Doggie DI Boot Camp–Week Two Day Three

Another dismal day for the Doggie DI. Although it did not take long to get out of the camp, the doggie duo were horrible…not their charming selves.

Okay, okay, they were not as bad as yesterday. Thank goodness for small favors.

The first thing I did, after getting into the pen and saying hello, was to separate the two. The siblings have separation anxiety when removed from one another–or should I say the one who remains behind pitches a fit–because that is more like it.

My strategy to deal with this was to put the remote spray collar on the dog left in the camp building while I worked the other on the porch, in the pen, and then out in the community yard.

Such reprimands are not associated with a person or a command and so they tend to be effective because the dog doesn’t source the connection. Sometimes they will identify the collar as the source but not always.

Glad to have the tool to help them succeed–it worked like a charm. Don’t get me wrong, both began to pitch a fit (I switched them out) but by the third time the collar was activated, they stopped.

Separation anxiety manifests in a number of ways. Usually it is associated with human-animal separations. Dogs might chew, destroy things, or self-mutilate in attempts to escape their isolation.

In this case, the dogs will bark, howl, whine, dig or destroy, and attempt to escape the area they are confined. It doesn’t matter if they have a whole yard, or are in a smaller room, or if the other dog is just a few feet away separated by a barrier–they want to be with each other.

That is one of the problems with sibling animals–they bond more with each other and to hell with the owners (and the dog trainer)…at least in the cases I see.

I did manage to get a good one minute “sit, stay” from dog “A” at a six foot distance.Both dogs sit at attention for a variety of our activities so they know the behavior. Dog “B’ didn’t do as well but she does understand the concept–it is just the motivation and A.D.D. that gets in the way.

We did also start the “down” but it wasn’t something we worked on too much.

They both did better on the leash work. The heeled and did loose leash walking pretty well. The main problem is that they don’t keep to the left on the loose leash walking AND they often tangle themselves up on turns when we stop. I do have them sit when we stop but it is not automatic at this point.

The big problem is that we are walking up and down hills with lots of small rocks. If they don’t comply, I am at risk. It takes some maneuvering and diligence–they are better than they were but it still is not much consolation from my perspective.

The other thing that is a pain is that they are really clingy when I sit down and so we worked on that. I like giving them affection and physical contact but I am not rewarding the clingy and pushy behavior. So, sometimes it means I have to withdraw because they get overstimulated and go back to the bad behavior.

Dog “A” can be a collapsible dog. When I pet her and talk sweetly she actually begins to fall over or slides onto the ground. Too funny but I’d rather her do that than have her push into me like dog “B” does.

Now I know you remember me mentioning that they have exhibited some unexpected behavior. What revealed itself over the past few days is that they do show some aggression and territoriality. What a surprise! I would not have expected it and the camp owner said they did not do that the last time they visited–but then they had been displaced and recently relocated, too.

Today there was an incident when I was sitting down working on having dog “B” not crawl onto my lap. The camp dog came over and attempted to sniff my reprimand pouch (that is hooked on the belt and hangs behind me). She was behind me and dog “B” was in front of me. As soon as she sniffed, dog “B” became possessive and the both dogs reacted but instantaneously both got corrected by my booming voice.

Needless to say, they both stopped immediately. Even the camp owner, who had come over to watch, moved off!

Neither dog got to the other but that behavior it is not acceptable. The good thing about being at the camp is that I can see my students behavior is a variety of settings and around other animals.

Dogs rotate in and out, walk by, and outside the perimeter fence and we have encounters with horses, ponies, dogs, and the horseback riders and cars. I hate when there are interactions like today.

I think I shook up the camp owner when I yelled, too. She suddenly got up and had to go back to work.

Some of you might remember that I began my career training big stuff like lions, tigers, and bears (go ahead, say it…) and so when I project my voice to stop something–it usually works and nobody crosses me. When I shifted from wild animals to horses–well, it took some adjusting.

I refrain from working livestock due to allergies. Hay, molds, and dust are not my friends. When I did work hoofed animals I was always taking allergy meds. Not too long ago I did a behavior consultation with a horse–and man was I sneezing, wheezing, and red-eyed…that will teach me to not take those allergy meds before going to a horse ranch.

Anyway, the gals went crazy barking at something outside of the play pen today also–and they stopped when I told them to–but I’d rather not see that behavior at all. You can train a dog to be protective and to alarm bark, but this behavior is neither.

When the gals don’t cooperate I notice I get really tired by the end of the day. We had some successes but all were hard to come by.

We ended the day with a final playtime in the play area. Dog “B’s” behavior is changing and she is becoming a bit of a brat. Not that these dogs were ever really good–but in my work with them things are shifting. Even the camp owner is amazed now.

My heart warms when they do well and are trying hard. They are sweet but I am probably going to take a day off in the next few days to give us all a break.

Please God, let them do well tomorrow…

Dog “B” still jumps in the air when excited but the remote collar works really well on helping to extinquish that behavior too. I might have to use one of those harnesses that prevents jumping if the behavior doesn’t drop down in the next four days.

You might remember I said that the videographer was coming to film. She did not come up today–she asked me to change the schedule again. I might see her Friday. I wonder if there is a correlation betwee scheduling her and the bad behavior–they have only been bad on the days she was supposed to film.


Maybe the girls will be better tomorrow. Please, oh, please!

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