September training and behavior goals

More for my own sake, I’m going to start a short, monthly series here to record my training and behavior goals for Pyrrha. At the end of the month, I’ll make a brief progress report. This is more for keeping myself in line than for anything else, because if you write it on the Internet, then you have a faceless mob to keep you accountable. Right?

Get it, P. #kisses #loveandfear
Kissing Dad!

I don’t consider myself nearly as hardcore as the majority of you, so we’re going to keep our goals simple for now.

September Training and Behavior Goals for Pyrrha

  1. Take a reactivity class at Canine Campus.
  2. Practice behavior modification techniques to reduce on-leash reactivity toward other dogs. Crossing the street, treating for just looking at dogs, and ME taking deep breaths and loosening my body language and grip.
  3. Practice off-leash recall in the front yard. (More on this soon.)
  4. Improve and sharpen the command “Stay.” Get more consistent on this. (Sometimes I use the word “wait,” which is clearly not helpful to anyone.)
  5. Keep practicing calm exits from the crate. Particularly as we are with Draco now, work to mitigate her behavior so that she doesn’t grumble at him when she moves from the crate to the door. She has a habit of basically messing with him when she exits the crate to go to the backyard: growling, jumping in his face. I don’t think it’s aggressive, because she did this with Rainer, too, and he never responded in kind; it’s more an expression of nervous energy or maybe even jealousy? I don’t know. Whatever it is, I need to start training some impulse control and get her to cut it out.
  6. Improve her relationship with Guion. Get advice from Deven (our trainer) about how to accomplish this? I am kind of at a loss. He feeds her, he slips her bacon, he tries not to engage with her at all unless she initiates it… but she is still very fearful of him. After a year. Sigh. It’s kind of disheartening sometimes.

What are some of your goals for your dog this month? And if you have any training tips for me, feel free to dish ’em out!

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7 thoughts on “September training and behavior goals

  1. Hey Abby,
    I’m taking a great class on recalls, so if you want some fun recall-related games to play let me know and I’d be happy to share (we’re doing some really cool work with building distractions!).

    Also, in terms of “stay” and “wait” it’s fully possible to train both and use them differently. What many sports trainers do is train “stay” as a “you will wait there for a long time or until I come back to you” and train “wait” as “pause for a second and wait for what I’m going to tell you to do next.”

    In that context, stay means the dog can relax and/or go to sleep; wait means they should stay attentive and poised for the next thing to do.

    I’m working on those atm with my Shep. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Melissa! Appreciate the comment and feedback. That distinction between stay and wait makes sense to me… now I just need to help it make sense to Pyrrha! :-p

  2. Coincidentally, Smart Dog U wrote about stay vs. wait yesterday: http://smartdog.typepad.com/smart_dog/2013/09/whats-the-difference-between-wait-and-stay.html

    My September goals… Lucas is cat and crate training. We’re always working on reactivity with him, so I don’t consider that a goal anymore. Cooper is learning impulse control (sighhh) and a new super fun trick! With Emmett, I feel bad, but I don’t really work with him anymore. He doesn’t have any behavior problems (I can’t take credit for that… it’s just his personality), but I could work on tricks and stuff. Since he’s so good, I accidentally neglect him, if that makes sense!

    1. Awesome, thanks for sharing the link. Great goals, too! As for Emmett, makes a lot of sense. Wish I had a dog who was so good I could neglect him accidentally! :-p Ha!

  3. Hi Abby-

    Thanks for your sweet comment on the ‘dogs at large’ post I shared. It was a scary experience, but truthfully left me more prepared for next time (I probably wouldn’t be saying that had it not all turned out ok!).

    I thought I was subscribed, but now realized I’ve missed several posts so I’m going to have to do a little back reading…wanted to mention I understand your frustration on P not engaging with Guion- some dogs are just very difficult and just know you’re not alone!

    I wrote a post a few years back on improving the confidence of a nervous dog, and I think some of these tips might work in your case, or at least are worth talking to the trainer about? ? http://www.shespeaksbark.com/2009/11/confidence-issues-give-it-boost.html

    A few other suggestions…You said that he feeds her sometimes, but maybe try him feeding her always. That’s a very strong bond enforcer for dogs.

    Have you heard of ‘nothing in life is free’? If Guion used this method and became P’s access to all things good she’d perhaps begin to look at him like a human vending machine of her favorite treats and get over it- worth a shot!? If nothing else, it would free you up to work with the foster dog more lol.

  4. So sorry to hear about number 6… how frustrating and disheartening that must be for all of you. I don’t have any advice other than what you are already doing, so I can only hope that your trainer will have lots of ideas to share. Has he ever tried to do any activities with her (such as nosework classes, agility, etc)… something that would increase their bond and her trust in him? Just an idea. Either way, I think you are doing phenomenal things for her! Looking forward to learning along the way with you.

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