What about your training experiences, funnies successes and the less sucessful :)

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What about your training experiences, funnies successes and the less sucessful :)

This is a discussion on What about your training experiences, funnies successes and the less sucessful :) within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Another thread has prompted this reflection for me. I posted something along the lines of: i detest the type of dog training where i have ...

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Old 02-23-2018, 08:08 PM
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What about your training experiences, funnies successes and the less sucessful :)

Another thread has prompted this reflection for me.
I posted something along the lines of: i detest the type of dog training where i have to follow people in a circle practicing the same exercise with our dogs. Boring boring boring! I couldn't do that ever again. Unless i was doing desensitizing dog reactivity, and needed a bunch of dogs to practice with. or i was paid a lot of money, or in nice dog tack provisions.

Respect to my grandfather, who showed me working dogs, being my most favored trainer ever. A very balanced trainer. Clear as a bell with impeccable timing and ability to read a dog.

I did a 4 day w/e of SAR with Juice at a camp. She did well. Many similar exercises in IPO pup training plans. I was impressed with training methods. But chose not to go there, as a large part of peoples motivation, was to rescue people. First aid, de escalating people in train crashes etc. No thanx. I dont need it when out having fun with dogs.

Ive done online courses at Leerburg, with Forrest Mickey and Michael Ellis. And they are effective.

Workshops are THE best, IMO. Where you pay to participate with your dog.

1:1 with a trainer: another favourite, but limited use to date.

Club training where you are all doing the same sport. whatever. This is the most fun IME so far. But for me comes with a down side - the pressure to compete/title dog, is huge. Especially as my pup is approaching the 18 months mark soon. When it all begins in IPO apparently. Im not wired like that.

GSD Vic State Club. Has got to be the hands down worst ive ever seen. Cadiver obedience, no dogs in drive, all shut down. And mindless boring reps. Awful. Refused cross breeds too! snobs.

I did a Sharonika Williams workshop last and had fun as it was focus n engagement. And keeping your dog in drive before going on to train, during and all the way out, then switching between drives. < i liked that part best.


what sort of training experiences have you had, that have been great, or not so great? im interested in other peoples mileage?
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Old 02-26-2018, 01:46 PM
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@rotten we have ipo clubs nearby, I am sooo tempted because the folks are uber friendly & welcoming, but wow, yes, they are dedicated in a way I never could be. I have been told that coming just to practice, get tips on engagement & maybe work to the practical title (the Begleitungs title) would be fine but I'd just feel completely weird there (and lazy compared to all that dedication). I do still love training, but no longer am interested in any formal criteria.

When I had more money, I did agility with a woman who did not charge too much, private lessons outdoors.
Now, I found another trainer not too far, but again, I don't have the cash to go continuously (looking forward to a spring fling, though), so most of my 'training' is based on what I learned in the past (agility & rally) and thought and research and observation (aka experience). I get outside and train where-ever I am, no fenced yard. I measure success in dog fun, me fun, and safety (safety comes first, but it's not always as much fun)

Lately, I've been hanging out outside of a dog park. It's very distracting for my dog, but as time goes by, it gets better. Note taking is very useful, especially when it includes the observation of the dog (ie, not what you trained, but the how the dog acted), so I went from, 'treat refusal' of all but the highest value, to 'plays tug', and last week, best of all, he was so happy he did his 'pogo' trick, spontaneously & on demand while dogs were chasing each other in the dog park, which means he's really rockin' the experience.
None of this can be learned in class--all of this is based on learning to be observant and flexible and thoughtful & getting to know your own unique canine companion, knowing how they look & act when stressed, when relaxed, excited vs nervous, etc...so in these later years, it's about letting the dog teach me a thing or two.

It's been enjoyable going to the dog park, & meeting up with some people and walking with them too, but the Pogo tricks last week were the most fun. Seeing him thrilled to perform in a place that is so highly distracting to most dogs, that feels like success. I hope he keeps that looseness & joy next time around for more even more fun.

