Training NOT to paw.

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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Miss Black- Magic's 'Ria'
Barked: Thu Nov 15, '12 4:36pm PST 
I know there's A LOT of resources on how to train your dog to target or give a paw, but Ria has absolutely no impulse control, and with that, is WAY too impatient and exuberant about EVERYTHING.

This leads to people getting clawed to death.

My hands and arms look like I've been dealing with an aggressive cat. I have bloody, scabby scratches ALL over.

This is getting ridiculous. She knows shake a paw. And she knows 'off'. However... You ask her to do anything, and she's immediately pawing at you, or if you ask her to lay down and have your hand within reach(which it has to be, right now), she claws it up, or if she's excited, she jumps on you, digs her claws in for better grip and holds on with all she's got.

It HURTS. It is PAINFUL to have her claws up my hands and arms and I'm honestly starting to lose my patience with it.

Today, I was desensitizing her to the noise of the pedipaws I have(it terrified her to begin with) and by the end of it, she was touching it with her nose while it was on, to earn a reward.

I decided to use this as the perfect time to do 'Sit'/'Down' sequences with her. I tied her up so I could get away if I had to, sat on the floor nearby, asked for a down and if she pawed me, I moved away and she got no reward. If she downed without scratching me, she got the treat.

Am I going about this the right way? I currently have about eight to ten scratches just from today alone.

I'm desensitizing her to the pedipaws so that I can grind the nails down and keep them from being so sharp.

Also, any suggestions on how to train impulse control would be awesome.

Edited by author Thu Nov 15, '12 4:37pm PST


Woo-woo- whineybutt
Barked: Thu Nov 15, '12 4:48pm PST 
Ria.. Use the pawing to your advantage.
Nare also LOVES to use his paws, for anything and everything..
I'm not sure how to explain this. But have you ever heard where sometimes when you teach your dog to speak (on command) it actually makes them more quiet?

It kinda worked with Nare and his pawing. I'm sure someone could come in here and explain it better.
But what we did was make a target, in our case it was an orange sticky note. I put it on a door and had him target it with his paw (this later became 'close', to close a door). Idk if you use a clicker (we do) and how it went was: looking at target = c/t, sniffing target = c/t, pawing = c/t.

I also used his marvelous pawing abilities to have him 'dig' on command, which also turned into wiping his paws off before coming in..
He also has a lot of paw-involving toys. Like a Jolly Egg, Kong Wobbler, etc..

Another thing, that I know is done to teach leave it / impulse control is to have a piece of food in your hand and have it closed in a fist, unfortunately its a waiting game (i.e., waiting for the dog to stop pawing/licking) and then the dog gets the treat.. Might want gloves for that though lol!
Maggie,- Tika, &- Porter

Aussie-tastic- Trio
Barked: Thu Nov 15, '12 6:25pm PST 
Tika was a super paw-y puppy and it drove me insane and hurt! Once we started doing a lot of Crate Games and working on impulse control though I saw a complete 180 in her behavior when it came to pawing at me. I will admit that she still hits me with her paws - but it is much better than what I was dealing with a year ago.


When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Thu Nov 15, '12 7:12pm PST 
Nare great idea.

My ex taught the dogs to 'shake' for treats, toys, basically everything. I end up getting clawed to death. I actually have scars. I hate that trick.

Barked: Thu Nov 15, '12 8:17pm PST 
You have the right idea - if she's only ever rewarded for calm, calm behavior will increase. This applies to over-excited behavior that isn't directly affecting you too, which I mention because a lot of people seem to forget it. For instance, if she gets super wiggly and hits her crate door when you go to let her out, you would want to wait until she's calm even though she isn't actively scratching you. Or if you're about to go outside, and she's tearing at the door.

Teaching incompatible behaviors can make this process easier. In the above examples, ask for a sit. A dog can't sit and jump around at the same time. The more sitting leads to getting out the door, the more she will default to a sit when it's time to go out.

Also working on impulse control in general. Behaviors like "leave it" and "stay." The more practice she has with waiting patiently, the better she will get at it.

I'm not a huge fan of the idea of teaching them something so they do it less... I find it very often backfires. It's an old technique that was paired with hard corrections for doing the trick without the owner's request, which does not fit in with more modern techniques of encouraging and rewarding good behavior.

