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Keeping dog off the sofa

Discussion in 'Puppy Forum' started by Maggie Mul, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. Maggie Mul

    Maggie Mul Member Registered

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    OUR puppy is 11 months and has been a challenge since we got her at 6.5weeks old. Our current challenge is resource guarding. We manage it day to day well by avoiding her the opportunity to pick anything up around the house. She occasionally gets the children's socks and we are able to trade with a high value treat. She has now taken to sometimes resource guarding the sofa and whoever is on it! She barks at the person approaching and yesterday showed some behaviour towards my daughter we haven't seen before and I'd rather not see again!!
    So, we have decided she is not allowed on the sofas anymore, for the mean time anyway. We have her on a lead now during the day and every time she jumps up we say 'down'. Sometimes she comes down of her own accord and she is rewarded with a treat and praise. Other times we have to encourage her with the lead and does not receive a treat. We must have done it over 50 times today and at the moment she just seems confused. Am hoping after another 500+ times, she'll get the message! Does this technique seem ok and do you think it is the right way to go? Open to any other suggestions too!! Thanks! :)
     
  2. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Is this a house lead, or are you able to put her lead on while she's on the sofa? Personally I would treat her even if you have used the lead to get her off - she's still done what you wanted... eventually!

    Try to ask her off the sofa in a happy voice, same as you would 'sit' etc. If it's a firm command, it can immediately make her feel defensive. And watch your body language too - no looming over her, making sure she has plenty of room to get off.

    An alternative to having a rule that she's not allowed on the sofa at all - which is a pain to reinforce - is to have a rule that she's not allowed on the sofa when someone else is on it, which will solve the problem of guarding the person. Then you just need to work on the 'off' for when you want to sit on it. If she's not 100% reliable on this, there's no reason why you can't 'cheat' by, e.g., going into the kitchen, opening and closing the fridge door, and calling her in a happy voice (and then giving her a great reward!).

    Also, make sure she has a really comfortable bed to go as an alternative.

    Sometimes, Jasper gets onto OH's sofa when he hears OH approach, because he knows he will get a treat for getting off again. I often wonder who is manipulating who, but it works for us:D
     
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  3. Maggie Mul

    Maggie Mul Member Registered

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    Thanks for your reply. Yes, it is a very light lead we are using which is on a lot of the time at the moment!! She gets off the sofa as soon as my husband approaches and says down but it doesn’t work so well for the rest of the family! We are trying to cope with quite a few other issues at the moment, so hoping to nip this one in the bud as soon as possible, so we have decided on a zero tolerance for the sofa whilst we are all in the house. Fingers crossed it doesn’t take her too long to ge the message. On reflection, I think sometimes my tone is too defensive and strict, so I will try and ease up a little on Thant. Fingers crossed!!
     
  4. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    In general, I find strict/firm is counterproductive and sets you up for confrontation, which isn't going to go well, whereas happy and cheerful followed by 'Oh what a clever dog you are!' can work wonders. I do still think that allowing a dog on the sofa when it's empty can be easier... thinking about it, it's easier to learn what to do than what not to do. If she's allowed on the sofa when it's empty, you only have to teach 'Get off the sofa', which she might have to do a few times a day, whereas if she's not allowed on at all, you also have to teach 'Don't get on the sofa', which is something you'll be expecting her to 'do' all day long, so is much more challenging. Does that make sense?

    However, your house, your rules of course - and I'm only going by my experience of one dog, and different things work for different dogs.
     
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  5. pongo111

    pongo111 Member Registered

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    good luck. I'm still trying to keep my pup from jumping up on the kitchen work tops. it's been weeks now shouting "off!" . i don't reward with a treat as i don't always have them to hand.
     
  6. gypsysmum2

    gypsysmum2 Well-Known Member Registered

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    Prevent the behaviour by putting cardboard boxes or small pieces of furniture on the sofa when you are not on it. Teach an alternative behaviour like lying on a dog bed for which she gets high value treats and chew toys. Start with one second on the bed, to get a treat, then move to two seconds to get a treat, then three etc etc. Every single time you see the dog on the dog bed then give her a treat (keep some little pots around the house or keep treats in your pockets).
    This kind of training is good for all sorts of behaviour i.e. you prevent the naughty behaviour (or ignore it if prevention is not possible) but most importantly you strive to reward every single minute that the dog is behaving in an acceptable manner. If necessary ditch your food bowl and just use the dog's daily ration to reward any good behaviour that the dog produces.
    If you are seeing all sorts of bad behaviour then I would think that an investment in a behaviour consultation would be worthwhile. This is particularly relevant at there are children in the house and the dog has shown aggressive traits over resource guarding. This can escalate sometimes until the dog starts to guard the area around a valued resource. So, a dog that guards a food bowl can start to guard the floor around it, then the whole floor then the room the dog is fed in etc. Do instruct the children to leave the dog alone and never leave them alone together. If she has a sock or anything then they MUST call you to sort it out. Read the next two sentences carefully -

    Dogs do not have morals.

    Aggression is an instinctive reaction, not a conscious decision.

    In other words any dog can bite and it is not their fault if they do. It is our fault for not speaking dog.
     
  7. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    .

    The “dead dog rule” is a helpful tool for deciding how to train any behavior:
    If a dead dog can do it, it’s not a teachable behavior. :)

    Dead dogs don’t bark. :) They also don’t jump up, bolt, beg, whine when an estrous bitch is within a mile or two, & have many other behavioral advantages over real, live dogs. :D Maybe a dead dog would be a better pet, for some people. ;) Taxidermied, of course. :D

    Anyway, what it boils down to is, U cannot train a negative. We need to reframe the training Q:
    In this particular context, what do I want my dog to do? — then it’s easy to design a process that gets U that desired behavior.

    As @JudyN said, it’s easier to learn what to do than what not to do, in part b/c the list of things U do not want the dog to do in a given context is virtually infinite, while the list of things U do want them to do is usually limited to just one to 3 options.
    If the dog tries out a huge random assortment of behaviors, it will take her or him a long time to figure out which one or few of those is acceptable or desired, in this context, so simply teaching the dog what we DO want is much more efficient than punishing all the ones we do not want. ;) Besides, of course, being a much-more pleasant process for everyone involved.

    When I have a new client, especially a novice with their 1st pup, I ask them to make up 2 lists B4 we meet - one of things they want their dog to DO, the other of things they do NOT want the dog to do.
    I use the “do” list to set up the training protocol; I put the “don’t” list away, & I don’t look at it until we are at least 6-weeks or more into training. Then I pull it out B4 our next appt, & bring it along.
    “Remember this?...”, and we go over it together.

    99.999 times of every hundred, their dog does NOT do any of the unwanted behaviors on their list, b/c we focused on teaching those behaviors that we did want, within the context. :) It’s amazing, really - & if the odd unexpected, unwanted behavior *does* crop up, simply teaching a desired behavior in that specific context cures the problem, without ever needing to punish the dog.

    Q:

    @Maggie Mul , what verbal cue do U use for “lie down”?

    I ask only b/c I noticed U seem to use “down” to mean “get off the sofa”, so U would need another word for “lay on yer belly”. Cues need to be specific to a particular behavior, they can’t mean more than one thing.
    (There are exceptions, but those are for fluent dogs who have managed to generalize a concept, which is very tough for dogs & takes a long time, with loads & loads of samples / experiences to illustrate it, for the dog.)

    - terry


    .
     
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