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Everything posted by sandysfarm

  1. 1. whew 2. I only say pieces or all of what I wrote when I think it's correct to do so and without malice. Which is to say, when a client's flights of fantasy about themselves carry them right into parity with the wo/man whose lifeblood is dog and livestock. If that is militant, well ok, but I meant it as insisting on a sort of reverence. I'm just a dog trainer. I spend most of my time trying to separate fact from fiction among enthusiastic new owners who think that the name of their breed entitles them to the glory of their breed = so much bull***t I hear you cannot believe. Little to no espect for work, time spent, education. I truly did not mean to lump anyone here together with that. I got here looking for someone to help me distinguish frightened collie behaviour from collie behaviour...because I didn't know. I was handed a black and white b c by an acquaintance who knew that she was loose in a forested area up north by herself...for 2 years. He got a rope around her neck, tossed her in the back of his car and drove her south to me without so much as a 5 minute warning. Except he did tell me she'd been bait for local dog fighting, she'd had a litter that died somewhere, her eye had been pulled out when she didn't make it away from a pair of males fast enough and he thought she probably had a few issues...which was a good guess So I kept her because I was in love before he finished the story. She screamed if I leashed her outside, she was dog-hell on a leash, she wouldn't go into the fenced garden to pee at all-ever and it goes on and on. It dawned on me that before I could do anything much I needed to get to a b c board and do nothing but read so I could start to separate out degrees of behaviour - not much point trying to talk her out of something that she's blueprinted to do because I'm dumb to it. What I found amazes me. You-all are so aware and quick to help each other and first timers but I like that there's backbone here borne of experience and I was speaking to that.
  2. This is a conversation about respect. For me, you-all have an absolute duty, without malice and under the correct circumstance, to set pet dog owners straight as to WHAT a legitimate working dog is and WHERE it is - which is to say, it's not theirs and it's not lying in their livingroom. The world is so small now. Everyone watches youtube and they buy straight in to the visuals. Thus: "yeah, cool, I saw my Dusty on youtube! Dog was exactly the same as Dusty. Might be his cousin. He was herding sheep and he was amaaazing! Dusty doesn't do sheep but we get him tennis balls and he likes to keep the kids in line in the backyard. He'd be an amaaazing sheepherder! he already is, really. He's got papers and my husband wants him to have a litter so he knows how that feels...before we get him fixed. We're thinking we'll try showing him too. He's just as nice as the Westminster dog show ones that were on TV last time I watched." (haha who needs a Tylenol?) So there's the thing. Everyone's an expert nowadays and no one understands mastery, much less knows enough to respect it..no-one can even define it anymore. We're all the same as you, Mr Sheepdog Herder. Dogs are just dogs, we all have them, and breeds are highly recognizable - it's all born of myth. American Idol takes a kid from 0 to 60 in 3 months and demands the public treat him like a finely crafted musician because he won a popularity vote. Notice the contestants all refer to themselves as "artist" on, or soon after Day One. (Who's Maria Callas?) Everyone who can pick up a brush paints "just like the masters"...as if. Or, better, because training is unnecessary, they are "self-taught" "talented" "intuitive painters" "important" The more acceptable this pervasive rhetoric is, the more un/rescuable true mastery becomes across the board. So deciding what a stock dog is not (your pet) and insisting that people understand the difference is the only way I can see of saving the true mastery that is the working dog from being disrespected forever.
  3. here's dereklum: " today I cooked the hot dogs a bit differently. I cut them up into my desired sizes and then pan fried them. Then I blotted as much grease as possible off .......and tasted one". this cracked me up because clear as a bell it says "This-here is MY dog and I'm gonna train him" Good on you!
  4. Man, dereklum, you are something else! If he's fishing around ro see if he can make you click you're there! Now keep it calm and just restrict it to little things but get a plan in mind for each. It will give him something to think about and I promise it will bond him to you. **Yes i know it's only one method, but it's a darn fine start!
  5. there's also some thinking that the click is faster to the brain than the word yes (or whatever you use). I don't have backup for that because I don't remember..., so I'm qualifying it
  6. yes agree totally! I thought chin scritches and collar familiarity to start maybe.
