Teaching A Dog To Be Reactive And Non Reactive At The Same Time.

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by freedomdreams, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. freedomdreams Well-Known Member

    I had a question and I think this would be a good thread for everyone. I'm not asking this in particular reference for advice on a dog of mine, but it was something that I've been wondering.

    I think everyone may struggle with this. You want a dog to be exuberant at certain times and be reactive lets say during a game of fetch or when teaching specific tricks
    You want a dog to I guess I can use the term non reactive when someone is coming to the house so they don't bark or jump up.

    Now the challenge comes in lets say when you taught these dogs not to jump up and be calm, but what do you do when you want to teach them a trick which involved jumping up and being excited.

    How do you teach your dogs certain behaviors and then recall that the behavior is okay to do during a certain trick ?

    I'm interested in seeing the responses :)

    Please just include what you do, personal experience, why it worked, if you're still working on it, progress, even questions.
    Tâmara Vaz and Linda A like this.

  2. Linda A Experienced Member

    I have never found this to be a problem. Seems to me, almost every thing we teach requires either calmness or excitement. You can elicit either in the way to act and/or talk to your dogs.
  3. jackienmutts Honored Member

    I don't think basic attitude or demeanor is something you can "teach" a dog. Some dogs are genetically more "reactive", exuberant, calm, etc, than others. Some dogs, like some people, are very exuberant, very excitable, very "reactive" to all kinds of situations (I'm not talking forms of aggression here, I'm talking vocal, active, 'reactive' to noises, etc). Some dogs are just more easy-going, quiet, laid-back. During training, yes, we can teach them that we would like calm once someone enters our home (barking ceases once we open the front door), or we want them to bark when we ask for "speak", or when doing some trick outside it's perfectly ok for them to run and bark, etc. But I don't think we can "teach" a dog to be exuberant during fetch; I think as Linda says above, a lot of it comes from the energy we share, and how we act around our dogs. I think if we share a good strong bond with our dogs, they often follow our lead - if we're excited, they tend to get excited, and if we're quiet and calm, they tend to be the same.
  4. freedomdreams Well-Known Member

    That makes sense, I agree. But I have met some dogs as well that once you teach them a behaviour such as not jumping it's harder to undo when it comes to learning a trick, or they learn it with ease but then they start jumping on people when you arent asking a trick. I'm not sure if that's necessarily clear but I hope so lol.
    I do agree that they 'feed' off our energy though.
    Tâmara Vaz likes this.
  5. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member

    Hi there
    I think you've found the problem. If you teach using punishment, then it can be hard to get the dog to display a behavior later, when it's wanted, because that same behavior has been punished. This is an inherent problem when the goal of teaching is for a dog not to do something. Rather than teaching a dog not to jump on visitors, teach him to go to his mat, or sit to greet, or show the visitor his squeaky ball. Rather than teaching my dog not to hassle people for food, for example, I taught him to lie down when people are eating.

    Back to your original question, the answer to that is always using reward-based training plus teaching those high-energy dogs to control themselves. Self-control is where it's at, in terms of the new wave of dog training. Adult dogs, like people, can rev themselves up and bring themselves back down. Most dogs don't need any concentrated work on this, but a few will. My late herding dog needed no help, but my current Aussie mix does. He becomes particularly amped up when we go to the courtyard to train, and is sometimes so "on" that he can't pay any attention. We use the "Gimme a Break" training game: if he shows signs of being Too Excited, I say "all done" and sit and wait for him to stop leaping around. He drops into a down when he's ready. It now takes him just a few seconds to come back to earth -- he's learned to control himself. I rarely need to use the game now.
    Dogster, Ivushiq, Tâmara Vaz and 2 others like this.
  6. freedomdreams Well-Known Member

    You've answered my question perfectly thank you!
    So how would you get a dog to learn an alternate behaviour when it comes to visitors ? I'm sure people (myself especially) have an issue with my dogs becoming too excited and then not paying attention to you and when dealing with another person they are often to side tracked on the dogs they don't always pay much attention to you trying to advert their attention
    Tâmara Vaz likes this.
  7. Linda A Experienced Member

    I did some searching on YouTube and came across this tutorial. I had never thought of using one of my ex pens for this but it seems like a pretty cool idea to me. My dogs go nuts when I have visitors and I think I will give this a try.

