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Old July 1st, 2010, 02:35 PM
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luckypenny luckypenny is offline
Doggie Wench
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: St. Philippe-de-Laprairie, Qc
Posts: 11,812
Puppies don't need physical corrections. Rather than punishing Keely for reacting to something she doesn't like, how about teaching her to like it so she doesn't react with her teeth at all? You want her to trust your trust you...not to see them/you as a threat. Most dogs aren't comfortable about hands in their faces, over their heads, on their necks. Teach her to enjoy it, not fear it.

You mention you do "massages" with her every second day. Instead, do it every day, 3, 4, 5, times a day lasting only 5-10 seconds each and gradually increase the amount of time every week. Do not hold treats out in front of her. Keep them in a pocket, treat bag clipped to your pants, or on a counter, somewhere out of her way but within easy reach for you. Treats/rewards are not bribes (and should never be used as such) if used correctly. They can be used to lure a new behavior (eg. sit) without physically manipulating a dog. Once the behavior is learned, treats are no longer used as lures but as reinforcers for a job well done.

- Touch her collar, treat/praise. Repeat randomly throughout the day several times over a couple of days.
- 2-3 days later, hold her collar for 2 seconds, treat/praise. Repeat randomly throughout the day several times over a couple of days.
- Hold collar for longer periods of time (as long as it takes you to get a leash on), treat/praise. Repeat......
- Pick her up, put her down immediately, treat/praise. Repeat...
- Hold her, gradually increasing time by 2-3 second increments, treat/praise. Repeat...

Use this method with everything new you'd like to teach her including massages, touching sensitive areas including the mouth, ears, feet, etc.

Within a short time, Keely will welcome you touching her collar and attaching her leash because she's learned to associate it with pleasure. Correcting her will only serve to teach her to not warn/ you really want to extinguish warning signals? She may not bite/nip you in the future but what's to prevent her from doing so without warning so to a vet who touches her? Or worse yet, to a toddler? Wouldn't you rather she enjoy the process?

Eventually (as soon as she's learned the desired behavior), you can wean her off the treats, but don't eliminate them altogether. Variable reinforcement acts like an insurance plan to guarantee future desired behaviors. In the case of touching her collar/putting her leash on, going outside for walks/playtime will soon replace treats as the primary reinforcers. Same for massages...she may learn to look forward to touch so much that the process itself will become the reinforcer.

As for time instantly have to say "no" or "too bad," leave her where she is and walk away ignoring her for 2-3 minutes. It has to happen in the moment. Picking her up (something she already dislikes at this point) and taking her elsewhere takes too long. Being ignored by you and left on her own the instant she performs an undesired behavior is more effective than physically correcting her.

I know I mentioned this before but, you have some of the best training facilities in the country in Ottawa. If you're unable to attend with your dogs, at least try to sit in on a puppy class (most places allow you to do so for free) to get a idea of how, and why, marker/reward based training is a most effective method.

In addition, please take the time to read, After You Get Your Puppy by Ian Dunbar and pick up a copy of Don't Shoot The Dog by Karen Pryor .

BenMax, to explain what TTouch is all about: There is a certified practitioner nearby you if you ever want to experience it "hands on" .
"Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance." -Will Durant
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