Can of Pennies---Good or Bad?

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Auby

Boxer Pal
What is the best method to interrupt a boxer's bad behavior? My almost 12 week old Auby loves to grab onto my shoes (while I'm in them) and do a full body tug. I have tried the shaking pennies in a can method which works well, but I'm unsure if there is a gentler alternative for pups. Any advice is appreciated! Thank you!
 

Jinnytee

Super Boxer
I think that if the shaking pennies thing works for your pup, as long as it doesn't frighten him, then I don't think it is an issue .... although there are probably "quieter " ways !.

Basically you want to interrupt the bad behavior, which in your case is shaking the pennies ... in my case for something like chewing on shoes I would give the "Leave It" command ( but of course you would need to teach this to your pup first, so that he knows it really well ).

The advantage to training a command means that you always have that tool with you ... whereas you don't want to have to carry pennies around all the time :)

Even though your pup is young, you can start training - just keep it to short bursts, no more than a couple of minutes, as their attention span is short, and mental training is tiring - and of course always make it positive and fun. I started simple obedience training from about 10 weeks, once my girl was settled in to home, and I tell you she was like a sponge, she picked up things so fast at that age .... and it was a great bonding experience for us.

The important thing is, whatever method you use to stop the unwanted behavior, you need to follow by offering an alternative that IS allowed ... a toy .... or a game with you, which trumps laces any day :) Its hard to expect your pup to stop something that to them is really fun, and to get nothing in return .... as well as showing that there are much more interesting things out there than shoes :)
 

Jinnytee

Super Boxer
Should add, that it would be better to distract from the shoe thing BEFORE it happens .... so you won't need to shake pennies - or say no. As soon as you see the first cue that he may be going for the shoes, then immediately divert his attention with a toy or game. Hopefully he will soon forget that shoes held any appeal at all.

Jinny
 

ELubas

Boxer Insane
The can of pennies always makes me think of my boy Frazier and smile. Frazier has been at the bridge for some time but as a pup he was so fresh!! And he LOVED shoes-on your feet or not-no one was safe. So a trainer told us about the can of pennies. So we were all ready the next time he went after after our feet. He grabbed the toe of my husband's sneaker and I shook the can loudly! Fraze froze in his tracks, tilted his head like only a boxer pup can, and then launched into a play bow:LOL: He barked at the can, licked the can, cried when we put the can away-best toy he had ever seen! So while it did not work exactly as the trainer had intended, we could DISTRACT him with the can by playing with him. How I loved that goofy boy lovicon Thanks for the smile today and, obviously, I have no issues with the can of pennies!
 

whiskers

Boxer Insane
I have mixed feelings on this, as looking back, I wonder if my penny cans contributed to Juno's fear of loud and/or sudden noises. I obviously don't KNOW that it had any affect, but it seems reasonable to think that startling her with a loud noise like that might have made her more jumpy about noises in general. The point of the can is to startle them enough that they stop, but maybe it was TOO startling.... and not all dogs are going to react the same way, but you can't know which ones will react poorly to it...

In the future, I don't see myself using them (except maybe rarely or for a behavior I need to stop quickly) because of the experience with Juno. The cans certainly WORKED but I could have used other, less damaging ways.

For shoe tugging I would distract her with a toy and get her attention on that instead of the shoe. Play with the toy and move it around on the floor and make it seem super exciting and she'll probably want no part of shoe tugging then :)
 

TwoDogs

Boxer Insane
The advantage to training a command means that you always have that tool with you ... whereas you don't want to have to carry pennies around all the time :)

This is the reason that if I use an aversive (something the dog doesn't like) to reduce a behavior, I always pair it with a word. Over time that word becomes a "conditioned punisher". The same way the click from a clicker or the words "good dog" can be conditioned to be reinforcing by being consistently paired with pleasant things, a word can serve as a secondary punisher if it has been consistently paired with a primary punisher (like the shaking can of pennies).

So, right before you present that can of pennies, say "no" or "eh-eh" or "enough", then give the can a shake. The dog will realize that the word predicts the noise and will learn that if they stop the behavior when they hear the word then they can avoid the noise. When you start getting the same response to the word as you do to the can then you no longer have to carry the can of pennies with you everywhere.

FYI, choose your aversives wisely. Every dog reacts differently to things. I had a client who used the can of pennies (prior to hiring me) to stop his dog's alert barking. His dog was pretty sound sensitive (part of the reason for the alert barking in the first place) so the pennies had a strong effect interrupting the barking. The owner was pleased until he realized that his dog was starting to shy away from him whenever he held anything that looked remotely can-like in his hand.
 
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Gunther

Super Boxer
I have mixed feelings on this, as looking back, I wonder if my penny cans contributed to Juno's fear of loud and/or sudden noises. I obviously don't KNOW that it had any affect, but it seems reasonable to think that startling her with a loud noise like that might have made her more jumpy about noises in general. The point of the can is to startle them enough that they stop, but maybe it was TOO startling.... and not all dogs are going to react the same way, but you can't know which ones will react poorly to it...

In the future, I don't see myself using them (except maybe rarely or for a behavior I need to stop quickly) because of the experience with Juno. The cans certainly WORKED but I could have used other, less damaging ways.

For shoe tugging I would distract her with a toy and get her attention on that instead of the shoe. Play with the toy and move it around on the floor and make it seem super exciting and she'll probably want no part of shoe tugging then :)
I don't have mixed feelings myself. I think startling a dog is a bad idea.

Redirect and treat and "leave it" are a much better appraoch and "leave it" could keep her out of trouble in the future! :)
 

whiskers

Boxer Insane
I don't have mixed feelings myself. I think startling a dog is a bad idea.

I think it has its place, I think we've all clapped our hands or stomped our feet or went "ah ah!" to startle a dog into stopping something, especially with puppies if they're caught in the act of pottying in the house. I don't think a startle is a bad thing, most dogs recover from that just fine... but there's a difference between a little startle, and all-out frightening them. And it's hard to know which of those two exactly you're doing to any particular dog.
 

Gunther

Super Boxer
I think it has its place, I think we've all clapped our hands or stomped our feet or went "ah ah!" to startle a dog into stopping something, especially with puppies if they're caught in the act of pottying in the house. I don't think a startle is a bad thing, most dogs recover from that just fine... but there's a difference between a little startle, and all-out frightening them. And it's hard to know which of those two exactly you're doing to any particular dog.
No argument I remember the penny shaking thing from back in the day. A sharp "DOWN" will get the same effect. :) And if the dog won't "down" there's work to be done. :)
 
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