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While working through a number of routines, my dog has shown himself to be thoroughly dishonest.

The most recent of the tricks I am training are "spin", "roll", and "up" (stand on hind legs). I decided that these tricks have been taught long enough that I no longer need to lure him through them. So I just gave the word and hand cue and ignored him until he complied. I said "spin" and he "high fived" me (right in the eye), he "waved", he barked, he mooed, he rolled, he "commando crawled", he flopped on his back and flailed his legs like he was running. He basically offered every behavior except "spin". After a couple of minutes of us staring at each other, he did it and got his reward.

I was wondering if maybe he was unclear on the command, so I tried "roll" with the same result. Every behavior he knows--and a few improvisational moves--except the one requested. "Stand" went the same way. I eventually got what I was looking for and ended with a few tricks he's reliable with. With breaks in between, we did each of the tricks several times over the course of the evening--with the exact same opening act. Every time he stopped throwing a tantrum and focused on me, I gave him the cue again. And he, in each case, offered every conceivable alternative behavior before giving up the one requested.

If he were actually confused, and randomly throwing behaviors at me in the hopes of striking on the correct one, the laws of chance would seem to dictate that he would have accidentally hit on the requested behavior before running through his entire repertoire (and trying to mug me for the treat). But no, he was intentionally holding out on me. I'm convinced of it.

So my dog proves--once again--that he is a brat and a liar. The next morning, he performed each of the tricks as beautifully as if he'd been doing them for years. He sure makes me work for it sometimes.
 

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I have noticed this kind of thing in my dogs as well! There seems to be an unwillingness to offer the cued behavior after it has be learned but before it is completely fluent. They deliberately try everything else in the book and then finally seem to "give up" and offer the correct behavior. Merry will do puppy push ups for about a minute and a half and then finally do a snorting noise and offer the cued behavior. The good news is that after we go through this act a few times she finally starts to offer the behavior the first time I ask for it. :rolleyes: Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn!
 

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Well, my dog is a cheat. He's figured he can unscrew the lid of a tug and jug and that's easier work than pulling the food out of the mouth. Stupid dog.

I really want to teach my dog to do a few more tricks like this. Have you tried not rewarding the dog unless they perform the trick within X number of seconds?
 

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Have you tried not rewarding the dog unless they perform the trick within X number of seconds?
I don't like to stress the dog over non-critical "tricks" so I don't press him for more than a few seconds unless I know he knows...and he knows that I know that he knows. If he's unsure, I just move to something he's solid on before I try again. Once I'm confident that he's made all the necessary connections, I just have to wait until he's worn himself out refusing. He's always needed to know that I really mean what I say. Once that's settled, he's easy.
 
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