video of the week: distraction training, off leash

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by l_l_a, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. l_l_a New Member

    I love watching cool tricks that show off the dog's agility and skill and the cooperation between dog and handler. Learning new and increasingly sophisticated and complicated tricks is excellent mental stimulation for dog and trainer alike. But I actually prefer to see (and work on) the simple basic behaviors like sit, come, down, stay, but trained in realistic outdoor or distracting scenarios. Most dog owners don't "need" the dog to roll over in the house. But probably all dog owners would greatly benefit if their dog will respond to basic commands in distracting environments off leash, because such situations are likely to arise in any dog's life whether by accident or as part of daily routines. therefore training to maintain good manners and obedience to simple commands off leash and in distracting environments will not only really enhance your everyday life with your dogs and enable them to spend more quality time outdoors but also is invaluable to preventing them from being a public nuisance or getting into trouble or danger. And also for any dog-sports competitor, distraction proofing is very important too!

    (that said, I do believe that even the best training results cannot and should not replace common sense preventive measures for keeping dogs safe and maintaining the public peace!)



  2. Jean Cote Administrator

    LOL @ that guy in the red coat who didn't want to be videotaped. :)

    I like the 2nd video, nice response to name especially around all those birds.
  3. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I watch the Kaisa videos. He was quite late in training as he was ill but he's sure making up for it now. He's now working towards Sue Ailsby's Level Four, I believe, as I've already seen his level three video. He's making remarkable progress.

    Have you tried the levels, l_l_a? I think you'd enjoy working towards them.

    We would have level three passed, were it not for the "stand". Ellie is slow in picking that up, or I am slow in teaching it. She'll stand and walk forward slightly, but that isn't the requirement. They need to be able to stand without moving in any direction. Once we get that cracked....
  4. l_l_a New Member

    I also like the second video because it shows a chihuahua. I've met soo many chihuahua owners who just don't bother to train their dogs at all because they are small enough to just physically manhandle for everything. this gives chihuahuas a bad rap because the public thinks of them as these tiny spoiled, bad-tempered, out-of-control dogs needing to be picked up all the time. Seeing well-trained and well-mannered chihuahuas is way cool!
  5. l_l_a New Member

    I like how Sue Ailsby's training levels gives a solid and coherent plan on how to get from point A to point B for the different behaviors. My priorities for my dog are a bit different (often feel like I've got my hands full just working on a few things let alone ALL the different behaviors!), so I am following her levels for some behaviors but not for others. So I can't say if we are Level 3 or 4 etc, because for some behaviors we are beyond that and for others we haven't even started yet. but for those behaviors that are very important to me, I do follow her levels.

    Have you seen this site that has people's detailed blogs on charting their dogs' progress with Ailsby's levels? I think it's really cool!!

    I struggled for some time with teaching my dog the "formal stand" , because on the formal return when I circle around him to get myself back into heel position, he would always turn his head to watch me going behind him and shift his weight as a result. Always, just a single paw would move ever so slightly, and always only when I was walking behind him. Then I started using the clicker for this exercise and really broke down the increments into miniscule steps so I could click him while he still had all four feet firmly planted no matter how soon that was (and then after the click it didn't matter if he completely broke position), and using a no-reward marker the instant he started to shift any paws. And this was the breakthrough that got him to understand the concept of not moving any paws, then building up the distance and duration and walking in circles around him was easier.

    but our main problem with the stand exercise (which is a bigger problem than the paw-moving) is that he has a tendency to fear-aggression to strangers especially men, this is a behavioral issue that we've been working on since he was a puppy. And while he has made a lot of progress and is now "normal" in most social situations in public, he is not ready to have a male stranger approach him head-on and touch him and expect him to not move a single paw. being calm about male strangers approaching head-on and touching him is a completely separate project unto itself, more of behavioral counterconditioning and socialization, so eventually when we get to a certain level with that (like a Sue Ailsby level!) then I can combine it with the stand exercise, but I foresee that will not happen in the near future at the rate that we are working...
  6. lagomorphmonster New Member

