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Hello, my recently adopted 5 month old cocker spaniel mix has been ignoring training when I am not present. He is very well behaved and knows what he can and can not do, as long as I am in sight.

For example, he knows he is not allowed on the bed. I leash him to his cage (right beside the bed) when I take showers, and when I come back I ALWAYS catch him on my bed.

Is there anyway to teach a puppy to be obedient even when you are not around?
 

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If there is no way to catch the dog in the act, I don't think there IS a way to keep him off the bed. I also wanted to mention that I think it's a very bad idea to leave your dog tethered to a crate when you aren't in the room- especially since he can reach the bed. He could easily hang himself.
 

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I've got several ideas:

1) Close the door to the bedroom so the dog can't get near the bed.
2) Put the dog IN the crate so the dog can't get near the bed.
3) Shorten the leash so that the dog tied to the crate can't get near the bed.
4) Teach an "on" command and an "off" command. Only allow the dog on the bed when it's covered in a dog-friendly blanket and you've given your on command.
5) Make sure the dog has a comfortable place of its own to sleep. Perhaps you need to add more padding or an object that smells comfortingly of you.
 

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Dogs are opportunistic. It has nothing to do with good or bad, it just IS. He is also quite simply a very young puppy and you are assuming things he "knows" when he very likely has not generalized the learning. They are very specific about discrimination but not at generalization... he has not learned yet that don't get on the bed MEANS NEVER get on the bed. Try not to put thoughts or motives in the dog's head..he's not fully trained and he won't be for a good long time. Dogs do not mature mentally before 18 months of age..they do get consistently BETTER but it ain't perfect til it's perfecct..simple as that.

I also agree that tethering him to the cage when UNSUPERVISED is very potentially dangerous. He should be in the crate. Tethering should only ever occur when their is supervision.
 

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There are two general things I think about anytime I am confronted with a new training scenario, especially when we're talking about changing bad behaviors.

1) I want to prevent the dog from ever having a chance to rehearse the behavior again, ever. From now on, your dog is never going to get the opportunity to be up on the bed. This means he never gets to be alone in the bedroom with access to the bed. He should be crated or left in another room. If you continue to leave him loose in the bedroom when you're not around (hoping that you've done enough training that now he finally "gets it" or something else) and he decides to jump up on the bed, he's just rewarded himself for making that decision. He's learned that the consequence of jumping up on the bed is a warm, comfy spot to sleep. If you come out of the bathroom, find him on the bed, and scold him, he's actually not making the association that he has done anything wrong. If you use corrections, the proper time to use them would be AS he is jumping onto the bed, not after he has jumped on to the bed, laid down, and had a short nap. If you correct him after he's done the behavior, he isn't sure what he is getting corrected for. Maybe he wagged his tail at you when he saw you, but you correct him for being on the bed -- he thinks you're correcting him for wagging his tail. It's a possible association that could happen.

2) How can I make doing what I want the dog to do way more rewarding to the dog than doing what the dog wants to do? This is probably the only way you will ever get your dog to be loose in the room without jumping onto the bed. Because you can't correct the dog for jumping up when you're not in the room, corrections won't work in this scenario (and all he needs is one jump onto the bed that didn't get corrected to reinforce the behavior and make it much, much harder to get rid of). Instead, give your dog a nice, warm doggy bed. If he likes to sleep in his crate, maybe put it in there. Cover the crate with a blanket or cloth to make it a dark, cozy space. Then, with you in the room (and continuing to prevent your dog from jumping onto the bed), reward your dog for choosing to go into the crate on his own. Then reward him for staying in it. Build up the stay to about 10-15 seconds. Then try out of sight stays. Walk out the door, walk back, reward the dog for staying in the crate. Then do it from the bathroom. With each success, increase duration until you eventually get to the length where you want to be.

Personally, I'm not sure that training this behavior is worth that much work. It might be to you, though.

One thing I would caution you against is the "he knows the behavior, he's choosing to disobey me" line of thinking. The slightest change in environment can mess up a behavior for a dog. Your presence is a HUGE change in environment! It's like the two dogs who live together, and when they're both in the same room, one dog won't touch the other dog's couch spot... but as soon as that dog has left, the couch spot becomes fair game. Your dog hasn't learned "I am not allowed on the bed", he has learned "when owner is present, attempts at jumping onto the bed are corrected".

Another thing you could try is figuring out how long your dog is good for alone until he jumps on the bed. It could be useful to know if he's jumping on the bed as soon as you are out of sight or after several minutes. You could try going into the bathroom, running the water, and coming out after 30 seconds, then a minute, etc. If nothing else, this will teach him that you don't have a predictable length of time that you'll be in there.

Is there a reason you don't crate him when you shower?
 

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I promise you that at 5 months old, he does not "know" he's not allowed on your bed. Just because you keep him off it when you are around, doesn't mean he knows.

Also, at 5 months old, there's little chance of teaching him to be obedient when no one is looking. You can provide really good chewies that he might PREFER to chew on rather than furniture, for instance, but you can't force him to be obedient when you're not around.

At this age, it's all about prevention...
 

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As mentioned, dogs cannot "BE" sneaky. That implies they can rationalize. They can't. Don't tie to a crate. Either close bedroom door to keep dog out, or crate.
 
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