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Pooping out of school. How can I deter my dog from going where he KNOWS he shouldn't??

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Nero

Dark,- mysterious, and- a glutton for- love
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 6, '10 4:30pm PST 
Hi Folks, my 2 year old German Shepherd, Nero, is too smart to be pooping in the wrong place out doors. I spent a lot of energy teaching him where to go, and to do it on command — which he does when supervised.

He is generally very obedient, and has a super friendly nature. Also he KNOWS without a shadow of a doubt when, and why, i am cranky at him for incorrect behaviour... He does not hang around if he knows he's made a mess... He is either lazy or defiant... I simply can't tell, but I KNOW he's not stupid... I pride myself on his obedience and my dog handling skills... But I have got to say I am beaten on this... For the record I have tried both bleach and then vinegar as deterrents after scrubbing the paving stones with antiseptic and hosing..

I am LOST coz I love him, and don't know what to do. I can't just give up and let him crap where we hang our laundry because i don't like the message that would send him in his defeating the pack leader. He's also massive, so unless I can get this in order I will remain under great stress, so will he, because I am punishing him presently by refusing him attention.

I am afraid I have entered into a negative attention cycle. And I don't like it.

Thanks in advance

Edited by author Tue Dec 7, '10 12:08am PST

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Bello

They Always Fall- for the Baby- Blues
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 6, '10 4:39pm PST 
So two things before the rush of people come. He does NOT know he shouldn't. Or he wouldn't.

And people are probably gonna correct you on the pack leader thing too. He's not doing it to defy you. He's doing it because it is easier to go there then where you want.

And, if you haven't tried postive training, you'll have a lot of people recommending that too.

I'll come back later to help out a little, don't have the time right now.
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Kolbe

Where can I run- today?
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 6, '10 5:12pm PST 
Also he KNOWS wihout a shadow of a doubt when, and why, i am cranky at him for incorrect behaviour... He does not hang around if he knows he's made a mess...

What he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt is that when you find poop you correct him in some fashion. It probably correlates a lot less in his mind than you think... smile

He is either lazy or defiant...

I doubt this. I will agree with you on the smart part though, I bet he is!

For the record I have tried both bleach and then vinegar as deterrents after scrubbing the paving stones with antiseptic and hosing..

OK, let's take it from the beginning -- break it down in steps. How is he even getting to go there to begin with? As in, how is he being allowed to make the mistake of eliminating there? What are you doing to teach him the place where you want him to go? If I were wanting to teach this behavior, I'd be out there with a leash every single time, guiding him to the correct spot and praising/treating like crazy, instead of spending extra time with the bleach (which is apparently not working). Set him up for success (leash, guiding, praise).

I am LOST coz I love him, and don't know what to do. I can't just give up and let him crap where we hang our laundry because i don't like the message that would send him in his defeating the pack leader.

Er, I wouldn't really worry about that. Worry less about "rankings" (I put them it quotes for a reason... smile ) and more about the best way to get your dog to understand what you want.

so unless I can get this in order I will remain under great stress, so will he, because I am punishing him presently by refusing him attention.

And he correlates this how...??? He is probably under stress because he has no idea why you are ignoring/shunning him.


I am afraid I have entered into a negative attention cycle. And I don't like it.

Can you elaborate? Negative attention how?

IMO? Endlessly punishing him (in ways I doubt he even understands) or attempting to deter him or assuming he "knows" doesn't really solve anything, amiright? Break down the steps for us that you've done so far, maybe we can come up with a creative alternative step or maybe something to add to what you're currently doing to teach. You also might want to post this in the Behavior & Training forum, it might get more views that way. smile

Either way, good luck!!!
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Sonny

the world's- first blond,- agility Beagle
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 6, '10 5:13pm PST 
Ditto.

Retrain as if he were a puppy. Reward the heck out of it when he goes in the right place.

As for negative attention cycle - yes you may be right. In a canine's eyes, being ignored is a huge punishment. So negative attention is better than none at all. Maybe your family has been too busy to give him any time, this is all he can dothinking
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Nero

Dark,- mysterious, and- a glutton for- love
 
 
Barked: Tue Dec 7, '10 12:32am PST 
Thanks guys.... Hmmmm.... Well, what I mean about a negative cycle of attention is I'm worried that he craps in the wrong place to get attention, after being shunned. But I work from home and he spends whole days in the office next to me (I even named my business after him)... He gets A LOT of time with me... Obviously, this is just stupid, and I am loathe to be cranky at him in the first place. I like the point about going back to poop basics with a leash... I have tried positive reinforcement in terms of praise when he gets it right, and backing this with the opposite when he gets it wrong. I have not worked with treats, I sent him to a leading school for boarding and training, and they used positive reinforcement in terms of praise only and a firm leash for correction... I was delighted when I picked him up, and continue to work with him on those terms. The thing that freaks me out is the conflicting opinions I have read and heard about "punishments" and "treats". Now I love my dog but am not in the habit of giving him "parity of respect" alongside my children. He is heavier than either of them. I have had several other smart dogs over my lifetime to compare the experience. Nero is the smartest, largest, and the most stubborn... I do not wish to spoil him but i am certain that my current approach is failing. I am crest fallen to be honest, and hurting him, definitely hurts me too. cry

Edited by author Tue Dec 7, '10 12:36am PST

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Quentin- Flagg

King Q - king of clown- town
 
 
Barked: Tue Dec 7, '10 6:29am PST 
So my understanding of what is going on here is that you want him to eliminate in a certain part of the yard only. Is that correct?