    I have a bit of that issue as well. Totoro actually will approach men, sit still and submissive urinate for them, but she loves to jump up and greet women. However, if children comes more than 3 feet from us, she starts to puff up and run, and if they try to pet her on the head, her eyes will bug out (whale eye). As a puppy, Totoro sometimes would scream when picked up by tall/big people, even though I know for a fact that she's never been traumatized in any way after 2 weeks of age. Because of that, I haven't done a lot of training in public places after puppy class (which I'm sure creates a vicious circle, but it's so hard to prevent children from RUNNING up to her)

    By the way, what is your non-reward marker?
  7. l_l_a New Member

    yeah, dogs that are timid or shy around people are usually more so around men than around women. (not all, but many are like this). My dog is much more at ease with female strangers than male strangers.

    from a dog's perspective, children can be very scary too! Children move around suddenly and unpredictably and often scream or make other loud sudden noises. Children also tend to grab at dogs quickly. If you're not already doing this, I would really tightly control all interactions between your dog and children, instruct children to stand still and to not pet the dog on top of her head. Instead, you can give them treats to hold out in the flat palm of their hand (no fingers!), and wait until Totoro will take treats from them and get more relaxed that way, then once she is more relaxed the kids can pet her. The key is to go slow so that Totoro doesn't get freaked out, take your time to get her bit by bit more relaxed and comfortable, before progressing to having people touching her or coming up close to her.

    Some dogs are shy, fearful, skittish, reactive or anxious simply because that is their inborn temperament and is despite having had a lot of early positive experiences (just means that it would be worse had there not been those positive experiences). My dog is one such dog when it comes to strangers - I've done more socializing with him (in a structured way) since he was a puppy than I have for any other dog I've owned, yet he's the only one who is fear-aggressive to strangers. my other dogs hardly had any structured socialization yet they were everyone's best friend immediately and I never had to worry about them scaring someone. But some other dogs just are not like that. part of it is breed-related - guarding breeds were bred to be more suspicious and wary of strangers. Within any litter or gene pool there will be variations among the puppies of the different traits including this one. So you can end up with some dogs inherently having a stronger suspicion or wariness than others.

    It irks me when strangers jump and stick to the conclusion that he's a rescue and has been abused. Some dogs are just innately more fearful or timid or shy or wary or reactive to people than others, even if they have never ever had a single bad experience with a human in their lives. it's just in their nature to be more wary or suspicious of people than "regular" dogs, and if they feel pressured by humans rushing up to them or touching them when they're not yet ready for it, then what started out as a slight unease with that situation can develop into a greater fear later on.

    Trust me, I know EXACTLY what you are talking about because I struggle with this on a regular basis. And yes, it is a creating a vicious cycle. On the one hand, avoiding uncontrolled situations is necessary so that part you are doing right, because if the dog ends up getting freaked out then it only worsens the problem, and the last thing you want to do is worsen the problem. And with a big dog (not just a small puppy), there is also the responsibility to "protect" the public from getting scared by your dog if he/she is fear-aggressive and ends up barking or lunging at people and scaring them. (It is the latter that concerns me more and what makes me avoid situations.)

    On the other hand, avoiding ALL situations altogether may be a more comfortable thing to do because you can relax but it doesn't solve the problem it just puts it on the backburner, because fixing it requires exposing the dog to those exact same situations so he can form positive associations or get used to the situation. I've often struggled to find the balance between being so paranoid that I was avoiding everything and everyone (which meant no setbacks or alarms but no progress either), versus being overconfident and putting my dog into situations that he wasn't ready to handle yet and ending in a uncontrolled setback which led to people freaking him out and him in turn freaking them out too (he's a big dog and he alarm barks and lunges when he's freaked out and that scares people)

    I say "ah-ah", in a neutral tone, not in a stern tone.

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