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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
During some staked-out civil agitation, where the dog is normally at the end of the line, he was getting frustrated and started backing up closer to me (the handler, standing behind him with a second leash).

At first I thought it was avoidance, but it kinda looked like the dog was trying to get the guy within his reach...

Are dogs this sneaky? Or am I giving him too much credit? Obviously without a video a definitive answer won't come, just wondering if this is a common thing...

Simon
 

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My personal observations have led me to believe the answer to are some dogs this sneaky (baiting the decoy/helper in)? is YES - but I don't think I would call it sneaky more like smart :wink:
 

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Yet another alternate explanation is that the dog is "experimenting" to get his "reward", or relying on past experience. The latter is more likely. If he's always been allowed to bite from a position next to you, he will ALWAYS use that position as a reference. That's exactly why you have to teach your dog to bite from very different "starting" points...and NOT use you as a reference.

I have seen dogs that can't get a bite while on the end of a line, move back to where the handler is. Then I see the handler NOT recognize that "move" for what it is, they become "worried" that the dog has gone backwards in training...and GIVE the dog a bite...thus REINFORCING that move.

Dogs don't try to get someone within reach out of spatial intelligence. They do so because it worked at some point prior or they're offering a new behavior to "see if that works".

If it's avoidance - you should be able to recognize that VERY quickly. ie. Your dog moves back only when the decoy comes in...and your dog changes his body language.

My suggestion is for you to WAY SHORTEN the length of time the dog has to wait to "chase" away the decoy. IOW, have the dog on a long line, have the decoy agitate...and immediately give chase. Then SLOWLY increase the length of time the dog has to wait at the end of the line. Then you can begin asking for a "better display of aggression" :lol: , then increase it to the point where you can expect the dog to fail and he moves backwards; say, "No" (don't yell); have the decoy continue agitating; if the dog stays back, again simply say, "No" (don't yell). If and when the dog moves forward, immediately chase the decoy away. Your dog will get the hang of this soon enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It certainly doesn't look like clear-cut avoidance. Plus the behaviour showed up while he was becoming more frustrated, not in response to an increase in pressure from the decoy (didn't have much pressure at all that day because we were working primarily on control work...).

I like your theory on it being a learned behaviour, and I think Mike also may have been on to something when he said it could have been a reduction in drive... Even though he's working primarily in defense, he takes everything VERY seriously, I think that he's starting to peice together that it's all a bit of a hoax. Not that he's any friendlier with the decoy, he just doesn't have that same "life or death" urgency that he used to (not a bad thing in my case).

Keep the comments coming, I appreciate the feedback.

Simon
 

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And yet another possibility! Often times an insecure dog will back up to make contact with it's handler. Kind of a security blanket thing.
Same thing as some dogs crowding the handler under outside stress.
Once the dog feels the security of the handler the power can go back up.
I've see dogs that worked great on a 6 ft line, then would refuse to go full length on a long line.
 

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Bob, I forgot about that. Cujo does that :lol: He's always backing up into my legs when working him on a short line. But he's doing better with leaving me, he just won't strain on the line because he seems to know he's on a line, so for the decoy to get him to start pulling requires making him miss the bite so close that 1/2 the time he'll be quicker than the decoy n grab it :lol: Tough dog to decoy for in that way.
 

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I have had many dogs that were left on a backtie too long do this to get the decoy to come closer. They do the same to squirrels and cats.

This is one of the problems with stagnant training, because if the dog has had to come to heel, he could be testing the waters for what is correct.

Once you get past the PPD BS, (which your dog already has) going out to the end of the line is kiddygarden stuff. :D

Move on in your training. That is my suggestion.



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Personally, I dont like to work a serious type of dog on a back tie.I also dont mind if a dog backs up or even goes behind the handler in the beginning.To a true sport dog its not going to matter if hes back tied or not, he will still usually strain at the end of leash.
A dog that backs up or turns to look at his handler out of what you call avoidance, is a dog looking for direction.Thats not a bad thing at all in fact I would rather see this behavior than the dog just standing there or mindlessly straining against the lead.Of course I am referring to the beginning stages of manwork.
I have seen dogs lie back in wait for the person to get close enough.I even had a Mali that would hide behind trees or whatever until the victim got within striking range.If this is natural then why not use it?

As far as getting the results you desire..Andres' suggestions should do the job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Jeff Oehlsen said:
Once you get past the PPD BS, (which your dog already has) going out to the end of the line is kiddygarden stuff. :D

Move on in your training. That is my suggestion.
I am mostly working on control right now. I had him backtied so that I didn't have to concentrate on anything but the second lead. Very little civil agitation going on, just enough to make the dog question his OB so that I could proof it.

I think for the forseeable future I'm not gonna do much more than OB and a lot of prey based games with him. I know he'll bite, he'd probably bite almost as well had I never trained him, so I'm gonna concentrate on control and socialization.

All comments much appreciated.

Simon
 

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I have found that backing up isn't always avoidance. Yes, they will bait you into coming closer and then knock the life out of you. We have a few dogs in out training group that do this. The first time I saw a GSD do it, he backed up and the expression was, "Come closer my little chew thing."

The avoidance thing has been with dogs that do nothing on the long line and hide behind the handler. No effort, no verbals, nothing.
 
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