Busy as a Bee!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by tx_cowgirl, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Whoo! I have been very occupied lately. Working full time...education full time...and training!

    My Zeke is improving in leaps and bounds!! For those of you who don't know, Z has been quite a handful. As a pup he was perfect, with the exception of a bit of separation anxiety(which we tackled). He learned many commands very quickly, and flawlessly. Then came puppyhood, and my unbelievably intelligent, laid-back sweetheart turned into a ball of energy with a non-existant attention span, despite consistent training and exercise. Even the professionals told me they'd seen some get kind of "dumb" around the adolescent age, but never have total regression. ALL of his tricks were forgotten(or eaten up by his newfound excitedness). So...I kept working, with the pros telling me I had been doing everything right all along and I couldn't possibly do anything more....to no avail. No improvements. Not even small ones. At my wit's end, I decided to give him some time off. Every time I tried to pick back up--same results. So, despite all my instincts and knowledge, I decided to simply let him mature. Then came fear aggression issues, which we are still working on, prey drive work, which we are still working on...
    And through the recent guidance of a new trainer friend who I happened upon completely by sheer luck, we've started up again. I started talking to her about him a few weeks after some great progress, and she gave me some more advice. Yay!
    Zeke is even learning faster than my dear Mudflap!

    Mud is improving as always. We're laying off the new tricks a bit to advance the other ones. She too has met my new trainer buddy who loves her. ^^ I'm so glad she's such an easy dog to train. A very sweet reprieve from my less than simple Zeke boy. :doghappy: Rusty hasn't learned anything new as of yet...still working out some kinks in his dog aggression that we are constantly working to improve. He's doing good though. :)

    Along with my own dogs, I've taken on two more. One is a paying customer, the other is my boyfriend. The customer is a relative of one of my coworkers. The dog is an 8-month old female short-coated BC. A gorgeous little tricolor with a short attention span but a real desire to please people. In our very first session together, we perfected her rusty sit, learned down, come, and would walk almost flawlessly at a loose-leash heel. (Not obedience heel---simply stayed at my side in proper position.) My boyfriend was with me at the time and Misty would even listen to him for any command. She does very well with switching trainers! For such a young dog and of her breed, she did wonderful considering the environment---I am going to the owners house and walking her to a nearby field. The field however is immediately next to houses with barking dogs, busy traffic, and at that time we shared it with some teenagers having a game of football at the other end. Way to go Misty!

    My boyfriend just got an 8-month old Boxer puppy, male. He's adorable!! Very cute, laid-back, and sweet as can be. I'll be training him as well. I think he's going to be relatively easy. He's going to be fairly new to me...the last non-BC pup I trained was Rusty, and that was 4-5 years ago!! Lol. So...he's going to be simple, moderately smart, and extremely calm in comparison to my BC buddies. Haha...perhaps this will be nice for me. :) His first day of training begins either tomorrow or the day after, and I will be sure to post on his progress. :dogsmile:

  2. johnveryveryveryverylongname Well-Known Member

    Good for you tx_cowgirl that you enjoy training so much that you are willing to train other dogs, is this something you would like to do professionally? Or just to help out? :dogsmile: I've enjoyed reading your post, thanks for shaing!
  3. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Hi John! :) Yes, I would love to train professionally, mainly specializing in behavior problem dogs. But any training would be great. ^^ However, I would not want this to be my sole money source. I have considered getting some kind of certification along with an Animal Psychology/Behavior degree, but I'm not sure yet. This would just be a side job really.
    My first big dog project was when I volunteered at a nearby shelter and trained some of the dogs. It was of course entirely voluntary, and it helped a lot of dogs get adopted. ^^
    Glad you enjoyed reading my post! Thanks for replying. :dogsmile:
  4. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    *Zeke Update*

    Today was our first try with the Gentle Leader. I have been trying to leash train him without extra tools, just to make sure that I wasn't just giving up and resorting to buying a product that I wasn't sure about. With some coaxing from my trainer friend, I went out and bought one. She said it sounded like just what he needed and something that would help the two of us a lot.

    So...today, I put it on him(and he didn't mind a bit) and headed out to the field. In just a couple of minutes he would accept it being on him while sitting still. Accepting it while walking was a bit more difficult, but still went wonderfully! By the time we came home, he was (for the most part) willingly staying at my side. I was very impressed with the product and he certainly didn't seem to be in discomfort for any reason other than the initial newness. Z hasn't walked that well since he was 3 months old! (Obviously before the puppyhood hit.)

    I am so happy with his progress. He does better and better every day. I'm excited and can't wait to see how we do next time. :)
  5. makakoa New Member

    Glad to hear of your good experience with the Gentle Leader. I am a firm believer in its usefulness. It is very humane, and most (not all, of course) dogs accept it very quickly.

    My poodle, LuLu, was quite a "puller" when I first began to work with her. I put a gentle leader on her, and after a 20 minute adjustment period, she had a complete behavioral turn-around. I used the leader for about 3 months, while using click and reward for being at my side, and then found that I could return to a regular collar and still get the same good behavior.

    For anyone who is unfamiliar with this device, you can see some terrific training videos and tips at this website: abrionline.org
    Jean MacDonald uses the leaders in rehab work with shelter dogs, and shows some dogs in training. Also has some good ideas for introducing the leader to dogs that might not be very accepting of it.

    Sounds as though your dog is back on track! :dogbiggrin:
  6. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Yes, I am definitely satisfied with it. ^^ I have seen it work very well for lots of dogs but have never tried it on my own, simply because most of my dogs have leash-trained quite easily. Z pulled not to lead, but rather due to the attention span problems...he just had to investigate everything. Unfortunately click and reward isn't much of an option right now, at least not with food. He is absolutely not food motivated at all whatsoever.
    But, I did already start incorporating toy rewards. I'll have to check out that site you listed. :)

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