Hey Linda - I hope that you don't mind if I expand the "autistic" dog thread a little bit. It really got me to thinking once again about Emilu and her "issues" and how much of it was me and how I trained her, and how much is due to her rather quirky personality. I know that I was a very beginner trainer and when we first started training I wasn't planning on showing her, so I didn't do some things the way I would now if starting to train a dog "from scratch" So I will take at least a good half of the "blame" for our performance problems. BUT - I am wondering now about many of her reactions, and wonder if any of you notice problems with your dogs that are due to personality issues.
For example - Emilu has always been a lagger and a very "wide" heeler. I'm really thinking that at least the wideness has a lot to do with her being uncomfortable being close to me all the time. It is definielty not in her nature to "hang close". And then there's the "treat" factor. I'm sure I could have weaned treats better than I did, but even now, most of her learning has to do with her real desire for treats - that's really what has always motivatied her - praise , and certainly petting her or even patting her chest almost tends to make her nervous and doens't seem to be a pleasant motivation factor to her. "Deterant" training can teach her pretty quickly what "not" to do, but I find it hard to motivate her. And of course her "dog reactive issues" have always been something to deal with , and makes her more nervous at shows. Maybe she really wasn't an ideal dog to show , but she's the dog I had. Linda - does Remi heel wide? I was just wondering if the closeness of heeling bothered him? I would imagine the running agility would be better because they can be further away from you. Have you noticed any other challening training issues with him that might be due his personality? Anybody else? It can just be quirks - I like to read about them and see what I can learn from it, or commiserate
Doing formal obedience, Remington does NOT heel wide. He stays pretty much in decent heel position but his mind wanders a LOT. He has no focus. To me, he's like a kid with ADD. I haven't done much obedience with him for this reason. We got his RN and RA titles, but there is no way he can compete at RE level (and not make me look like a totally inept trainer). I've basically decided not to do much obedience with him because of his focus issues. I don't think it's me. Both Ruger and Magnum have good focus on me.
In agility, Remington has a need to be a clown. You know of our tunnel issues. When we enter the ring, he will generally lock on to the tunnel and I cannot get his attention back to me. This happens at the START line. I know I'm pretty much screwed from the get go. He'll do the first jump and maybe the next obstacle if it puts him in line to get to the tunnel he's locked onto.
He doesn't do this all the time. We've had some utter amazing runs, which is why I continue to work with him. I ran him in a match with a bunch of border collie people. He blew them away. It was like he was shot out of a rocket. I couldn't keep up, had to handle him from behind, and he aced the course. My BC friends just stood ringside with their mouths hanging open!!!
He also wants to get away from me if I want to snuggle, or hold him in a hug, etc. Ruger doesn't like this either, but he will tolerate it. Magnum LOVES to be held tight and snuggled.
Another thing I've noticed about Remington is he tends to over worry about things. For example, if I do anything to the other dogs, he gets extremely upset. And as I've said, if I have to do something to him (clean ears, medicate, etc), he is absolutely horrible. Even his breeder is baffled by his reactions. He fights so hard, it's nearly impossible to do the simplest of things with him. He IS getting better with this... because I am trying not to make an issue out of anything I have to do. I just go to it and do it the best I can.
It's almost like he's not a very confident dog... but he IS confident in things we do, so it's hard to explain.
Thankfully, he's a happy boy, for the most part he's submissive with other dogs (with the exception of his littermate brother that is in my classes, and that Remington ALWAYS has to have a five minute fight with, which sounds worse than it is.. the growling, etc...) he gets along with everyone.
He's just got a really quirky personality. But he is really sweet too.
Yes he is sweet! He and Caleb didn't hit it off too well either!
I know Dana has said I will be really blessed to have Micah in the formal obedience ring before he is three years old. He has a difficult focusing on me but it's getting better, but trust me we work A LOT on it. Was at a run-thru with Caleb and it was the first time I really saw Micah fighting to stay focused on me. He'd look away at the other dogs and then right back at me. I have wondered if this boy will ever see the inside of an obedience ring, but I know he will it will just take a lot more work with him--a lot more harder work!
Robbie has often been described by myself and others as ADHD and OCD...when he is focused he is great and could be wonderful and easily a MACH dog..however..he stress or something about the weave poles in competition and starts running around the ring..so he is still in Novice Standard..finally got out of Novice jumpers at our last trial after and over a year..(he's in excellent FAST where we can avoid weave poles).. he patterns extremely fast and if I work a sequence too much more than 3 or 4 times and then try to change part of the sequence it is almost impossible to change his path unless I stand right in front of him...Also if he catches a scent of anything (and he has a terrific nose) it's almost impossible to get his attention back to you..Also if he scents a crumb of anything behind a crate or a container he will paw and dig until he gets it or I move it for him..when he is nervous in his crate he will lick and lick at the bars and can do it for hours..I often have to cover his crate when we are at shows so he will lay down and relax..
