Things that drive you nuts...

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Things that drive you nuts...

Postby connie » Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:53 am

Okay, this is an open thread for anyone to list ONE THING that you see other people do, under the guise of training, that makes you want to scream 'OMG STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!' at them. :grin:

Don't even bother posting any Cesar Millan crap, because that's a given.

Here's mine, from an agility class last night:

Some people have been taught that they should correct things like moving on a stay, or getting up on a sit, by going back to the dog, taking the dog's collar in each hand (so you're standing over your dog, holding him immobile by his collar), and physically moving him back into position.

The dog, quite rightly, views this as a huge invasion of personal space and a complete failure of lines of communication. The first time I saw this done, I said to Rowley, "I will never do that to you, I promise."

Last night J was running one of her dogs, he's been retired from agility after an ACL surgery but he still likes to run a course and she brought him out for one run. He was all jazzed up and was barking and zooming, and she did the 'take his collar and settle him' thing and he -- entirely reasonably, IMO -- growled at her. She of course freaked out and said he was being 'dominant' and scolded him.

So here's a situation that the owner failed to handle in the first place (she could have gotten some of the dog's energy/emotion discharged or grounded by a game of tug before the run, for example), blamed on the dog (decided he needed a 'correction' for his behavior that she felt was inappropriate), and then turned into a confrontation issue (dominance, scolding, freaked out, all kinds of unsettling emotions swamping the dog from her). Nice!

Show your dogs some respect, people! You wouldn't manhandle your child like that; why is it the appropriate thing to do to your dog? (No, dogs are not kids and vice versa, but both are living creatures who are dependent on adult humans and for whom we take responsibility to raise and train.)

That's mine, who's got one?

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby emmas_mom » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:10 am

People who call and call and call their off leash dog and when the dog finally DOES come, they give him sh*t and exude negativity all over him for not coming on the first call.
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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby maxs_mommy » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:16 am

"Fido sit. Sit. SIT. SIT!" Then Pet Parent promptly shows how Fido sits (always on the 4th try) and completely forgets about the dog as PP's glowing over their "training" skills. Treats are an afterthought of course.
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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby QBert » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:34 am

... You wouldn't manhandle your child like that...
I would. If I tell a kid to sit in that spot and stay there, and they get up, I do not have a problem lifting them up bodily and putting them back. I'm not forceful about it, I'm not talking about levering or shoving but hands around torso lift, and gently plop their cheeky little butt back into place? yep.
I will pick up slack on the leash (or put my fingers in front of the collar if off-lead) and slide my hand over a hip to guide a dog back into position too. Not shoving them, not forcing them, not wrestling them into place or torquing on their collar, just going back to the same baby steps of pressure _here_ and _there_ that I very likely used during the teaching of that position.

I don't know that I have any one peeve that gets under my skin in particular. "sit sit SIT SITSIT!" is certainly short-listed, but the winner might very well be "he knows better!".

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby connie » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:48 am

I will put a dog somewhere with a leash, too. But I won't take his collar in my two hands, lift him up by it, and re-position him. I see people at one training center slinging their dogs around like that and omg, why guess what, sonofagun -- those dogs just seem to need more and more 'corrections'! :nono:

To me there's an enormous difference between taking a leash and re-positioning my dog, and grabbing it like a sack of potatoes. Respect, that's the difference. :whistle:

Part of this peeve of mine, of course, is that almost always, the dogs did not understand the original instructions, but the owners are taking umbrage as if the dog is just out to undermine or stymie them. Let's make it less about you and more about the dog, I want to say.

Picking up a child and putting it in a time-out or something is not manhandling. Marching over to the child, grabbing its shirt, lifting it up, and plunking it down -- that's rude. And teaches disrespect, I feel.

It might be hard to describe. I don't want to ask the people who do this if I can video them, however. :lol:

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby yintzy » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:23 am

The "EH-EH" part of stay or for anything in that matter. I was corrected that way by an agility instructor one time. We both speak English, though her English was New Jersian. I thought I understood her instructions and I got the correction in a place where I thought I was correct. It stopped me and rendered me unable to complete the exercise. AND, my heart raced and my body went through all these stress reactions for at least 2 hours after that. I always hated the EH-EH (and actually think a no is less harmful - though it's an interruptor, not an instructional tool). I NEVER allowed my students to EH-EH but after this event, I lectured against it, using this story. Think if two members of the same species can't understand each other properly - does the dog really understand enough to warrant that kind of correction during learning. I think NOT.

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby UpwardDog » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:44 am

Oh but people DO manhandle children and much worse.

I think my biggest pet peeve is the ways people fail anxious or fearful dogs. They're nervous about their surroundings and expected to ignore ignore ignore whatever is worrying them and just stare at their owner and perform various obedience behaviors rather than taking the time to do what's needed to let the dog feel comfortable in their surroundings. It's unfair, ineffective in the long run to ask dogs to do things that are completely counter innate when it comes to fear and personal safety.

