Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Training...

So yesterday I was explaining why mom uses clicker training for me and my siblings. This is the continuation of that post...

I had left off with mom using a hands-off approach with my training. She also didn't use a leash. There was no way for her to give me a physical correction, even accidentally. Everything was done with a clicker, treats (I love to eat) and body language.

Side note-Dogs are very good at reading body language...ever come home to find a mess on your floor? What did your dog do? Look guilty and slink away? Most people exclaim, "SEE! He knows he did wrong!" What really is happening is that your dog is reading your body language and knows that instead of coming in and greeting him as normal, you are tense and annoyed. He doesn't know why, but the appeasement behaviors come out in full force. Tail tucked, eyes averted, head turned, maybe some lip-licking, belly crawling, etc. A dog that is very, very sorry for what has happened. But did you realize that the dog usually has no idea why you're upset? {Punishment is a tricky thing, unless you are timing it correctly, it can make things worse.} The dog is just offering his best "I'm sorry" behaviors because you're angry and tense...but the trouble is...he still has no idea. The next time you leave the house, and he has to go "potty", he'll do it again on the rug. And offer the same appeasement behaviors as before. Did he learn anything? Sure he did..."be worried when mom/dad comes home...they're unpredictable and may yell for some reason". You're better off preventing that problem from happening again...crate the dog. Not convinced...try an experiment. Next time something happens like a mess on the floor, stay cheerful. Relax your facial muscles, keep your shoulders loose, and smile at the mess and say something silly to yourself. Betcha that the dog will stop with the "guilty" behaviors. ;)

Back to my original post...mom was working me with the clicker and getting me to move around the house with her body language. Body blocking me (stepping in front if I started to rush the door-another bad habit I had), and stepping into my space if I got too close to something she didn't want me to have.

The thing was...it was so much fun! I didn't realize that we were "Training". It just became part of my everyday life. I stopped being so "touchy" and learned to trust my mom and other humans. The snapping stopped because I craved the treat so much. Mom says she has a hard time remembering what I used to be like...I'm completely different she says. Part of this change is having a job too. (I have lots of jobs actually) It makes me happy and content. I highly encourage all dogs to get off the couch and get a job! (unless your job *is* sitting on the couch!)

~SDS

1 comment:

Denise Portis said...

Hey Sawyer! (This is Chloe in case you didn't recognize my bark... if you could see me my whole body is wiggling as per norm).

You have a great blog! Quite the writer! I've missed seeing you as I have only been able to go to trainings with Denise on Saturdays.

Hugs, and sloppy kisses,
Chloe
Fidos For Freedom
Hearing dog
(partnered w/ Denise)