• Michael D'Abruzzo

    October 9, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    A lot of dogs learn to anticipate commands based on a stimulus.  For example, i have trained a lot of dogs that automatically go to a “place” command when they hear a doorbell because they anticipate the doorbell leads to the “place” command.

    I used to have a wireless doorbell installed in the training room and I would ring the doorbell many many times (followed by place command) until I would get that behavior of going to the place just by the doorbell.

    You can likely do something somewhat similar, but the problem is that it is harder for ACE to do something on autopilot when it is less controlled and many variables which is likely when outdoors vs behind a door and hearing a doorbell.

    The more specific a stimulus is (such as a car entering the driveway) the easier it is to train him to anticipate a command.  Because a person approaching will trigger a very strong instinct to protect the territory, that will always be his first response unless something very specific interrupts that natural reaction and triggers a conditioned response.  This would take a lot of training and generalization to do on auto-pilot.

    Either way, the “easier” way to manage it, is to simply call him to a command whenever someone enters the property (if he is trained to that level of distraction) and eventually he would go somewhat on autopilot to anything that is specific enough for him to anticipate.  If you wanted to turn it into a training drill you would just need to find some help from people who were willing to enter the property over and over again until you see anticipation from him.

    Technically it would be possible if you were consistent with providing the right motivation to obey.

    If you were NOT there, it would be very hard because there would no longer be any reinforcement for his conditioned actions and the training would unwind.  Other issues such as how long to hold a command and when to release himself too would be very complicated.  Ultimately it may be fighting mother nature to obey commands from “no one” when his instinct will be to do what is natural when he is alone and in charge.

    Dogs generally need a leader present to guide them to do these otherwise unnatural behaviors.

    The reason why things like invisible fence systems work is because they are still 100% consistent with consequences whether you are there or not (if it is functioning properly) and it doesn’t ask much of the dog in terms of overriding instincts or doing specific commands.

    So the short version of my answer is that, if you are present everything pretty much easy with a little guidance.  When you are not present it is very complicated and difficult.