Tag: Training

Splitting Attention

So now that little Quinn has joined our family I have more dogs to train. Yesterday I said to my husband, I need to put together a list of everything Quinn needs to learn. Of course my husband says he just needs to have fun and learn how to be an eleven week old puppy. Well thats fine and good, but what they learn young sticks with them their whole lives. Just like in agility, the things they learn first are the things they resort back to under stress or high drive. So it’s very important to get it right the first time.

Quinn has only been with us for three days but I’m already seeing what he will need training wise. I think he is going to be higher drive than jet. Which may be a weird concept since Quinn is a collie and they are not known for high drive. However he comes from performance lines. Lots of agility and herding Collies behind him. Where Jet comes from conformation lines. And Danish-Swedish Farmdogs are a very new breed and their temperaments can vary significantly.

Me, I will admit it, I prefer a little lower drive. However that is more difficult in obedience where a higher drive can carry a dog through the routine better than lower drive. And I believe I have enough experience, and instinct, now to train any drive type. And maybe I am wrong and Quinn will end up lower drive than I think. But I don’t think I’m wrong.

So now I need to split my brain and figure out different training methods for Jet and Quinn. I am still training Chase too, but we already havea well working established pattern. Plus I’m just not as crazy about Chase so he’s kinda a side line and I apologize to everyone who really likes him, and I know there are quite a few people who do, but border collies are just not really my breed.

I think I have a fairly good handle on what Jet needs, and I’m seeing good progress. Now I have to split my attention for Quinn, too. And splitting is not my strength. It’s not at my job either. So I will news to find a happy in between place for both of these boys. But I have confidence in myself that I’ll be able to do this well and do what needs to be done for these boys.

And as I adjust to Quinn, he adusts to us, and the other dogs adjust to him, things will settle back down
There’s always a big dynamics change when a new dog joins the family!

I typed this all on my phone so I apologize for typos!

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How Much In Life Should Be Free?

Plenty In Life Is Free by Kathy Sdao
My Review

So I’ve been reading this book the last couple of days. And my review is not, yet, totally complete, as I haven’t read the whole book yet. I bought it from Dog Wise, the Kindle version, and I’m about 32% finished now. So far I’m really enjoying it.

Any dog behavior books I read anymore, I read from an obedience perspective. Since obedience is my joy and my nemesis at the same time. I love training for obedience, and it’s been difficult to figure out how to motivate the dogs to work for extended periods without treats.

Anyway, in this book, Kathy Sdao basically analyzes the Nothing In Life Is Free (NILIF) dog training program that so many dog trainers promote today. I have never followed the NILIF plan. One reason is because I’m lazy, and it would take a strong consistency I lack in my home environment. But mostly I don’t follow NILIF because really I just enjoy being with my dogs and doling out random treats and loves just to make them happy. And to make me happy. I have heard, time and again, that perhaps my daily behavior with my dogs affects my obedience training negatively. But really, I don’t care enough to change. While I do want Jet to qualify someday in obedience, I still want a fun happy relationship with him in my every day life. And our agility is going really well, so I’m glad we have success in agility. Agility is my favorite anyway.

Of course I really like to read books that support my training perspective style, or lack thereof, since Kathy is arguing against the NILIF training method.

Kathy Sdao argues against NILIF because, at the beginning of the book, she basically says that an emotional bond between two creatures should be free with love and interaction, and not dependent upon one of them doing something for attention. As the NILIF program does say that for the dog to get any attention, food, or anything at all, he has to do something first. No hugs without a sit. And if no sit, then the person walks away and there are no hugs or attention. Kathy says this can really break down a relationship, both in humans with humans, and humans with dogs. She states that such a relationship is actually rather passive aggressive on the human’s part. She also says that one point of positive dog training is so the dog feels like he is in control of his environment, as that builds confidence and trust. His actions matter, and get him things he wants and needs. But with NILIF, if the dog asks for attention, and you don’t give it (or only with conditions), then that could be telling the dog that he, actually, has no control over his environment after all.

She gives lots of examples in the book, and she talks about having a good genuine bond with our dogs, which I enjoy very much. That is why I have dogs in the first place. I want the bond, the companionship. The training is secondary. Hopefully I’ll be able to get those obedience legs with the relationship I already have with my dogs. Hopefully, the relationship I have with my dogs actually will increase the probability of qualifying legs. I guess I’ll find out over the years.

