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Poisoned cues and questions about putting a behavior on cue

941 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  3GSD4IPO
Because my dog learned to heel with a choke chain, I'm pretty certain that the "heel" cue elicits a negative emotional response. After her horrible couple weeks of compulsion praise training, I started luring her into a heel off leash and used the same cue when she reached the desired position. It was my newb attempt at creating a cool and positive behavior and erasing the misery of the choke chain. Everything seemed ok in my house when I cued the behavior off leash and she really seemed to handle it well.

I walk her on a harness and still use the cue "heel" and it's a management tool to keep her next to me for her safety. I'm not asking for much in her position and just randomly reinforce when shes in the general position as we go. The behavior isn't proofed and she breaks from it when distracted. I'll try an attention noise or I'll put pressure on the harness if shes stuck sniffing. I'm sure the latter solution probably contributes to stress as well...:redface:

I'm not sure if it's the stress of being restricted from investigating the environment, and or in conjunction with a negative conditioned emotional response to the cue, but she really falls apart. It could also be trigger stacking or that my reinforcement schedule is too arousing. All of these things most likely! Anyway, you can see that I'm dealing with fun stuff here...:(

So I have never really put a behavior on cue the correct way and I'm curious about the timing in adding the cue to the behavior. She offers the heel position at times. I guess this means the behavior lacks stimulus control? So is it possible that I can just properly time a new cue to the behavior as she offers it? What does this timing look like? Does the behavior itself have a negative CER or is it just the cue?

Also, How does one go about putting stimulus control on a behavior. HAHA I know I have asked a lot already, so feel free to ingore this one!

I saw a Sue Sternberg lecture where she advocates a competition heel for reactive dogs in order to manage them out of problematic situations by limiting the dogs view and having them so excited to perform this behavior. I guess I'd like to have this in my arsenal and I'm not sure where to start.

I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually, but I'm hoping someone here can advise and possibly expedite my education.

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