Being Calm

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by whipple, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. whipple Well-Known Member

    So my last post about my dog Kit being nervous, well that made me think about myself. I'm not sure if this should be somewhere else but I felt it needed a thread of its own.
    Anyhow, when Kit shuts down, I get frustrated and then we quit. Which is not good. But I don't know how to calm myself down to keep moving. I need some help with this so that training can be more pleasant for both of us.
    Any suggestions?

  2. Jean Cote Administrator

    What do you mean when you say Kit shuts down? Do you mean that she no longer shows any interest in the training?

    I think that you should try the following:

    • Keep your sessions very shorts! A maximum of 5 min. plenty.
    • Use treats and toys that your dog loves. Use something that is so yummy and delicious your dog will do anything for, like pieces of sausages or you can try the irresistible beef heart recipe found in the recipe section.
    • Train in more exciting places like outside in a park rather friend house so that your dog doesn't get bored.
    • Really use and try to stimulate your dog's instincts, for example try to run away from your dog after training her during training so that he has to chase you which makes training fun for everyone.
    • Also if you're training with toy remember to keep it away from you dog when you're not training so that the dog learns that the tour is special in that when you bring it out it means fun time.

    Hope this helps, let me know how it works.
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  3. Anneke Honored Member

    What exactly does she do, when she shuts down? Does she walk away? does she lie down with her head on her feet, facing away from you?
    Key here is to keep your patience(really hard, I know;))
    Sounds like she has a lot of bagage from her time before she came to live with you.
    Building her confidence is important, I think, so after you have asked her to do something new or something she finds hard to do, ask her to do something she knows well, like sit. Then throw a party!
    Don't ask too much of her, try to do things in her pace. Dogs who have a lot of bagage need time to ajust and trust.
  4. running_dog Honored Member

    Yes you should try to make things so that Kit doesn't shut down but it is really hard to quit while you're ahead. So if Kit does shut down and you are getting frustrated just go back to something really simple that you both know well and that will help both of you to feel good about yourselves and positive about training and then you're exactly right to walk away - for a few minutes, an hour, a day, a week, whatever works for you both.

    We have our limits as well as the dogs, Kit is maybe feeling as wound up as you are. Being calm does get easier with practice, I used to have a very short fuse but I have gradually become a little more patient... we learn as well as the dogs :).
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  5. whipple Well-Known Member