The pervasive myth about "reinforcing fear."

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby QBert » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:30 am

I will put a dog somewhere with a leash, too. But I won't take his collar in my two hands, lift him up by it, and re-position him. ...
omg no. Your initial post didn't convey that level of forcefulness.
... I always hated the EH-EH (and actually think a no is less harmful - though it's an interruptor, not an instructional tool). I NEVER allowed my students to EH-EH but after this event, I lectured against it, ...
this one baffles me. I'm proffering a group request for someone to create a recording or point me toward a recording of the sound they mean when referring to this. Not singling out yintzy personally, just using this post since it was the first to mention this but I know other feel the same way, and I don't get it. I have all sorts of noises I make to refocus a dog's attention, remind them to stay on task, alert them that they're about to make a mistake - as well as cheer them on, alert them that they're doing great and should keep going, let them know they've almost got it and are on the right track... none of the animals or children I've ever worked with have ever appeared to have anything like such a dramatic reaction as described in yintzy's post by any stretch - and I have worked with some very expressive and dramatic creatures, I would think one or two would have conveyed to me that my methods were not only ineffective but downright traumatic.

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby Moemer » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:05 am

NRMs are always a hot topic... Susan Garrett has a valuable couple cents: http://susangarrettdogagility.com/2011/ ... -of-a-nrm/

and http://susangarrettdogagility.com/2011/ ... g-the-use/
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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby RobinS » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:26 am

I can't stand "eh eh" or "no ma'am" as often is said here - it communicates nothing to the dog.

Can I tell you -- the most annoying thing is when I teach a class, then someone comes back next week, their dog hasn't learned anything from what I taught the week before and when I ask "what happened"...they tell me, "Well, we didn't really work on anything". I want to scream, well did you think your dog was going to "read the homework and train himself to do the behavior?" "What are you paying me money for?" But, I don't.

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby whiteboxerboy » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:30 am

hard for me to choose just one.

our morning park friends all have young dogs, one is an adorable schnauzer mix named Surfer that's about 8 months old. and his humans are beyond clueless. 'the trainer' is coming out to their house. oy. after the visit w/ 'the trainer' they showed up with a new collar/leash slip lead type thingy that will 'help' Surfer learn to walk on a loose leash. the thing is, as they're walking, the mom/dad yank UP! on the lead/collar thing every 2 steps and say 'with me'. they've been doing this for oh, i don't know, over 6 weeks now. with NO improvement in Surfer's LLW skills. the dad is *always* totally annoyed with Surfer by the time they get to the tennis courts for off leash play time. the mom gets even more annoyed and is even more yank-ish on the leash than the dad is.

meanwhile, both of them have commented to me how beautifully Gringo walks on a leash. and they've stood & watched from outside the tennis courts while we worked on heeling exercises. all the while i'm handing out cookies. and i'm getting 100% of my dog's attention. how hard is it to figure out how to get/keep your dogs attention? or to figure out that what you ARE doing is not working. if after doing something for 6 weeks do you STILL continue to do it hoping the next time it's going to work? i think not.

on the other hand, there's the man with the 6 mos old Golden. he has also stood outside and watched (in a sort of amazement ????) while we worked on heeling in the tennis courts. the difference with this man is that after seeing/hearing me remain silent after asking ONE TIME for his dog to 'drop' the ball and then marking the drop with an enthusiastic YES!, watching his dog sit immediately after the YES!, me throwing the ball and the dog coming back to me instead of him and repeating the process guess what? he copied me perfectly and voila! he didn't have to say drop it, Blue drop, drop it, BLUE DROP IT, BLUEBLUEBLUE DROP DROP followed by a game of tug with the dog over the ball in dog's mouth.

this is NOT to say i really know what i'm doing but as i watched that one morning i noticed immediately that the dude was still saying no drop it Blue, etc and getting more & more frustrated each time and wasn't really noticing when his dog DID drop the ball and so was still scolding the dog after the drop. but one or two 'models' of a better way to do it was all he needed. i really didn't think i was going to like this guy very much at first b/c he's SO paranoid about his dog playing rough with Gringo and the Lab puppy. he gets SO nervous. but he's loosened up quite a bit, which is nice. AND he uses a front clip harness and not a choke chain.

sorry this is so long. i guess i could have just said what i hate most is when people are so busy talking & scolding and don't acknowledge the dog at all or bother to praise. it's SO much nicer to praise instead of say nononnono all the time. that's hard for people for some reason. not sure why.

... You wouldn't manhandle your child like that...
I would. If I tell a kid to sit in that spot and stay there, and they get up, I do not have a problem lifting them up bodily and putting them back. I'm not forceful about it, I'm not talking about levering or shoving but hands around torso lift, and gently plop their cheeky little butt back into place? yep.
i do that, too. and i actually really upset a parent when i did it to their child one time. meh, i don't think there's anything at all wrong with swiftly and firmly responding to a child's failure to follow directions. if i'm asking them to 'stay put' it's only b/c i *need* them to for their safety. i wouldn't ask a kiddo who isn't capable of sit down & wait for me right HERE to do it. if they CHOOSE not to follow my directions there will be a consequence. and 3 muscle jobs!

