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Thread: Do you let your dog make requests?

  1. #11
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    Dec 2009
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    For us. And i mean just us, not others. each to their own.
    I spent 18 months building drive in my GSD, to do a job he was bred to do. To think independantly of humans. To problem solve alone. To seek me out as the best thing since marrow bones. My dog will disobey me, IF he knows best. And yes, on occasion, he's definitely known best.

    eg. 10 days ago: weird behaviour around daughter's b/f: Bernie has a 'your sick' repertoire of behaviours. (overly attentive, licking hand, crying/screaming at person who is sick, and herding me toward sick person. And he was rolling signals out thick and fast. Refused to stay on bed. Kept repeating behaviours and being 'disobedient' 'dominant' 'pushy' etc.
    I asked if b/f was ok? listening to my dog. Who was almost screaming at the b/f feet, running back to me, screaming at b/f feet, running back to me.
    I did not ignore this, i went and checked out the b/f. On my sofa, with a heat bag with 'tummy ache' as he described. He had a fever and perforated bowel! Was white as a sheet. See, dogs know best sometimes.

    why would i, therefore, stop listening/responding/reinforcing to the dogs communication back to me. It seems like ignoring body signals, as i had not asked for them. Go figure?


    2 days ago, same behaviour for my daughter in the evening. None of us could work out what was going on for the dog. We gave up. Next day, daughter has laringitis and no voice.

    With this frequency of reinforcement to me, i am gonna repeat the driven behaviour, because i believe in my dog knowing things i cannot due to being human.

  2. #12
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    Your dog is exceptional, Bernie.

    But even with a more average dog, I believe the principal of NILF is fine but I don't see any reason whatsoever to implement it strictly with a dog who already knows its place in the pack and has nice manners. I regard NILF more as a theory or a technique to deal with dogs who are confused about leadership.

    Now it may be different when you own a few dogs. But I (and my daughter and the cat) am my dog's pack/family. And even the pack leader in a group of wild dogs will give things for free. They will play with pups, they will even bring food to babysitters (in the case of African dogs anyway) and there's probably other stuff.

    The one thing I never do though is give food when asked. With one exception and that is occasionally I oblige when my dog asks for a treat when she has followed a cue exceptionally well. In that case she has worked for it and even though food rewards are now only used randomly for most stuff, I kind of reward her sometimes for showing that she knows so well what is expected of her.

  3. #13
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    99 bottles, long ago you wrote of the trust between you and your dog.
    This is what it boils down to - and Bernies examples have illustrated that perfectly.
    The dog trusts you to come and fix the problem (sick person or a snake in the pantry)
    so comes to you (his trusted Leader) for help.
    If snoopy reckons something is wrong/there - then something IS. I trust him.
    Then the commands, "wait" and "step back" (proofed every day in our rope games)
    come in real handy just in case it is a snake.
    Re the food, he is not a food hog but he will come and ask nicely, as long as I get a sit, drop
    he can have a little snack. (We taught this using takeaway pizza when he was a pup)

  4. #14

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    Dogs compliment our abilities by being able to sense things we can't. They still prefer it when the human calls the shots though.

  5. #15

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    ' 99bottles ', thank you for starting this thread. I am really enjoying reading the comments.

    I really dislike boring, robot type dogs more than the pushy, ill-mannered and untrained ones. At least with the untrained ones - that can be fixed with training. The robot dogs generally, have had their spirit severely trashed and will take a lot of love, time and patience to get them to where they should be.

    So what sort of pup do I like ?
    A GSP - of course ! Full of personality, fun, intelligent, inquisitive, vocal and not a mean bone in their body !!!!!

    I started very early with Riley asking him questions like - what's up ?, where ?, show me ?, who's at the gate ?- that sort of thing. Now when he answers - I can generally get what he is trying to tell me correct. He has different noises he makes now for different situations. Sometimes I get a very quiet grrrr - which to me means that I didn't get the jackpot that time and I have to try again !

    So does Riley request stuff ( as per your thread title ) ? Yes !

    If he is hungry - he licks his chops.
    If he wants an ice-block - he goes to the fridge and looks up to the freezer.

    Is he pushy ? No ! Is he a joy to have around the place ? Yes ! Do we trust each other ? Yes ! Do we respect each other ? Yes !

    It is the same with any relationships that we have in our lives - a good relationship requires time, patience, love and consistency !

    Definitely not too much to ask of us or our pups !

