Impulse control training.....or self regulation?

Discussion in 'Behavioural science and dog training philosophy' started by Beanwood, Mar 29, 2018.

  1. Beanwood

    Beanwood Registered Users

    Jan 28, 2014
    Just a "musing" post really :)

    One area I haven't done much training with Bramble is impulse control, well apart from the stop whistle I guess. I use the stop whistle for LOTS of things. We have worked a lot on calm behaviours though, going to her bed, just doing "nothing" in a field combined with rewarding for disengaging. I have also sent her "away" to a place when I thought she would become over-aroused by a situation. An example is sending her out to sit on a tree trunk because that was safer than risking her getting any closer to flapping ducks.

    So, she has been presenting me with a really fascinating behaviour, which has really got me thinking..does Bramble recognise her own arousal levels? This probably needs a bit of context. Bramble is high drive, actually, her drive is off the scale. She has killed a couple of my chickens, and a rabbit that got too close. She has also killed one of my ducks. Admittedly my reaction was not a positive one to the chicken, however I don't think that impacted her behaviour, or upset her particularly, although she loves to please, she is rather thick-skinned as well!

    So back to the fascinating behaviour. In the morning she comes out with me whilst I check on the chickens. BUT she sits neatly around about 20 feet or so from the gate. Very calm and quiet. Each day Bramble comes out, and sits in more or less the same place. I have never asked her to do this. So I wonder, does she know that at this distance she can control her high prey instinct? Does she then know that at 6 ft she can't? If so, is she then deliberating managing her arousal level?
  2. edzbird

    edzbird Registered Users

    Mar 31, 2015
    Isle of Man
    I wonder whether having experienced your response to the chicken incident, she has decided that to sit and NOT attack pleases you, since you say she loves to please. Maybe she has picked up a favourable reaction from you when she has sat in that position? That then might make her continue to offer the same sit. Clever girl, without a doubt.
    SullyBear likes this.
  3. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

    Sep 29, 2012
    Hampshire, UK
    Yes, I remember the chicken incident, you were not a happy bunny! If Bramble got out without you do you think she would attempt to have another chicken dinner or stop at the gate? x
  4. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

    Apr 13, 2016
    I’m inclined to agree with @edzbird, I think bramble is very in tune with you, so possibly after the chicken attack she clearly understood you were displeased and is trying a behaviour you like?

    It sort of reminds me of how when we return from a walk, Quinn goes to sit on a mat immediately (for me only) to get towelled off - I didn’t train her to do this, but a couple months ago she picked up on my displeasure when she walked off soaking and I asked her to go back to the mat....she does it automatically after every single walk now, whichever door we come in and at other people’s homes. Dogs are so perceptive!
  5. Dalibor Selucký

    Dalibor Selucký Registered Users

    Jun 3, 2019
    Hehe, that is lovely. Recently I have been doing some research concerning my dog and his training (he is, ehm, can't quite tell in English, but in direct translation, from Czech, it would be "Belgian Shepherd") and he is the devil. We tried everything but nothing really helped. We tried local training grounds, we tried home training, we tried all 4 training methods we know (negative and positive, feedback and punishment) and nothing worked.

    I think I said it right, that it was Belgian Shepherd, his name is Rocky and he looks similar. Here is the breed in Google database

    We tried different food, tried vets, nothing was working at all. Now he is a couple of months old and we try even tech (neurofeedback training of the dog - which is crazy, but we are already getting lost in costs of all destroyed items). I'm not sure how it'll work, it's still fresh, and they advertise that it'll take some 3 months at least to see some progress. In meanwhile we got ourselves on a yard a rubber tire from an old motorbike and entertain him destroying this tire. As he nearly bit it off already, we hope something will work soon.

    In meanwhile, would you have an advice or two on a similar problem? Did anyone experience such a dog that we cannot handle no matter what we try?

    Thank you,

    Dalibor, Czechia
  6. Anthony Abrao

    Anthony Abrao Registered Users

    Jan 1, 2019
    @Beanwood you mention never asking her to do this, but have you praised or rewarded the behavior? Maybe her initial behavior was to stay distant to satisfy you and not have a repeat of the chicken incident, and by staying distant she received positive rewards that resulted in her repeating the behavior.

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