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Author Topic: Can changing the rules damage dogs' learning ability?  (Read 2440 times)

Offline stevewillie

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I've been told that dogs can become confused and neurotic when the rules are changed. For example, a dog allowed have its own space in the house for a while, and later is "evicted". The rules are laid when when dogs are puppies, but later, if some rules are changed arbitrarily the dog actually looses some of its ability to be retrained. Is this true? I'm not talking about old dogs, but dogs over about one year old.


 

Offline atrox

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Can changing the rules damage dogs' learning ability?
« Reply #1 on: 15/09/2008 00:28:05 »
I dont think so.
There are a lot of people which are realizing after a while, that they canīt handle their dog and need help... and normally they can find help teaching the dog whats wrongan right.
But of course it is harder to set new rules. But itīs nothing else with Kids.
If they are allowed to eat icecream whenever they want for the first 6 years of their life, they wont understand if you suddently prohibit these behaviour and you would need to be really consitent.
Itīs the same with dogs...its much easier to show them the basics of right behaviour when they are young, but itīs not impossible to teach them something completely different... but it depends on the character of the animal, how hard or easy this would be.
But whats really confusing for a dog is, when more than one person is involved in the teaching process, but each of them draw different lines of what is allowed and what not
 

Offline Don_1

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Can changing the rules damage dogs' learning ability?
« Reply #2 on: 15/09/2008 16:20:49 »
But whats really confusing for a dog is, when more than one person is involved in the teaching process, but each of them draw different lines of what is allowed and what not

I agree with this, dogs are pack animals and need to know who the top dog is and where his/her place in the pack (family) is. It's best that the rules are kept the same from the top dog down.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Can changing the rules damage dogs' learning ability?
« Reply #3 on: 15/09/2008 17:34:49 »
I don't know much about dogs but I can't see any evolutionary strategy that would favour losing the ability to learn (at least until you are too old to reproduce- then all bets are off).
 

Offline stevewillie

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Can changing the rules damage dogs' learning ability?
« Reply #4 on: 16/09/2008 06:06:15 »
I don't know much about dogs but I can't see any evolutionary strategy that would favour losing the ability to learn (at least until you are too old to reproduce- then all bets are off).

Yes. I think that most domestic dog breeds would not survive without humans. Depending on humans is maladaptive for independent survival. Even feral dogs depend on human generated food sources. Left alone only a few of the more robust breeds might survive like the dingos.
 

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Can changing the rules damage dogs' learning ability?
« Reply #4 on: 16/09/2008 06:06:15 »

 

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