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Marking Indoors - Can R+ only suffice?

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by RobD-BCactive, Apr 6, 2011.


  1. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    So a dog in a recent VS show, was marking indoors, especially new incoming items left on the floor.

    The strategy used was twofold, take the male dogs out regular to mark outdoors, depriving them of payload for use indoors, setting them up for success, probaby negative-punishment in relation to indoor marking.

    But secondly, a positive-punishment of a sharp surprising verbal reprimand was used, when the dog cocked it's leg with intention to mark, delivered from hiding with a lure of new items placed in suitable spot on floor. Thus the rules for effective Punishment were met, and it indeed worked.

    Could a purely positive-reinforcement method have been used in place?
     
  2. Pawsitive

    Pawsitive PetForums Junior

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    I think the idea of distraction is good - but maybe without the sound aversion although there is a youtube vid of Kikopups using what they call a 'positive interruptor' which seems to work and isn't aversive :)

    YouTube - How to stop unwanted behavior- the positive interrupter- dog training clicker training

    Personally I would get (or at least try to!) the dog's attention the minute I see the intended behaviour and ask for an incompatible behaviour - sit / down etc (obviously rewarding desired behaviour)

    I would also continue reinforcing that weeing outside is really great (essentially as if i'm toilet training puppies again) and give rewards / jackpots every time I see the slightest dribble outside ;)

    Great question though, interesting to see what people think.
     
  3. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    That seems like a good insight to me!

    When I had an in house indoor mark, I missed the intention or the timing for a punishment, so unprepared I just took outside and encouraged marking, exactly as if it were toilet training. Then I cleaned as thoroughly as possible the spot. I've had no repetition, not even of the intention which I would have interrupted so it would appear effective there.

    2 of the other occasions, were in likely spots where other dogs had marked already (a front desk corner in Vet) and a similar corner in Pet Supplies Shop which encourages dogs inside and I'd seen 2 dogs mark months before in one visit, before they could mop.

    1 other occasion, was a traffic cone used in hall for dog training, and had to be told it had happened as my attention was elsewhere.

    So actually the positive interruption technique to avoid "situations" & likely undesirable behaviour, has drawback for rare events by a generally well behaved dog that you simply don't expect or forsee them, so aren't ready to intervene with no warning.

    Certainly in the dog class, rather than standing by the cone waiting, I could require a Sit or Down or stand away from the tempting traffic cone, but again that's really just negative-punishment.

    It seems tough to proof and reinforce a negative behaviour of "not cocking your leg and marking" which is happening 99.99% of the time in indoor locations. I do want the dog to have down time in for example that class situation, but agree it's feasible when visiting "shop" environment say again to manage more closely. I suspect constant supervision (the houehold had 4 dogs) would have been a tough sell to the family, in the show.
     
    #3 RobD-BCactive, Apr 6, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
  4. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    Can't stand the use of noise aversion - it is more likely to be intimidating than educating ;) especially given teh awful timing of most pet owners and lots of dog trainers :D

    It should be understood that escalated marking behaviour is a stress response and its not terribly efficient, effective or fair to introduce stressors (aversives, noise aversion) to an already worried dog :frown2:
     
  5. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    As it is unlikely that VS will pop up here, and explain her reasoning in the case. I shall try to defend her decision. She did proabably consider and rule out particular stress factors being very significant. She identified the "culprit" as the smaller male exluding the larger over-marker male from positive-punishment and was the one who did the punishment by startling verbal interruption. The "culprit" had joined a rather chaotic multi-dog family household as a stray, so initially had very likely too little supervision to establish ground rules and marked particularly new objects like toys. A speedy solution was desirable as a small child was present.

    Stress causing marking, would then be a reason not to use the punishment, and I presume tripod would advocate calming techniques as published on her website.

    I'm not sure if tripod is meaning that the "treat it like house training" approach suffice letting the indoor marking peter out gradually though.

    I would guess, very many might find that passive strategy too slow working. I hoped for some honest and open debate on an area where there's likely to be a demand for punishing, a negative undesirable behaviour. That despite all my experience (40+ years) with dogs in my life, tells me that stopping unwanted behaviours negatively is a futile exercise, probably because effective punishment is so hard to do right. I would love a simple effective R+/P- solution which was less demanding on handler attention and time.
     
    #5 RobD-BCactive, Apr 7, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011
  6. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    I still don't see this as acceptable. I have seen her deal with this prob in a couple of shows but don't know if we are talking about the same case.

    How did she exclude stress inducing factors, considering this is a stress related behaviour?

