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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I really need to stop reading dog stuff sometime. This is my first dog and I'm brain-flooded with stuff, trying to learn how to train him, some fun things to do, looking for books on "dog language", etc.

Anyway, I came across a site that said if a dog jumps/puts his paws on you/leans on you, that's him disrespecting you.

Now, not only do I know what is meant by "leaning" - If it's slanting sideways like a person might lean to one side, I've never seen ANY dog do that.

But the jumping thing is what I wonder about. Usually in the morning, or after a nice really long nap, Wally will see me and come trotting up to me and jump on me and stretch. I figure I'm just convienant for him to stretch up on, and he'll also sniff my hand and lick my fingers (not sure why, not like there's any food on them!)

Also if we're outside playing chase or something, he'll run up to me and "catch" me by jumping up on me then back and do his "running-hopping-at-the-speed-of-walking trick that looks really, really weird. (He's moving like he's running, but the speed is barely faster than me walking)

Nothing about this seems like any sort of "disrespect" to me, especially since he'll follow the commands/directions he does know is calm, will go where I direct him (with just a point of the finger a lot of times) so it just seems like there's nothing but mutual respect/communication going on.

Then I read a site that says you SHOULD let your dog do this, especially if he's a little nervous because he's asking for your protection. I know sometimes he'll jump on me and then sit down as he looks at whatever is troubling him.

So much conflicting information. At least there's none about what the calming singals mean.


EDIT: I am teaching him to jump on invitation, so maybe he'll do a little less of it outside of the "hey look at that over there!" thing. He also doesn't jump up on beds/furniture without invitation, just on legs and really just mine.
 

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I really need to stop reading dog stuff sometime. This is my first dog and I'm brain-flooded with stuff, trying to learn how to train him, some fun things to do, looking for books on "dog language", etc.

Anyway, I came across a site that said if a dog jumps/puts his paws on you/leans on you, that's him disrespecting you.

Now, not only do I know what is meant by "leaning" - If it's slanting sideways like a person might lean to one side, I've never seen ANY dog do that.

But the jumping thing is what I wonder about. Usually in the morning, or after a nice really long nap, Wally will see me and come trotting up to me and jump on me and stretch. I figure I'm just convienant for him to stretch up on, and he'll also sniff my hand and lick my fingers (not sure why, not like there's any food on them!)

Also if we're outside playing chase or something, he'll run up to me and "catch" me by jumping up on me then back and do his "running-hopping-at-the-speed-of-walking trick that looks really, really weird. (He's moving like he's running, but the speed is barely faster than me walking)

Nothing about this seems like any sort of "disrespect" to me, especially since he'll follow the commands/directions he does know is calm, will go where I direct him (with just a point of the finger a lot of times) so it just seems like there's nothing but mutual respect/communication going on.

Then I read a site that says you SHOULD let your dog do this, especially if he's a little nervous because he's asking for your protection. I know sometimes he'll jump on me and then sit down as he looks at whatever is troubling him.

So much conflicting information. At least there's none about what the calming singals mean.


I don't think its disrespectful. As long as he knows you are in charge and follows your direction and commands. Heck I let my dogs sleep on me when we are watching tv. Sasha jumps up and stretches on my legs two but she also follows commands and knows we are in charge not her

I would use all the info you learn as a guide, nothing is set in stone. Some dogs respond to things differently than others. use it as a guide not fact. Use what works and throw out the rest
 

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Heh, that initial information overload takes a few weeks to get through. I'm sure deep down you know what behavior you do and do not tolerate. Just keep reading and the more info you absorb, the more it comes together. I for one, let my dogs remain on furniture and beds while I take the floor spot. A lot of things I've read would suggest that I have problems with "position" amongst the dogs. Pfft. It's all about what you and your dog feel comfortable with within your relationship.
 

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He's not disrespecting you, don't worry.

When a dog jumps up on you, it's usually just a greeting or an attention-getting behavior. Dogs jump up and lick each others' faces when they greet them. Unfortunately, many humans view this as rude... especially when the dog has just run through the mud or something lol...