I have had to deal with a lot of stress issues with Caleb. I also cover crates at shows just so they have privacy--not everyone pays attention to their dogs.
I have found, too, that not feeding anything with corn or wheat, or any kind of artifical color/preservative has helped. Even with children with ADD they are finding some if it is diet related. I had a very aggressive chocolate Lab that when they took him off of all corn and wheat and only fed CA Natural and chicken breasts for treats his attention and personality changed dramatically. They could not get over the difference.
Hmm... I wonder if maybe its more of a personality thing? My sister's boyfriend has a female chocolate lab, and he is an idiot when it comes to dog training. Has royally screwed up on sooo many things. BUT, that dog listens to him regardless of whats going on around her, always comes when called and has intense focus.
Baloo, on the other hand, lacks focus quite a bit in many areas. His recall is OK but not great, and if the distraction level is high enough he totally tunes me out.
Not to toot my own horn, but I could train circles around Brian, in all seriousness. I have researched and read, attended more training classes than I can count. He has nothing but outdated conventional wisdom.
And yet, his dog is far better behaved than mine, even though they are only months apart in age. I think this reflects the vast difference in the personality of both dogs rather than the skill of trainer or any other factors, really. I would take Baloo over Legacy any day because the focus and intensity comes with a lot of anxiety, whereas Baloo is delightfully happy-go-lucky. And he's my boy, regardless of any personality stuff I may take issue with.
Last edited by Baloo317; 06-27-2009 at 10:57 AM.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
My chocolate lab Maddie is a quick learner. She has a wonderful sense of humor. She once goosed my MIL off her feet (my MIL hates me and dogs) and then looked back at me with a dog laugh. She loves other dogs and has been bit in the nose by another dog at a show and just looked at me like "what did I do mom". She is the most even dog. She is awesome at agility and loves the game. She regularly beats the BCs and just had a 16 second jumpers run. She is affectionate but not overly. My yellow lab has a brain like a "monkey on crack". He cannot focus and finds it incredibly hard to settle down. He is great at weave poles and contacts but, will barrel through the jumps to get to the obstacles he likes. He cannot compete because he was bitten at a start line by another dog in the behind and has become dog reactive. He is sweet and loving. My black lab is very loving but, not very bright. He does not retrieve. If you throw a ball to him, he will allow it to hit him on the forehead and then open his mouth after it hits. He is low energy but loves his run every day with me on the bike. My aussie is a different personality all together. She learns things usually after one repitition. She is the fun police and knows all the rules at our house and will enforce them. If one of the labs goes into my craft room first without me, she will herd them out of there. She has lots of rules for things. She is excellent at obedience and agility. She is the most loving of all my dogs and will pine outside my door if I am asleep and my hubby is watching her. She takes lots of baths because she is a therapy dog. I have taught her how to shake on command. When I shower, she will wait outside and when I dry off she will look at me and shake like she is telling me to shake off because I am wet. She reads me the best of all the dogs and is the most sensitive.
This may not fit here but I have Remington's littermate Jeb. We got our RN title in March. He has a bad habit during agility class of running off. He's much improved in the last 6 months. I can now get through more than half a course and he runs off twice during a class. I showed him in Rally Novce today. We got to the 2nd sign when he grabbed his leash and wouldn't let go. In Pre-Novice he heeled OK just wouldn't sit when I stopped-just stood there. Same thing for figure-8. When I tried to stand him for exam he pulled the leash stunt again. Never does it in class or at home. Linda and I think it's stress-related. It reminds me of an overtired toddler. If anyone has suggestions, please offer. It's hard to correct when he only does it in the ring.
Susan, it could be like Caleb--he knows now that he can get away with it without consequences. Once or twice you might have to take the nq and get really firm with your voice and tell him to knock it off. Now, with Caleb' talking in the ring realize I am saying the same thing for any little peeping he does in the house so he knows. If any tiny infraction when we are working he gets corrected. You'll be blessed to get 30-50% in the ring of what you get training. That is why I have really tighten things up at home and in training with Caleb and soon, Micah, too. Oh, his peeping in the ring is stress, too. That is why it is worse in Utility. We've lost lots of points because of it. Even if he's excited and he is squeeking (totally different sound) I tell him to knock it off. Any little noise that comes out of him I'm telling him to knock it off.