Teaching dog to avoid unfamiliar danger

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Esprit64
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Teaching dog to avoid unfamiliar danger

Post by Esprit64 » Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:35 am

How do you teach a dog not to go near an unfamiliar--but deliciously curious--danger?

Like encountering a snake in the woods--that my dog has never seen before. Knowing her, she'll want to make friends with it.

I want her to know that when I cue her, it's danger, come back to me--no matter what she encounters or how exciting it may appear.

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Nettle
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Post by Nettle » Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:07 am

You need a command that means the dog leaves whatever it is wanting to investigate and comes straight back to you. It has to be a command that is never used in another context or in regular chat with the dog. It can be any word in the world.

As with any training, start in the home in a low-key situation with massive rewards as the dog steps away. Do not use an item that the dog would ordinarily be allowed to investigate. If snakes are your issue, I would use one of those lifelike rubber snakes.

Set up the situation with the dog on a line, use the word, reward the dog. Only do it once in that place. Repeat in other rooms, out in the yard, in the woods.
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Esprit64
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Danger

Post by Esprit64 » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:22 am

This is an odd question, but please take it in the context of possible danger, should the dog also be taught to fear danger--in other words, taught to understand that when I give the cue to flee--I am telling her she could get hurt--get out of there--it's serious--if this makes any sense??

mselisabs
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Post by mselisabs » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:26 am

Not sure if you can get that message to a dog but from my research while we're in the middle of training recall you start with a "casual" command, like c'mere or c'mon, so the dog comes back to you, but can stop for a sniff on her way back. (I'm guessing you're already there:) ) Then there is a more 'formal' "Come!" or "Now!" or whatever word you choose which means the dog should come to you NOW, no hesitation. A dog won't necessarily understand that there is danger, but you simply need to teach an *instant* response to your command.

Fundog
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Post by Fundog » Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:47 am

Well, there is "the voice of doom," the level of fear and anxiety that automatically enters your voice when you fear for a loved one's safety. Dogs can usually detect that, and will take it seriously.

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Nettle
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Re: Danger

Post by Nettle » Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:07 pm

Esprit64 wrote:This is an odd question, but please take it in the context of possible danger, should the dog also be taught to fear danger--in other words, taught to understand that when I give the cue to flee--I am telling her she could get hurt--get out of there--it's serious--if this makes any sense??
The dog cannot be taught this, and we would be lying to our dogs if we simulated a 'danger' voice when there was none. Lie to a dog and you lose its trust and more importantly, the swift response you may one day need.

So teach the 'back off and come back right now' command at a low-arousal level in the home etc. When the real thing happens and you have to use Fundog's Voice of Doom, the dog will pick up on that and respond.
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emmabeth
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Post by emmabeth » Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:15 pm

I can sort of see why you might think teaching a dog to 'fear' something and thus avoid it would be ok, but..... in fearing and reacting fearfully to the 'something'.... theres a fairly high chance your dog is then likely to get into trouble elsewhere, fleeing across a road, into the path of a dangerous or aggressive animal... etc etc.

So I think calm, controlled responses are better.

Teach a dog distance commands, send aways, distance sits and downs...

Teach them upon finding something that looks like *this* or sounds like *this* or smells like *this* to behave in a specific manner...

After all... bomb dogs, mine rats, drugs dogs - all need to indicate something to their handler AND avoid it themselves. So its perfectly possible to do, with care (after all you dont want them thinking the object is the reward as that situation ends up with dog accidentally consuming heroin.. or running about the garden with a snake!)

Pick a behaviour your dog can do and naturally does, that also ISNT likely to make a situation worse (so if its snakes.... perhaps dont choose 'leaping and barking like mad', whereas if you are teaching a dog to sniff out cannabis, thats probably safe!)

Esprit64
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Thank you

Post by Esprit64 » Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:32 am

Appreciate everyone's input. Thank you.

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