rewarding behaviour is barking during a stay. I reward the quiet and
ignore the barking. He barks and rewards himself. So, the whole stay
is rewarding. Whether it's a 5 second stay or a 5 minute stay.
who was a better trainer than me helped with a "problem" Q&A
that has never failed.
- What is
Barking on the stays. Roll your eyes here and I can immediately think
of shelties who are really bad barkers on more than stays. Dachshunds,
poodles and GSD are bad whiners. So this is not an uncommon problem,
and many whining and barking problems have been solved without NRMs.
- When does
this problem occur?
Just on the stays? I know a aussie who likes to bark on stays and
it also happens when the handler gives contradictory cues - termed
as the dog "telling the handler off". But when does this
dog bark on the stays? Any other times?
- When does
the problem not occur?
Which makes you go back and readdress the second question. Does the
problem occur when other dogs are lined up with it but not on the
sit stay for the recall? Does it occur when the handler lines it up
with other dogs and doesn't leave the dog - but the dog still stays?
Does it happen when the handler moves directly in front of the dog
and faces it during the stay? So this question makes you examine the
training log - you were keeping a training log, weren't you? - and
identify the distance and time when the barking started - because
most dogs don't start learning the stay with barking - it's a learned
- How did
you teach the response you want?
This question makes you break down the steps, look at the log, makes
you examine the criteria, rate of reinforcement, and actual number
of repetitions you have performed correctly and incorrectly. Sometimes,
it's pretty obvious the dog hasn't the faintest idea what you want
- sometimes a gap is found between the "here, but not here"
and the way you taught it. Many times, it occurs during duration strain.
- The last
is "show me."
What is described and what the handler does frequently isn't the same.
The handler says "I always ..." and then fails to get the
dog to show the behavior - or when he thinks the dog will perform
correctly, the dog flubs it. What
the handler observes is not what the dog is doing.
In the case
of barking or whining on the stays, there is usually a distance involved,
usually specific to the line-up and not the recall (although it can
sometimes occur with both), and usually occurs when the handler has
progressed too rapidly at the point when stress started showing during
the training. One of my dogs, even after years of donig the stays out
of sight well, still sniffed as I returned, showing my return was still
stressful since sometimes I returned and "corrected" her and
sometimes I returned and praised and she didn't know the difference.
Can you fix
barking on the stays without a NRM? Absolutely. A key is probably when
she does perform a stay without barking. And your answer is not "never."
You may only be thinking of the context of a formal sit-stay. The dog
probably does know sit-stay without barking, just not in the context
you are using.
Go to a park
bench. Ask your dog to sit. Pull out a book and read a page. Did your
dog bark? You have a sit-stay without a bark. Go to a line up of dogs.
Ask your dog to sit. Pull out a book. Have the others leave, read your
book while you stand there with your dog. Did the dog bark? You don't
have a sit-stay-bark-when-handler-leaves problem. You have a dog in
the line-up-bark problem.
copyright 2001 Barbara Nibling
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