Working with a sleeve. At least I think that is a sleeve..or is it a bite pillow? IDK lol He worked at tug with a helper once a few weeks ago, but this was his first sleeve work.
As you can tell I am completely green and found a private club I like a lot. Preemptively as info- and for no other reason than respecting others privacy- I don't name trainers or places I train. You always will find someone who has something to say, and I don't like opening up to that unless they are here to answer. Just me
I have QUESTIONS lol and I am enormously excited. I saw such a burst of confidence in my boy when he got on that table and started working it. I'm kind of hooked.
#1) I know playing tug with my dog as a reward is good...but when does it edge into me acting too much like a helper? Like, he loves the large 3 foot Gappy tug. He bites it like a sleeve. Should I stop doing that with him for now and just focus on the small reward tug?
#2) The focused heel. Ugh. My Waterloo. I had him on the Fuss command heeling nicely, but not staring at me. He is 10 months old. We are changing it up to be a focused heel when I say Fuss, so we can get our BH and maybe IPOs. I use "watch me" for eye command. Can I use the watch me command then Fuss? In other words, can I change it up so Fuss also means watch me, without having to say "watch me"? Or can I say both?
Say you have your focused Fuss down. What command do you use for just a regular heel/leash manners when you don't need him staring at you?
#3) He is suspicious and forward defensive towards strangers. He is under my control, but had I not trained him out of it he would run up to people and bark in their face. After a few hard corrections he wont even go towards the end of his lead at a person or animal, and I can tell him "watch me" if I see him getting defensive, and he does. So we are heading in a good direction with it at least. I understand that doing the bitework will build his confidence and diminish, rather that "stoke" that behavior. Anyone NOT agree with that?
#4) Genetics- the topic of so many threads. But let me tell you, I am green as can be but boy does he have his bite figured out. Was complimented on hitting hard, and full. Decent out, too (once I was showed how to out him properly). It was like once he clicked he knew what to do, and baby it felt good lol Previously it had just been me letting him win with both the small tug and larger one..and I saw the light in the eyes and the victory parade...but when he "won" against two different helpers he lit up with pride and was just contended the rest of the day. Is biting properly genetic then? The one or two times he didn't get a bite that was full he immediately fixed it. I didn't teach him that, that is for sure.
#5) Last question- the one reason I had said I was not going to do any dog sport is because of the politics. I have experienced that in hobby/paying hobby communities before as a martial artists, grapplers. People will screw another instructor's student up on purpose given the opportunity. Well, I have heard of helpers purposely screwing up a dog because they are friends with another handlers dog and this dog is competition, stuff like that. I have heard of people frying dogs for titles, I have heard of people just being iced out because they weren't cool enough or experienced enough for the in crowd, or because they thought their dog had no business being there, OR the newb had no business with that dog. My question is how prevalent is that? Is it even true?
That is certainly not the attitude where I am training. They even took time to work with my timid little pit. Very nice people who obviously love the dogs. Do I HAVE to venture out of that and into B.S eventually, if I want to go as far as we can in IPO? They trial on their home field with judges they bring in, so I am hoping to be able to avoid it. It would be a deal breaker for me. I have 2 very disabled kids...i.e I have REAL things to be stressed about in life. It won't come from a sport. I have zero desire to win stuff, like trophies or anything...can I just put titles on him without jumping into the lion's den?
Thanks in advance, and of course some pictures. I cropped out helpers so they are crappy cropped cell pics..but like I said, I respect their privacy