Come spring, I'll be running through my front yard agility, & then maybe sign up for the 'real thing', but I guess everyday is 'the real thing',

which makes me think: should I really measure success on tricks, or maybe the real 'success' happened in the bush when I called him off 8 running deer, and had him safely at my side in seconds, and in a matter of minutes, releasing him to bush run for another hour of canine joy. I guess the latter would be more for him, and the former would be more for me. Either way, I like to see him happy.
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Old 02-26-2018, 02:13 PM
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What a brilliant point on how we measure success.Being somewhere between spontaneous pogo and trainer being reinforced by correct implementation of cues by dog.
I need reinforcing too.
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Old 02-26-2018, 03:17 PM
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I've never formally worked with a trainer, or done classes. Mostly experience by necessity......my father trained and bred hunting dogs, and later trained gsds, so I guess it started with him. Also had a few opportunities to hang out and watch k9 training, get some tips and pointers.
The dogs we've had simply had to have training, or would have been like little tasmanian devils. I really enjoy the learning process, and I actually dont mind making mistakes, as I've found my mistakes to be most informative. Having dogs with the genetics to tolerate my mistakes and then fix them has been I think key in my learning process.
I've definately found that the more dogs I've owned, the less and less corrections and punishment have been needed. Chalk that up to experience. Its a good thing.
Having dogs with the little bit of livestock we have has been a huge learning experience for the past years.
Owning a very soft dog was a game changer for me. Whole different ballgame than any of my former dogs, who were not soft in the sense most people use the word.
All in all, having owned bullmastiffs and gsds, I reckon the main thing for us has been solid obedience under distraction and pressure. Neither breed is a good dog to not have control over.
Lately I've been having alot of fun with my current dog just playing with different training ideas. He is super biddable and will let me know when I make mistakes. He is forgiving in training, and I really like the fact that he'll let me know when I screw up by vocally fussing at me or lightly using his teeth as communication, then immediately is ready to keep working with me. Far easier than a dog that shuts down or drifts off to la la land.
Dogs are so much fun
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Old 02-26-2018, 11:41 PM
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Thats cute he lets you know by grumbling then happy to carry on. I was unable ti shift from hard to soft so cudos to you!
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Old 02-27-2018, 06:29 AM
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@rotten, current dog isnt soft, soft one was a previous dog. That dog taught me alot, really had to rethink the way I was doing things training wise.....just a harsh tone would make her go lay down and pout lol.
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Old 03-02-2018, 02:05 AM
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I am enjoying Eddie, who is not soft. Very cunning. And fast learner. Of things i train, and things he discovers lol when left at home with juice.
I come home to paw prints on my glass table outside.
never seen him on it
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Old 03-02-2018, 09:05 PM
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When he was a small puppy we took him to Petco once a week for puppy 101. He learned to sit, stay, come, lay down, and (to some extent) walk on leash.

At the time he was very loud and the main thing I wanted to learn was how to make him stop barking. The first class, I came in holding him on my lap because when I put him down on the floor, he barked at the other puppy and I couldn't hear anything, but the trainer said I was enabling him and to put him on the floor, so I did and he barked for the whole hour of that class, non stop and I do mean non stop, every second of time contained exactly one bark. His vocal cords do not tire. I thought she would teach me a trick to get him to stop, but she said we were just going to ignore him. I will never forget the headache and frustration of that day.

The trainer tried to help us to get him focused on the trick and the treat, which after the first class he would do but only when he felt like it and for short times. The rest of the time he continued barking. I'll admit that over the course of classes he barked less, but not significantly less, which was what I wanted him to attend the class for. It's nice he learned a few tricks and had a new experience, but my mother actually worked with him to teach him tricks too and he learned them faster with her than with the trainer. My mom's got no qualifications beyond loving animals.

Overall I am glad we had the experience but wish we got more out of it. What later stopped the dog barking so much was when we took him to doggie day care. There he works with an animal behaviorist (who seems to know EVERYthing), and it's kennel free so all the dogs play together all day and the behaviorist monitors them. He's learned so much there, I can't believe how he's matured, and it's not even official training.

