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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there,

So, pretty much, my puppy has starting humping her toys very recently...

I do have her in puppy class and the trainer said that since she's only 11 weeks old it's not sexually driven, it's dominance. When she is with other dogs I DO see her as the "dominant" one, although not aggressive. Our trainer said that when she does it, to take the toy away and say "no". He says that because humping does not always go away when they are fixed, that taking the toy away tells the dog, "ok the fun ends when you start that behavior".

Do you agree with this method? I think I do for the most part, it just seems a tad unrealistic since she is allowed to have some toys in her crate when we're not home. Although, I'm hoping this behavior is only directed at the larger (dog sized) toys...

Any thoughts/opinions are appreciated!
 

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I don't personally agree with your trainer's logic or method. Puppies are born to rehearse all behaviors. It's this rehearsal that helps set their fitness. Fitness in passing on their genes.

But I take it you find the behavior objectionable? If so, instead of using an indiscriminate punishment like "NO!", I would sprint out the room to the refrigerator. She's likely to give chase. If she does, take a tid bit out of the fridge to reward her for a sit. You don't have to sprint out of the room, you could also clap your hands a few times, to announce your departure, and this may work as well.

If effective, wanting to play with you (chase you) becomes more rewarding than humping a toy.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I find the behavior embarassing, which is why I want to put a stop to it now so she doesnt think its acceptable as an adult. I guess I'll try what my trainer suggests for a bit, and if I dont start to see a difference, then incorporate the play time with me.

Am I the only one who has a problem with this behavior? lol
 

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I find the behavior embarassing, which is why I want to put a stop to it now so she doesnt think its acceptable as an adult.
That's fine, but how are you answer the question what do I want my dog to do instead? with "NO!"? All you're going to teach the dog with "NO!" is she can't hump when you're around. What's going to stop her when you're not around? You'll basically teach her the best time to hump is?...when you're gone. That's the problem with indiscriminate punishment, it does not instruct the dog which behavior is preferred.

Am I the only one who has a problem with this behavior? lol
Absolutely not. I don't know any puppy who's grown up to be a compulsive humper that didn't have other behavior problems that were left unattended. Most outgrow it as a function of maturity and appropriate learning.


Interestingly enough, the same trainer, lol.
 

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I agree with your trainer, too. I don't find the behavior objectionable, myself and I have a couple dogs that do it to each other in the heat of play. As long as the other doesn't mind, I don't mind. I wouldn't call it "dominance", I'd call it "playing king of the mountain" or "you aren't the boss of me". :) To me, dominance isn't about play.

Either method would probably work equally well to keep her from humping while you're around, but there's not going to be anyone to lure her away from the toy or give her a treat when you're not there, either. I do tell my dogs what NOT to do. I feel it's only fair. And they understand perfectly. It all depends on how they're raised as to whether they understand what "no" means.
 

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Either method would probably work equally well to keep her from humping while you're around, but there's not going to be anyone to lure her away from the toy or give her a treat when you're not there, either.
I didn't mention any lures. I mentioned an antecedent change.

Nevertheless, the point of reinforcing an alternate behavior is to teach the dog what behavior is preferred, what behavior is rewarding; where ultimately the behaviors you choose are made (with training) self rewarding than the objectionable behavior the dog chooses. You can only get behavior from reinforcement. You can not get behavior from punishment.

What you described is bribery, and bribery is something to avoid in reinforcement training.
 

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I didn't mention any lures.
I interpret running to the frig and getting a treat to be a lure (or bribery) in that it lures the dog away from the toy in exchange for a treat. I'm not completely sure how the dog interprets it.

Nevertheless, the point of reinforcing an alternate behavior is to teach the dog what behavior is preferred, what behavior is rewarding;
Oh, I know. I am very aware of the psychology behind reinforcing an alternate behavior. I've had many discussions about it and I use it myself, in certain situations. And I think it's very effective and I don't have any problem with it. There are times, though, when I don't care what my dogs do instead or I think they should figure out what to do instead. And not surprisingly, they are smart enough and resourceful enough to figure out something else to do on their own. I see it all the time.

You can only get behavior from reinforcement. You can not get behavior from punishment.
Again, I totally agree. But the poster was looking to stop a behavior. And I have empirical proof that stopping behavior is also very possible and effective.

What you described is bribery, and bribery is something to avoid in reinforcement training.
Again, I think it's a matter of interpretation. If you're certain that the dog doesn't interpret you running to the fridge and getting a treat as bribery, then I guess you're all right. I'm not so sure about it. :)

I'm just giving my opinion to the original poster. What their trainer described is what I would do in this particular situation.
 

