Re: Help! he’s driving me mad!!


!! It started a couple of weeks ago, we were in the garden and i called him to me, he turned looked at me and continued with what he was doing.
he just continued playing with his toy

All animal behaviour ( includes us ) is, in elementary simplistic terms, spilt into 2 parts –

Everything we willingly do is named ‘reward behaviour’ – the terms ‘reward’ and ‘punishment’ are something the animal perceives as a  consequence of any behaviour, not something you do or offer to an animal.

Given more than one choice of external ‘rewards’ which a behaviour obtains for your dog/any animal the dog will chose the behaviour which offers the ‘greatest’ reward outcome. Any behaviour other than that, the dog itself would see it as a punishment, the outcome is not as favourable.

Humans example – “ I want to stay out and play dad, don’t make me come inside yet”

– playing behaviour is the greater reward,
–  having to go inside which is punishment behaviour.

If the parent makes the child go inside he/she has ‘punished’ the child.

If you interpret that into your situation above – playing with the ball behaviour was the ‘greater reward’ – going inside would have been a punishment – to the dog .

When your OT removed the ball he attempted to induce a ‘negative punishment’ to the dog – but – the dog experienced being out in the garden as a greater reward than going inside after the ball

– in other words – the ball in the garden was a reward BUT the ball in the house would have been a punishment to the dog compared to the reward experience to the  dog of being outside (the greater reward) rewards and punishments are not constant outside laboratory conditions – they both fluctuate, second by second in value depending on other things available to them

All animals perform behaviours which to them are the ‘greater reward’.


He’s also stopped responding to any other command either,


Yes – it is not a phase – you have inadvertently taught that ‘disobedience’ is a rewarding behaviour. Because disobedience is now rewarding to the dog, now he will allways ignore you when it suits him, thats what he has been taught to do.

If you dont understand bits of the above just ask and isolate any bits.

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