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Posts posted by notailabigail

  1. You can mark behaviour with any word or sound that you like - a clap, 'yes', etc. - as long as the sound is consistent and as long as you pair it with reinforcement. The reason a clicker works so well is that it's very distinct consistent, unlike our words and tones. So if you do use a verbal marker, make sure it sounds the same every time (no emotion behind it!).


    As far as having treats everywhere (definitely not a bad idea) just keep in mind that there are other reinforcers that you could use if you're caught without treats, like you were that morning. If I were in that situation, I would probably mark her attention on me with a 'yes' and then maybe run through the house, play with her, tug on a toy - *something* that she really loves. Obviously feeding her a bit of liver is easier :P but work with what you have in any given moment!

  2. I don't play rough with my dogs (simply because I don't like it myself) but any games that have clear rules (that you set) can be fantastic motivators. I especially like tug because it gives the dog a controlled outlet and because I use it to teach a super solid 'drop it' that can then be used with all kinds of high value items.


    There are a whoooole lot of reinforcing things out there in the world for dogs - things that we can't control like bunnies, other dogs, etc. etc., as you know. In situations where you're 'competing' against all of those things for your dog's attention, thinking about it as "my dog must obey my command" will get you much less, imo, than thinking about what you can do to make the dog *want* to respond.


    The fact that he never cowers at anything is great; I'd rather train a confident dog than a fearful one!

  3. He sounds like when he takes off, he's looking for the party back at the beach or with other dogs. When you call him, do you usually reward him with food? Maybe he would find toys more reinforcing.


    Have you taught him how to play tug? I mean tug with rules - he takes it only when you ask, gives it when you ask (either by trading for food at first or making the toy 'dead' until he lets go, then game on again), and teeth on skin = game over. Teach him that game, and then practice lots and lots of recalls to an exciting game of tug (restrained recalls are even better).


    I've had dogs who will spit out food, even 'high value' food, when out somewhere exciting, but they don't ever (well, never say never!) turn down a fun game with me...


    ETA: I want that recall to be dog *racing* to me as fast as they can. If I get an 'ok, here I come, I guess..you called me..." kind of trotting response, that tells me that I need to work on the recall in lower distractions again because I *know* that won't hold up to much of anything.

  4. Teach her that the ball game is played by your rules, like Shetlander said - it starts when you start it (choose a cue that means you're going to start the game) and it ends when you end it (another cue - like 'all done' - to end it). When it ends, don't give in to any amount of staring, whining, circling, etc. If you want to start the game again, start it when she isn't obsessing over it. That way you'll reinforce the 'not obsessing' instead of the 'obsessing'.


    Use that ball obsession to your advantage instead of letting it annoy you. If you need to work on her recall and she loves the ball, use the ball as a reward. Make sure you're still using it in the context of your rules though - reward her with it, then end the game. You'll end up with an awesome recall on her if you reward with something that she absolutely loves!

  5. One of our ewes gave birth to a ram lamb this morning. We didn't see the amniotic sac break before/during the birth - just the mucous, and then a very quick birth (this is her 3rd time lambing, last year she had twins). After she had licked the lamb for about 10 minutes an amniotic sac came out and broke. We assumed this meant she was going to have another lamb, but nothing happened for about an hour so I did an internal exam. This is only my 2nd time doing one, and as far as I can tell there isn't another lamb. Has anyone seen the amniotic sac be expelled after the lamb is born instead of before? Mom and baby both seem to be doing well..

  6. Hi Chene -


    First of all, I think I saw that you're in Victoria? I'm in Duncan, so if you ever wanted to meet halfway I'd be happy to provide you with a non-reactive 'decoy' dog to help with Aed's resource guarding! Ryan would happily volunteer himself, I'm sure.


    Zoey has a tendency to want to RG against other dogs, too. She is fine taking treats with other dogs sitting right beside her, all taking turns getting treats, and I've worked on that one a lot. I don't mind if she tells another dog to back off from something that she is chewing on - and with Abby and Ryan, she barely ever has to since they read each other so well and give each other space when needed.


    What I deem 'unacceptable' RG is if she tries to guard something that isn't currently in her possession. I've mostly tried to avoid that situation and let her mature, as others have said. When it has happened unexpectedly (she snapped at a visiting dog as he approached and looked at her old bone - which was on the other side of the sliding glass door) I've tried to calmly 'reset' the situation. Both dogs got a cool down, bone went away, then I brought them back for treats sitting side by side comfortably by that sliding door, then bone appeared, extra-yummy treats were given out, bone went away, end of session.


    The older Zoey has gotten (and she's only a year now) the more she has seemed to learn that over the top guarding isn't necessary to get another dog to give her space when she has something of value. I'm not sure if she learned that on her own, or from being around other 'polite' dogs that respect space. If she had continually had her 'back off' signals ignored by other 'rude' dogs or pups, I'm not sure we would have gotten to where we are now.


