Some gushing and Zero Conflict Foundation :-)
As most of you know, I just got my new guy a week ago. He's just fantastic! I am so happy with him. Super stable, really unphased by most things, and boy does he love to bite and pull! :-D I took him to the park a block from my house, I was the only one there. Ran up the steps on the playground, across a super creaky/moving bridge...he ran right after me, grabbed the leash I had and tried to play tug while we were four feet off the ground! Then I ran down the slid and he came pouncing down after me. Zero fear!
The only thing he seemed wary of (really more like "what is that") were groups of kids. However, after meeting a bunch at a bus stop, it literally took that ONE time for him to decide he loved kids, and now they get greetings and kisses just like everyone else. I swear, it's like he is trained. He naturally falls into a heel on me left side, sits when people pet him, it's great! We just got back from getting some lumber from Home Depot. They had to cut it for us, and the guy said, "this is super duper loud, it's probably going to scar him." I said to go ahead, and I'd walk him away if he couldn't handle it. He was laying down next to me, the guy started this screeching saw, and he just kind of cocked his head at the guy, but didn't get up or anything....then he went back to trying to play tug with his leash with me. Everytime I think, surely this will show a little nerve...nope. It's so incredibly refreshing to have such a sound dog. And even when he does look at something he's never seen before(or very litter), bicycle, kids, carts, he regards them quietly, ears up, tail wagging, checks it out...and then it's like it's nothing at all. His recovery time/time to get over something is awesome!
Okay, sorry for the gush-fest....it's just not many around me (except for club people) understand how awesome this makes me feel after what I went through with my other guy.
So, I posted in the SchH/IPO area because I want to know how those of you who have children/family and a sport dog that is in the house, strike a balance. My TD has drilled it into my head to train conflict-free. No heavy handed corrections (obviously) or chasing down, yelling, etc...I do lots of trading/re-directing, and the two times I have had to correct, I did it without my direct intervention. Example: YoJo wanted to jump on my son's head whenever he ran by excitedly playing. So I put a drag line on him, and when he went to jump, I stepped on the drag line, and his momentum/weight corrected himself. I didn't say or do anything. He didn't "react" to the correction, so I thought "well that didn't work" but he hasn't jumped on my son since. It's like he just gets it! It's incredible!
Everything is positive, positive, positive, food, play, everything. I am not introducing corrections until he is mature enough and bonded enough to me to handle them(and even then, only when he needs them). I try to keep a balance between crate time and family time to maintain those drives, and it's been working great. Yesterday was an awesome first day at club! We are really only playing and tugging at this point. He had a habit of grabbing something and running, looking back, trying to get me to chase him...So, I'd run the other way and he takes off after me. He's starting to drop that habit. TD said it's a littermate thing lol. I'm shaping "platz" and "sitz," but it's all with food and luring for the foundation No corrections or pressure, I don't want to create conflict of un-necessary pressure in the foundations. And of course he get's a big party for coming when recalled. He's yet to blow me off though, the bond is already pretty strong. I'll get some videos next time at club.
I am by NO means an expert at any of this. I am being guided every step of the way by TD's and decoys, but not a lot of them have house/family dogs that also do IPO. So, to everyone who does the family dog/IPO dog, any tips? Especially those of you with children? I'm excited to share my progress with all the IPO peeps here.
And of course some pics! :-)
"An excess of size is an unserviceable feature for breeding, his powers of endurance, his speed and the smartness of his movements suffer in all circumstances. Giants are never nimble."-Creator of GSD