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby UpwardDog » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:37 am

It doesn't matter what the eh eh/ah ah/ too bad/sucks to be you/no sounds like or what sound is used. Verbal corrections / NRMs are counter productive at best, de-motivating and stressful for many dogs. They don't make the behavior you want more likely or make it easier for the dog to learn or make less mistakes.
Unfortunately for the humans the need to say something or do something is compelling and unless they are taking good data or the dog shuts right down, they don't see the effect. It's reinforcing for the handler in the moment so it persists.

Better an eh eh than a collar pop or being pushed/pulled into position but ya, not helpful and can de-motivate, impede learning or for a soft/shy/anxious dog make them more anxious and therefore have a harder time learning.

Why make training less fun for the dog especially when the behavioral science shows it's counter productive?
An animal's increased stress levels aren't necessarily outwardly visible / perceived by their handlers but still there, quite significant and measured by bloodwork and vital signs checks. Sometimes people want what they perceive as submission, remorse or for the dog to completely stop offering behaviors.

There is solid behavioral science to support this. I should ask Ken Ramirez and Jesus Rosales Ruiz for their data/studies.

http://www.clickertraining.com/node/179

http://susangarrettdogagility.com/2011/ ... -training/

http://susangarrettdogagility.com/2011/ ... odologies/

There is a perception that R+ is just too soft, pushed because people are overly sensitive to their dog's feeling or what have you. In reality dropping the old school platform of "I must do/say something when the animal gets it wrong and make the "right" behavior happen " improves the dog's ability to perform the desired behaviors.

Dropping the corrections/NRMs makes training more reinforcing for the dog because the cues aren't threats. The cues become reinforcers in and of themselves. When the cue could be followed by a correction/NRM or a reward depending on whether the dog guesses right, the cues themselves don't become reinforcers because the are also threats. Get it right, get a cookie, get it wrong get the EH EH or teh too bad or the no or the push/pull or collar pop. It's simply LESS EFFECTIVE but people really don't take data, can't feel the inner feelings of the dog and are duped into thinking it works in that moment.

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby Sabine » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:56 am

It drives me nuts when people use the clicker wrong (e.g. no reinforcement after every click, using the clicker to get the dog's attention, etc. etc.), then claim it "doesn't work", and when I tell them "you have to do X or Y or it won't work" they say they read that it's supposed to be done that way. :rolleyes:
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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby Moemer » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:04 am

a lot of SG here... but this is a great video showing how she uses the NRM in a situation and manner that doesn't shut the dog down http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btDDp9H3 ... r_embedded

Generally, the NRM tends to be used 1) in training when the dog is working and trying to get it right, or 2) when the dog is "being naughty"
In the first case, if the dog is trying to get it right there's really no reason for the NRM. Make it easier for the dog to offer the right behaviour, R+ it heavily before giving the dog other options that are 'wrong'. (management!) The dog is motivated and just not getting it right, meaning the dog doesn't understand something in the training. An NRM doesn't increase understanding in that way.
In scenario 2 the dog isn't trying to get it right, they are not 'in training', a NRM isn't going to do anything. The dog is finding their own reinforcement in the 'naughty' behaviour, the NRM means nothing unless followed up by environmental management... in which case why not prevent the naughtiness in the first place by implementing management strategies when you KNOW the dog is going to be naughty, prevent that and train something appropriate in place?
In the second scenario, I think using a marker such as "time out" is different than a NRM. An NRM means reinforcement isn't going to be presented. a Timeout marker means that existing reinforcement is going to be removed because of the behaviour the dog was doing at that moment - a Conditioned Punisher. I don't think a time out marker (and -P) are particularly helpful in isolation, but can be a part of a broader program (ie. puppy nipping)
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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby yintzy » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:32 am

In the second scenario, I think using a marker such as "time out" is different than a NRM. An NRM means reinforcement isn't going to be presented. a Timeout marker means that existing reinforcement is going to be removed because of the behaviour the dog was doing at that moment - a Conditioned Punisher. I don't think a time out marker (and -P) are particularly helpful in isolation, but can be a part of a broader program (ie. puppy nipping)
Agreed.

In my case in particular, I think the EH-EH was used to punish my incorrect handling not as a NRM - but that's what people do when they do EH-EH in stay. It can be very harsh. I'm not a soft positive trainer and I do think the dog needs to understand when the dog has engaged in undesirable or dangerous behavior but humans are pretty good at reacting to that.