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[As Dogstar is always reminding me] Humping in girls can be a sign of a UTI.
 

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I interpret running to the frig and getting a treat to be a lure (or bribery) in that it lures the dog away from the toy in exchange for a treat.
If you read what I wrote, the dog was given a tid bit for a sit. This is not bribery. Running to the fridge is an antecedent change to aid in extinguishing the behavior. How do you change behavior? You control the antecedent and the consequence. Very basic stuff here.

There are times, though, when I don't care what my dogs do instead or I think they should figure out what to do instead. And not surprisingly, they are smart enough and resourceful enough to figure out something else to do on their own. I see it all the time.
Yes, there's being proactive and reactive. I prefer being proactive, and I would never recommend dog guardians to accept being reactive.

But the poster was looking to stop a behavior. And I have empirical proof that stopping behavior is also very possible and effective.
Not with indiscriminate punishment you don't. If the poster ONLY wanted to stop the behavior they could have easily picked up the toy and put it away. But stopping the behavior is not what the poster wanted. They wanted the dog to have the toy, not hump it, and presummably the dog doing some other behavior the poster agrees with. Now you tell me, is sit a good behavior to reinforce?

If you're certain that the dog doesn't interpret you running to the fridge and getting a treat as bribery, then I guess you're all right. I'm not so sure about it.
I don't care what the dog is thinking, I'll never know. But I'm certain that if I reinforce sit now, its frequency is likely to increase in the future. I'm also certian that if I extinguish behavior with an antecedent change, the frequency will decrease in the future. Now this we DO have empirical proof for. These are the laws of learning theory.

I'm just giving my opinion to the original poster. What their trainer described is what I would do in this particular situation.
And I'm giving my opinon, and what I wouldn't do (use indiscriminate punishment), and what I think is a more logic approach using the laws of learning as we know them.
 

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I don't see what is so indiscriminate about telling a dog "No" as he is humping something. If your timing is good (easy in this case) Dogs will make the connection easily enough. You don't need a university professor to explain it to you. Millions of dog owners will attest to it.

The link above from CP is a survey done of 364 dog owners (70% of which were women and 60% of which used both positive and negative methods), handed out at a few dog parks, asking them what methods they used and the results. Statistically of course this is a joke; even if the individual responses were meaningful it would say nothing about the dog population (in the millions) as a whole. Moreover, relying on people's subjective opinions about their own training methods and results with no way of benchmarking between them is also ridiculous. If you are testing anything, you are testing whether people who say they use positive training are happier with their results than people who say they use negative training .....not who actually gets better results.

The social sciences world is full of studies (especially from surveys!) which are basically poppycock. By all means read them, absorb what makes sense, but never confuse them with having proven any sort of hypothesis.

Most people used both positive and negative methods with their dogs. IMHO negative methods are better for stopping unwanted behaviors. Keep things simple. Its just a question of timing so that the dog relates the punishment to his activity.

Beware of people with complicated explanations which defy common sense but are backed up by 'studies'.
 

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I don't see what is so indiscriminate about telling a dog "No" as he is humping something. If your timing is good (easy in this case) Dogs will make the connection easily enough. You don't need a university professor to explain it to you. Millions of dog owners will attest to it.
NO! hump, NO! chew on shoe, NO! pee on carpet, NO! bark. What exactly is discriminate about NO!? Again, it only takes a small exercise of logic to find the straightest path from A to B.

I can't speak to those who are fooled into believing NO! gets behavior, it doesn't, and your average dog handler will see whatever they want to see, not exactly the reality. I would also not be so foolish to believe we should leave it up to the dog to form his own associations, especially not with punishment. Those who are ignorant about classical conditioning would suggest so but, I thought "leaders" lead.

And you're right, we don't need a professor to tell us this...just common sense...that which appears to be fleeting.

The link above from CP is a survey done of 364 dog owners (70% of which were women and 60% of which used both positive and negative methods), handed out at a few dog parks, asking them what methods they used and the results. Statistically of course this is a joke; even if the individual responses were meaningful it would say nothing about the dog population (in the millions) as a whole. Moreover, relying on people's subjective opinions about their own training methods and results with no way of benchmarking between them is also ridiculous. If you are testing anything, you are testing whether people who say they use positive training are happier with their results than people who say they use negative training .....not who actually gets better results.
The point of the survey is quite simple, and I'm not so sure which Utopia you think dog trainers live in, but it's not yours.

The survey was meant to illustrate how the general public is ineffective with aversion...this is intuitive, you don't need a humongous sample size to make it more clearer. The timing you speak of is non existent among the average dog handler. It would be "ridiculous" on your part to ignore this reality.