    What I mean by her shutting down, is she will just not try. She just has no enthusiasm to do anything. This makes me more frustrated, since it seems like nothing will get her out of it. And I really hate ending it on a bad note. This happens if I even let my voice get slightly "non-chipper" (there is no other way I can think of explaining that lol).
    I will just keep trying. Thanks.
  6. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    HOw long have you had Kit?
    .(just curious, if this dog is new to you, new in her new home?)
    I saw your other note, too, it *sounds* like you have a shy dog, not sure, but it sounds like it. *IF* she is a shy dog (not sure) she'll always be shy on some level, but, you can make her shyness better or worse.
    When i am trying to teach my dog things,
    I keep alll lessons super short, and i mix in tricks he KNOWS WELL, and heavily praise those, especially if he is getting frustrated with a new trick.
    I ignore wrong moves,
    i never ever scold, never once. I never even say "no" if he makes a wrong move. If Buddy makes a wrong move, he just gets no treat.
    I don't particularly talk a lot while training my dog, come to think of it. I am almost always smiling though, as i find watching my dog think, and figure things out, very amusing, but, that is just me.
    .DO WATCH how Jean trains a trick in the "Classroom" section above.
    He isn't talking a lot, either.
    ALSO, do start with EASY tricks, of course! ha ha!:ROFLMAO:
    If you really are getting frustrated, end the lesson. and DO try a yawn, (HAS TO BE REAL YAWN, FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT, into a REAL yawn)
    Yawning releases calming chemicals into your bloodstream and your dog will think you said "calm down" in HIS language.:D
    .Offering your dog yawns, and slow blinks, are asking him to "calm down" in HIS own language. Staring at your dog, if he is new dog to you(?) is sort of rude in the dog world. Especially if the dog is new to you, and especially if the dog is a shy dog (not sure if your dog IS a shy dog or not, but, if he is, staring at him might make him uncomfortable, In response, he may turn his head away from you, which means, "calm down, i want no fight with you" if you are staring at him.
    But breaking up your stare,
    with glances away now and then,
    with yawns,
    and slow blinks,
    =is a 'word' to him, it means "calm down".
    for whatever that is worth.
    But not a lot of words or voice is required to teach a dog a trick, no correcting is needed at all. Just ignore wrong moves, no scolding at all. Think of it, as if you are working with someone who only speaks Russian. YOu certainly wouldn't want him to scold you for not knowing a new Russian word!
    YOur dog is trying to learn YOUR language.:D
    When Buddy gets close to making correct move, he gets praise and treats.
    Overtime, i wait for even closer to perfect move, but, at first, attempts in correct direction are rewarded.
    I follow all lessons, with a play session, for two reasons: It makes my dog think 'school' is fun, and it helps him burn off any frustrations he *may* have built up from lessons.
    Jean's advice of five minutes, is good idea, BUT, all dogs are unique, maybe, for YOUR particular dog, start with a two minute lesson.
    .dogs have VERY short attention spans.
    Overtime, you can work up to 3 minutes, adding a minute each week. It's fine to repeat the lesson several times a day, but, some dogs need shorter lesson than other dogs, especially if they are NEW to tricks training.
    End with a trick he knows well, like sit, and praise that one. Make your dog happy.
    and lessons over.
    I actually TELL my dog the lesson is over, "all done! get the bear!" and then we tug with the bear. Buddy then knows, we are done, and it's playtime.
    It is great you are trying to learn how to teach a dog tricks,
    hang in there, you and your dog WILL find your way with each other,
    and please DO observe how Jean teaches tricks to his dogs in the CLASSROOM, i think seeing how it is done, will be really helpful to you. iT WAS FOR ME!!!
    As you watch the film, be aware, Jean's dogs are much accustomed to being taught tricks.
    YOur dog, it's all new idea, so you will have to go a lil slower, just a few minutes at first, like 2 minutes for starters.
  7. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Yes, i like Jean's advice, about training in various locations. I have found even moving from one room to another, increases Buddy's interest in the trick. We will work a lil while in the living room, then in the kitchen, then in the dining room, then in the yard, then in the garage, etc etc. My dog can get bored if we stay in same room for entire lesson...
  8. Jean Cote Administrator

    If i were you, I would do what she loves and reinforce her for doing it. That way she learns to love training. If she loves to go on walks, do that, if she loves to chase things, find a way to get her to chase something and reward it. Get a friend to tie a rope on a toy and drag it around. Just get her interested in training and build on success!
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  9. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    loved that reply, Bosun,
    lots of great replies on this thread.
    //"Not all dogs will do all tricks."//
    Lol, at first, i thought you wrote, "not all dogs will do tricks" and i disagreed,
    and then i reread your words more carefully and accurately, and i do agree.
    My border collie has a 3 ball toss limit on fetch, ha ha, on 4th toss, he looks at us as if we are nutz, which of course, is the main reason we throw a 4th time, is just to see THAT face!!:cautious: rofl.
    I completely agree, that all dogs are individuals, and i completely agree, not all dogs will work for food.
    I am just this year becoming much more clever in what i use to "reward" the trick, and have a much bigger variety of rewards, Buddy never knows for sure, what wonderful thing will happen if he does the trick.
    Part of the reason, i began to re-explore what IS a reward to a dog, is result of THIS thread: ah, can't find it, was great thread, called, "What IS a reward to a dog", posted by Sara, and it was a very great and thought provoking thread, to me, anyway, and did influence how i reward Buddy. Sara, i thank you and Buddy thanks you!!
    The reward for each dog, and type of trick for each dog, can vary from dog to dog. My dog has tricks he looooooooves, and tricks he does not care for. at all. Often, if he dislikes a trick, i drop the trick.
    But, not always. hee hee.
    Even tricks he does not care for, if i am careful,
    in mixing in tricks he DOES ENJOY,
    and moving room to room to outdoors,
    to prevent boredom during lessons,
    and changing up what i am rewarding him WITH,
    and keeping lessons super short,
    can get him to eventually like the trick he did not initially like.
    but, especially for a person new to training, and to a dog new to training, i think it is great advice you all posted there, that we find things that the dog really DOES love doing and start there.
    hang in there, you can do it!!!
    Bosun likes this.

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