Different type of training

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Dawnspell
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Dog #2: Jasper
is a: White Mini Dog
Born: 25 Apr 2019
Location: Guernsey

Different type of training

Post by Dawnspell »

This is a long one so get a cup of tea

A while ago I felt I'd hit a bit of a brick wall with training to improve Jaspers focus on me while out on walks, getting his attention away from other dogs, his barking at little people and recall training. I was in a rut of doing the same sort of stuff and didnt really know what to do next other than I needed some structure to follow.

I knew going to our local dog obedience classes wasn't the way. He just found them too overwhelming and I didnt enjoy the fact he wasnt enjoying the lessons. The classses are good its just they dont suit Jasper.

I started looking online for various courses a lot of which are very expensive I might add. Some had free downloads to get ideas of what they do, marketing I know to get your email, but I downloaded anyway.

I got a promo email offering a 70% discount off a course from one of the sites. A course that covered 25 days with video tutorial each day to help with dogs focus and impulse control, and Facebook group to share experiences as well as having occasional live videos with the trainers. Theres also some youtube videos for free. The trainers themselves, one is a vet and trained behaviourist the other does agility and won crufts 2020 with her spaniel, so a broad dog background. Sounded ok, the price was such that if it was rubbish I didnt feel I'd be totally ripped off so I signed up. Then found out there were an extra 5 days, so for £27 I got 30 days of training. Less than £1 a day for something different to do with Jasper.

Its all about playing games with your dog so you become more interesting than their surroundings and they focus on you as well as teaching impulse control so they are able to focus on you. Its called "no rules dog training" as theres no specific things such as downs, sits, etc you are guiding your dog by playing games for them to make the right choices.

Day 1 is called "Ditch the bowl". Basically you no longer put food down at a meal time for them to eat. Food becomes your currency by using it in the games or stuffing in kongs, hooves to promote calmness, scatter feeding on the ground for them to find it, licki mats, puzzle toys. Dogs are contra-freeloading animals which means they prefer to work to get their food than it being put in front of them for free. This hasnt been difficult as I'd already ditched the bowl for around 75% of Jaspers food anyway. Why ? because he likes puzzle toys etc Who knew I was doing something right =))

Its just over a month since I signed up so now have access to all the games. I have to say I havent been 100% committed apart from ditching the bowl. You are also supposed to "Ditch the routine" and not go for walks for a couple of weeks, especially if you have a very reactive dog, and concentrate on doing the games at home and in the garden. This would provide enough mental and physical stimulation for a dog I have no doubt, but I like my walks just as much as Jasper so we still do walks. I was very lapse for a week as I had sinus infection so bending up and down just wasnt happening. I've watched all the games but haven't done them all yet, and I'm finding out which are Jaspers favorites. A couple of games work better if the dog can catch food. Jasper couldnt he'd just let them fall on his head or hit him in the face =)) so I've had an extra game of teaching him how to catch. I've only been doing the games inside the house and a couple of games on the patio. Not tried them in the garden or out on walks, but I've noticed some changes.

1, He has become more engaged with his food. He will now accept his everyday food as reward in more situations even outside on the patio. Before he would rarely take even high value treats outside. Everyday food wouldnt get a sniff. Food means fun. This morning I'd put some food in his tornado puzzle feeder, easy food to get, but he chose to play plant pot prison with me right next to his tornado. You put a piece of food under a pot and keep showing it and covering it.They have to use impulse control and not move towards the food and are not allowed the food until you say get it. Didnt once go for the easy option of more food in the tornado.

2,When we go in back garden he has harness and long line on sometimes we go out to play fetch etc, or I'm working in garden or bit of both. As soon as my attention was off him or he heard a noise he would always head straight for the gap at the side of the house to go to the front where people pass with dogs and Teddy the neighbours dog is often roaming. So if I was gardening or about to stop playing I'd have to tie him up. I put a temporary barrier up so he cant get through but he would still go running to bark at something.

This past week he has stayed closer to me when I'm gardening and has only once gone to the barrier. I was also working on our boundary earth bank only a few feet high which he has jumped over before in to the field next door. I tied him up so he could mooch about, he put his paws up on the bank looking over but stayed on our side :-o

3, Loose lead walking has improved no idea why. None of the games have involved walking with him on a lead and because hes been in confined area I havent put him on a lead to play the games.

4,On a morning while I'm eating my breakfast he paces all over the house going to the door etc in anticipation of a walk. This past week hes paced a bit then come and laid on the floor next to me. He was getting up pacing but then coming back. I started rewarding the offered calm behaviour and now he is staying longer and not pacing as much. I havent once asked him to go into a down he just offered this behaviour on his own.

There is definately some rewiring of his brain going on and I havent noticed any negative effects either. I'm sure the majority of dogs would love this type of training, Jasper does hes getting attention and hes on the move not staying in one spot. Not sure about all owners, since it is a totally different approach to puppy class type training. It does involve being more engaged over the duration of a day compared to doing "formal" training but its easy fun stuff. On the facebook group it seems to work well for rescue dogs maybe because they find it less stressful and its more on their terms of how they want to engage with owners.