Fox loves offering paw, and my SO taught her to "shake..." She loves it so much that she reverts to throwing her paw whenever she can't figure out what we want. The behavior itself is rewarding for her. She's got a light paw, so she gets away with it, but we'd have to work on extinguishing the behavior if she were hurting us. It IS handy to have such a high reward wherever we are, but I would work on reducing the unwanted behavior and building impulse control before you work toward "shake" as a trick or reward behavior.

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Thu Nov 15, '12 9:52pm PST 
Fox, I respectfully disagree. I don't use any hard corrections and I think Nare uses a clicker. I have for years taught problem barkers to speak as a way to deter barking and I have never had it backfire. The trick is simply to teach them that they are only rewarded if asked, doing it unasked becomes less appealing.

Miss Black- Magic's 'Ria'
Barked: Fri Nov 16, '12 12:18am PST 
I have to disagree as well, as I do know many of the people who use that technique DO NOT correct. Nor do I.

That said.. Teaching other behaviors, and waiting for calm IS something I need to work on. I am a saint for patience when it comes to fearful or aggressive dogs needing rehabilitation. I actually had to get up and walk away from Ria though, to take a breath and calm myself as she was frustrating me.

I have used the technique of holding treats in a fist until she stops licking/pawing/biting, and sits. However... That only stopped her from biting, haha. Now she'll sit and stare at my hand. It's not often she'll claw at it, as she knows when I do that, to sit or she won't get a reward. It's things like "down", or excitement that cause her to paw. She really likes throwing her whole body forward into a playbow and landing her claws directly on you and dragging them back, as if she's trying to pull you closer and into play. It's really not a SAFE behavior either, when I often have children over though.

I will definitely work more on her being calm and do more of it with her too, and work on finding ways to remove the rewards when she's pawing, and bring them back when she's calm.. I do have a clicker, and yes, that always helps, lol.

Woo-woo- whineybutt
Barked: Fri Nov 16, '12 4:48am PST 
Hi Fox.. Sabi got it right, doing it without being asked means no treat.. Which isn't fun at all! Think of it as a self correction, if you wish, because of the absence of the treat/positive reinforcement. a
Its all a matter of working with your dog, not against. Nare also has a very annoying habit of sniffing everything.. Like, you can't walk 5 feet without him trotting off to sniff something. And he'll sniff the darn thing for an hour if you let him. At first I'd get frustrated with it, but when I started using it to my advantage and made it a reward.. To sniff something he knows he has to sit, so now even offleash he'll sit a few feet away from a raccoon carcass and look at me to give him the 'ok'.

Ria. hug I also used to get frustrated with Nare, with everyone elses dogs I could be sooo patient but with my own it seems like such a task. Effort? Whats that?

From the sound of it, you're luring her when teaching down? Since you use a clicker, why not just capture it? As in.. just wait there for her to lay down, c/t, and toss a treat and wait for her to do it again. Might take awhile so I hope theres something good on TV!

Maybe try the same treat in the fist thing, but instead put it on the ground under your foot?

Its a little early and my brain is broken. laugh out loud I'm sure I can think of more fun stuff later or someone else will drop by.

we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Fri Nov 16, '12 7:56am PST 
Here is the problem with "Doing it without being asked means no treats".

Does she ever get reinforced for this behavior with something OTHER than treats ? ie attention, petting, being spoken to, even if it IS to ask her to do something else? If so, the behavior is still being reinforced. if you want the behavior to come under stimulus control you have to be sure NOTHING reinforces it unless you ask for it.

Have you looked at the protocols for relaxation from Dr. Karen Overall?

I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
Barked: Fri Nov 16, '12 8:23am PST 
"I'm not a huge fan of the idea of teaching them something so they do it less... I find it very often backfires. It's an old technique that was paired with hard corrections for doing the trick without the owner's request, which does not fit in with more modern techniques of encouraging and rewarding good behavior."

It worked very well for me in controlling barking, it might work with pawing (I haven't tried it for that). I have a terrier mix with a very loud booming bark. I taught speak and shush as a pair. It didn't make her bark more at all and I never used any hard corrections, just ignored what I didn't want and rewarded heavily for shush on command. Then upped the criteria for a faster quiet. I had to acknowledge the source of the barking at the beginning of the sequence. That's because I want the alert bark (I live rurally), so teaching my dog not to bark would have been counterproductive. So the training was about Lu's ability to control it, including her impulse control along with discernment. Old techniques aren't always paired with hard corrections. I don't use anything other than verbal and never raise my voice when handling dogs. It's been very effective. We camp often in strange environments with people coming and going, wildlife all around, and my dog is almost always the only one who will quiet on command.
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