly, my dog seemed 5x as smart as before.
    That "click" was sooooooooooo much easier for my dog to understand,
    the millions
    of words
    and words
    he hears all day long, he knew
    was THE noise that meant, "yes, that's it"

    it's what they use to train those killer whales you see at SeaWorld, is clickers. It reeeeally helps.
    "a former clicker-resister" ha ha!
    You have reeeeally CUUUUUUUUUUUTE DOG, BTW!!
  9. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    and oh yeah, OLLIE IS SOOOOOO CUUUTE IN THAT VID, it is amazing all the tricks he has mastered!! Sara, you should be so so proud, especially getting a shy dog, up on a giant ball, WOW, he's so lucky to have you!!
  10. sara Moderator

    Funny, Ollie seems to have alot of fans! LOL It's easy to see why I fell in love with a pic and had him flown from Houston TX to Alberta, Canada Eh? LOL

    Ollie didn't take long to learn to put his paws up on a ball, but I used a big pink ball, about half the size of the one in the video. I forgot to bring my ball, so we had to use my friend's.
    Ollie's easy to train... I taught him to jump through a hoop in 3 minutes, during the filming session... He was a touch afraid of it at first, but he got it really quickly! Clicker training is the only way to go with complicated tricks!
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  11. laramie Experienced Member

    Tigerlily46514, the only problem I find with the blowing in the face to make Ollie show his teeth is that he might do this is a warning saying, "Get out of my face and stop doing that." If you click for this behavior, you may be teaching a sort of aggressive command. If you do this, make sure he's just making a funny face as a response and not giving a warning to prevent any future problems.
  12. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    You might be right,
    but, i personally believe and wish that ALL dogs DID feel the freedom to growl whenever they feel threatened.
    It'd spare a lot people from being BITTEN *if* the dog did feel free to give a warning growl.
    Far far far too many dogs are trained to never growl...darn shame, that....and very dangerous.

    I am not concerned with this for Ollie in particular, cuz i know enough about Sara to know, she CAN manage and handle difficult behaviours, etc, she knows what she is doing,
    not everyone does know how to manage all types of dogs. Lol, i'm still learning about my own gangsta!! And i've had him for years now!! ha ha!

    but, as for me, i do wish more dogs, even ALL dogs, felt free to display that all important warning growl....for times when they really DO mean the growl.
    but, sadly, a good chunk of dogs are 'corrected' for growling....then you are left with a dog who goes straight for a bite.
    then we hear stories like, "We just don't know when Fido is going to bite, just no warning! We can't figure it out! He just goes off, and we do not know when it will happen!!"<----which always makes me suspicious, that Fido was corrected for growling.....so Fido learned, not to be calm, not to put up with whatever, but Fido DID learn, "do NOT growl.." and Fido has only one(1) option left to protect himself then, doesn't he? = BITE.

    See, i'd rather Fido growled....everyone --even most kids---would know, "This dog is about to blow, back up, back up" if Fido hadn't been scolded for growling all along.

    But, maybe i'm confused, i thought the gal at the top of this thread, who started the thread, was TRYING TO teach her dog to snarl on command???????
  13. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    lol, actually, my first post, to the gal at the top, i wrote after watching her video, the first video at top of page........

    and hadn't even seen adorable Ollie's video. After i posted my idea of how she could possibley illicit a snarl, (my dog snarls if you blow in his face***, as do many dogs) THEN i saw Ollie's video. so my post about "how to make a dog snarl", was not to Ollie, at all! lol!

    ***well, if i were to blow in Buddy's face, first Buddy will try his glare, (lemme tell ya, Buddy has most expressive face, and he has totally mastered a most impressive glare) then he escalates to lifting up one side of his lip to display his teeth,
    ---------and THEN if i were to continue to blow in his face, then he would growl. I'm not entirely certain if he'd growl AT ME, nowadays, but, way back when, he did growl if i blew in his face.
    Buddy loathes anyone blowing in his face, but, he sure LOVES sticking his head out of the car window!! go figure!!
  14. laramie Experienced Member

    I'm working on teaching Sparrow to show her teeth, and I know she's not being aggressive because she does it if she hasn't seen me in a few hours. She offered this behavior when she was happy. She's extremely expressive and will talk to you and has no problem letting dogs know that she's unhappy with what they are doing with a growl. (My naive scolding of her growl a few years ago hasn't cause any problems with her letting everyone know that she's not okay with what's happening.) Fairley has never offered a growl except in play. When she's nervous, she shows her teeth and pulls away for a good bit before she will nip. I've never heard her growl in fear. I don't think that I've corrected her because I learned that correcting a growl was bad with Sparrow, she just doesn't warn people and dogs that way.

