Archives for October 2007

Doggie School Drop Outs

Above: One of my other students stressing out. I dropped by to say hello and he was crazy! He knows to do a down if not sure how to behave but the lip licking, eyes, and ears show he is stressed. He wasn’t being worked…

Yikes, yesterday was bad and I would say the dogs at boot camp acted like doggie school drop-outs. It could have something to do with the fire, smoke, and wind since all the animals were acting up and many humans were irritable.

The gals were so bad that I left after an hour. They didn’t even make it out for playtime.

These are the types of days I hate. The dogs acted like they never had any training–other than crating. Thank God for small favors.

Rather than fight a losing battle and spend another couple of hours just attempting to get the right behavior on the gates–I stopped.

They both crated fine and then sat before being fed, but that was it. The rest was jumping, zany, obnoxious behavior.

I’ll spare you the details but I did get one dog removed to the pen and spent the rest of the time going back and forth between the play pen and the camp quarters attempting to get compliance. But each time they failed to maintain behavior at the gate–the window of opportunity closed and I went back to try the other…unsuccessfully.

Good thing the videographer asked me to wait until next week!

Sometimes you have to know when to quit. The last time this happened was early in their training–maybe the second or third day? Honestly, they acted like they never set foot in camp.

Hopefully today will be better…

Doggie DI Boot Camp–Week Three & Flexibility

I didn’t take any pictures of the girls today–just the smoke coming into the valley. We had to adapt our program to the really bad air quality. So, no walk or work on the long line. The videographer is supposed to come back out today but I am not sure it will be clear enough for major exertion.

The girls were very happy to see me early this am instead of later in the day. I had some commitments that required that I be free in the afternoon so I moved them up in the schedule. Both were rambunctious as usual.

Dog “A” was on strike on the play pen gate again. She did fine until I attempted to take dog “B” out alone. Then it was a struggle. Both didn’t do too well on the longivity of the “sit” or “down” but I also pushed the envelope–moving 50 feet away from each one while asking them to remain in position.

The camp owner and camp dog kept walking by which disturbed them–but then a leaf blowing or a bird would do the same thing!

I was not able to get either dog to growl over the bone and only saw posturing from dog “A” over the bones but no overt aggression and definately no growling. I’ll take the bones into the pen today to see what happens.

Dog “A” was retrained on the retreive. She quit bringing toys back after the chase. In fact, most of the time she lets dog “B” pick up and retreive and seems to only shadow her now. Once in a while she plays and takes the ball from her but I bridged her a few times and then she was retreiving again.

So, we really didn’t have many adventures. This week will be spent really pushing them to tighten up and fine-tune behaviors. I didn’t put the home integration into the contract and since I still have not heard from the owners am probably not going to work on that after all.

I’d like to get them out into the community and into a few new places but will probably wait until the new week starts on Monday due to the air and fire concerns. Basically, we are all sticking close to home until better containment is gained.

Training isn’t always super exciting but it is important to practice. The girls love it and have calmed down because they know what is required of them. The main challenge–other than the genetics–is to get them to maintain the behaviors and replace their previous repertoire with the better habits.

The mistake most people make is to think that training stops. It doesn’t, it is a lifestyle change. I hope to make a couple of targets for the girls to help them learn positioning on the gates where there is no clear mark as to where they have to be positioned.

In the pen, they need to be sitting on the deck. In the play pen there is no real marker to identify where they should be other than behind the gate. They do stay pretty well once corrected if they make a mistake and forget.

Previously they always charged doors and gates so this is good…