    I still don't get that verbal reprimands used in an intimidating way are ok here. I also don't think that she has wonderful timing ;) either.

    You describe the situation as chaotic with little supervision - this is a people training issue and to me the introduction of aversives is not ok here, so early on.

    I just about advocate calming measures for all dogs ;) :D Only because I feel that its the bit that, in my experience, is left out but ccontributes to soooooooooo many issues.

    Part of my marking protocol may include housetraining protocols but marking is different from having accidents due to having developed an attraction to unsuitable substrate.

    I would also be concerned that this marking is in response to the activity of the children and/or other dogs in this household.

    Housetraining protocols are anything but passive ;) Rob but any real behaviour modification is goint to involve involvement, supervision and lots of management. no quick fixes :tongue_smilie: :D

    I can put together an R+ protocol for this if you like as its an issue I regularly see with clients. Can't promise it being less demanding on time and attention ;) :D
     
  7. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    The dog was called "Paco" the other Male was may be "Marco", with 2 bitches and 1 small child.

    In another programme recently shown VS, actually had an explanation piece to cam, where she suggested "stress" as an explanation, so I would credit her with awareness and checking for that issue.

    However, there were signs of poor house training, suggesting past under-supervision where another dog seemed to urinate. Improving the dog's lifestyle by exercising and all those usual remedies applied in these shows, may have helped considerably.

    As reprimands go it was actually on the surgical end of the scale, and she did it as the leg started to be cocked, following a sniff. Whether is is "acceptable", all I can say on any fine weekend day when the irregular dog walkers are about, you'ld see far worse.

    I would love to see some great ideas, which worked without the constant monitoring, for that surely is the weakness of R+/P-, and used as a justification for the disgusting, barbaric, ought to be illegal "stimming" and so on, that damages dogs due to the ignorance and laziness of their "loving" owners.
     
  8. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    Yeah but the P+ was also needing lots of monitoring - moreso than a R+ protocol.
    Housetraining is about monitoring.

    In a very superficial way you could strucutre a protocol around the following ideas, without the need to yell, make noise or otherwise use intimidation which is the 'unacceptable' that I was referring to.

    - crate training - calming, de-stressing and an easy to execute management tool, strictly keeping to the mantra that free time is for empty dogs
    - tehtering the dog to the person or limited area under supervision
    - cleaning up properly
    - teach peeing on cue in appropriate places - high value rewards for performance (basic housetraining protocols too)
    - belly bands as managment tool
    - look at diet and medical conditions
    - and yes, calming measures (Iknow, yawn, you're tired of hearing it from me!)

    I don't want to make this about VS or any other trainer but since you bring up that she was aware of the distress component why then, if the trainer understands that, does she introduce potentially intimidating reprimands that are likely to increase distress?
    I realise that you can't answer the question but this is what bothers me about this particular person and the understanding of certain dog behaviours in general.
     
  9. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Yeh! I always imagine you diagnosing all Border Collies as hyper-active in need of tranquilisers ;)
     
  10. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

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    This is where having a very reliable, incompatible behaviour becomes very useful. If you have a great 'SIT' (an "ultra-super sit" as Dr Dunbar refers to it!), every time the dog goes to pee, this command could be given and rewarded for being performed and then the dog could be taken outside to pee.

    Obviously, this is a hard one to pull off as it is a command given at the very worst time for a dog (the dog's probably thinking: "You're kidding me, right? You want me to SIT now?! :D) but it can come in handy when you put the time into making one command as bomb-proof as possible!
     
  11. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    To be fair to VS, also "Paco" did not have a reliable anything, he was viewed as "untrainable" by the owner, but did with persisten patience get things.
     
  12. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    LOL :D not quite but just wish dogs were taught how to self calm - would prob put me out of a job :D
     
  13. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    You bring up an excellent point that needs to be taken into account when using cues as interrupters or instructive reprimands. If we use them to halt rewarding behaviours there are two things to bear in mind: use a very very highly rewarding reinforcer for the interrupting behaviour (ie. sit) and that the cue sit may become aversive if not appropriately rewarded.

    So if you use your interrupter (e.g. my dog's main one is 'wait' a freeze behaviour) to stop the dog doing something the dog finds rewarding e.g. for my dog this would be squirrel chasing there are a couple of things to do. When he 'waits' and doesn't chase then I could offer a great reward - yeah right, I am yet to find that lol!
    But I also ask for lots and lots and lots and lots of 'waits' in other non-emergency situations and release him if he complies (Premack- ing).
    So using the behaviour at lots of other times where loss of a big reward is not as significant and/or offering a greater alternative reward are important if not vital parts of proofing.
     
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