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Monday, July 20, 2015

Re-evaluating Training

Bath time today for my hairy beasts. They are blowing coat like it's their job!  I know everyone's dogs are!  It's a crazy year for shedding dogs.

I miss my two old cattledogs, Wingie and Jesse Ann. You could vacuum them.  Jesse would attach the vacuum and the lawn mower!

Now we have to work on "the vacuum is not evil." Elke is better at this than Artie...but she had been vacuumed when I had the other two older dogs. Artie doesn't want ANYTHING to do with the evil vacuum. So we're going to leave it in the den (dogs' room) and turn it on every day while Evil Vacuum dispenses treats. This is totally do-able but I admittedly should have started this whole grooming thing when Art was a wee lad!  Lazy owner.

I had a really good long talk with my Mastiff friend about training.  She's been working with dogs all her life (has Ch. CGC, Therapy, CDs on most of her dogs; all have Ch. and therapy certs.). She threw out the idea that when I was throwing treats when Artie was getting all honked off over Jimmy( the cat) being out there, that I was probably rewarding the behavior I didn't want.

This was a really good discussion and one I really think I needed to have. I've been pretty much surrounded by AP trainers and while THEY get the whole  "treat the dog when he's throwing himself at the door like a total asshole", I just don't get it. I couldn't wrap my head around it.  I have a lot of respect for Molly Mastiff; she really knows her stuff. She is a PR trainer but when she has to yell at her dogs or give a correction, she does it.

This is the way I learned years ago and I'm wondering how "wrong" it was. My dogs in the past were pretty well behaved, learned training quickly and were happy to work.

She suggested, and this is kind of old school, to give him a verbal negative (if he's not completely over the top) and the minute he turns to me, reward him. THIS make sense to me.  It's kind of what my old trainer, Pat Piazza, would have done.  The method of throwing treats while they were in high honk waiting for them to de-escalate, didn't make any sense to me at all.  I couldn't wrap my head around it.  She speculated that by working with Artie the "newer" way, it might have caused him to escalate when he got out and went after Jimmy.  

She also said, and I found this interesting, that since Elke starts it with a grumble which causes Artie to get all weird, that Elke decides to like Artie "take care of it."  She's NOT a leader-type dog.  Neither is he, I don't think.

We're also working on Mr. Artie NOT being focused on the French doors. and re-learning "go lay down." Kind of doing it the "old fashioned" way:" an "acckkkk" when you're being stupid, treats and praise when you do what I want. I am not always walking around with treat hanging out my bra, for God's sake. Praise works too WHEN they are calm.

And we're working on not charging the damn door. I'm tired of that too.
 I am tired of my dogs being arse-holes.  Time to grow up!

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