Emilu and I had an epiphemy of sorts last night during our training session. We were doing OK, but she wouldn't "sit pretty" in the grass for the life of her (we almost always train on concrete). She was also just sloppy with her fronts, but I'm not sure she really truely understands them. But I decided to "make her" sit pretty at least once on the grass (she puppy sits most of the time) It was not pretty! I did everything wrong that I could have in one session. First of all I had already released her when I decided that she needed to "sit pretty". So I gave her the command to "heel" at my side. She sat sloppy (on back leg out) I kept trying to correct her with a hand/treat signal, leash correction, and physically pushing her into it - the problem was- I was out of control. I started sharply giving her the command again anda again and then swtiched to "fronts", thinking she maybe I could correct her better (tap the offending foot, which is how I taught her to sit up straight) She was confused by now (don't blame her - I've never yelled at her, especially during training) and kept shifting around and around. I knew I was being completely stupid by now, and then realized that she hates "sitting pretty" on the grass and decided to see if she would do it on the cement or if she was just really begin obstinent. I gave her a heel command , and I must say that I have never seen a dog give me more attention and a snappy heel up the yard! My word! Is that what it take to get her undivided attention!? (ususally she shuts down with too much correction) We heeled up the yard and went to the porch where she gave me a nice "sit pretty". Oh vey! Then the whole eveing she was much more attentive to me. I would go up to her and say "Emilu - - "front" and she would snap to a pretty "front" right away. I feel like a jerk for losing my temper with her. I apparently need to find a happy medium between "losing it" and being a marshmellow with her. She's just normally sensitive to criticisim and I didn't want her to shut down and not like obedience. So on to my original question - although maybe after last night I won't need it - if they don't like "sitting pretty on a certain surface - how do you make them? My usualy tricks don't work - she just keeps shifting on leg or the other out. (you'd think it would be cement that she didn't want to sit on, but grass????........
When we ask our dog to perform a cue and they don't, what most trainers do it repeat themselves. Well, if they didn't do it the first time, they are unlikely to do it the second! When confronted with this, then obviously the dog hasn't generalized well enough to sit correctly in grass, so it is your job to help her. Place her into a tuck sit the first time or two, then give her more responsibility.
You seem to be at an important crossroad in your life, so let me impart some wisdom on you that is based on the very same experiences you seem to be going through.
Never forget that you get the dog you deserve and the behaviours your dog engages in, good or bad, are behaviours that you yourself have shaped. I will never understand why people get angry at their dogs or punish their dogs for their shortcomings as a trainer when their dog is doing EXACTLY what they have taught them to do. TEACH your dog! This is a partnership, and both of you will do much better if you are willing participants.
You do need to find a happy medium, but remember, positive doesn't mean permissive. Keep you expectations high and never lower them. But that doesn't mean frightening your dog into doing it, it means helping them to get it right. You need to get out of this mindset, because if you ever find yourself in utility, this will all come back to haunt you
One other good idea for bad training sessions: Sometimes you find yourself in a standoff with your dog where you feel you don't want to break the exercise down any further, and they don't seem to offer you the behaviour you want. Instead of repeating ourselves or correcting our dogs, it is often best to get them back on track with winning prizes. So, move on to an exercise that they are wonderful at, reward and praise them admirably, then go back to the problem exercise. Your dog needs to keep winning, because nobody wants to play a game they can't win. If they can't win with the exercise you are working on at that moment, move on to another, then return to it.
The short answer, is, don't make them, teach them. Take it back to basics so you can both win and both be happy.
To err is human:To forgive, canine."
OH SO TRUE!!!! Good points there. We do end up with what we ourselves have shaped.Originally Posted by FallRiver
Oh, Pat, by the way, none of us have every lost it with any of our dogs!!! RIGHT! Even if it was one of our early dogs, we all have and we have all survived to go on and successfully compete! Often if I do bog down on something with Caleb, I do got to something he knows well to rebuild confidence--ie in the midst of Utility training I will go back to flat retrieves cause he likes them and is confident with them.
UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE
FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN
Oh yes, I have never lost it with my dogs* ;D* *
Don't worry, dogs are quite adaptible and you can make some mistakes and get away with them.* *
I know exactly what you feel right now...as you arm yourself with more information, it will get easier and easier and you will get frustrated less often.
ALways remember that obedience is not a destination, it is a process...enjoy both!!!!*
To err is human:To forgive, canine."
I'm with you Pat, and I had the same time tonight with Ruby. For the life of her she wouldn't come right close in on a front. I tried treats, corrections, stepping back. Nothing. Finally I got mad at her and pulled her to me...yeah I am sure she will want to get that close next time knowing that is what I am going to do
It happens. We aren't perfect and neither are the dogs, and I AM SURE THAT THEY GET JUST AS UPSET WITH US!
Me too. :I apparently need to find a happy medium between "losing it" and being a marshmellow with her.
So funny you would mention this. Today I tried to be better about practicing with Angus in different environments. I have been ridiculously lazy about this, and I know that's why he has a problem when he goes to a new place. Because he has only ever "worked" in three places on a regular basis. :-[ Inside the house, at the club, and at our private trainer's place.
So anyway, today I said, new leaf! We are going to do better! So I went...to the backyard. Yes, yes, it's true, I have never practiced with Angus in our own backyard. Sad, isn't it? Well! It REALLY sucks back there. First of all, there is not two feet square of flat ground. Second, the boys have obliterated all plant life, so it's basically a big mud hole. Third, I cannot be out there for five minutes without getting eaten alive by mosquitos. I have honestly wondered what would happen if I put myself on Advantix.
But I digress...I DO have a point...
Angus and I are practicing heeling. Up the hill, down the hill, up, down, up, down...awkward as hell, believe me. But I notice that whenever I stop, he does not sit. ??? We try again in another location. Still no sit. No matter where we heel to in the yard, he just stands there at heel, looking up at me like, "You're kidding, right?"
So we moved up onto the deck. Perfect sits.
I told him I didn't blame him...I wouldn't want to sit in the mud hole either. Or maybe it was because we were always on an incline? No idea.
Oh, and I have never lost it with Angus either. :P
Connie and "The Boys":
Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD
Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever