Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A good training day!

I love having good training days; the days when everything just comes together exactly the way you want it to! It's nice to keep them tucked away to think about on the days when nothing is going right.

Last night, I played disc with Elo. At the beginning of the week, Elo would chase a roller, then run around the yard self-rewarding and lay down and chew on the disc. He had no retreive, little tug drive. Last night, Elo was chasing rollers, bringing them back voluntarily and dropping them for a tug on the next disc! And when I let him win, he would drop that disc to tug the other! He's making progress!! His eye-mouth coordination is not great yet though (he can't even catch a ball) and his tug is still pretty weak, but I'm encouraged! In other disc news, I played with Jun and she jammed, and I threw my first backhand over 45 yards!! That is huge progress, considering at the beginning of the year I struggled to throw 30 yards!

Also, last night, Elo did his first back stall, Jun is to the point with her back stall where she will jump right up without a lure and she is getting better at balancing on her feet instead of just laying on my back. And Lok was in one of the most relaxed and happy training moods he's ever been in, having fun with it. That is really my main goal with Lok, that he has fun with training, because of how easily he shuts down with just the slightest pressure.

And on another note, thanks to Andrew, exits from the house have been peaceful lately, even for Lok. Man, all the work I put into it a couple months back and the solution turns out to be simple. First, I realized I was not dealing with the behavior from the very beginning. I was addressing relaxation at the door without requiring Lok to walk to the door nicely. So now, if he bolts, I give a NRM and walk the other way. It usually only takes once. The second piece was changing my expectations. I realized that by expecting Lok to wait at the door until given a release, I was the one increasing the value of the threshhold, if that makes any sense. It was like a flyball situation, where energy is ramped up so that the dog explodes from the start line. That was what I was doing with the doorway. So now, the dogs don't have to wait until released. They just have to walk nicely out the door. And the only time I ask them to stay is if they actually don't get to come and I expect them to stay inside. My evenings are so much more peaceful without this battle!

P.S. Is there a limit on the number of exclamation points you can put in a single post?


  1. Okay, now tell me how you did this!
    My dogs are door exploders. All of them. And I started making them wait in the sit position at the door so that I could open the door and get through without getting tripped. But the second I release them, they are bolting out the door 3 wide.
    Same with coming inside. I make them wait and once I release them, they are bolting in the door! They are jumping things and knocking shit over and sending rugs flying across the floor... Its rediculous! Now I'm very interested!

  2. Ha! You have the exact same situation I had, building up excitement by making them sit and wait! Let me guess, before sitting at the door, they bolt TO the door as you as start heading that way. At least, that is what happens at my house. So . . . I started with that. As soon as they (Lok is actually the only problem at my house) start bolting I give a no-reward marker (Oops! or Nope! said in a cheerful tone) and start walking away from the door. Repeat this until they walk towards the door like civilized beings. Probably won't take too long, since they will be super confused as to why you keep changing your mind about going out. Then AT the door. I grab the door knob, and if they start to bolt, same thing NRM and hand comes off the door knob. I have relaxed my criteria, so I don't care so much if Lok runs out the door, that's his personality, but I do NOT want him smashing his face on the door in his hurry to get out. I can show you Saturday, too.

  3. Yup, right on the button. We have a front door and a backdoor. And we also employ a no dogs in the kitchen rule. Which usually they listen to. Frankie and Jake just wont go in there, and Kirby almost has the hang of it. We dont have to have the baby gate up anymore.
    But I have to leash Kirby, and so as soon as everybody sees that leash, they all freak out and start running to whichever door is closest. If I even turn towards a door, they all bolt to it. I have to nudge dogs away from the door just to get to it. Then I make them sit and wait, which yes, just builds up their excitement and anticipation.
    Man, how awesome would that be if everybody walked calmy out the door! I'll walk you through our routine and show you what happens and then you can tell me what you would do! Rock on, I cant wait to learn!
    I dont have a NRM though... Should I start using one?

  4. It's up to you. It's not totally necessary, but since my dogs already know it, I use it. It's just kind of a clear signal to the dog that "no, that is not a behavior that will earn a reward." Not a correction, just information for the dog so they know to try something else.

    In your case, if the dogs go bonkers as soon as you pick up the leash, you might have to start there. Pick it up, as soon as they start to go crazy "oops" and put it down and walk away and mind your own business. When they calm down try again. Etc.

  5. Perfect! Thank you! Between you and Ahan, I have some good homework for this week. I cant wait to go home and get started!