In particular - when I was corrected - I THOUGHT I knew what my instructor asked me to do. I thought I did it correctly and we are of the same species. (I use the proverbial 'we' here - speaking philosophically.) How do we know that the dog 'knows' what we are looking for in a particular situation? How can we punish in a situation of 'obedience' (trained behaviors - I'm not talking about if the dog is running across the street after a squirrel and a car is coming - i.e. dangerous behavior) and the dog doing the wrong thing? Are we sure the dog understood? Maybe the dog understands the fundamentals but not the application in a particular situation. I know what a front cross is and I know where to place it - I was told to do it at the tunnel by the dog walk - I did it before, not after the tunnel (not the exact situation since I can't remember the actual sequence). I think dogs are an incredible species and amazingly can learn language and take cues from humans and develop these relationships of trust with us. In a training standpoint, I think it's unfair and detrimental. I lost a lot of faith in that agility instructor after that. I do think it damaged our relationship since we had different expectations.

Also, please note, that I'm not talking about running conversations I have with my dogs when I tell them to knock it off or when I tell them we aren't doing that no, or even god forbid - NO. I'm talking about actual training sessions or proofing or whatever you want to call it.

I wrote this on my web site if anyone wants to see it (BTW). I didn't write about NRMs (I even hate the term - it makes me squirm).
http://austincitydogs.com/dogtrainingphilosophy/

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby connie » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:38 pm

Okay, so what's the thing that you find annoying -- the NRM itself, use of? (I had to google NRM and when I kept getting the National Railway Museum, I added 'dog training' to the search and found the term. Lotta jargon, for some of us!)

I want to take all the things presented in this thread and make an easy-to-read, short, clearly written handout that a trainer friend of mine can use. It occurred to me as I was reading the answers here that these are all really good things for dog owners to avoid and not do, and it would be helpful to present them as such!

I'll call it "ODO Tips on Training". If Nana does a drawing or two for it, we'll have a great product!

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby QBert » Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:22 pm

I can't stand "eh eh" or "no ma'am" as often is said here - it communicates nothing to the dog.
Neither does a click, or vocal cues like "sit", "down", "drop", "leave it", or "pancakes" , until we have established that --this sound-- means --this--.

I don't get why a sound that we have established means "keep your mind on your job" or is essentially the same as "leave it" is so controversial.
I have read all of those articles/posts before and it's not that I don't understand what the authors are saying - it's that the entire issue baffles me at its very foundation. I don't believe that it's simply that every single individual dog, horse, bird, or child that I've ever been responsible for has just happened to have each been one of those that accepts a NRM as a neutral communication (which one of the authors linked above suggests are uncommon) so there must be something in the connotation or semantics that I am just completely missing.

One of the posts mentioned the aspect of intimidation. Stipulated that newborn kittens are generally more intimidating than I am, I have had some heart-wrenchingly fearful animals in my life and the noises I make to communicate "don't even think about it" or "keep on task" have never yet seemed to elicit a significant impact beyond the animal choosing to keep doing what they were supposed to be doing, or choosing not to investigate the object that caught their interest, and earning a reward for doing exactly as I asked.

somewhere in all the babble, there's one particular point y'all can help me with: what is the difference between "leave it" and "eh-eh"?
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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby Sweetgrass Farm » Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:36 pm

My absolute pet peeve is lumping all breeders, or folks who show their dogs, into one pot. That goes along with a perspective buyer asking if the price is negotiable. "Why yes, it just went up a hundred dollars!" Or saying "Well so and so sells their pups for this much". "Fine, go buy it from so and so!" Or not doing your homework before going to look at a dog. "What do you mean I can't show it AKC?!" Yep, I could give you example after example. Needless to say, my terriers are usually smarter than these people. :banghead: :sgrin: NO PUPPY FOR YOU!!! :sgrin: :banghead:

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby maxs_mommy » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:23 pm

somewhere in all the babble, there's one particular point y'all can help me with: what is the difference between "leave it" and "eh-eh"?
For me, "leave it" is a specific command that generates one action, which is to ignore whatever you're not supposed to be interested in. The command is positive in that it cues a specific behavior and can be rewarded. "Eh-eh" is a negative command that says nope, not doing it right but doesn't give the dog direction to do it right (whatever "it" is). Again, my interpretation.

I have done the eh-eh on behaviors Max knows and has pushed a boundary and made a poor (in my view) decision, similar to interrupting a potty accident. Honestly though, I used it when he first came home before I knew what to manage. Emily hit the nail on the head. Max will always be a counter surfer. Eh-eh just makes him eat whatever he drug down even faster because I've told him that I'm coming to take the contraband away. Environmental management is much more effective but I used NRM's before I knew what to manage.

