|09-01-2013 10:42 PM|
I got admiring compliments from the passing Cops.....
...who clearly assumed that I took that sort of performance from my dogs for granted
|09-01-2013 06:40 PM|
I should 'fess up that I do not own a shepherd or ever have, currently we have three female blue heelers or mixes (also called Australian Cattle Dogs): They are a heeler/sheepdog mix (11 years, still going strong), a heeler/stumpy-tailed cattle dog mix (8 years), and a pedigree heeler (16 months).
I will say however that all are come from working parents (Texas ranches) so have working dog brains, much as do shepherds. They are energetic and easy to train. When walking one, two, or all three, on or off-leash we have a routine when encountering passing people, dogs, or people walking with dogs.
I do not usually "heel" in these situations, instead we step aside and "sit" until the other party passes. If we are walking a trail we step clear off of the trail. The dogs are accustomed to this, and if we are walking a trail off-leash and they hear someone coming they immediately return to me on their own and we all step off of the trail and they sit.
This is different from "heel" as heeling is a continuous task on their part from which they can get distracted. Sitting at heel on the other hand as we do allows them to satisfy their natural curiosity about the other party by looking and scenting the air. At the same time I have excellent control of them because I too am not walking them at heel AND greeting passers by.
Earlier this week, early in the morning at a local park I was walking two and had let them off "heel" to go an splash in a pond (they love water) when a party of twenty or so high speed mountain bikers, trainee bike patrol city Cops no less, suddenly came barreling down the trail.
Both dogs, racing each other, immediately sprinted back towards me ahead of the bikes and came immediately to sit at my side as they know to do when we encounter passers-by.
I got admiring compliments from the passing Cops re: the dogs.
I suspect if I hadn't been teaching them to respond to encounters by stepping off of the trail by my side that way the encounter could have been awkward for all concerned.
I'm not suggesting you necessarily walk your dog off a leash, but perhaps a ritual of stepping aside as sitting rather than "heeling" past encounters would help.
|09-01-2013 12:05 PM|
I've started giving her more potty breaks that are explicit, rather than just "okay I guess I'll let you do it this time." It seems to be helping a lot to be breaking up our walks with heel, then sniff for a while, then heel again. She's started returning to position on her own. I think it's just too hard for her and I need to be using sniff breaks as a frequent reward for staying tuned in, and then correcting for tuning out because I think I was not being consistent before. The reason it is important that she listen is because we have issues with reactivity and she is 10x worse when not in heel position. She doesn't need to do it all the time, but she needs to be reliable when I ask. She is already STELLAR and so awesome, I just want communication between the two of us to be smooth and fair.
The high five thing is really interesting. I hadn't thought of that. It's true that we usually practice sit-stay as part of a game, so maybe she thinks we're supposed to be playing? She hardly ever barks. It's usually woos, moos, and howls.
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|08-31-2013 10:24 PM|
But lately I've been losing my temper at her.
"Ahem"... the word I have learned to use with my dogs when I get angry is "Mothermother". To them it sounds just like that other one that sometimes slips out but that version cannot be repeated in mixed company. Anyhow, when my dogs hear that they KNOW I'm serious
I agree with the others, six blocks at heel is forever. Are you walking yourself or the dog? I would stop frequently every block to let her check her pee mail. Remember, dogs have a sense of smell so exquisite they can even be trained to detect tumors INSIDE the human body. Just imagine the incredible amount of information you are asking her to pass up on your walks.
Strict "heel" is saved for the important times, like when passing other pedestrians or crossing the street.
She was sort of getting this, but lately she's been lifting her lip and barking at me when I tell her to sit.
Is she waiting in the doorway like this when you are getting ready to take her out on a walk? In wolves before the pack heads out on patrol the whole pack "high fives" each other in canine fashion; wagging tails, licking mouths, jumping at each other, playing. This is a form of bonding for the whole pack before they go out as a cooperating unit.
We humans interpret this same behavior in our dogs as excitement about going out for a walk, and I suppose in a way it is.
Is that "Sit" command in the doorway the last verbal communication to her before you pick up the leash and walk to the door? If not, could she be thinking of that "sit" as PART of the preparation for a walk?
If so, her natural inclination is going to be the canine high-five thing, here channeled to a bark.
If that isn't the case I'm guessing the dog barks because it draws some reaction from you that she wants. Attention maybe?
|08-28-2013 06:31 PM|
Anyway, not an issue because I've started telling her to go to her bed and have been shutting the door, which has worked twice (fingers crossed).
But yeah, I know many people who freak out when their dog growls or shows any teeth or makes any sort of noise other than passive whimpering. However, dog "language" is more complicated than lifted lip = dominance. I'm afraid many great dogs have been deemed aggressive or status-seeking simply because people don't understand a growl can mean multiple things.
|08-28-2013 01:47 PM|
|08-28-2013 10:52 AM|
|08-28-2013 12:26 AM|
When you lose your control you appear Weak.
She is being dominant. Calm Assertive attitude, Show her, Her role. Dogs love to be trained. and please us
|08-28-2013 12:25 AM|
You already seem to recognize that the frustration has more to do with you than the dog. The reality is that you might need to find a way to distance yourself from the dog when you are frustrated so as to not send mixed signals.
Also, maybe you need to increase the reward and punishment system. If she is being vocally defiant, immediately take away some freedoms... kick her out of the hallway. if she barks again, put her in the garage or in the backyard. If you can make the threshold into a privilege, then there might be less of a struggle.
|08-28-2013 12:04 AM|
The toughest part of training a dog is disciplining ourselves so that we do not over-react when our dog disappoints us. We need to have reasonable expectations, and mark our dog's progress.
I think that it is awesome that you are recognizing that your behavior toward your dog is making things worse with her. She sounds like a soft girl, and she sounds like one who wants to do the right thing. The only thing I can suggest is not to train at all when you are in a bad mood, and what I do on walks is, I heel across streets, the rest of the time, as long as the leash is loose, I let them sniff and force or lag, doesn't matter. A walk is for exercise and mental stimulation for the dog, it does not have to be a constant training exercise.
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