Well That Was Discouraging..

Discussion in 'Training Challenges' started by KatieMarie, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. KatieMarie Active Member

    Golden rule of training, always keep it fun..
    I cannot say that this past session was even remotely fun for either of us. I went into it eager and with a plan in mind, and I can honestly say it was the worst session I've ever trained. I have been noticing more and more that Kricket is VERY unconfident. Barks at everything, won't walk over storm drains, just overall she acts like a newly rescued shelter dog. I cannot figure this out, as she has never been abused, and I have had her since she was a puppy. This behavior can be very annoying as I don't even know how to help her as she completely freezes up and won't move at all, no matter how low I crouch, how much I pet the object and talk calmly to her.

    Also, I was trying to teach leg weaves earlier and she won't move. She doesn't follow a lure and I tried to guide her by her collar, but she tucked her tail and got very scared.

    Any suggestions? I really want to get her through this..

  2. southerngirl Honored Member

    What were you working on with her? Some dogs don't like going under you, first you might want to teach her to go inbetween your legs once she is comfortable with that than you start teaching her to weave between your legs. Has something scared her lately like a loud bang or a big truck passing?
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  3. JazzyandVeronica Experienced Member

    I'm not a professional trainer; but I do have a genetically fearful dog...so these are just some tips I learned the long hard way that apply to my dog.

    If she isn't into it; training or whatever the activity...quit and come back another day to try it.

    If she freezes, don't force her; try to change the setting and offer an activity she'll enjoy; or just let her go and chill if that's what she needs to do.

    Lower your expectations that way you can keep it fun; I have been very guilty of high expectations because I know the intelligence and ability is there, and then getting frustrated because the fear interferes...and Veronica would pick up on my frustration even if I tried to hide it...and it just made things worse.

    Accept that you have a dog with fear issues (assuming you do, and it kinda sounds like you do) and that in some respects you have a 'special needs" dog and that your dog may never be able to do certain things...but hey, not everyone can do everything...so don't sweat it...give up preconceived notions.

    Banish any perfectionist tendencies (of which I have many) and celebrate (genuinely) the little things; celebrate effort and enthusiasm most of all...quite frankly even if performance kinda stinks.

    Reframe your thought process to include accepting that you have a dog with fear issues and stop wishing that you had a "normal" dog and love the dog you have (as I said just sharing personal emotions that I have experienced and sorted through; not saying any of this applies to you).
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  4. MaryK Honored Member

    First don't give up:) How old is Kricket? Has ANYTHING scared her during training? Even the smallest thing can set off some dogs, things we wouldn't even notice.

    Are you a bit 'over eager', sorry no offence meant here, but we can all be a bit too keen and eager at times and try to 'push' too far - not literally of course - with training.

    When she barks, I am assuming she's inside her own property, do you check why/what she is barking at? I always check if my boys bark and usually of course it's nothing WE would be alarmed over but THEY wonder what it is. For example, workers on a cherry picker doing something with the over head wires caused Ra Kismet to bark. Once I've checked what is making them bark and ascertained it's nothing to worry about I thank them for letting me know something is unusual and then say "Friend" (cue for anything/anyone who's o.k.). One time it wasn't o.k. , the house at the front was on fire, Ra Kismet alerted me to that and he was only still six months old. It pays to check what's up when they bark! My boys are normally inside but of course have their time outside too:)

    Storm water drains can be very scary to dogs. We don't take any notice of them but to some dogs they are scary 'monsters'. I would just allow her to sniff and nothing more, just walk up to the storm water drain, as close as she will go without freezing stop before she's even close to freeze mode, then allow HER to sniff, look or even walk away. Just click/treat as she's approaching the storm water drain and if she sniffs it again click/treat her. You could scatter treats NEAR it, not too close, but just enough to get her that bit closer. If she takes the treats, then rinse and repeat and DO NOT move closer until Kricket looks and acts confidently when taking the treats:) S L O W L Y is the operative word!

    I don't think I would be attempting leg weaves with Kricket at this stage. Work on something she LOVES, even if it's just something like 'sit', make her feel SO GOOD about sitting or whatever she loves to do, click/treat and praise her like crazy:)

    I wouldn't try to use her collar to get her to do leg weaves or anything for that matter, that's not cruel but it is rather trying to MAKE the dog do what it obviously doesn't want to do. Am CERTAIN you wouldn't do anything cruel so please don't think I'm saying you're cruel:) But one thing I learned is that dogs have to WANT to do something, you cannot make them do it if, like yourself, you're a kind, caring owner and not the Millan type!

    At present, I would go back to basics, nothing fancy. As I feel that something has scared her, especially if she was been doing well and this is something new.

    Maybe just play with Kricket, I did that with one dog I had who was terrified of absolutely everything. Forget 'formal' training for a while, as you need to regain Kricket's confidence.

    I am sure there are others on this forum who are much more experienced and will give you top advice.

