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Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by JudyN, Oct 30, 2020.
Yes, it could be a scary place in there
Bucket list item 13, meet Jasper in person.
If OH literally followed he sequence you describe, he needs to shift to doing the various pieces THEN the biscuit.
Get up, biscuit
Move to light, turn off, biscuit
I am sure not every step/thing he does triggers the bark...on the other hand this is Jasper we are talking about, maybe it does. But unless you want to spend a lot of experimentation to find out exactly what "event" (stimuli) trigger the bark, be sure to CC all suspected triggers. Just be sure the "event" happens before the reinforcement (biscuit).
Another option, and if what you are doing seems to be working don't change unless you think you need too, is rather than trying to Counter Condition(CC) by...
Get up, biscuit
Walk to light switch, turn off, biscuit
OH calls Jasper him, then has Jasper accompany OH as he goes around getting ready to go upstairs and reinforce Jasper for not barking before he does.
So, get up, call Jasper over. This gets biscuit
"lets turn the light off", walks over to switch with Jasper as turning off light gets biscuit. maybe have Jasper doing something other than stand there, but not necessarily required. just include Jasper and reinforce the non barking as various "pre go up stairs" events happen.
There's a lot to think about there, Jacksdad, thank you
I feel that just addressing the apparent triggers is too much of a behaviourist, stimulus/response approach to Jasper - the root cause is that there's something about OH going to bed that Jasper doesn't like, maybe simply that he'd much prefer OH kip downstairs with him. So countercondition one, and he'll just react to some other indicator that OH is going to bed... going upstairs, brushing teeth, getting undressed, getting into bed... Ideally, we'd want him to be happy either to sleep downstairs on his own, or upstairs with us.
Do you think a trigger can be the knowledge/realisation that something is going to happen, rather than a specific event?
But yes, the biscuit seems to have helped with the 'standing up' trigger, so OH may now have to move on to 'switching things off' and 'going out the door'. I'd be a little wary of anything that involves Jasper coming up to OH as then he's close if he does suddenly react. I shall have to discuss tactics with OH later. And make sure we have plenty of biscuits!
Skinner set us on a "enlighten" path with all this stuff. He absolutely acknowledged that there is behavior going on in the "black box". The problem was during his time there was no means to observe it. That is changing. MRIs are one example that changing. Another is changing in thinking about emotions being physical and observable vs abstract. The only thing we can't really ever KNOW is thoughts/feelings. Because these have to be verbalized/expressed by the individual. All this, in addition to simple empathy by the trainer/teach is leading to acknowledging that you can't just 100% ignore the "black box". If there is signs of anxiety, fear, distress, frustration ...it's real and you don't just keep going forward ignoring it. You do something to address those things.
You likely could figure out what exactly is going on with Jasper when OH starts to get ready to call it a night, and head up stairs. Most people do not have the skills, patience, or financial resources to hire someone to actually do a proper analysis. Which is why I do like to remind people, we don't have to know for sure, we don't have to figure it all out, we can start off doing something to improve the situation based on what we do know. Then as we learn more, we adjust.
I would not disagree. Yes, technically we are making an assumption about a thought or feeling when you say "Jasper doesn't like", but his observable behavior undoubtedly gives clues to an emotional state of anxious, frustrated, startled etc. That support this. Sometimes behaviorists in my opinion get a bit carried away with the disregarding anything except physical observable physical behavior. But that doesn't mean the principles for changing behavior are invalid or "horrible" etc. We can choose to apply them with empathy for the learner.
This is exactly what Classical Conditioning is about. Jasper has knowledge that something is going to happen because a reliable event or sequence of events (stimuli) happen when OH calls it a night and goes through his routine for going up stairs. so you are correct...Jasper's unwanted behavior happens because because previous life experiences gave him knowledge that something is going to or might happen that requires a barking response. Given what we know of Jasper, odds are that something isn't triggering a "yippy" I am so happy bark.
Classical Conditioning can be used to change what something predicts. Right now there is an event or events that predict something that triggers a bark. Which one? who cares? counter condition them all. Counter conditioning just means we are changing an existing conditioning (Jasper barking at something OH is doing), and Classical Conditioning is just a simple way without having to train specific behavior. just start making all aspects of OH's routine make a biscuit happen. there might be 10 things OH does that is fallowed by a biscuit. As Jasper improves, chain two..event 1 + 2 = biscuit. then the remaining 8 happen and each gets a biscuit. More improvement, now its events 1, 2, 3 = biscuit and the remaining 7 each get their own etc. until finally the whole sequence of his routine happens for 1 biscuit.
By OH's call it a night routine causing Jasper to get something he really likes (biscuit, bit of chicken, hot dog etc) OH's actions predict that something he likes/wants. Jasper comes to have a new association with those events that hopefully are "yippy, this is so cool" vs grrrr danger, dander must bark or whatever is going on in his head.
When the "yippy" is achieved, I have no doubt that what is going on in the "black box" is exactly what the observable emotional state suggests...happy, relaxed, etc.