Kathy Sdao also talks about how sometimes people hear ideas and just automatically adopt them, without really giving them much thought. She talks about ‘sticky’ ideas and why the permeate society more than others. I think it’s always good to think about what we are doing and why, instead of just subscribing to the training program of someone else automatically. I think, in the dog training world, there are a ton of practices that people follow ‘just because,’ and they do need to be examined by each person to see how they really fit our own training and our own lives.

So perhaps Plenty in Life Is Free, or should be free, to both dogs and humans. I sure hope so. I get way too much enjoyment out of seeing my dogs get excited and happy Just Because of things that are Free.


Heeling with Jet

So last weekend I got out into the back yard with the new tripod and took some video of me heeling with Jet.

I think he’s doing well, though still I worry that he’ll kick it into gear at a trial. I have to say, though, the only two trials I’ve entered him in were super hard. One was a conformation show with a busy smelly building with lots going on. And he did okay, actually, and would have Q’d but crawled to visit another dog on the down stay. The other show as the same day as an agility trial, and I think it was hard for him to switch from agility to obedience.

I may enter him in a one day obedience only show in September. It’s the day before the 3 day agility trial. Maybe he’ll do better there. Outside, relaxed. I hope so, anyway. I’ll probably give it a try and see how he does.

Anyway, life goes on, I’m trying to work the other dogs, do fun things, get on with life, accept that Lucy is gone. Maybe getting some Off Road Lights for the van would help in the dark when it starts getting closer to winter. I dunno, though, I usually just like it dark.


Five Dogs Staying

When it’s hot out, and I don’t want to go for a walk after work… and when I just can’t decide what dogs to take with me when all of them want to go, I sometimes will just stay home and train.

Well yesterday at work I was thinking why not work all the dogs at the same time? I can do some stay work and mat work and have them really be good pups!

This is a long video, about 10 minutes, I didn’t edit it much since the in-between treating part is kinda fun to watch too. At least for me. feel free to fast forward. LOL. They all did really well. Tatum was the worst, which means we need more stay work with Tatum. Jet was the second worst, which is bad, since he’ll need stays in obedience! Lucy was also pretty bad but she’s old, 12.5 years old now, and she has a hard time moving. When I pushed her down I put hardly any pressure on her at all. I just touch her and she goes down easily. But still, I might not work her anymore. She loves the treats but it’s too hard for her to move.

Chase and Levi were solid as rocks. Good boys! They have had a lot of obedience training those two.

It was fun, I’m thinking I’ll split them up in pairs of 2 for a while since this is a new thing and I want to reinforce their stationary-ness for a while. And treating one or two dogs, while working one, will be a lot easier than treating four or five. LOL

Oh, Muffit doesn’t have a stay at all. So he didn’t get to work. He’s my husband’s hiking dog. 🙂

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Jet and Obedience Training

Jet is doing so well with obedience, I am thrilled! We did some training at a park a week or so ago and I think he’s looking great. This is his Novice run through. I am trying to use less treats, too, since he’s entered in Novice B the first weekend of May. Just for one day, since it’s a 4 day trial and 3 of the days we are doing agility. And although he can probably switch from obedience to agility and back again, I get flustered with conflicts and so I’ve only entered one sport each day.

As long as his Stand for Exam holds up, he comes on the recall when I call first, and he holds his stays, I think we’ll do well. Of course it’s just a test. First time in a real obedience ring is only a test of our training anyway. But I’ll still be nervous. It’s AKC obedience.

I just love Jet’s heeling. I love his front feet trotting up he’s so cute. And he looks so happy. And happy is the best part. I wouldn’t even do obedience if I had one of those dogs that trudged around the ring like they are moving through mud and look miserable. I want happy dog!

So hopefully we’ll do well in obedience and agility. It’s still a couple of weeks away. And it’s the trial I pulled Tatum from. If she’s okay I’ll bring her a couple of the days just to make sure she’s fine for the middle of May agility trial I have her entered in. Why is it so hard to pull from trials? I don’t know, but even with if I had a usb barcode scanner to scan my entries with I still would have a hard time pulling from trials. It broke my heart when I had to pull Levi years ago when he was having such weave poll problems. And now Tatum. I just hope and pray and cross my fingers that Jet will be healthy and sound his whole life. Even though he can’t hear in his left hear, that shouldn’t stop us from doing what we love!

The only thing I don’t like about this video is how much weight I’ve gained! Ugh. I’m doing good writing down my calories every day, so hopefully it’ll come off soon!