    But one thing to remember is ALWAYS no matter WHAT has happened LEAVE THE TRAINING IN A HAPPY POSITIVE MINDSET. Never allow your Kricket to ever feel she's been 'naughty' and hasn't performed properly - no matter HOW frustrating it's been. We've all had times when our dogs refuse to do something which we KNOW they can do, or learn to do, so I fully understand how you feel:)
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  5. MaryK Honored Member

    Jazzy and Veronica EXCELLENT advice(y)(y)(y):D
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  6. KatieMarie Active Member

    We were working on two new tricks, which she normally handles perfectly fine. It was paws up (front two paws up on a trunk) and the leg weaves. She knows peek a boo, which is wear she comes from behind and puts her head/body between my legs and she is perfectly comfortable with it. I know she is incredibly smart..I don't know what's going on..I've noticed these issues more since we got the new puppy.
    Also, there hasn't been anything like the loud noises and such, but she has also started developing a fear of thunderstorms?
  7. KatieMarie Active Member

    My dog seems much likes yours, except for this behavior has just come one. I also am recognizing many of my feelings in yours. Thank you for the advice.
  8. Mutt Experienced Member

    So there is a visible reason why she does this (scary object/sound)?
    Or does she react on objects that she didn't react on in the past?
    Or does she just freeze without any reason?

    if it is the first/second thing maybe this can help:
    -"training" (simple stuff like sit/down/paw/heel) as near as you can get without here 'freaking out' (maybe you'll have to start 20 m away, maybe 5 m) and slowely reducing the distance.
    - linking the object to something positive (treat) (works usually well on vissible things/noises)

    when she freezes I think backing away/getting her attention (to distract her) is the best thing you can do, untill she is responsive.
    other than that I would stop training immediatly if you feel that you are getting frustrated/kricket is getting frustrated.

    about the legweave, some dogs aren't very confident standing between someones legs/going trough someones legs maybe this is the reason why she isn't very cooperative (because you said she is quite unconfident). I see she can already weave (picture in your signature) so maybe first learning her to stand between your legs? Or you could use a target stick?
    I wouldn't use physical manipulation as dogs tend to even be more sure not to do something.

    You can make her more confident with body awarness exercises, like:
    front paws on object, hind paws on object, pivotting on a object, balance exercises and such.

    Hope this can help you!
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  9. Mutt Experienced Member

    wooops now I see the comments of other, I should write quicker :ROFLMAO:
  10. KatieMarie Active Member

    Barking : she will bark sometimes at absolutely nothing, and sometimes at stuff, even when she knows the people well. She is outside when she barks and I always check to see what it could be over. I read somewhere that a barking dog means they are fearful and anxious...she has always barked but never shown any other signs of fear.

    Storm drains: I was thinking the same thing, I just need to find one that's convenient to work her by.

    Leg weaves : okay..I thought leg weaves would be fine but she's proven that she wants no part of it. When she is ready should I use a lure? Because free shaping is out of the question. She will sit in front of me all day long, even if I click for the smallest things.


    Also, Kricket is three and a half and I don't believe that she's been scared during training but I can't guarantee that...
    Thank you for the help!
  11. MaryK Honored Member

    Barking don't forget dogs' hearing is way above ours:) And yes, it can be a sign, when it's apparently at 'nothing', that the dog is fearful. And some dogs are just naturally noisier than others, like some people talk more and some are the 'silent' type.

    If the storm drains aren't a major issue, like she doesn't have to walk over them, then I wouldn't be worried. Of course, if she does have to walk over them, then as you say, find one which is suitable to work with Kricket.

    If and when Kricket is ready, she may never take to leg weaving, yes use the lure and click/treat. But some dogs just don't like being between/under our legs. So if that's the case just forget that one and find something she wants to do. I know someone who has two very well trained, not afraid of anything type dogs, but neither dog will do leg weaves. Those two dogs have a very impressive list of tricks too - leg weaves just doesn't happen to be one of them:)

    At three and a half, if she's just started being scared, then something has triggered her. If she's always been a nervous dog, then as Jazzy and Veronica say, just enjoy Kricket and be happy to have a loving dog:)
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  12. MaryK Honored Member

    The new puppy! You said she's only started this since the new youngster arrived right? She's having a wee 'sulk' especially if she was the only one before the new puppy:) She's not responding as she did in the past because she's a bit put out, not being nasty towards the new pup, but she IS trying to attract your attention and is trying anything to do so:) It's the 'look at me syndrome even if I have to be naughty I'm gonna get more attention than that puppy'. Like kids will start misbehaving when a new baby comes into the house:) Give her extra special attention and don't worry about what she doesn't want to do, just make her feel SO SPECIAL with the tricks she can do and play with her big time:)

    Thunderstorms. Have you had any really bad ones lately? Over here there is a CD which has a recording of a storm which you can use to de-sensitize your dog. You start using it on a very low volume and gradually increase the volume. I've never had to use it but am told it's very effective with animals who are afraid of storms.
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  13. KatieMarie Active Member

    I was wondering if the new pup could have something to do with it.. Thank you so much! I just went out and we worked on sit, stay, come, and down and she was 'smiling' the whole time and now she is making my feet fall asleep as I type this. I think we will start over slowly and incorporate daily walks into our schedule! Thank you!

