This is harder for me than it is for Boogie

May 9, 2009 at 7:48 am 2 comments

DISCLAIMER: This blog post was written in 2009. We no longer do Obedience Training using “dominance”-based methods. We no longer use collar corrections. These methods made Boogie MORE TENSE, MORE TRIGGERED and more prone to aggressive behaviors. We switched over to reward-based methods in February 2010 and saw improvements. 

Posted Date: : May 9, 2009 4:14 PM

Bootcamp: Lesson #1 (with ThankDogTraining)I’ll be frank – this was/is really really hard. The rules are hardcore. The expression on Boogie’s face – unbearable. The piercing yelps with each pull of the training leash + collar – they hurt me more than they hurt him!The rules for the entire length of training:

1. At home, Boogie is only allowed to be in one of THREE places:
His “place” , inside the crate, or on leash (taking commands). He isn’t allowed to roam freely. He is only allowed on furniture or on the bed if we put him there, not by his own choice. He isn’t even allowed to sleep with us in bed at night. He has to sleep in his crate. <– this is going to be harder for me than it is for him.Jill: “In the mornings you can take him up onto the bed and cuddle. But he should sleep in the crate at night.”
Me: “What about playtime?”
Jill: “You can still set  playtime, throw the ball etc. but he has to be on leash if he is inside the home otherwise the training would be inconsistent.”

The idea is for Boogie to learn who is boss. He has to EARN his freedom.. which will come with time… For now, it has to be this way.

2. When walking outside, Boogie has to either HEEL or go potty.
No sniffing and marking allowed!
Me: “But what if he needs to pee? Or poo?”
Jill: “He has to learn to eliminate all at once. Sniffing and marking  is not the same as elimination. Marking is dominant behavior – we don’t want to encourage this.
Me: “How will I know when he needs to go? He usually picks his spot to do his business. I know he needs to go by the way he sniffs…”
Jill: “You have to tell him when to go by setting the time and place. You decide this, not him”.

I think the idea is that eventually Boogie will realize that he has only a small window of time to pee/poo otherwise he won’t get to pee/poo at all. Seems kinda harsh but heck…

COMMANDS HOMEWORK and PRACTICE:

Breaking the HEEL
So I wrote in the last blog post that Boogie already knows to HEEL. He seems to do pretty well at this. Now we have to teach him to SIT everytime we break the HEEL. So if we are out walking and come to a stop (eg, traffic light, or if another dog or person walks by), Boogie is supposed to SIT instantly. If he doesn’t sit, he gets a (Yelp!) correction. He hasn’t got this one yet.  In fact, he resists sitting. What do you do with a dog that won’t sit after 5-6 corrections with the leash and prong collar? He yelps and looks so miserable. I swear that to passersby it looks like we are torturing our dog. He really doesn’t want to sit. He puts his butt down then slowly lifts it up again. Jill said that I shouldn’t tell him to SIT. He has to learn to automatically sit when he is not heeling. Not sure how we’re going to master this one… it’s hard. I know I can get him to sit by saying SIT. I don’t know how to get him to do this by not saying anything and giving corrections… UPDATE: Treats help! 🙂 Now he sits when I stop and gently tug on the leash.

“Go to your PLACE
Jill picked the big navy blue cushion as Boogie’s “place”. We lead him onto the cushion and say “Go to your place” to eventually associate the command with going to his place. Then it’s DOWN and STAY, to have him lie down and stay there. Right now there is another leash tied to the coffee table leg, the other end which we fasten to Boogie’s (regular) collar when he is in his “place”. This command is supposed to be useful when visitors come to the door so that he doesn’t rush to the door and (potentially) lunge at/bite them. His “place” is also a calm spot for him to hang out. We are not supposed to interact with him (no belly rubs!!!!) when he is in “his place”. Chew toys are ok. I am going to have giving-belly-rub withdrawals.

“DOWN”
This seems to be the hardest command ever. It should be easy… believe me I have watched countless YouTube videos, looked at books and websites, tried this myself by lowering treats to the floor and Jill even showed us what to do, NO SUCCESS. The little dog will not go down, not even with corrections and treats!  We have to physically manipulate his whole body into a lying down position and boy does he resist!  His two front legs are like firmly planted straight rods on the ground, unbendable. He would rather not take the treat than go “down”. And he is STRONG! The only place Boogie will willingly lie down is his cushion. Nowhere else. This command is going to be really really hard to work with.

So… it’s already feeling really weird to have this little dog tethered to me while I am at my computer. (I think I will use the crate instead) Right now, he’s just curled up, sleeping in his bed (I think we will designate this doggie bed as his “place” instead of the blue cushion because he spends more time here) but if I get up and he follows me, I am supposed to correct him and make him stay….

This is hard. I wish there were some other way to “correct” other than using the prong collar.

Wes keeps reminding me: “This is good for him. This is good for you too”.
Me: “The rebel in me is empathizing with the rebel in Boogie. Seeing him like this with no freedom is making me SAD”.
Wes: “Look! He’s not unhappy!”

Oh I don’t know.

ADDING A VIDEO below – when we were walking later. Wes took the video.

See/hear how loud he YELPS when I do the correction? It still freaks me out.

Note that there is a (yapping) dog behind the fence, and Boogie is not reacting to that dog cos he’s too busy learning to be “obedient”.

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Entry filed under: Training.

Boogie in da crate Boogie on DOWN – advice welcome!

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