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Coparenting a puppy - devaluing cues and inconsistency with training

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by kahvi, Dec 28, 2020.


  1. kahvi

    kahvi PetForums Junior

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    I've been struggling so much recently - not with Nuka, but with my partner!

    I honestly thought it was a huge advantage to us as a "puppy co-parenting team" that he grew up with dogs. I've never lived with a dog before so all my dog knowledge comes from books, but his family have always had multiple dogs. They've never been trained beyond housetraining, house manners and a slightly unreliable recall, but I thought this meant he'd know a thing or two about raising a puppy. But even when we talk about how best to proceed with things he always forgets and reverts to how his family have always done things - even if we've discussed the matter and both agreed on an alternative approach. The result of all this is the Nuka has had no consistency.

    With me, she does things one way, and with him things are done based on how he's feeling at the time and whether he remembers what we talked about. It's so infuriating - I feel like he's devaluing all my cues!

    The main thing I'm worried about is recall. I'm trying to follow the guidance from Total Recall by Pippa Mattinson. So I use her recall cue only when we're practising in the garden or the house and I have high value treats and I'm certain that she will come to me.

    My partner uses her recall cue to try and call her to him no matter what she's doing when he has no treats. So he often ends up repeating it over and over when she's sniffing things or inspecting shopping bags on the floor and she doesn't come to him. He also repeats her name when this happens because "she's not listening" :Banghead

    I really want a good recall so I'm really annoyed that he keeps doing this even though we've talked about it multiple times.

    Should I persist with the cues I've been trying to introduce since I spend more time with Nuka, or should I just change all my cues or switch to a whistle for recall because I feel like he's devaluing my cues?

    The funniest thing about all this is that his family keep exclaiming that she's so well trained! Sorry for ranting - Christmas has not been easy this year :Sorry
     
    Sarah H likes this.
  2. Nicola234

    Nicola234 PetForums Senior

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    Lol all I can say is keep doing what you’re doing as you spend most time with her, have a word with your partner and see if you can change his mind on the training. I’m sorry for the lol but it’s a bit the same as what happens here, my partner goes with the easy route with both the dog and the cat (also the kids) lol you just have to be strong
     
    kahvi likes this.
  3. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    I am not sure I can answer your question but I do have an observation which may help. I used to walk my neighbours border collie several times a week. His family did little formal training with him other than an occasionally reinforced sit or wait cue. On our walks we did a lot of training together including trick training, going to a marker, recall and sit stand down and wait cues and lots more.

    He soon got the hang of responding well to my cues including recall. When he was with his family his responses to them were as they always had been.

    Interestingly I didn't see him for a year after they moved away. When I took him for a walk he was very poor at responding to our previous cues including recall but by the end of the walk he seemed to be remembering it all.

    Dogs are good at adapting to different rules for different people. If training your partner to give the same cues as you consistently isn't working then I suggest you create your own cues ( the whistle is a good idea) and reinforce those in your company and let your partner do their own thing.

    Dogs are smart and will figure out what they need to do for whom.
     
  4. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    This.
    Our dogs have 4 humans who all have slightly different approaches. The only thing annoying me right now is that the kids love to play chase with Penny (as in they chase her) and I'm trying to teach her not to run away. It's slower going than it would be with consistency, but she is learning that I don't play that game.

    So yeah, it's frustrating, but it will work out in the end.
     
    LinznMilly and kahvi like this.
  5. Torin.

    Torin. PetForums VIP

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    Personally, for recall, given how immensely important it is safety-wise, I would add in a second recall cue that you use with her. I wouldn't stop using the one that you're both using with her currently, but I would want a secondary one that only you're using with a more consistent reinforcement history behind it. Lots of people have two recall cues - a casual one and an emergency one - so it's not super weird or anything.

    I wouldn't worry about other things re. other people's comments on dogs adapting to different people :)
     
  6. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    I know it's frustrating but just carry on with your training. I've trained collies for competitive obedience to the very highest level for over 40 years and yet my hubby (God bless him) still says "sit down". Dogs are very clever and basically perform for me and ignore him.....LOL
     
    LinznMilly, tabelmabel, O2.0 and 3 others like this.
  7. kahvi

    kahvi PetForums Junior

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    Thanks for all the advice! It's very reassuring to know that I can get her to adapt to one set of rules with me even if my partner has a more loosey goosey approach to her training!

    I was really worried that it meant that I wouldn't be able to achieve a strong recall or solid training results because cues mean different things coming from different people. Having said that I have noticed that I have a much better success with her when calling her to me.

    I'll keep on with what I'm doing but introduce the whistle as an emergency recall cue. If I have one whistle and I keep it my coat pocket there's no way he can devalue it :p
     
  8. MissKittyKat

    MissKittyKat ❤️ BSH, Silver Rules.....and Labs ❤️

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    This happened in our house when we rehomed our boy.

    My OH had always had dogs, I hadn't and also waited 16 yes of being together! I was super excited so read everything I could and inbetween the last time my partner had a dog and us getting Woody things in the training world had changed.

    He wanted to use what he knew and I didn't. Woody has adapted and as I spend most time with him he responds to me well and will be generally consistent with the OH.

    Regarding recall though I have done what @Torin. Has suggested and have a whistle recall as well as his name. As we rehomed him his name was always the recall cue so this gets used most often but I always take my whistle out and he will respond to this much better so it's my emergency cue, also means he hears an even sound.

    It took a while for him to learn and needs regular reinforcement but he was taught this at 3.5.

    One thing I would never do if I ever got a puppy is use thier name as a recall cue as it gets ignored so often :), well it does with my boy when he has his nose into something!
     
    kahvi likes this.
  9. kahvi

    kahvi PetForums Junior

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    Yep, this is pretty much the root of all our problems!

    I don't use Nuka's name for recall, but my partner does a lot of the time. It really irritates me but despite asking him to stop he hasn't :Meh

    I'm really hoping that if I'm consistent and put in a lot of work with her I'll be able to get to a point where she has a good recall with me at least
     
    tabelmabel and MissKittyKat like this.
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