If you want to stop it, just ignore it. Cross your arms and turn to the side in order to take his space away, so he gets back down. If he does it again, just repeat. Once all four paws are on the ground, THEN he gets praise. >^_^<

EDIT: MAN you guys are fast!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah, really fast! I got a notice of a reply, and see the thread has several replies!

Thanks for the info, I had a feeling he was just greeting me or getting my attention for something (sometimes, he'll do it and then sit looking all miserable. Turns out, this his "can I PLEEEEEEEASE <insert one of: go potty, go to bed, have a blanket because I'm cold, get up there with you because I'm lonely> look.
 

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Personally, I find it kind of rude when a dog jumps on me, but that's because I'm human... from the dogs point of view I don't think they're doing it out of disrespect or rudeness, I'm not sure if dogs are even capable of such feelings... to me it's just lack of training a dog NOT to do it.

It's kind of personal choice on whether or not you train your dog not to jump on you or any one at all. I feel a lot better training them not to because not EVERYONE wants a 65lb dog on them :p Not to mention muddy paws etc.

As for a dog jumping on you for protection, I've honestly never heard of that. My dogs (one specifically) tend to hide BEHIND me when something scares them, rather than jump on me and thus possibly taking me to the ground where I deffinately can't deffend them there :p

Oh, and yes dogs can lean on you. I've heard countless times that this is a dog, quite litterly, pushing his weight on you meaning he doesn't respect you as an alpha. I've heard this countless times but both of my dogs know I'm the Alpha and yet both of them will lean on me for pets and hugs when they're invited for them... so to me it's a way for the dog to get close and show affection rather than impose himself on you. But that's mostly my personal experience and opinion. I'm not really sure of the true meaning of a dog leaning on you...

ETA - Geez, when i started typing this there wasn't a signle reply, I hit the post button and everyone's beat me to it! lol
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It's kind of personal choice on whether or not you train your dog not to jump on you or any one at all. I feel a lot better training them not to because not EVERYONE wants a 65lb dog on them :p Not to mention muddy paws etc.
True, a reason why I do want to train the "invitation jumping" which he does seem to understand. Perhaps I need to do more withdrawing attention for the "offered" jumps. Then I can invite him up for our greeting.

Good point about the muddy paws. Even though I don't have 65 lb of dog (wow) but muddy paws, or I have something in my hands, etc.

As for a dog jumping on you for protection, I've honestly never heard of that. My dogs (one specifically) tend to hide BEHIND me when something scares them, rather than jump on me and thus possibly taking me to the ground where I deffinately can't deffend them there :p
I thought that was weird too, but then I saw my dog do exactly that. I guess he feels sheltered between the point he can reach and where my arm/hand comes down around his head/neck area. Of course there was this one time that he was attacked by another dog and he did that so I could pick him up off the ground.

Oh, and yes dogs can lean on you. I've heard countless times that this is a dog, quite litterly, pushing his weight on you meaning he doesn't respect you as an alpha. I've heard this countless times but both of my dogs know I'm the Alpha and yet both of them will lean on me for pets and hugs when they're invited for them... so to me it's a way for the dog to get close and show affection rather than impose himself on you. But that's mostly my personal experience and opinion. I'm not really sure of the true meaning of a dog leaning on you...
Yeah, there's a lot of stuff like that and it's getting me confused LOL. I'm starting to come to the conclusion that, like people, each dog is very different and it just depends on the relationship and the personality.
 

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Many dogs learn to work around ineffective owners (no assumptions made of anyone here), in order to satisfy their appetitive requirements. Dogs are often perceived to be "such-n-such" when in fact they simply learned through operant conditioning to manipulate their environment appropriately in order to gain satisfaction. Leaning is a learned behavior.

We should expect animals to maximize reinforcers and minimize punishments. Learning theory accounts for behaviors like this clearly and concisely, offering extremely high descriptive, explanatory, and predictive value, where a "such-n-such" label does not.

Beyond that, learning theory offers a clear set of principles for treating the problem (if it is one), by positively reinforcing behaviors one wants, and not reinforcing behaviors we don't want.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
For sure, I've never looked at so much about learning theory/behavorism until now!