Would it not depend on what KIND of bark he is making, for example an excited bark, or an aggressive bark?
Yes, certainly - but in this case, it's not an excited bark. It is however, losing its intensity - more 'Now I have to have words with you' than 'Don't you effing go anywhere, mate!'
I suppose, given that some nights he chooses to sleep with us, and others he chooses to sleep downstairs on his own, neither option can be too awful, so yes, maybe we do have to focus on the 'process' or OH going to bed rather than worrying too much about what Jasper doesn't like about it.
OH was a bit confused last night. He closed his laptop lid - no reaction. He put his headphones down - no reaction. He sat there a moment - Jasper barked. So if there was a trigger, either it was a delayed reaction, or Jasper is pretty much telepathic! I've long suspected the latter, anyway. DS2 suggested that when he gets to the bottom of the stairs, OH flips a coin to determine whether he's going to bed or return to the front room, so when he gets up even he doesn't know what he's doing
Absolutely. but if Judy is asking for suggestions, the odds are very good Jasper isn't making a excited bark.
If Jasper was having a woohoo, this is exciting/fun reaction, you would not use classical conditioning the way I described it. The reason, he already has that "yippy" reaction to a trigger/event. we don't want to raise the level of that...rather we would want to go strait to alternate behavior that encourages calm, while maintaining a happy and relaxed dog. Just calmer.
I never want a "robot" dog when it comes to training. I want a happy, willing, relaxed dog. so while "like" assumes a mental state I can't ever really know about. I can observe his body language, breathing, stiff vs relaxed, mouth position, ears, tail, etc. that all give clues to emotional state. I want to see relaxed, and what we would describe as happy...which very likely has "I like this" feeling accompanying it. I just can't ever know for sure on the feeling. But I can make a highly probably call about the emotional state.
if previously closing laptop = biscuit, putting headphones down = biscuit. the delay in barking was likely due to the improvements you were seeing. There is a trigger. But what specifically it is, we do not currently know. hence the suggestion CC it all. don't wast time figuring out specific trigger. this approach likely will change his "I don't like this" to "I like this". even though we can't truly ever know his "feeling", his emotional state will give use clues that we are likely achieving "I like this".
Jasper might be telepathic... the first clue....this odd feeling it is time for Jasper's afternoon snack....2 hours early
I suspected Jack of the same...I would get this sudden..."I think it is time to log out of work"...feeling...turn and there as Jack staring at me and it would be his walk time. And I always seemed to be sharing bits of my food with him, even though I swear I didn't intend too.
The problem with this suggestion.... it doesn't change the association with the trigger, just randomizes when it happens.
Even if we can't ever know for sure if he as a feeling of "I like", how we approach the training should be in such a way that if he could talk, he would say "I like".
Yes - I was talking slightly in jest. But if there was something in OH's intent that Jasper noticed, then if that could be avoided for a period of time, Jasper might both get out of the habit of the bark, and also realise 'Dad's got up and gone to bed lots of times and I wasn't fussed at all, so I guess it's OK.'
Of course, timing is a likely element, and we all know how accurate a dog's body clock is. So what isn't a trigger at 10pm is a trigger at 10.30pm. Which makes more than one CC attempt a day tricky!
Three bark-free bedtimes in a row
Not so good is that last night he chose to sleep dowstairs, and had me up barking three times before he finally decided to join us around 2am. He had a good sniff round the garden this morning, so I'm wondering if there was a cat or a fox out there.
This could be a harder one to fix - I don't want to find a way of ensuring he always sleeps in with us because the day will come when he can't/doesn't want to do the stairs, and no self-respecting dog is going to not bark when there's a cat or fox right outside....
Jasper's a funny dog... His bedtime routine is now to come upstairs with me and get his bedtime treat, then sooner or later go back downstairs again. When Mr N decides to come to bed, he'll get up and get a biscuit for J, and J will take the biscuit and follow him out the room. But as they walk out of the room, J will usually just have one little, completely non-aggressive, woof, as if he's just remembered that he needs to go woof.
Then he'll come upstairs for 'second bedtime' which naturally involved a second bedtime treat
Dogs are weird.
Timber decided last year (at the age of 10) that he wants to sleep in our room. Fine. But now he goes out for last weewees at about 9.21 (he tells us by getting out of his downstairs bed and staring at us). Then he comes in and about 9.40 he gets up and stares again. That stare is the bedtime stare. But he won't go upstairs by himself - he does at plenty of other times, just not then. So I have to go up with him. I do come back down though.
I am just waiting for him to ask for a bedtime story next
My dog, spoiled? Never ...
Just re-reading this thread quickly, Thinking about this it sounds to me like Jasper is scared of something, and wants your OH to remain downstairs to be food for the whatever frightens Jasper monster, and therefore Jasper will be safe! solution, get OH to change position in the pack! LOL
Nah, the only way he could go is up - he knows his place!