    As for the storms, we had a pretty big one last night, so I let her go into the puppy's crate and snuggle up in his bed, which she was happy about. I will try that as well, thank you.
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  14. KatieMarie Active Member

    Kricket is already seemingly better and much happier now. We even got a photoshoot done before the rain!
    Thank you all!

    Attached Files:

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  15. Dogster Honored Member

    OMD such great advice!!!!:D(y) Shivon is afraid of things with wheels, so for tricks like skateboarding, shopping cart trick, and pull wagon, I have to work on them e x t r e m e l y S L O W L Y. I don't necessarily want to give up on the trick, unless she is too scared of the item.:)
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  16. Dogster Honored Member

    Awww!!! LOVE THE PIC!!!:love:
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  17. KatieMarie Active Member

    Thank you and Kricket pulls the wagon with me in it! lol.. and my guide pup in training LOVES things that move..he's so goofy.
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  18. MaryK Honored Member

    I am SOOOOOOO HAPPY:D that Kricket is responding and wearing her smiley face again:D Just keep it simple, as you did and for sure don't forget those walks, dogs LOVE walking with their owners and if she hasn't had those since the new pup arrived, that too would put her nose out of joint. She's 'forgiven' you, dogs forgive quickly, that so lovely she's sending your feet asleep while you type:D

    She's a real cutie pie:D Love the pic:D

    Great idea with the thunder storm to let her go curl up in the puppy crate, if she's happy that's fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, I am told the cd does work but again it's a slowly, slowly process:)
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  19. JazzyandVeronica Experienced Member

    Veronica started around 1 year of age. Before that she was a perfectly normal puppy.

    I can trace the triggering event to seeing fireworks; and I kind of wish I never exposed het to it...but then again, I really think it was going to come on eventually no matter what...because you cannot shield them from the world.

    The fireworks generalized to fear of loud noises (only certain loud noises, cars back firing type of noises) and thunderstorms, flashing overhead lights...then other odd things...that she is sometimes fearful of if she is in a fearful mood or phase and other times not bothered by if she is in a "bold" phase. She is a very weird dog. :rolleyes:

    I have read that noise phobias are almost always genetic as opposed to learned and they are one of the most difficult phobias to address in terms of desensitization.

    Once we were at a rally class outside and Veronica was freaked out by the clicker on my hand (because previously my pocketbook on that side of my arm had slid down while I was putting her leash on and sort of bonked her in her big, fat, solid undentable pit bull head), plus the sun was out and making weird shadows ...and long story short...Veronica was freaking and shying away from the left side of my body...and the instructor (who knew me reasonably well at that time, but didn't know V.'s fear issues as they were just coming out) actually asked me if someone were hitting her!!!:confused::eek:

    My first reaction was to be insulted:mad:; because in my mind you may as well accuse me of being a c hild molester...but I guess I get where she was coming from seeing the behavior from the outside. Point being, somewhere along the line you may need to develop a thick skin.

    Well that was sort of a digression; best of luck with your dog; one way or another it will work itself out and you will figure out how best to work with her.
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  20. KatieMarie Active Member

    Me too! I am going to "capture" the smile so I can put it on command. Also, the weather is terrible. Hot, humid and miserable so rather than long walks I might do an agility course in the backyard and some practice indoors. Then the walks will come back when the weather is nicer..hopefully soon! :confused:

    Thank you, she's a goofball. We had a pretty boring training session today, but oh well! She was awesome. I have come to realize that she does not like to bow on the grass, she would rather down. So I will just remember that, because honestly it's not that big of a deal..

    She is crate trained, but she loves to spread out, so she sleeps in the bathroom and the pup is in his crate. I hated to put her in the bathroom all alone so since Stoney's crate is in the living room I put her in there so she could see us. We had a storm this morning and I didn't have issues with her so hopefully that was a "phase". Maybe I will just take the divider out of the crate when expecting a storm and leave it open for her to go into..
    It is all my fault I think, as I wasn't super well educated when she was a young puppy so she wasn't well socialized to "scary" things when she was a puppy. don't get me wrong, she was socialized with people and animals but she hasn't been socialized the way that the guide pup is now. I will try to help her through my mistake as best as I can though..

    I know how that is..Kricket has ran head first into my legs, hands, etc. HARD many times, so she sometimes shies away if you move to fast. We are working on that though.

    Veronica is an absolutely beautiful dog by the way. :love:
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