I definitely believe a dog can be anything you want him to be, as long as it's physically dog possible (no flying, sadly :D) and you know how to get there, and dealing with set-backs/unwanted side effects. (what I'm trying to learn more of)

It is a good way to look at it, as you describe. I try to do so myself, knowing that as smart as dogs are, they don't have a lot of feelings/emotions that we humans do.

Of course, that's what the other half of my dog-info-flooded brain is filled with. Learning/training styles!


EDIT: I love your banner, I smiled and found myself agreeing :)
 

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Many dogs learn to work around ineffective owners (no assumptions made of anyone here), in order to satisfy their appetitive requirements. Dogs are often perceived to be "such-n-such" when in fact they simply learned through operant conditioning to manipulate their environment appropriately in order to gain satisfaction. Leaning is a learned behavior.

We should expect animals to maximize reinforcers and minimize punishments. Learning theory accounts for behaviors like this clearly and concisely, offering extremely high descriptive, explanatory, and predictive value, where a "such-n-such" label does not.

Beyond that, learning theory offers a clear set of principles for treating the problem (if it is one), by positively reinforcing behaviors one wants, and not reinforcing behaviors we don't want.


What a what? sorry i didn't understand a thing you just said. Could you explain it and in a way that is easy to understand
 

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Many dogs learn to work around ineffective owners (no assumptions made of anyone here), in order to satisfy their appetitive requirements. Dogs are often perceived to be "such-n-such" when in fact they simply learned through operant conditioning to manipulate their environment appropriately in order to gain satisfaction. Leaning is a learned behavior.

We should expect animals to maximize reinforcers and minimize punishments. Learning theory accounts for behaviors like this clearly and concisely, offering extremely high descriptive, explanatory, and predictive value, where a "such-n-such" label does not.

Beyond that, learning theory offers a clear set of principles for treating the problem (if it is one), by positively reinforcing behaviors one wants, and not reinforcing behaviors we don't want.
What a what? sorry i didn't understand a thing you just said. Could you explain it and in a way that is easy to understand

Basic translation:

Lots of people think dogs can be "dominant" or "disrespectful" or "rude" when in fact, they are just learners. He's not leaning against you or jumping on you because he thinks he's the boss; he's leaning or jumping on you because he's found it to be rewarding in the past (he received attention).

We should expect animals to do as many behaviours which they consider rewarding as possible, and as few behaviours which they consider punishing as possible. In other words, if a dog knows he'll rewarded for a certain behaviour, he's going to try to do it more often; if a dog knows he'll get punished, he'll try to minimise the behaviour (or in some cases, do it out of your sight). Learning theory -- the theory behind how animals learn -- helps to explain why behaviours like jumping and leaning are not signs of dominance, but signs that they have found these behaviours rewarding, or the opposite behaviours punishing.

Beyond that, learning theory also shows you how to use rewards and punishments to get the behaviours you do and don't want.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Speaking of learning theories - do you feel it is possible to "reinforce" fear? (and should I rename this thread? ;) )

For example, a dog is scared of whatever and the whatever isn't really going to hurt the dog (say it's some object laying on the ground, or a big tree at night, a good friend in the neighborhood etc - something completely and utterly normal)

I've read that if you pet/stroke/console the dog, you're reinforcing the fear behavior basically saying "yes, you SHOULD be afraid of that whatever and you are acting correctly", and that instead, you should just ignore it, unless the dog is taking an action that would hurt him/you/someone else.

Does that make sense? Part of me thinks it does, part of me think it doesn't.
 

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Speaking of learning theories - do you feel it is possible to "reinforce" fear? (and should I rename this thread? ;) )

For example, a dog is scared of whatever and the whatever isn't really going to hurt the dog (say it's some object laying on the ground, or a big tree at night, a good friend in the neighborhood etc - something completely and utterly normal)

I've read that if you pet/stroke/console the dog, you're reinforcing the fear behavior basically saying "yes, you SHOULD be afraid of that whatever and you are acting correctly", and that instead, you should just ignore it, unless the dog is taking an action that would hurt him/you/someone else.

