Thursday, January 22, 2009


since we're recovering from kennel cough here due to the new foster dog i took in (an 8 + year old dobe girl from PSPCA that has mammary tumors/cancer... did I post here about her??) we're not training this week at class... sad sad sad. we're also missing our match on sat (i will still work it, since im actually judging for half the day!). we shall see what happens for sunday.

been working at home - have rah's front platform built, he seems to get it! now to talk to terry about how to work it and fade it? far from that right now, though...

berlins also doing some nice db retrieves -s hes starting to play with it with her feet though, want to stop that.

i got some videos from people on one of the dog stuff lists, and i watched the anne marie silverton problem solving utility video this am, and it had a minor breakthrough for me...

i dont think rah is a dominant dog in the sense that he's an aggressive dog that will challenge and try to bite me - not ever. he adores me, he's a wonderful, great dog. but he's the type of dog that most dogs don't challenge, or people. he doesn't care what you do to him - he's just large and in charge. corrections dont phase him, he knows what he wants. yes, he has his irrational fear of things hitting him in the butt :) but is he a hard dog? i think so. in some ways, absolutely.

as i paraphrase anne marie (who has an amazing accent!)... i dont necessarily think rah is dominant. but if you look at it not as dominant, but HARD

"dominant dogs are very willing to learn exercises when its new and fresh, and perform it very well for awhile – then it falls apart. Then you think its time to return to teaching phase – DON’T – hes not confused, he’s challenging you. (If he was truly confused, he will threaten you – if he understood his job, but was just challenging you for the authority he will look confident) If you mistakingly assume he doesn’t understand, you avoid the corrective phase and just keep motivate and teach – creating a viscious cycle of coaxing your dog to obey you. "

the part in parenthesis is the part i dont think applies to me and rah, since we're never coming to blows. but challenging my authority, yeah :)

i think its hard to know when your dog is confused versus when they are choosing to just not perform the exercise correctly - im still not sure with utility for instance, and im looking to my trainer and we were discussing it with some othe rpeople in class last week when rah wasn't doing articles and directed jumping right. rah did directed jumping PERFECTLy when we used to do it, and he's sucked for the past few months now - so where has it gone? does he not understand (confused) or is he challenging me? we're not working the entire go out - i leave him out there in go out position and walk out to the other end of the ring, but often i cant even turn before he's chosen a jump to go over - he understands???? what the exercise is, but does not wait for direction from me. terry mentioned that his stress (remember he used to fear the jump falling on him after he had a crash with both the high and the bar jump separately) causes him to want to rush this; kris interpreted rah as wanting to get the FUN part out in his quest for self-fulfillment and waiting is boring, jumping is fun. would AMS say that rah not waiting for me to give him a signal to jump as a challenge to my authority - rah perfectly understands what the exercise SHOULD BE (and in fact 2-3 months ago, was doing directed jumping perfectly) but does not want to wait for me to TELL him which jump he should take, so he opts to choose for himself, giving me the finger in doing so?

i can see all three scenarios being correct for rah.

or is it a fourth scenario- he truly doesnt understand what he is supposed to be doing out there - he gets i leave him there and he jumps - but he doesnt understand the waiting for me to signal which one it will be, and doesnt understand the signals.

like i said, its hard to know when they are confused and need to be TAUGHT more, versus when they are perfectly understanding the exercise and just being disobedient. one deserves a correction, the other deserves teaching.

i think thats the crux of dog training, and its the difference between a mediocre trainer and a great dog trainer - knowing the difference.

ah, so much to think about.

1 comment:

TabLVT said...

Very interesting info - I never thought of it that way. It would take an experienced person to be able to tell the difference between the dog being confused and the dog challenging you. I guess you know your dog better than anyone, and what they are capable of, so you know when they are just chosing not to obey.