  7. ugh, sorry, unclear, I know -I was being an insomniac. So, dereklum, you seem very smart to me I'm guessing you'll love the clicker results. Once the dog understands that a click is shortform for food-reward you use the click sound to mark the exact thing you're looking for out of him. The reason is that your thumb can hit that lever way faster than your hand can get food into his mouth and you need that speed to give him a photo in his mind of what he did to get you to click...hunger is your friend. so you make one represent the other for him. Then you decide what it is you'd like to encourage - it gets referred to as 'shaping'. What you do is, break the thing that you want to happen into as many tiny parts as you can from A to Z- it's a bit counter-intuitive but most of the work is your personal ability to break it down. . After that it's a matter of reflexively clicking each tiny part and rewarding it. Just to get you going, if you pick something and break it down, and post it, there's lots of people here who will look at it for you before you begin to teach it. At the risk of being very lengthy (i'm new here and conscious of overstaying) the way you get the dog to go from A to B, B to C, etc is to wait till he understands that A gets him a click/reward - you'll know this because he'll do A and flick his eyes your way, anticipating the click. When he does that, Don't Click. This will frustrate him just enough to make him wonder if you've turned into an idiot. The *very next thing he does should be in a straight line and it should be B - which gets him a lightning fast click and reward. Now the Only thing that gets him a click is B until you see him flick his eyes at you when he does B -at which point you suddenly turn back into the idiot and stop clicking B - which frustrates him until he finds C - and again your lightening-fast click imprints C into his mind. You can take as long as you want to get to Z. The trick is to make sure that each letter is the new default behaviour, so that the next time you pick up the clicker and treats, you may see him 'scroll through' ABCD for you till he lands at his current letter...from which you continue. Huge fun for the dog ( "it's a food-game!!") Huge fun for you ("it's a fast reflex game"!) Huge bonding strides for you both ...and THEN there's whatever new behaviour or trick you end up with. When the dog does 'scroll' for you he's demonstrating operant behaviour: he's taught himself that he can make you reward him by doing, say, D. if you check the internet, you'll see it designated in "behavoiur" as B=C. (behaviour equals consequence) The beauty is that things we teach ourselves are the things that truly stick and make us progress - dogs and humans.
  8. maybe you need to just make sure he's got the concept of the clicker by 'charging' again it with the cheese treat you've established that he loves. Cut 10 small pieces of treat, sit on the floor, put them in a pile behind your back out of sight so they don't confuse him and don't say a word. Take 1 treat in your hand and the clicker in the other. Now 'click' and in less than 1 second get the treat to him- sounds like you maybe roll it to him from close up for the moment -if that's how it gets into his mouth the fastest. Now you just do that 9 more times, making sure the time between the click and swallowing is as tight as you can get it. I always start the clicker with a dog that I know is hungry for a meal because then they're predisposed to make the association quicker, and no matter how smart I figure that dog is, I have a 100-click rule. Repeat with another 10 and another 10 spacing them just to hungrier times of the days. It won't take long for him to figure out that the click means there's food coming, but you want him to believe with all his might that one equals the other - then you can move forward with your new, REALLY strong tool that you'll need to practise with to get your timing lightning fast. GentleLake on how to mark?
  9. That must have been a very hard period of time for you. I feel for you even though I'm sure it's behind you now.
  10. From reading your post I wonder if you're looking for confirmation that the dog-dog combo just doesn't work. No matter how one tries, here's not much to be said for one dog's happiness causing another dog's misery. Might be best to find a placement for the new dog.
  11. FWIW as the op, I found this a bit belittling but didn't respond, so yes perception is everything....
  12. If you start "watch me" I'd click/treat when he looks at your chin, or your shoulder rather than insisting on him looking right into your eyes - that takes more confidence than he probably has right now You can always switch it up later.
  13. You are safe to start to clicker train him for little things - **If you do, buy a "quiet" clicker - it makes a much softer snap and Petsmart usually keeps them. Karen Pryor's little book Don't Shoot the Dog is pretty much up your alley right now. Clicking is a skill well worth having, especially for teaching freaked out dogs who can't deal with hands or voice for whatever reason. The big deal is that your dog will start to learn how to learn by making himself operant at you for a few behaviours...he'll learn that he can control some of the stuff he likes to come his way AND - he has to Collie-think!!! to figure out what he needs to do to get you to click him - it's a bonding game you play together =huge mental stimulation = tired dog with some of the awful stress-cortisol drained. So you're addressing a few of your concerns at one go. I bet he loves it. Since you're new at clicker (I think?) I would tell you to pay a trainer for an hour to work just with you...away from the dog. Or, cheaper, go see Sue Ailsby on line: sue-eh.ca. and you can youtube her - she's extremely clear and very empathetic. Have fun - if you keep it real simple I think you'll see happiness soon.
