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Everything posted by Sekah

  1. For me, it's the winter that prompts my trick training fervor. Short days, bitter cold and winter blahs keep me inside, and my dogs would go crazy if we didn't do SOMETHING. Cohen knows ~200 tricks. My favourites are the rebounds and beg. Her favourites seem to be the "put your head in there" type of tricks. The longest to learn has been the walking handstand. The impossible to learn is shy/cover your face. We still can't get it.
  2. I think a clicker is a great start. Try some trick training to start. It's a great way to build a relationship and teach both participants how to communicate with one another, and it doesn't have all the added pressure of "must have an obedient dog" that a lot of more formal training can come with. I'd also suggest your wife ignore him to the best of her ability, if he's ignoring her. If she tries to coerce him into interaction or contact, it is likely poisoning the well.
  3. Nthing that she is by no means too skinny. She's probably at the upper limit, weight-wise, of what I'd have my pet at. She might need more muscle. Last winter, I found myself frustrated with my dog. She'd yoyo between too skinny and a bit chunky in the blink of an eye. Once spring hit I was able to exercise my dog again (finally!) and once she developed a bit more muscle over her ribs, her yoyoing ceased to be a problem. Perhaps work to condition your dog more, if you're having doubts about her weight?
  4. Here's an article on a method of improving latency: http://www.clickertraining.com/node/2129
  5. It's a safe assumption that I was American. I don't mind. Part of the idea of reinforcement-based training is that you're allowing your dog to make decisions. You're not there to tell the dog what to do, but you are there to control the access to reinforcement after the choice. So, in theory, as dogs learn to be better decision makers, they will continue to make better decisions in your absence. Largely in part due to the dog having been more heavily reinforced for an alternate behaviour, and having its self control 'muscles' flexed over the years. These conversations start to go around in circles after a while since participants begin to split hairs about the proper way to R+++++++++++++...~. I think after a certain point, just go outside and train your dog. Leave the hair splitting to the armchair trainers.
  6. I think there's a fine line when it comes to corrections. The true definition is "to make correct". Too often people seem to misunderstand it as "to make sorry". If the correction is offering useful information and is following the LIMA methodology, I don't take issue with it.
  7. Thanks! I feel like a weirdo to have a dog page, but I had way too many people I didn't know on my main page who were clearly just in it for the dog stuff. It's been less than a month, and it seems to be taking off. The internet is a crazy place. Glad you somehow found her!
  8. A back up is just backwards, yep. I call her to come and she comes running. I tell her to back up, and then while she's backing up I ask her to down and she uses the backwards momentum to just plop back on her butt. Eventually I'll fade the back cue and hopefully just have a cued down where she shifts her weight backwards and downs immediately. Previously I would cue her to drop on recall and she'd slow down, creep a few steps then drop to a down with her forward momentum, which wasn't ideal for my circumstances. I first taught a drop on recall (and down in motion) as a down on a mat, and then I faded the mat to a smaller cloth, then a leash and then nothing. So, I would start by paying the dog to down on the mat regardless of your position, starting closer and upon success, increasing distance. Nothing too fancy.
  9. Have you seen this blog post? It might help with your creeping issue (if you feel that it is an issue). http://denisefenzi.com/2014/08/27/what-is-more____than____/ I'm using the "what's more down than down?" thing with Cohen right now while working her drop on recalls. I've incorporated a back up and then a fold down into the exercise to really crispen up her response. I'm having a lot of fun with it.
  10. I can't watch the video here, but I saw it on Facebook. Two trainers had a twoonie bet to see who could be a lazier handler. This was the video of one of the results. Really impressive.
  11. It's all about criteria. I heard Susan Garrett once say "Sometimes equals always" when it comes to dogs. If you start to let your criteria slip, it becomes a, well, slippery slope and your behaviour is likely to degrade. Whether that actually matters is up to you to decide!
  12. I like what was mentioned above - if a dog starts down a path you don't want it to, you need to look at the complexity of the behaviour you're asking for (split, don't lump), the rate of reinforcement from you and the reinforcement from the environment. If you run into problems, at least one of those things is probably askew. For me, if a dog is starting to go off on a tangent in a free shaping exercise, I ask myself a) how badly I want this to be a free shaping session, b ) how badly I want to get the goal behaviour and c) what sort of time frame I'm looking for. I might take a break, use structured shaping instead, introduce a different object or just go with the flow.