  6. #16
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    We, my family growing up and then the 30 years I have various breeds and numbers of dogs together and To me it is part of interaction and every day life.
    I don't have to make sure they see I am the boss at all times, I don't want robot dogs either.
    Mine make requests as I do whenever I want to. Each night bossy Jodi lets me know when she thinks I should go to bed or It could be that she wants to to go to bed and take me with her.
    She usually gets told...not yet..I'm busy or yea, good idea.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

  7. #17
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    Jan 2011
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    The dominance theory doesn't do anything for me either. My dogs make requests if they need or want something and the same rules apply to all household members: if you ask nicely you're quite likely to get what you want, if you're pushy or shouty - you won't.

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greys4me View Post
    I dont simply because I know what problems it can lead too in the future. I tend to take the NILF approach to dogs. I am the pack leader and like to make sure the dogs are never confused on that fact.
    I raised my boy this way and to this day, if I issue an order, it will be performed or there will be consequences. I mean I do bite sports with my dog, he's an entire male doberman and he has obedience titles (not to mention a loving pet and best friend) so obviously he he needs to understand that I am boss. But I'm meaning more when you're relaxing. I don't entirely disagree with dominance theory; I feel that I can see it playing out between my dogs and then between myself and other dogs. I believe though that my dominance is assured by more than just my strength (which is lucky because my boy is stronger than me and he knows it). No, I'm the leader of this pack because I'm the one who knows what I'm doing, which way to go, where to find food and I guide him to succeed. But I don't think that dominance theory explains everything. As a pup, maybe. But as they get older, something else develops. These days I feel more like I have partnership with my dog that anything else with an understanding that I will make sure we have access to good things in life and protection from bad things. He is free to express ideas and make requests (ie provide input) but I am the one who decides what we do.

    If your dog asks for pats but leaves you alone as soon as you make it clear that you're not interested, well I'm not sure that constitutes a challenge to your position. It just means the dog wants a pat. And the latest studies have shown that patting releases oxytocin for both the dog and the human so we both become addicted to patting lol.

  9. #19
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    Yes, my girl is allowed to make requests.
    There is a lot of routine to her day, certain times for food, certain times for play with me etc. She knows if I'm being slack and has ways of reminding me which I usually respond to.
    If I'm on the lounge watching TV there are times she will climb on my lap instead of settling beside me, this means she wants a massage and I usually give it!
    She also knows that I'm the one who makes the final decision. Occasionally she will bring a toy and drop it on my feet asking me to play, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.
    She accepts it if I don't play and goes off to play on her own.

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by chubbsecurity View Post
    99 bottles, long ago you wrote of the trust between you and your dog.
    This is what it boils down to - and Bernies examples have illustrated that perfectly.
    The dog trusts you to come and fix the problem (sick person or a snake in the pantry)
    so comes to you (his trusted Leader) for help.
    If snoopy reckons something is wrong/there - then something IS. I trust him.
    Then the commands, "wait" and "step back" (proofed every day in our rope games)
    come in real handy just in case it is a snake.
    Re the food, he is not a food hog but he will come and ask nicely, as long as I get a sit, drop
    he can have a little snack. (We taught this using takeaway pizza when he was a pup)
    Agree with this entirely. I was going to say, I don't believe that Bernie's dog is showing any disobedience; the dog is doing what she wants him to do. The overall goal is the well-being of the pack, from time to time, we may give our dogs suggestions about what to do at that moment, but they can understand our deeper goals. The best example I can think of is in Schutzhund (it's a big thing for us). As part of the exercise, you escort a 'bad guy' out of a blind and take him to the judge. You put your dog in a down. At some point whilst you're looking at the judge, the 'bad guy' will make a run for it. Now it looks like your dog is breaking an order, because to pass, the dog must break the down and catch the 'bad guy'. But I don't believe they are. The dog knows that you want to catch the bad guy, they get that. He knows he's in a down but more important to you is that you catch the bad guy. So the dog is not being disobedient or dominant, he just knows what you want and he's going to help you get it. Never thought of it like that before but now it makes more sense. Now this is not to say that the dog isn't doing what he wants to do too - he would prefer to be biting bad guys than lying on the ground... But, our dogs won't break a down to chase a ball, or to interrupt someone else's protection work so it's not like they just break their downs whenever they feel like it. In fact, part of the exercise is that the dog must remain in a down while someone else does the whole routine with you out of sight. But when you give them a job, whatever it may be, whether you have explicitly asked them to do it or not (in the case of sick children obviously you haven't asked the dog to do anything) they seem to take it quite seriously.

    This has been a more interesting thread than I thought it would be (I thought it was just going to be a cute one!). That was something I always wondered about in Schutzhund. Everyone always says, we need the dogs to be a bit disobedient. But they're not disobeying us, they're just smarter than we give them credit for and they are doing what they know we want them to do, without even being asked.

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