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Thread: How to Unlearn a Behaviour

  1. #1

    Default How to Unlearn a Behaviour

    We have just bought a 12 week old female Border Collie and we are trying to train her to sit. Unfortunately she must have overdosed on belly rubs at the breeder's place because she constantly drops to the ground and rolls over hoping you will scratch her belly. If you walk around the garden she races in front of you and drops and rolls. I've lost count of the number of times I've accidentally tripped over her. You try to teach her to sit and force her into position, but as soon as you let go .... drop and roll over with legs in the air. I have told the rest of the family not to rub her belly if she rolls over. I have tried stern "No's" and also ignoring her and walking away, but she is still obsessed with belly rubs.

    Does anyone have any suggestions how we can get her to 'unlearn' this behaviour?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    See if you can get her to be obsessed with something else. Ie does she like to chase a ball? Maybe as you see her starting the drop and roll over - throw the ball?

    My dog loves a belly rub too and frequently drops and rolls, but some people have learned to tell her to "sit up" before she gets a treat or pat. If she won't do anything else, ignore and walk away. Maybe say "oops - not patting that" and walk away.

    Have you tried free shaping with the clicker (or the word "yes")? Most BC really really want to do anything the boss wants.

    ClickStart

  3. #3

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    It may not be that she wants belly rubs, it sounds like she is being very submissive (she is saying "please don't hurt me!" or "I am just a puppy and mean no harm" or "I really like you and want to please you but am not sure how to do it"). I wouldn't be forcing a pup like this into position, nor telling her "no" or raising your voice if she does not do as you ask, as it may make her worse! Some dogs are naturally very submissive and they respond to gentle and consistent training.

    I would try some confidence building exercises with her like targeting (touching your hand with her nose) and free shaping with a clicker as Hyacinth suggested.
    Last edited by wuffles; 11-08-2010 at 08:18 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    My BC has always been like that too. She will roll over for anyone to give her a belly rub and she is now 3. She is friendly and soft and loves people. But it can also mean they are unsure of what you want and are being submissive. She is a baby BC and desperate to please and learn.

    My BC responds best to the gentle consistent training. I started doing obedience training with her using treats. You dont force a dog like this into position - worse thing you can do. Mine would instantly fall in a heap and roll over if I was harsh with her.

    You can lure her into position with a treat and once she gets the idea only give her the treat when she performs the action. Give lots of praise when she gets it right.

    Free shaping is also a great way to train this type of dog.

    Soft BCs are not the type of dog you force to things, you dont need to they are very smart dogs and learn better by other methods.
    Last edited by Kalacreek; 11-08-2010 at 11:14 PM.

  5. #5

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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I will try the soft and gentle approach. When we got our first BC, he was the same age (13 weeks) and he was so much calmer, learnt to sit really quick and got the hang of things in no time. This second BC is sooooo hyperactive, she never sits still, loves running in front of you getting under your feet and is much harder to train. I guess we were spoilt by our first one (he is 7 months old now and has a really good temperament).

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Every pup is different. Get her used to a lead and get her walking in the heeling position. I initially lure with treats and then once they get the idea reward when they are in the right position. With sitting hold the treat above her nose and over her head and that will get her sitting. With down I get the treat between their front legs. Practice in very short bursts and I am sure once her confidence in you grows and she understands what you want she will learn quickly.

    I also crate train mine, even my very high drive young BC will happily rest in his crate.

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