I do not use it when I sit down and train. Ever. When I train a new behavior there are no wrong answers, it just takes longer to figure out the right answers sometimes. I should also say that I don't believe any decision Max makes is poor, by his judgement. There is always a reason that benefits him and I'm certain that nothing else matters to him at that point. And no, not all decisions he makes are poor, he's not a total lunk. :lol:

I was thinking about this as I took Max for a walk this afternoon (50 degrees and the trail is deserted! :thumbup: ) and one of the things that stuck out at me and my brain kept circling to was a lack of patience. My peeve is the verbal repetition of command cues before the dog has learned to accomplish them and it occurs to me how much training time I spend watching Max's brain work and how quick we (people in general) are to use verbal corrections hoping to help instead of breaking a skill down and taking time to firmly learn a trick/skill before we expect perfection. I get it, we all want to do the fun stuff and show off tricks ASAP but a bit of patience would go a long way, for me at least, and I have to remember that with Max but also with other folks with their dogs who may not have the information and experiences I have to make the more informed choices. Meet 'em where they are and teach them what you can instead of forcing folks who aren't ready and getting frustrated. Long, but my new mantra. Otherwise I'm gonna need a helmet. :banghead:
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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby JudyL » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:26 pm

Okay, this is an open thread for anyone to list ONE THING that you see other people do, under the guise of training, that makes you want to scream 'OMG STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!' at them. :grin:

My top pet peeve would have to be repetitive use of any command and, within that, varying the way the command is said: sit...sit...sitsitsit...siiiiiiit( sing song style), siiiiiit, and finally yelling SIT! at the dog. Reader should feel free to substitute any other command here where the dog tunes out the owner.

Second would be leash popping. Yes, I know you only asked for one. I couldn't help myself.

Then there's this training-related issued but not one generally *witnessed* but talked about that always gets my blood boiling: when the owner has not properly potty trained the dog and then says that the dog relieved him- or herself in the house "out of spite" or "to get back at/get even" because the dog was mad.

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby connie » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:36 pm

I think there's a difference between an NRM and a 'leave it' command, and 'eh-eh' (said in the tone of voice that mimics the buzzer on the old Family Feud game show) is used as either or both. But they're different things. Like this:

I'm walking along with Mike and he sees a dead squirrel in the grass and goes to pick it up. I say 'leave it!' or 'get out of that!' or just 'eh-eh!' -- whatever I say is in a sharp tone that gets his attention and emotionally 'shocks' him away from the object. (I'm not going nuts on him, I'm just being emphatic.) That's a 'leave it.'

A NRM is, for instance, when you put your dog into the weave poles on an agility course and he goes in at the third pole instead of finding the entrance. Some training styles say you should tell the dog that he is not going to get a reward/reinforcement for that, so you 'point out his error' by giving him a NRM. Some people say 'oops' or 'too bad' and some say 'eh-eh.' Some people are casual, some are forceful. Some of us don't do any of that, but just call the dog back and start the exercise again, giving a better cue this time.

To me there's absolutely nothing wrong with 'eh-eh' used as a 'get out of that right now!' signal, but I would never give that same signal to a dog who put a foot wrong in a training class, because I'd figure that my cue produced the unwanted behavior. (Yeah, I put him in at the third pole, look at my shoulder!)

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby Jen » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:45 pm

Using the clicker incorrectly, especially using it as a cue!!

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby QBert » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:55 pm

I think there's a difference between an NRM and a 'leave it' command, and 'eh-eh' (said in the tone of voice that mimics the buzzer on the old Family Feud game show) is used as either or both. But they're different things. Like this:

I'm walking along with Mike and he sees a dead squirrel in the grass and goes to pick it up. I say 'leave it!' or 'get out of that!' or just 'eh-eh!' -- whatever I say is in a sharp tone that gets his attention and emotionally 'shocks' him away from the object. (I'm not going nuts on him, I'm just being emphatic.) That's a 'leave it.'

A NRM is, for instance, when you put your dog into the weave poles on an agility course and he goes in at the third pole instead of finding the entrance. Some training styles say you should tell the dog that he is not going to get a reward/reinforcement for that, so you 'point out his error' by giving him a NRM. Some people say 'oops' or 'too bad' and some say 'eh-eh.' Some people are casual, some are forceful. Some of us don't do any of that, but just call the dog back and start the exercise again, giving a better cue this time.

To me there's absolutely nothing wrong with 'eh-eh' used as a 'get out of that right now!' signal, but I would never give that same signal to a dog who put a foot wrong in a training class, because I'd figure that my cue produced the unwanted behavior. (Yeah, I put him in at the third pole, look at my shoulder!)

your weave example is essentially the same as one used in one of the blog posts linked above - and I can't relate to it with much confidence because at this stage there is so little I do with my dogs where I'm sending them off to do a task away from me.
I use an noise when for instance I have stepped away from a dog left in a down, I hear a noise in the other room and see the dog's attention swing to attend to that noise. As that neck stretches up and the ears perk, I may make a "aaahhh..." noise that has a slight warning tone. Certainly not startling, and it isn't the exact same tone I would use for "leave the dead squirrel where you found it" but the connotation is certainly very closely related to leave it - it's a "mind your own business".

I'm wondering if this is another thing like the use of pronged collars where the way I use it is so dissimilar from the assumed norm that I'm caught in a void where the lesson isn't particularly relevant to my world.