  8. threenorns Well-Known Member

    that is exactly the problem i have teaching dandy - for so long, "teaching" him meant hollering "get down! gerroff me! leave it alone! stop that!" that now part of teaching some tricks (paws up on my arm, for example) involves the exact same activities i used to hoot and holler about.

    treats overcome many an obstacle, i've found: get the right treat and any counterconditioning's a snap, lol.
    Tâmara Vaz likes this.
  9. blacknym Experienced Member

    Deja get really amped up at times as well and she can not concentrate. Her attitude is "Give me my treats now damn it!!" :p

    I just ignore it now. If she acts like that she gets no treats and I walk away. She is getting better but we are still working on it. She loves to bark at the dog when someone comes over and gets in the way...I think I'm going to start sending her to her bed to be out of the way.
    threenorns likes this.
  10. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member

    Let us know how it goes ok? I am skeptical about this approach but open to learning! I think the behavior will be associated with the barrier, and I think that nothing can take away the anxiety and excitement that comes with the doorbell ringing and greeting new people. But who knows?

    Freedomdreams wrote:

    I don't understand the last part of your sentence, but I think I have the idea. One thing I found faulty with a lot of the 'solutions' to the greeting issue was that though it was possible to teach a dog to sit in the presence of someone new and exciting, the dog (i.e. my dogs) would still be revved up and ready to jump as soon as the "sit" was released. My late dog was more anxious about new people -- friendly, but anxious. I taught him to grab a toy when people came over, and he would run around, chomping his toy, and show it to people. It gave him a way to relate to the strangers and it also kept his mouth occupied and his feet on the ground. He got some of his energy out, and was able to calm himself within a few minutes.

    My current dog looooves people and is just plain happy to meet new ones, often leaping and howling with joy. He's deaf, so I don't have the added burden of the craziness starting with the doorbell itself. Because he's short and lighter than my late dog, and doesn't have an intimidating physique by any means, I'm happy with him just keeping 4 on the floor when he meets guests. I've encouraged this in him by having willing guests greet him upon arrivial, stooping or squatting to pet hi, to keep him from making the bad habit of demanding attention. So I'm trying to teach him that dogs on the floor get attention i.e. prevent him from trying another strategy.

    How many dogs do you have, and what's the situation when guests arrive?
  11. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member

    Also, freedomdreams, you can work with each dog to teach self-control around the doorway itself. This is a good thing to teach for safety reasons (you won't have a dog who races out the door) but it's also part of the excitement of visitors -- the door opening and closing. You can add to your dogs' skills eventually (after they are masters of doorway zen!) by ringing the doorbell. Here's a tutorial from one of youtube's excellent clicker trainers:

  12. freedomdreams Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much Adrianna&Calvin !
    I will rephrase the last part of the quoted sentence.
    When dealing with another person, the visitor who comes to your home and is being greeted by the dogs half the time they are very concentrated on just keeping the dogs off them or are petting them to make them stop but this generally is rewarding the. Behaviour 'I jump up=attention'.
    When let's say the owner is trying to discourage the behaviour and trying to let the visitor aware that what they are doing the opposite they can't because the visitor is so side tracked by the dogs.

    I hope I made sense lol.
    Linda A likes this.
  13. Linda A Experienced Member

    I understand what you are trying to say. You can't get the visitors 'attention.' LOL! What I hate is explaining to people, knowing that they heard you, and then having them ignore you. Generally they say 'Oh, it's okay.' I want to scream 'NO, IT IS NOT OKAY!'
    freedomdreams likes this.
  14. freedomdreams Well-Known Member

    Exactly, I have this problem with my parrots and it's very frustrating because how often do they see parrots and they stick their hands in the cage, etc even after I explain not to, or that they must wash their hands but DO NOT STICK YOUR HANDS IN THE CAGE because that's my parrots comfort zone, even if it's funny to them it's not appropriate.

    I rreally dislike when people are disrespectful to rules you set down prior to them coming undoing everything you work hard to achieve -sigh-
    Nice to know others can relate :)
    Linda A likes this.
  15. ackerleynelson Well-Known Member

    It is a common behaviour among the dogs and it is also true that we want them to calm down at one time and at the same next moment we expect them to be active, based on the situations. But when you get them trained you can notice that their behaviour is according to the situations or as we expect. I have got my dog trained from Boom Towne, Rochester and I have found a lot of changes in my dog. Whenever he is confused about how he has to behave with a stranger, then he acts according to the command and it is really a good thing about him.

Share This Page

Real Time Analytics