Does that make sense? Part of me thinks it does, part of me think it doesn't.
When I went to obedience school (who do you think gets trained at obedience school? The dog? yeah right!), they told us not to 'baby' your dog if he fears something but to speak matter-of-factly, like, say, 'It's ok' without any emotion and just go on with what you were doing. Of course, if your dog is extremely afraid, he may need to see a behaviourist. I have the opposite problem; my dog doesn't fear anything so I have to try and stop her from jumping on a dog 10 times bigger than her!
 

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No, fear can not be reinforced. Fear is a respondent behavior. Respondent behaviors are reflexes, biology, or bodily conditions - these are innate to the animal. Salivating, pupils constricting, rate of eye blink, fight or flight responses, muscle tension, rate of respiration, heart rate; these are all responses that demonstrate a dog is in fear. Fear, however, is not voluntary, therefore, it does not fall under the rules of reinforcement that you would find in operant conditioning. So no, you can not reinforce fear.

What you can do is condition the dog to be fearful. Conditioning is not the same as reinforcement, and the difference is simple...reinforcement occurs after the target behavior; the conditioned stimulus occurs before the target behavior. In this case fear is the target behavior. The conditioned stimulus would need to be paired with an aversive (an unconditioned stimulus that also occurs before the target behavior) in order to elicit a fear response. Example: dog sees and sniffs a novel box on the floor (conditioned stimulus), you make a loud noise behind the dog to startle him (unconditioned stimulus), dog flees (unconditioned response). Do this enough and the box (conditioned stimulus) will elicit fleeing without the loud noise (unconditioned stimulus), and the behavior is said to be the conditioned response.

The question I would ask is, is coddling an aversive that would elicit a fearful response? That depends on the dog, however I would say if you have a long standing relationship with the dog, coddling would not be aversive. But I would also suggest the dog reads more than your coddling. The dog also reads your body language, perhaps even your scent is a trigger, and if all these stimuli add up in the dog's mind to be fearful, then yes, you can coddle (condition) fear inadvertently. That's why it is often recommended to do and say nothing...just let the dog be, so as not to inadvertently condition a fear response.

However, I do believe owners with a solid relationship and bond with their dog can elicit calm behaviors in the presence of fearful stimulus, but that's not something that can be easily discussed or demonstrated on an internet forum.
 

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I don't know, I'd say coddling/rewarding a fearful reaction from something would teach the dog it's okay to be fearful.
Example, and I know I'm not quite a dog, but same thing; when I was really little I was in a bad car accident. It scared me, but at the time I was too young (7) to really understand the full affects of what happened and what COULD have happened. Until the night we came home from the town we'd had the accident in (so, one night afterwards), and my mom tucked me in at night she hugged me and told me I'm very luck and should pray to God and thank him that I came out of it alive.
That night I lay awake all night with images passing through my mind and the realization of what COULD have happened.
I've been deathly afraid of driving ever since...

Not quite the same, and more in depth thinking going on because I'm a human and not a dog, but same basic thing: my mom hugged me and and her intentions were to be comforting but in the end she made me think that there was a REASON to be afraid when in the start I was scared but not in total fear.

Cuddling a dog and telling him "it's okay", even when you have good intentions, is rewarding the behavior and teaching the dog that it's okay to be scared.

Telling the dog in a non emotional tone 'it's alright' or whatever isn't punishing OR rewarding the behavior and therefore, since dogs tend to move on from things that don't affect them negatively or positively in any real form, it becomes a no big deal thing.

It's late and I'm tired so I really hope that makes sense...
 

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Some dogs are just what I call "leaners". Bouvs do this. Borzois do it. Sometimes whippets even do it. Shepherds will on occasion. I met a boston that did it lol. Those are just a few examples that I've noticed just at dogs shows. I don't think it's them disrespecting you... I'm not sure what it is, but a lot of dogs do this all the time. I wouldn't take offense. And as for him jumping... We get mad when our dog jumps on us, but they're all shepherds and too big to do that lol. I don't hink it's a big deal with little dogs, unless you think it's disrespect.
 
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