Running puppy

Discussion in 'Labrador Puppies' started by DanielFam, Sep 25, 2018.

  1. DanielFam

    DanielFam Registered Users

    Aug 28, 2018
    I've got a young 5 month old chocolate lab. She has the tendency to run away from us when she knows she's done something wrong. Such as, steal a sock, or take away something from her like a chew toy or treat. With the treat, she just swallowed the whole thing. She is really easy to train and is the best dog in the world and the most obedient when food is involved, she will listen to every command thrown at her! So I know for a fact that she knows how to listen but chooses not to!

    How do I stop that habit of her running away and correct the behaviour? And have we given her too much freedom too early?
  2. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

    Aug 25, 2018
    Jersey, Channel Islands
    Learning theory tells us this isn't true. She is doing what works, like all dogs are. You have taught her that when she has an object and you approach, you are coming to take the valued object off her. So of course she is going to try to stay away from you - so she keeps possession of the object. You have trained her to do this... She is not deliberately doing 'wrong' or 'choosing not to listen', she just would rather have the object than have you take it off her.

    Which, frankly, you can quite understand. If I walked up and took your pay packet off you when you get paid at the end of the month, you'd be a bit silly to stand there and just let me take it off you. You instead are likely to try to walk off and avoid me. And some people might just smack me one, for trying to take their money off them. Dogs are the same - many will try to move away, others will use reactivity to retain the valued object.

    Firstly, dogs should not have access to many items they are going to do this with. Life for any puppy quickly gets tedious and resource guarding quickly develops if human hands are constantly taking stuff off them which they've picked up. So the first step is to ensure the puppy is kept in an area where there simply isn't anything they can pick up like this. When they are taken outside, even just to the yard/garden, where there is stuff they can pick up, then they should be on a 2.5m house-line and you should always have a small supply of treats in your pocket for trade-offs. If this is done from the start, often it is all you need to do...

    Next, you will need to teach the puppy a DROP cue. And to make sure you always have reinforcers available. I would also ensure the puppy is always trailing a house line, so you can avoid the situation of chasing them for the item - which in itself, is reinforcing. Chirag talks about how:

    Cath and lucy@labforumHQ like this.

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