  13. To start, I like introducing a novel object and just seeing what they do with it. I often get a Put It On My Head type trick, which amuses me. Sometimes she'll try to balance on it, or get in it. Sometimes she'll touch its base while balancing on it. To me, the value in shaping is in the learning process, not the finished trick. I don't think I have too many tricks that were 100% free shaped that I've put on stimulus control, or retained for a great period of time. Structured shaping is a bit different (to me ... I'm not sure if that's a thing, as I'm just self-taught). I find that behaviours taught this way are retained for a good long time, and I have dozens of behaviours that were taught this way under stimulus control, and ones I use regularly. Like stalls, heeling, retrieving objects, balancing, and parlor tricks like handstands, etc. I think the best idea just starting out is to shape a Get In or Get On type behaviour with an object that your dog hasn't seen before, and go from there.
  14. Generally people I know subscribe to a two week shut down when they bring a new dog into their home, especially a mature one. During that time just let him chill and acclimate to his new environment. Minimal training. Minimal interaction with resident dogs, etc. I'd probably be chomping at the bit to get some training started with a new dog, but this guy sounds like he's in particular need of a shut down.
  15. I lamented how slow Cohen was to house train when she was 5-6 months, and turns out she had a UTI. Just something to consider. Good luck. I know how frustrating it can be.
  16. I think flyball is supposed to be safer than agility. Granted, I don't think it's something that can be accurately measured. The idea is that flyball is always the same, predictable movement: jump 4 7-8" jumps, grab a ball, 4 more jumps then tug. With a smooth swimmer's turn, it's minimal wear on the body. Whereas in agility, the courses vary, the obstacles vary, handlers can cue late, the jumps are higher -- there's more that can go wrong.
  17. Look up the Look At That game, as well as Its Yer Choice. Both are fabulous self control/focus type games.
  18. Swimming is pretty universally considered a good thing to do with your dog, regardless of physical condition. I'd be hesitant to recommend anything specific without the input of a rehab vet or someone similar, as what may help certain dogs may be aggravating to those who have suffered injuries. So, I'd recommend you speak with a professional prior to doing anything new. Generally beg, and then beg -> stand on two feet -> beg is really good for building core and hind end musculature. Backing up, backing up stairs, position changes on uneven surfaces like a mattress could help. Maybe placing your dog's rear between your legs, facing forward, and then stretch him laterally back to his hip (ie, curve him towards you so you're feeding him with his head hear his hip on either side). There's a Facebook group that generally has good advice called Canine Conditioning and Body Awareness. It links to a host of resources around the net, plus posters may be able to offer more specific advice to you.
  19. I think the benefit is general strength building, balance, proprioception and time spent with the handler & dog working together. These aren't specific to handstands. It's just yet another fun thing to do. As for whether a dog that can do that being fitter than one that can't, as you know this would be untrue, as it's dependent on other factors. I linked it because it's a good example of a dog exhibiting strong core strength.
  20. Some people really dislike it. The behaviour was taught slowly and carefully over many years, and with very few reps, so I'm okay with it.
  21. I do some conditioning with Cohen. I own a peanut and depending on what we're working on and whether I think of it, I'll work with her on it 1-3 times per week for 5-10 minutes at a time. Sometimes it's just to tire her out and get her out of my hair. Beyond that, I work hard to keep her core strong (I would say that her core is stronger than most dogs'). I can't really comment on people luring/bribing their dogs to do behaviours that they may not be comfortable with. I know with me sometimes it's a struggle to get her off the peanut. She has a strong history of reinforcement working on it, she has good proprioception and she's a bold dog in general. It's not uncommon for people to use food to bribe a dog to do something it's not comfortable with because the desire for food outweighs the discomfort, but the trainer doesn't recognize that they've pushed their dog too far because they're getting the results they desire. I see the same thing a lot in reactivity behavioural modification. I know it's a little silly, but the fitness itself is as much a hobby as my other dog activities. I don't blow much money on it, but I certainly spend the time. I like knowing that Cohen is in peak physical condition, and I think she enjoys it too. I've attached a photo to this post that shows Cohen in great condition -- it's terribly framed, but it's not often you can see the muscles on a plus coated black dog the way you can here. [E: Okay, the image upload didn't work for some reason. Here's a linked image.]
  22. I ask my girl to jump into my arms. Then she knows that it's time to run back to her crate for a timbit (her favourite!). She has a leash up cue (gimme yo' face!) that she has to offer before we leave to the crate, then she runs full steam ahead 'til she's crated up. It's pretty cute. We've done a lot of work on crate games and other impulse control games, trained lots of obedience and she has learned to work through her arousal. A lot of the self control comes with age and maturity. Were I in your situation, I'd use a target behaviour after a run (like a head through a slip leash) and condition the hell out of it to be the best thing ever. Big changes may not happen overnight, but it should put you on the right track.
  23. Great work. He's got a great assortment of tricks already, especially considering his age. It's no secret that I absolutely adore trick training. Keep it up! There are some very helpful trick training groups on Facebook. It may not be your thing, but for me it definitely helps keep me inspired and coming up with new ideas.
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