Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Picture This . . .

. . . since it was too dark to take an actual picture in my house and, really, to get the full picture it would have to be more of a video. But then, it would be an awfully boring video . . .

Three dogs, Mr. I Stress Out on Stays, Ms. Perpetual Motion, and The New Guy. Ten minute down-stay, all three lined up in a row. Rewards for each dog every 30 seconds to a minute. Not a single bicker over treats. Not A SINGLE Break!!!!!! Not even a close call!!!! How did that happen? I have no idea, since I really don't think any of them have ever done a ten minute stay in their lives. But I was very happy with them. Good Dogs!!

Once again, Laura has inspired me! I've really been lacking on the motivation/inspiration lately, especially when it comes to Lok (whose combintation of vision loss and personality have been making it extremely difficult to teach him anything new) so this is good.

One thing I have largely failed at as a dog trainer is teaching my dogs practical skills and manners. Sure, they know tons of tricks. Sure, they behave at home and can show off at obedience class. Yet, not a single one of them can walk nicely on a leash and Lok is the only one I would even remotely trust to down-stay in public, and not for very long. (All the dogs recall perfectly (well, probably not Elo in public, yet, though he does pretty well) but, let's be real, they're border collies, big deal.) So we've been working on these things, with Jun in particular. Lok stresses in public and tends to tune me out, then I get frustrated and he tunes me out even more. We need to work on that first. But I really want to work more with the dogs on manners and practical skills. I won't say it's a "goal" exactly, because it's not concrete and I'm not sure exactly where I want to go with it. I want Jun to walk nicely on a gentle leader. I want to try a front-clip harness with Lok and see if I can get him to walk nicely on that. The tuning out problem is a big part of why I've never been able to teach LLW to Lok. I'd like both of them to be able to sit/down and stay in public wherever we are, and have that solid enough that I can trust them completely for a minute or two, at first.

And one other totally unrelated, random thing . . . forever I've wanted to teach a dog to "put their toys away" or put things into a box or other container. It's completely unreasonable for me to ask Lok to do it (though this amazing video tells me I may just have an attitude problem--p.s., the lady in this vid is hilarious! obnoxious, but hilarious!), but the other night I finally taught Jun! We were getting nowhere with teaching her to blow bubbles in a bowl of water, but is great at retreiving and she was solid at putting her head in the bowl. It took no time at all for her to combine the two skills and have the idea down of retreiving an object and putting into a container!! Sweet!! My little genius!


  1. Love this post! And that would not have been a boring video, it would have been inspiring! I cant believe you got ALL 3 OF THEM to stay for 10 minutes! That's insane! 3 'normal', non-border collies... That wouldn't be insane. But you have 3 extremely unique BORDER COLLIES (what is Elo again?)
    I completely agree with you about the tricks vs. manners. Frankie and I were at the top of our obedience class and sure shes a great disc dog and knows some cool tricks... At home, I dont even think twice about her uber energy and extra uber crazy. So when we go out in public, I'm a little shocked at how my perfect dog (perfect in my eyes, and nobody elses Lol!) is such a maniac. When we went to Colorado, it was during our first night at the hotel that I realized that my dog had ZERO manners or 'practical skills'.
    It's difficult to remedy that, even a little bit, because I love her attitude and shiney personality at home. I do know that others may not appreciate her like I do though. Lol! If you and DK hadn't been crazy dog lovers already, I might have been a lot more embarassed by her behavior than I was. Lol!
    I would love to hear about how you progress in this particular area with your dogs!

  2. Hey there!!! Wow! 10 minutes. Fantastic!
    Thanks for visiting our site. Sierra Rose is 9mo...and I am trying to do as much training with her as possible...the under-clip harness was recommended by the Humane Society and works pretty well, but sometimes if she takes off and is on lead, it pulls hard, and she rolls to one side (or, I fall down!!). I don't think she is getting injured, but I am trying to find something else. She is also nuts around other dogs and I am sometimes incorporating a pinch collar as a back up (one time it just fell off...need to secure it better). As she has that puppy wildness still, I am not trusting her off leash in many places...I'm not confident with her recalls. We are starting Family Dog II this eve, and every other week go to a private trainer. Somewhat different styles, but all good and really helps me!!!
    Love your site!!

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose and mom

  3. oh yay!!! I haven't even tried a 10min stay yet with my boys. Just the out of nowhere concept stresses Lance out.

    As for the manners, well those aren't fun to train :)