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby yintzy » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:56 pm

Leave it to me is that the dog backs away from what they are told to leave. If they have in their mouth they should drop it. I call it "out". I teach the back away with a clicker in a whole bunch of stages and only add the cue when the dog can back away from an object I drop while the dog is standing. Pet Peeve people who say their dog can leave it and they have their dog lie down or sit and place an item on the ground while saying leave it. To me, that's a stay with a distraction.

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby connie » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:03 pm

Kara, maybe a rally example: you're heeling along and you come to a sit/down/sit sign. You sit your dog, and you make the hand signal for 'stand' while saying to your dog, 'down.' Your dog stands. (You mis-cued your dog, and the dog went with the visual/body cue rather than the voice cue.) You say 'eh-eh!' in a 'leave it right now!' tone. Your dog is chastened. That's a NRM, and IMO it's unnecessary. If I sit my dog, cue a stand while saying 'down' and get a stand, I'm going to end the exercise, walk back to the last station, and start it over again. I'm not going to waste time telling my dog he won't get a reward; first, he figures that out when he's not guzzling a treat, and second, 99% of the time the dog produced the behavior that I cued! The other 1% of the time has never been noted, so never mind that. :smirk:

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby UpwardDog » Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:17 pm

I see NRM different from Connie's example which in my way of thinking is a verbal correction.
"NRMs are intended to be a verbal cue for extinction, not a punisher, so people attempt to say them in the most neutral tone of voice possible. " (Karen Pryor) S

The difference between leave it and eh eh / ah! ah! would depend totally on what an individual has set them out to mean and how they are used.
I see ah ah /eh eh used a ton by people who use it. It becomes a habit (not unlike collar poppers who pop at all sorts of weird times because it's a reflex. Walking into the ring- pop, walking by something- pop. I've watched people pop dogs who are literally doing nothing. It's just become a reflex and they end up popping the dog when they see a stimulus they think the dog might react to whether he does or not .)
People teach or "proof" stays by ah ah! ing the dog for moving. Dog looks away ah! ah! Dog sits when you cued a down- ah! ah! Downs when you cued a sit - ah ah. Dog growls at something they are nervous of "ah! ah!" Dog moves when you don't want them to ah! ah! Dog walks towards something you'd rather they didn't ah! ah! Dogs have a skirmish ah!ah!

Sometimes it's like disapproval, sometimes nagging, sometimes startle, sometimes threat, sometimes the dog seems to have learned to completely ignore it and there's no perceivable response.

In my observation the talktalktalk/ feedback/verbal corrections, warnings seem to really get in the way of both the human observing their dog and the context and the animal being able to just relax, listen, think, respond. It sure doesn't add fun, motivation or trust which is what IME results in really great partnerships and performance.

I have never seen a 'leave it" cue used constantly in that way though I suppose it could be. I see people teach specifically teach it it' as a 'don't take/eat that poo/garbage/food' and sometimes 'don't go run to that dog I see you checking out' cue. I generally see it used sparingly not constantly as "feedback" or verbal correction. I also see it used a lot like a recall cue--leave it and the dog continues to eat the garbage like "come!" and the dog stays where he is lol


I think the problem with using it as "neutral" information is knowing if that's really what';s happening. How do we know what the animal is thinking or feeling? I don't even get it right when I guess what my spouse if feeling half the time. How do we know it isn't annoying, de-motivating, anxiety provoking or making it harder for the dog to learn?

I guess my question is this: What is it intended to do? Is it to reduce the rate of errors? Does it? In a training context, is it necessary to stop an error as it is happening or add commentary? What happens if you just let the error happen and let the dog learn without adding commentary? The only way to know if it's helpful is with record keeping/ using video and comparing with sessions without it. I've mentioned this many times but I have learned a LOT about the difference between what I think is happening and what video tells me is happening in the last year since I started videoing so much. Video is an excellent but brutal teacher and that's not even counting learning that my voice sounds like that and my fav capris are actually obscenely tight!

I started out as an ah! ah! user and giver of much verbal feedback (I'm human and VERY VERY chatty one at that! :D ) and dropped it when learned different ways to teach. I have seen marked improvement my dog's desire to work, joy and enthusiasm in working, reduced stress and in both of our performance. I've seen the same in others I've trained with and seen the results and the affects of the dogs of people I competed with/against too.

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby QBert » Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:12 pm

Kara, maybe a rally example:
yhea, we're crossing paths and never meeting, that's not a situation in which I would utter my non-verbal noise. For me I am not giving what is specifically a NRM, it really does function more as a "hey, stay on task.", more of a "keep going" marker than a correction.
I see NRM different from Connie's example which in my way of thinking is a verbal correction.
...
People teach or "proof" stays by ah ah! ing the dog for moving. Dog looks away ah! ah! Dog sits when you cued a down- ah! ah! Downs when you cued a sit - ah ah. Dog growls at something they are nervous of "ah! ah!" Dog moves when you don't want them to ah! ah! Dog walks towards something you'd rather they didn't ah! ah! Dogs have a skirmish ah!ah!
Sometimes it's like disapproval, sometimes nagging, sometimes startle, sometimes threat, sometimes the dog seems to have learned to completely ignore it and there's no perceivable response.

