Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stupid weather

It's very cold. I'm trying to find ways to keep up with some of our training goals in the face of very very cold weather. I need two things: a large indoor (ish) training room to do BAT with Vanya and Nancy (even a barn or something would be good) and to figure out a way to do training with Gustav and Tisha in my house. I can't decide if she should toss him treats or just ignore him, and I can't decide if he should be leashed, behind a gate, muzzled, or none of the above. Finally, I need to decide on a protocol that works for inside the house. I think that just having Tish around would probably help Gustav get used to her, but it might not teach him anything useful (for example how to move away if you don't like someone).

In other news, no visible effect from the prozac yet. Friday is the 8 week mark. We may up the dosage after that. Also, Dottie's diet is wildly successful and she has her lovely slim figure back. She will be so happy when we get to go back up to maintenance rations, instead of weight loss rations. I've never seen her eat her food so fast.

One positive about the cold weather is our walks have been very quiet and uneventful, which is after all my ultimate goal. In this case, we're reaching it by not seeing any or hardly any triggers. I love walking my dogs when it's not stressful like that.


  1. I'd vote for the muzzle if you're not feeling confident.

    Have you tried abandonment training to test whether Gustav reacts the way he does because of something he's picked up from your body language?

    The other weekend I rode shotgun with another trainer friend and the boxer/shepherd and we figured out within 15 mins that it was the owner who inadvertently conditioned her dog to guard her. Within another 30 mins, he was great with us strangers. Really relaxed body language.

    Trish King I think brought that method to light years back. It's a helpful tool to test whether or not your training methods need to be tweaked.

  2. Super interesting! Definitely worth looking into, especially since Justin reports that he is better with just him. What do you think she was doing to condition her dog to guard her?

  3. another trainer told her to say "NO" to her dog in a firm voice, and if on leash to leash jerk the dog. Her body language told the dog something was up, and I think through repetition of the behaviour chain with her ramping up, things just kept escalating.

    He was also a space invader...liked to stand in between her and whomever, which meant that he was able to 'control' movement rather than understand he can chill out beside his owner as she had it all under control.

    Tone of voice plays such a key role. If you act out of character, singling out a situation, then incorporating a training strategy, you really need to keep a close eye and test their understanding of it. Whether you're using treats or punishment, they may not be learning what you think they are.