    I would never want to click and treat her for this show of teeth, even if it is a trick that I want to teach her. Rewarding her for this snarl would be teaching her to relate a command to a time where she was scared or angry. It could possibly cause problems for someone who didn't realize this.

    I know that showing my teeth to Sparrow (smiling at her) makes her smile back and she's not doing it because she feels threatened, so I feel comfortable that I'm not causing an aggressive reaction. I'm not implying that Sara can't handle this, but others also read this thread to learn how to teach their dogs a cute trick, and they may not realize that they are making their dog uncomfortable and receiving a warning show of teeth.

    Another way I've heard of people getting their dogs to show their teeth is to dab a little bit of peanut butter on the inside of their lip. When they raise their lips, click and treat. Make sure not to put too much peanut butter so they aren't only focused on getting it off and ignoring you. I'm not sure if this works, but I'm going to try with Fairley soon.
  15. running_dog Honored Member

    Capturing a play growl has no impact on the warning growl because in the dog's head they are completely different. If blowing on the dogs face elicits a PLAY growl this won't confuse the dog, if it is a real growl yes there could be a problem. I think it comes down to knowing your dog.
  16. laramie Experienced Member

    That's exactly what I was talking about. You want to capture the play growl and not the warning one, but you need to make sure that you are getting a play growl. One of my girls really doesn't like you blowing in her face, so I wouldn't reward her reaction if she were upset.
  17. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    I myself don't think teaching a dog to snarl, or growl, on cue, is what causes aggressive dogs. You can take a very friendly outgoing dog, and teach him to growl or snarl on cue,
    and he will then be, a very friendly, outgoing dog, who can snarl on cue.

    You can take an aggressive dog, teach him to snarl on cue, and he will then be an aggressive dog, who can snarl on cue.
    It might be helpful to an aggressive dog, to realize, "it IS okay for me to growl" (if a dog can transfer a cue'd growl to real life, not sure). ALL DOGS SHOULD BE FREE TO GROWL when they want to or need to. Growling is a good thing. the underlying attitude, is maybe inappropriate, but, the GROWL itself, is a good thing. Correcting a growl does not change underlying attitude....at all.

    And sorry, Laramie, i thought when you said on other threads, that you could "not stop yourself" from correcting growls, as you felt it was "instinct" to correct growls,
    and when you said your dog had bitten a child without growling first,
    based on those remarks i thought you did "instinctively"correct growls----------> my bad!!
    we live and learn!!! AND KUDOS TO YOU FOR TEACHING YOUR DOGS THINGS, THAT IS KEY FOR HAPPY BORDER COLLIES!!! WHOOOOOOOOT!! All dogs love to learn things, but, i think especially a border collie sooooo enjoys getting a chance to use his mind!! SO GOOD ON YOU FOR THAT!!!!
    running_dog likes this.
  18. sara Moderator

    I definately DO reward Ollie's warning growl, by taking him away from what he's scared of, then giving him a treat when he relaxes. Rewards are not just treats, and that's something alot of people get wrong. (I'm not saying any of you do, it's just a general point) Maybe I should start a thread about what dogs can consider rewards. The absence of fear can be a reward for a dog like my Oliver. He certainly has no qualms about letting me know he's scared, and because of the way I've been handling him, he relaxes much quicker, and trusts me alot more.

    Ollie is a very vocal dog, he likes to "talk" when he plays with me, so it was very easy to capture the behaviour with a clicker. Teaching him to give only 2 syllables (momma) was a bit tougher. but we've got it now.
    running_dog and tigerlily46514 like this.
  19. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    yes, that is just exactly what i do, too. I think by my respecting Buddy's growls, by removing him away from whatever he is freaked out about, does help Buddy increase his trust in ME to understand him, and to protect him. Could be wrong, but, it seems like it to me.
    running_dog likes this.
  20. sara Moderator

    I'd put Oliver's energy level, intelligence and drive against a Border Collie any day! LOL Maybe he's a new breed of BC... a Yellow Wirehaired Ratting Border Collie ! LOL

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