Beware of people with complicated explanations which defy common sense but are backed up by 'studies'.
I find that people who are susceptible to memes are more likely to not have your best interest at heart.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
[As Dogstar is always reminding me] Humping in girls can be a sign of a UTI.
Even if it's only directed at her toys? But thanks for the heads up, she's going to the vet on Wednesday for her 2nd set of shots so I'll ask him to check her out :)

Regarding the luring, and please forgive me if I seem super naive, Im a first time dog owner...would that not eventually teach her, 'ok if I hump something, then I'll eventually get a treat!'...even if it means sitting for a bit.

Im not arguing your opinion, I came on here for many opinions, Im just trying to absorb everything lol
 

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Even if it's only directed at her toys?
I agree with jesirose. A medical reason for behavior should always be ruled out first.

Regarding the luring, and please forgive me if I seem super naive, Im a first time dog owner...would that not eventually teach her, 'ok if I hump something, then I'll eventually get a treat!'...even if it means sitting for a bit.
That is my position. I have to be very careful what I inadvertently teach my dogs. They're very smart and one is extremely strong willed. And if I'm not careful, I can reinforce a behavior that I'll be sorry for later.
 

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The survey was meant to illustrate how the general public is ineffective with aversion...
As per my comments above the survey in no way supports that hypothesis.

...you don't need a humongous sample size to make it more clearer.
Actually you would need a much bigger sample size to make the results at all meaningful in the context of the overall population of dogs. In this case however, the study is so flawed that a sample size in the millions would still prove nothing. People who run around quoting studies all the time would perhaps benefit from a little study of elementary statistics.

The timing you speak of is non existent among the average dog handler. It would be "ridiculous" on your part to ignore this reality.
Its amusing how the average handler does not have good enough timing for negative training, but then you advocate positive training methods where timing is equally important. You can't have it both ways.

In this case the average dog owner certainly has good enough timing to reprimand their dog for humping. I'm afraid your the one manufacturing your own reality, not me.
 

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Regarding the luring, and please forgive me if I seem super naive, Im a first time dog owner...would that not eventually teach her, 'ok if I hump something, then I'll eventually get a treat!'...even if it means sitting for a bit.
The ABC's of learning...Antecedent - Behavior - Consequence. You control over the antecedent and consequence determine what behavior you'll get.

Antecedent = "sit" or food lure, Behavior = butt moving towards ground, Consequence = food reward. To answer your question, no, cuing a sit or luring a sit does not reinforce humping. It reinforces sitting.

Or if you will...
A=running out of room, B=following you, C=food reward.

In both cases humping is never reinforced.

Now if you were being foolish and bribed the dog away from the toy, and gave the food reward for no other reason, yes, it is possible that everything between the humping and following the food will be reinforced. But again, I did not suggest a bribe, nor a lure, 4IC suggested my approach was lure...it is not.

As per my comments above the survey in no way supports that hypothesis.
Well, I'll accept this survey over your ONE trail opinion any day. Your welcome to submit a survey that suggests otherwise, from the one I posted, but I won't hold my breath.

Actually you would need a much bigger sample size to make the results at all meaningful in the context of the overall population of dogs. In this case however, the study is so flawed that a sample size in the millions would still prove nothing. People who run around quoting studies all the time would perhaps benefit from a little study of elementary statistics.
You've got to be kidding me. This paper was published. Do you know what that means? It withstood peer review and was generally accepted to be true. I'm sorry, but you're no peer to those who did review this study. You're one person seeking affirmation. I'm not concerned about your ego and you won't find affirmation coming from me.

Its amusing how the average handler does not have good enough timing for negative training, but then you advocate positive training methods where timing is equally important. You can't have it both ways.
Not amusing, realistic. It doesn't take much common sense to understand non-contingent correction can at best result in a not very well-trained animal and at worse HARM an animal. You may continue to willfully overlook the considerable evidence to support this but, at best non-contingent reinforcement will result in no ill effects, and at worse a not very well trained animal. Your willingness to advocate non-contingent correction has more to do with being out of touch with a guardian's needs, and in not knowing how to effectively use reinforcement.

Disagree with me? That's okay, I've been more concerned about how much TP I had in my restroom than I do your approval. But if you disagree with Bob Bailey you're a fool.
http://www.clickersolutions.com/articles/2002/punishment.htm
 

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My Min PIn does this sometimes. The vet told me to just ignore it and she would stop. This seems to work. She only does this when things change( our routine). I took the toys away from her at first but then spoke with the vet about it. This has really helped her and us not changing her routine helps. We have to keep our routine the same as much as possible for her not to do this...Good luck.
 
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