    With toys, she more often than not will try to shove the toy into another dog's mouth to play tug - has Aed had much chance to play with toys around other dogs? When I teach puppy class, I will often throw a ton of toys down in the room so that the puppies can play with them without going into "guard this one and only best toy" mode. If Zoey is playing keep-away with another dog with a toy and goes from relaxed and fun body language to tense body language, I let her. She has met and been around a lot of dogs and I trust her. If she has decided the game is no longer fun and wants to tell the other dog (with tense body, ears low, avoiding eye contact, tail low) to stop chasing her and her toy, then that's her right. If the other dog isn't reading that body language, I'll step in and intervene so that Zoey doesn't feel pushed to escalate her behaviour.

  7. Erin I am so very sorry for your loss of Maggie. I feel like I "knew" her from reading about her on different boards and I've always thought of her as being one of those special, life changing dogs. It's such a shock to lose them so quickly but like you said, maybe it's better than having her fade slowly away.


    Abby and Ryan send you kisses.

  8. Abby says congratulations to Mr. T and also that she can almost match Woo's barkscreaming but only while at the start line of the course. Her person didn't take a picture of her with her qualifying ribbon yet but she did take one home!



    Ryan says "woo woo WOOOOO!" like he said to RDM all weekend.

  9. Abby and Ryan are very stereotypical. Abby is careful to lie only on soft cushions or blankets and Ryan flops down anywhere, any time. When I'm sitting or lying down Abby keeps an eye on me but from a distance; Ryan prefers to be touching me in some way and draped completely on top of me is best. She's a picky eater, he eats anything. Abby has never in her life knocked something off a shelf or been clumsy - Ryan can barely get through a room without tripping over something :rolleyes: He's definitely a boy!

  10. Teach your puppy the trading game - you need her to associate you being around her possessions with really, really good things. If she starts learning that when she growls then her treat gets taken away, there is a chance that she will escalate the guarding behaviour. So instead, find something that Abby likes even more than a bully stick. Little pieces of cooked liver would work well, for example. Let her chew the bully stick while you hold it, then let her smell the liver treat in your other hand and trade her bully stick for liver treat. Start pairing her letting go of the bully stick with a 'drop it' command.

  11. When Ryan was 10 weeks I was taking him out almost every day to new places so that kept him pretty tired, mostly. Other than that, some games we played at that age:


    -learning to tug and drop the tug on command (for a treat)

    -having one person hold the puppy to practice restrained recalls

    -learning 'leave it' with a treat


    You can pretty much teach a puppy anything you can teach an adult dog. Their attention span is much, much shorter but it can be done!

  12. Abby and Ryan play all the time. Seriously - all the time. They play more inside or in the yard than away from the house since when we're out it's time for more serious matters, according to Abby. If they haven't had a good run, though, or if they're excited, or hungry, or bored - it's time for wrestle mania. They get told "enough" a lot. Their play is kinda loud.


    My favourite of their play is when they're in different rooms and they are both frozen staring at each other for minutes at a time. Then suddenly they race full speed at each other to wrestle. It's all so coordinated!

  13. I wish I saw you all suggesting shelters because someone wanted to help a dog, or because you think a shelter dog would be well suited to what the person wanted. I don't see that. I see you all suggesting shelters because a person wants to do fly ball with a dog. What is wrong with you people? How many of you actually have rescue dogs?


    If this is referring in any way to my post then I'd like to clarify that I was promoting rescue dogs in general and saying that I think it's silly that people go buy dogs specifically for doggy games like agility and flyball. And for what it's worth, both of my dogs are rescues and not just because I "wanted to do flyball" with them.

  14. They're filling their own niche, and it doesn't HARM the dogs.


    I just don't get it. Agility, flyball, disc...they are all games. They were invented as a way to have fun training your dog. How can somebody who wants a dog to play games with see all of those dogs in rescue and in shelters and not even consider adopting one? Why does one tell oneself they *need* a dog that is "bred" to play a game? No, that dog that is filling its "niche" is not itself being harmed but there are a hell of a lot of other dogs that are killed for no good reason every.day. Why not save one of them? I really don't understand.

  15. I have a horrible Ryan-puppy crating memory! I used to crate him overnight but I put his tiny crate on the bed with me since that seemed to keep him somewhat more quiet (he was a *very* loud puppy). He had to be crated overnight until he was about 4 months since he got up to all kinds of mischief while I was sleeping. But anyway, I also restricted his water in the evening because he would drink and drink and then have to pee all night long.


    One night when I first got him, he was whining but I was half asleep and ignoring it since it was before the usual 4am pee time. Then I heard the sound of him peeing ... mind you the crate was right next to my head. And *then* he started to drink his pee. I guess he was thirsty. Oh, it was an unpleasant thing to have happen a few inches from my face. I'm glad it was a vari-kennel and not a wire crate! That only happened once but the memory is there forever :rolleyes:

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