Sarah Wilson

Dog Expert

Crate Training Problems: Why the “Husky that Says No” is NOT so Funny


Husky dog imageAt least, it isn’t funny to me. Crate training can be a simple task and these guys, completely by mistake, are creating much bigger problems for Blaze and for themselves. Nine million viewers see this and laugh. I see it and say: Watch it again. Please. Watch it with the sound off and your eyes open.

We open the video, Blaze is lying, motionless and “closed face” on the floor. Back leg somewhat up. He’s already confused about what is going on.

(:05) The moment his person touches his back – Blaze vocalizes. His person instantly moves his hand away – and moving of his hand powerfully rewards Blaze’s mild protest.

(:07) Again though this time with both the retreat of the hand and a laugh. Laughter is a powerful reward for our dogs. The message to Blaze: I LIKE your protest – GOOD DOG!

(:11) Blaze now swings his head and nose bumps the man with a slightly open mouth which ends with looking directly at the man. That is a stronger signal to “stop”. Just after that he rolls on his back a little. He is confused by all of this and getting more confused. Man moves his hand away chuckling.
(:19) Again
(:23) Again
(:26) Again
(:29) Again
(:53) The man reaches his other hand under Blaze’s chest. Now Blaze swings his head up and makes direct eye contact. He makes a move with his mouth toward that left hand and the man withdraws it instantly (another huge reward for the Blaze’s protest). Blaze lip licks a few times – he is so confused and conflicted. He has no idea what is going on here.

(1:00) Having tolerated some lifting under the shoulder, Blaze now raises his voice, moves slightly toward the hand under his shoulder and the man instantly retreats again.

(1:04) He makes contact with the man’s hand and the man lets go completely.

Repeats some more.

(1:27) Blaze moves again for the man’s hand who retreats again. Big head swing with eye contact from Blaze who is, after all this careful if unintentional training, growing more confident in his ability to successfully threaten his human.

Counting the exact number of rewarded repetitions here is a bit tough but it’s over a dozen in under 2 minutes. Such a training session (and every interaction we have with our dogs is a training session) will make any dog “better” at whatever is being rewarded. Sadly for Blaze.

If this continues, I would expect Blaze to put his mouth on his person in protest soon. Which will be too bad for everyone, especially for Blaze.

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