Sunday, August 8, 2010

Breaking all the rules

We're not big on following general rules of "dog households."

My youngest dog doesn't have a formally trained verbal recall. I very rarely insist on nice walking. We don't always insist on behaviors before feeding.... I feed my dogs while I'm at the table/counter/desk... I pet for pushy behaviors by Griffin and Luna (as I referenced earlier today!).

At a Silvia Trkman seminar earlier this year, she discussed an article she saw along the lines of 10 ways to a well trained dog. And all the tips were about suppressing behavior, not about encouraging and reinforcing behaviors.

Since then, with my own dogs, I've been careful that while we do have stationary behaviors (and great ones!), our daily interactions are more about active behaviors and interactions.

Griffin just brought me a sock. And we tugged. Our not-yet-amazing tugging behavior was reinforced. Picking up an object was reinforced. Spending time with me was reinforced. Bringing me objects was reinforced (rather than running off and chewing...not that HE does that but the others do!). We tugged a little. Outed. I saw it was a sock-with-a-hole. So we tugged and tugged and tugged. And outed. And played.

Will he bring me lots of socks and clothing? Maybe. Do I care? Yes...for him, I like it! Will I be taking socks to class? Probably.

Would I recommend this in a pet home? Probably not... but...I'm not sure why we have so much...distaste for "touching human objects." It would be so easy for him to be in a typical pet home with these behaviors. Bring a sock. out on cue. Occasionally tug a bit with appropriate items.

Go break a few of the silly "dog rules" that exist and create your own, better, rules!

1 comment:

Crystal said...

Oh, thank god I'm not alone in breaking the rules. My dog has no clue that there forbidden surfaces in the world... couches, beds, hell, even the table from time to time- all are fair game! I feed her people food (and bad stuff, like chips and candy, lol, although I hasten to add it's only in small amounts). I let her jump on me, and I let her "ask" for rawhides or more food.