...

I think the problem with using it as "neutral" information is knowing if that's really what';s happening. How do we know what the animal is thinking or feeling? I don't even get it right when I guess what my spouse if feeling half the time. How do we know it isn't annoying, de-motivating, anxiety provoking or making it harder for the dog to learn?

I guess my question is this: What is it intended to do? Is it to reduce the rate of errors? Does it? In a training context, is it necessary to stop an error as it is happening or add commentary? What happens if you just let the error happen and let the dog learn without adding commentary? ...
I do use it when doing stays and the dog is clearly distracted - not just randomly looking around but reacting to something in the environment (but hasn't yet moved their feet.) I would not use it to correct a wrong response, whether it was my error, the dog's or a mutual misunderstanding. I do have a different noise, more of a "aww, too bad", if they've actually broken the stay already - and a different "you settle, now" for a dog who's growling or barking - and a very different, sharper, louder "hey!", definitely meant to evoke a brief startle response, if a squabble breaks out in the group and I need an opening to get in there and break it up.

we don't truly know for sure how animals are really feeling about anything we do, if it might be annoying or nagging or intimidating. Why does "eh-eh" evoke so much more passion than "heel"?

For Boogie and The Rabbit, at least, my noises do generally seem to elicit the response I intended. If I don't make even a sound, and just let the error happen, and Boog gets up from her stay, runs to the door, starts barking in fear and frustration and I need to get her out of that environment and refocused (and there is no guarantee that I can do that ) for at least a short period, what has she learned? If The Rabbit perks her ears and tenses her neck at a skateboard in the distance, and I give her a "aaahhhh, settle..." noise, she settles and I can then decide to either ask her to perform an easy behavior while the skater approaches, or move away from their path, or get the heck out of Dodge.

I don't have a way to video training sessions, so while I acknowledge the value of the tool, it's simply not available to me.

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby UpwardDog » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:35 pm

Apples and oranges. Simply put- one is a cue, one is a punisher. They aren't the same part of the A -B - C antecedent->behavior->consequence. One is an A one is a C

This doesn't evoke passion in me in the sense of being upset that people do it. I don't really care who ah ahs their dog. I'm just a dognerd who finds animal behavior fascinating and could talk about, read about it, go to seminars and clinics about it 24/7 lol

We don't know how our dogs feel exactly soo if we have the ability/opportunity, we look at the resulting behaviors. The only real way to gauge whether something is in fact reinforcing or punishing is to look at whether that behavior goes up or down in future trials. It's not reinforcing/punishing because we say it is or think it *should* be- that's determined by the response of the dog.


So in the situation you describe-- my dog is in a down stay and is distracted by something he is afraid of or perhaps something he just finds compelling. I would either call him to me before he breaks or use R+. So rather than "aaaah don't you think of breaking that stay" it would be "wow, great job. good for you. here's a treat. let's go." Reward them for staying so they keep staying, so the likely hood that they'll stay in the future will go up. Make it successful, build on it.

So take Tricky for example. She used to go off like a rocket if she could hear barking when out our yard(or anywhere else). If I hear barking now, before she has a chance to bark, I'll tell her what a good girl she is. So instead of "noo don't do that thing I know you really want to do" It's capturing the behavior I do want, reinforcing it so it's most likely to occur again or continue. I used to have to be right there with her and reinforce with food a LOT and get her the heck out. Eventually I had to be there but could just praise. Now I mostly don't half to be out there at all. The only barking that occurs is if she's already tense and reactive from something else in the day or if the other dog sounds really upset and is clearly barking at us--that sets off all three.

When I see the amazing behaviors of zoo animals--much harder to work with and performing much more difficult tasks than we are asking for from our dogs, I am inspired. Take for example the hyenas taught to press their neck against the side of the wire cage and stay still that way for a blood draw. Those hyenas don't hold that position because someone says "aaah" don't you break position now! Quite the opposite. The behavior has been built up gradually using positive reinforcement. When the hyena ends up with his jugular right under one of the wires and they want him to move and he's like "nuh uh. no way am I moving. I know this game. Take my blood dude. I'm staying just like this and then getting my big meaty bone :) " THAT is what I want- I want my dog to be really motivated and happy to perform the behaviors I'm teaching and I want it to be really reliable .

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby QBert » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:21 am

Apples and oranges. Simply put- one is a cue, one is a punisher. They aren't the same part of the A -B - C antecedent->behavior->consequence. One is an A one is a C
In practice, mine certainly seems to function more as a cue than as a punisher. Again pointing to the likelihood that this is a semantics confusion for me.
This doesn't evoke passion in me in the sense of being upset that people do it. I don't really care who ah ahs their dog.
but clearly it does in others, someone addressed it as a peeve earlier in the thread which led to the derailment in the first place.
We don't know how our dogs feel exactly soo if we have the ability/opportunity, we look at the resulting behaviors. The only real way to gauge whether something is in fact reinforcing or punishing is to look at whether that behavior goes up or down in future trials. It's not reinforcing/punishing because we say it is or think it *should* be- that's determined by the response of the dog.
then going by my limited ability to 'guess' what is going on in an animal's mind, I'm supported in my belief that my non-verbal sounds are being interpreted by the animals is reinforcing or neutral since the behavior is reinforced and repeated?