  14. nope - this yard is clean as a whistle - she's digging for teeny remnants
  15. could be! I'll explore it - thank you for the suggestion.
  16. Greyhounds make the great scream of death if you quick them. People four houses away start googling the SPCA
  17. my collie came to me as abused fighting bait so there was plenty of drama around feet and nails. I clickered her with chunks of raw stewing beef, one paw at a time and today it's ok - not thrilled but ok. However, my greyhound watched the dramatics from the beginning (mistake) and became convinced that all his worst fears regarding nail clipping must have been correct after all so he suddenly became a miserable, snarling so and so the minute the clippers came out. What works for me is a resin-type chopping board with Cheez Whiz or a cheese slice on it placed in the microwave for 15 seconds to soften the cheese. Then I use a knife to spread the cheese thinly ALL over the board. He lies down sphinx style on a dog bed and I slip on his running muzzle. As long as he has his paw in my hand he can lick the cheese off the board through the muzzle. Any snarking at me at all and I remove the board, much to his sorrow. He promises to be good again and we continue - I now exclusively use a dremel on his big black nails so it takes a while but there's no pressurized "snap!" which is what freaked my collie out most. All of which is to say that a dremel is less traumatic, and I should never have let the collie act out in front of the other dogs. Even my third dog who I have from 7 weeks old, an adult and child-certified therapy dog, decided she would wrinkle her nose and growl very apologetically at me when I started to trim her. I put down the dremel in shock and said to her "are you kidding me?" and she said "oh well, it's ok, continue". Lesson learned here.
  18. Do you think she could be having a slight wandering issue? Your description reminded me of my old Dinah, who would sort of wander a bit in the scrub of our ravine lip, get involved with scents, and then just not head back toward the house when I called. I came to the conclusion that her synapses just werent quite connecting the call with the return...plus her hearing wasnt great.
  19. So nice to read so far, and so many great pieces of advice. If it's ok, I would tell you this. When you're sitting down in any position where your face is visible to your new guy and you know he's watching, look slightly beside him and slowly blink your eyes once in his direction. Do it for him whenever you feel you need to tell him you mean no harm and you're just a friend and it's all good, then settle back quietly, open any book you like and read to him gently...let him hear and feel the full range of your conversational voice when it's not asking anything of him.
  20. I agree with you that dog management is more built in with some people than with others (my husband for instance has next to none...after 30 years with me). The PR purist will say that redirect is everything - so probably just a simple cue for something else would be the "punishment" for your catching paws up somewhere. If you repeated the same cue every single time he put his paws up **and then rewarded it** he would associate the sight of the counter with the cued behaviour and ta da, he'd have two cues for the same behaviour - one he knows and one he's operant for (sight of counter=go lie down) ...But this is life and I think the real intention is to get new owners and other people not to default to physical stuff. Like leash popping and choke chains and yelling and hurting, It's why I won't be moved off the message by puppyclass students, for instance - once they escape me the dog's on his own and I worry. PR is quick and elegant so if I can get it across fast enough it will stick. I saw an older man on the sidewalk the other day with a biggish JRT on a leash. The dog did something I missed, and the man stopped - and the dog flattened himself, head down on the pavement and peed...it's that.
  21. me too OTFL yes thank you very much - dam dogs
  22. Just because I'm still musing...No might be understood but it doesn't do more than communicate criticism or displeasure and some dogs find it quite exciting on the basis that attention is attention. PR supplants one activity with another better one. It turns the thing that gets the dog in trouble in the first place into a cue for another better behaviour. Like a dog-hot collie who finds fun and entertainment in losing her mind at the mere sight of another dog MUCH to her owner's embarrassment and displeasure, for "how can such a nice dog be such an ass onleash?" Three weeks later the mere sight of a dog heaving to makes the collie grab her owner's eyes for contact and plunk herself down...while she's being rewarded...it's not a fixed habit...yet...but collie initiates the new behaviour and her owner's not a wreck - If my dog's loose near the highway in danger of crossing you can bet I'm yelling NO!! - but I want there to be shock value attached - I know some people use a separate emergency word but if its intensity sounds like the nos the dog hears and copes with, I'm not sure it's as useful in a life or death situation...
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