The one thing I might want to work with the animal behaviorist on (she offers classes) is recall, because Kiko does not come every time you call him. He only comes when he feels like it. But, I maybe could use some youtube videos and teach him myself.
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Old 03-03-2018, 12:16 AM
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I'm inferring that some of you mean "soft" dog as a dog who is sensitive to criticism or tone and needs more positive reinforcement in training?
My current dog is an interesting (to me) mix of super sensitive and bold defiant adolescent hooligan. He can tell by the tone of my voice if I'm getting frustrated with him and will go hide and refuse his favorite treats. Alone at home. Outside he's better about listening and recall than he used to be, but really good distraction like rabbits still make him not care about my tone as much.
Although he can be sensitive and jump at every little sound, he loves going everywhere with me. Crowds don't faze him, no problems with thunderstorms or fireworks, last two years we were at the river in the crowd up close watching the fireworks show for July 4th show. He looked at the first few then lay quietly at my feet and was much more excited to meet any passing dogs.
At the vets office yesterday to check his thyroid (it's low so new meds for him ), the vet told me to let him loose in the room. He boldly explored every inch of the room, including jumping up on to the exam table and walking all around the exam area like a large cat, including the sink, finding some jars of treats and pushily trying to open them, then offering tricks to the tech and vet to charm treats out of them. The second the vet took the leash and began sternly ordering him to do various commands, all of which he knew well, he refused to do a single one. When the vet brought him in the back for blood draw, I heard the anxious battle and him escape and crash against the door to get back to me.
When he's with me, he's confident and bold as well as friendly and defiant. He listens to me and does many tricks that he learns very fast from food as a strong motivator. With me, he explores outside and isn't glued to me but explores far and out of sight. If I leave him or someone tries to take him he freaks from separation anxiety. He won't listen to anyone else, in general.
He loves other dogs so that's a huge motivator for him. Doggy daycare love him and say he's perfect in terms of behavior and getting along with everyone. I recently discovered he seems to love find it. He likes tug with a squeplayingaky toy but not most toys. Will play fetch with the perfect squeaky and for food for a few throws only
We did basic obedience, he was great. He's much better about listening in distracted situations. Even going through crowded vet hospital filled with large dogs he wanted to meet this week he listened though was distracted. Three sessions with behaviorist in two years and the advice and exercises were helpful.
No other formal training than that. Just many years with difficult dogs before, many years training horses, socializing feral cats (if you can tame an adult feral cat to trust you for belly rubs, nail cutting and intensive meds daily, and raise and train a stallion from birth to behave and show you really can do anything lol), and tons of determination. I've always socialized my problem shelter dogs from day one. I take them everywhere I can with me and gradually have them have more and more good experiences with more and more different things and different people. City life, crowds, all kinds of people and things. Farm life, horses, farm animals, wild animals, being good and reliable loose(eventually!).
I'm a huge cat and horse lover and have always had at least two cats so my dog's must be good around cats and horses right away, no exceptions. If the cats or horses hurt them in self defense, the dog didn't listen fast enough.
I agree with whoever said a Hallmark of good training was reliably listening in an emergency. My last dog I could call off a deer from across a field while riding my horse at a gallop in mid leap and he'd stop instantly and race back to me anywhere at any time. He didn't like most other dogs yet I had nowhere to exercise him once so had no choice but to go into a crowded dog park to play fetch with him. I never took him to dog parks as he was possessive of me, treats, toys, water, everything. With him not liking other dogs, it wasn't fun and could be stressful or even dangerous. That one day we went in and he focused on me the whole time and just played fetch. Avoided all other dogs and just stayed with me the whole time. That and his literal 100 percent recall made him well trained in my eyes.

This pupa getting there. There's tons of classes here but they're all expensive. And I'm having fun learning what works best for him. He's already made a ton of progress from when I first got him.
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