So in the situation you describe-- my dog is in a down stay and is distracted by something he is afraid of or perhaps something he just finds compelling. I would either call him to me before he breaks or use R+. So rather than "aaaah don't you think of breaking that stay" it would be "wow, great job. good for you. here's a treat. let's go." Reward them for staying so they keep staying, so the likely hood that they'll stay in the future will go up. Make it successful, build on it.
very slight but potentially significant difference in tone - my tone isn't so much "aaaah don't you think of breaking that stay" as it is "hey, remember you're supposed to be staying put..." and I generally return to the dog and reward in position.

{snipped}
When I see the amazing behaviors of zoo animals--much harder to work with and performing much more difficult tasks than we are asking for from our dogs, I am inspired. Take for example the hyenas taught to press their neck against the side of the wire cage and stay still that way for a blood draw. Those hyenas don't hold that position because someone says "aaah" don't you break position now! Quite the opposite. The behavior has been built up gradually using positive reinforcement. When the hyena ends up with his jugular right under one of the wires and they want him to move and he's like "nuh uh. no way am I moving. I know this game. Take my blood dude. I'm staying just like this and then getting my big meaty bone :) " THAT is what I want- I want my dog to be really motivated and happy to perform the behaviors I'm teaching and I want it to be really reliable .
Your example here is not universal. When I was working for Disney, I had several opportunities to be able to visit the 'barns' and observe training sessions. One of the behaviors I got to see in several stages of shaping was very similar to your example. The lion building had a central aisle. Individual cages could be opened one at a time to give the cats access to the passage. At one end was a raised 'crate' that opened to the aisle at one end and had a barred panel adjoining a human access area. (Lions and many of the other animals are what they call "zero-contact", keepers and animals are always separated by a barrier of some sort unless the animals are anesthetized.) The cats were taught, with pure marker/reinforcement, to exit their sleeping quarters, walk down the aisle, hop up into the crate, turn, lie down, and permit their tails to be manipulated in between the bars (often their tails just flipped out naturally but the keepers could slip fingers through the bars and draw the tail out too) so the keepers could draw blood from the large vein near the root of the tail. Many times I saw a cat start twitching its tail or shifting as if about to flop their body into a different position, and the trainers would vocalize a soft "ah-ah-ah" or purring/ticking sound or even just the nearly universal low drawn out "eeeeaasssyyyy..."
Same thing with hippos who were taught to come to the barrier wall and gape their mouths wide so that the keepers could hose out their cavernous maws (and brush their teeth, which is riotously fun to see!), and similar "hey, hold it a sec longer" sounds were used there. Elephants getting their feet tended to through a wall of spaced pylons got the same noises used in the same way.


I don't dispute that the more technically pure R+ theory has merit or even that it might be better. But I'm not convinced that I really need to make a huge effort to undo my habit of non-verbal communications entirely.

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Re: Things that drive you nuts...

Postby yintzy » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:57 am

I use negative punishment pretty quickly in stays. I find it really clear cut for the dog (I teach it kinda like doggie zen). I do it because most students want to "EH" their dogs right away and they want to rush the stay - no matter how much I tell them to go slowly. I tell them to work up to 30 seconds of duration - next week they are walking across the room backwards and eh-ing the dog. So I needed to adjust to that. I also found people rewarded more for broken stays than successful stays.

My stay work - once dog is successful with duration is turn back and walk away. When I add movement, I have students practice on leash, reward after each sequence - drop leash, reward-look over shoulder, reward, other shoulder, 1/4 turn, turn back, reward, etc. If the dog breaks, instructions are to say nothing to the dog, re-set the dog as much as possible back to the position he was left (not using force), praise, go immediately back to the point where the dog broke (I don't break it down to make it easier unless the human lumped a huge portion and it was too difficult for the dog). Usually we have to work this step 3-5 reps, riding the frustration, extinction of following - and we taught following a lot. That's why dropping the leash is an important cue for stay at this point. When the dog is successful, lots of rewards and release. I find the biggest issue people have with stay is not releasing their dogs and the dog doesn't know when the exercise is over. Obviously, I don't work the dog to the point of breaking and they are released and rewarded often. Then their homework is to work a walk away stay to the cookie jar, using the treat, no treat method, starting next to the cookie jar and putting the dog incrementally further and further from the cookie jar based on success. Damn, if those dogs don't come back with a 30 foot, turn your back on the dog with distraction stay the next week. Their third week homework is stay while the handler walks to the front or back door. Makes for some brilliant stays. The negative reinforcement of the treat going away is super clear cut and no muddled vocal cues at this point. Works great, especially since students want to lump everything.


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