Going back to basics on this is a good idea. I have another however, and I might be totally off base here but here goes. Is the area that he is supposed to go kept clean? The reason I ask is because Quentin will use the lower part of the yard as a bathroom unless I haven't cleaned it up in a while and there's too much poop down there. He will start to eliminate in the upper part of the yard when that happens. So I'm wondering if maybe that could be what's going on with Nero since you say he knows where to go and where not to. I don't think dogs like to step in their own poop and I think that's why Q will start to migrate up the yard with his potties. When this starts to happen I know I've been remiss in my doggie duties and I better get out there with the pooper scooper.

Just an alternate thought.

He has a reason for doing it and I doubt it's laziness or defiance.
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Lisa

Always my angel.
 
 
Barked: Tue Dec 7, '10 10:24am PST 
I'm not sure the specifics of what you're doing here. In general, though, keep in mind that dogs can only associate consequences with whatever JUST happened. So if you are ignoring him for hours on end, or starting the punishment cycle at any moment other than the EXACT moment when he is in the actual act of going in the wrong place, then he has no idea why you're upset. All he knows is that he needs to avoid you when you're upset, which is probably why he immediately slinks away when you become upset about something. He may also understand that you get angry when you find poop on the ground, but he likely is not extending that connection to the action of pooping there.

As for treats and punishment, I wouldn't worry about it too much. I will try to give you a brief, objective run-down of the schools of thought here. Basically, improperly used, treats-only training can be ineffective and possibly even contribute to obesity or guarding behaviors. And improperly used, punishment-based training can be ineffective and lead to aggression, fearfulness, guarding issues, and avoidance behaviors. You will therefore hear terrible terrible things about each from proponents of the other. Just know that both methods can be very effective, and so in the end what it really comes down to is your preference, based on what type of relationship you want with your dog and how you like to train. Personally I don't use much punishment at all, and what I do use is based mostly on what's called "negative punishment," where you take something away from a dog in order to punish it (usually attention) rather than add something in order to punish it (like discomfort/leash pops - this is called "positive punishment"). I use a lot of rewards (praise/treats/toys) in order to teach the dog what to do, since I find it more useful than trying to teach what not to do, as well as for personal preference reasons I can get into further if you want. I think you'll find a lot of Dogsters (at least those who post in the forums) train in some variation of this general method. However, other people train differently and they have their reasons for that too. If you want some research materials on different training styles, ask and I'm sure we'd all be happy to provide.

As for pack rankings, I wouldn't worry about it. The way I see it, of course the dog isn't on par with the children. That's because they're different species, and also because one is a pet. They aren't even in the same ranking system. There's no reason to compare the two. The dog knows this, and he also knows you aren't the "alpha/beta/gamma/omega dog." He knows that you're a human. Now he needs to know how to relate to you. So teach him. smile

Edited by author Tue Dec 7, '10 10:30am PST

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Lisa

Always my angel.
 
 
Barked: Tue Dec 7, '10 10:36am PST 
So for *me*, the way *I* would teach him not to go on the steps or wherever, is first never allow him outside unsupervised for now. Then, when he heads over to the stone area and starts/looks like he's about to poo, I would interrupt and lead him over to the area where I want him to go. Then I would either wait or give him the command (awesome that he goes on command, by the way), and after he went I would praise him like crazy. Once he really started to get it (like, I don't need to lead him over there at all anymore) I would start to phase myself out of the sequence by letting him out then watching from a window to see what spot he chooses. If he headed for an unacceptable place I could still come outside and move him to the right place. If he went in the right place I could still come outside and reward him on a variable schedule (sometimes reward or super-reward, sometimes not, so he never knows when a reward will come). Once he had that down reliably, I'd consider him trustworthy to figure it out on his own. If he goes in the wrong place again, though, it's time to go back to square one because obviously he hasn't figured it out yet. Don't worry about going back to square one with training - even if you have to repeat the whole cycle multiple times, they usually get it more quickly each time.

Edited by author Tue Dec 7, '10 10:38am PST

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Lisa

Always my angel.
 
 
Barked: Tue Dec 7, '10 10:48am PST 
Oh, also also (I know, I JUST CAN'T STOP POSTING laugh out loud) -- you don't need to worry about using just one training technique or another for everything, in my experience. You do need to be consistent with each individual thing you're training, though, so that you're not training the same behavior one way today and another way tomorrow and the dog never gets a chance to figure out what it was supposed to do. But if you want to use leash pops to proof one behavior and treats only to train another, then that should still work just fine.
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Nero

Dark,- mysterious, and- a glutton for- love
 
 
Barked: Tue Dec 7, '10 1:24pm PST 
Thanks guys. Some sage advice therehail. I'm going to try this square one idea... I understand that my own frustrations colour the way I view his behaviour (in terms of his being defiant or whatever)... The way you put it deserves praise! --- Thank you all!!
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