We will carry on and see what improvements happen :D
Our first family dog
Barney - Pocketpark Biali Eyebright 6/2/13 - 8/3/19 Gone too soon
Motto for owners who groom their own Schnauzers -"Never mind it'll soon grow back"

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zeta1454
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Re: Different type of training

Post by zeta1454 »

It sounds really good - do keep us updated on Jasper’s progress :)
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. ~Roger Caras

Magic - Silversocks Sharade at Darksprite
Trilby - Darksprite Rosa Bud


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Dawnspell
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Posts: 4286
Joined: 05 Mar 2013, 18:27
First Name: Alison
Dog #1: Barney RIP 8/3/19
is a: White Mini Dog
Born: 06 Feb 2013
Dog #2: Jasper
is a: White Mini Dog
Born: 25 Apr 2019
Location: Guernsey

Re: Different type of training

Post by Dawnspell »

The start of our walk didnt go well. A quick moving chatty delivery driver came into our drive as we were walking out. This caused Jasper to react and woof. On the walk he was then wound up, pulling, darting about, not listening. Its a beautiful morning here so when we got to the cliffs I decided to sit on a bench. I pulled out the flexi line to full length so Jasper could mooch around the bench and hopefully calm down a bit. I was hoping at some point I would be able to get his attention and he would come to me for a treat. Seems he had his own plan of action, he had a mooch then chose to do this :D
Image

He will sit or do a down if I ask when out, but this is the first time he has ever chosen to sit without being told when out on a walk :) A big win after the ciaos at the start of the walk
Our first family dog
Barney - Pocketpark Biali Eyebright 6/2/13 - 8/3/19 Gone too soon
Motto for owners who groom their own Schnauzers -"Never mind it'll soon grow back"

User avatar
Dawnspell
Moderator
Posts: 4286
Joined: 05 Mar 2013, 18:27
First Name: Alison
Dog #1: Barney RIP 8/3/19
is a: White Mini Dog
Born: 06 Feb 2013
Dog #2: Jasper
is a: White Mini Dog
Born: 25 Apr 2019
Location: Guernsey

Re: Different type of training

Post by Dawnspell »

We continue to have little wins. I'm now getting some eye contact while we're out on walks, this never happened. I'd asked him to wait while I "picked up" this morning and this is what he did the whole time with a loose lead, no starting to get bored and trying to go off sniffing.
Just look at that gorgeous mucky face waiting for me to say "lets go" :x =))
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Our first family dog
Barney - Pocketpark Biali Eyebright 6/2/13 - 8/3/19 Gone too soon
Motto for owners who groom their own Schnauzers -"Never mind it'll soon grow back"

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Schnauzerluv
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Re: Different type of training

Post by Schnauzerluv »

I love this! I do games with Ozzy all the time. So fun to think up new games to play! Keeping it fun is absolutely the best way for them to learn and they want to listen to you and see what they (you both) are doing next. It engages his mental energy and mental stimulation is just as effective and important as physical. A tired dog is a good dog, and the fun you both have strengthens your bond so he is more focused on YOU.

Rewarding offered good behaviors: Amazing. You are letting him know how you want him to behave by him just naturally doing so on his own accord.



I'm excited to read about some of the training games/drills and Jasper's progess with the new program 😊

User avatar
Dawnspell
Moderator
Posts: 4286
Joined: 05 Mar 2013, 18:27
First Name: Alison
Dog #1: Barney RIP 8/3/19
is a: White Mini Dog
Born: 06 Feb 2013
Dog #2: Jasper
is a: White Mini Dog
Born: 25 Apr 2019
Location: Guernsey

Re: Different type of training

Post by Dawnspell »

I've been getting 2 behaviours on cue for Jasper to do when we are out on walks and I want to get his focus on me. Quite often this would be a sit and watch me type behaviour but thats not really a fun activity for a dog, it certainly hasnt worked for Jasper. Sit generally means your not moving anywhere. So the idea is to teach something that is fun to the dog but the dog remains still and focused on you.

Both of these we've been doing at home, on the patio, in the garden and hes been doing really well. Today was the first time I've asked on a walk.

The first one is "middle". The dog comes round your leg and stands in the middle of your legs. We found a low distraction spot with nothing to sniff at, I'd offered Jasper some food before I tried to see if he was relaxed, he was so we stopped for a couple of minutes then I asked for middle.
Image
I was so pleased he did it first time. I think this is going to be invaluable for Jasper. It restricts his view to either side and behind as well as getting his focus looking up at me and not ahead and he finds it fun to do. This can also be used in combination with dropping food treats from above for them to catch. One of the reasons I had to teach him to catch :)) Which again keeps the focus looking up. I'm thinking of using this as his recall cue rather than "come" in the future.

The second one is paws up. He didnt do this on the first rock we tried so moved on and tried later.
Image
This one needs more work in the garden before we do it on a walk again. He did paws up which was good but his focus was wondering :D
Our first family dog
Barney - Pocketpark Biali Eyebright 6/2/13 - 8/3/19 Gone too soon
Motto for owners who groom their own Schnauzers -"Never mind it'll soon grow back"

User avatar
Dawnspell
Moderator
Posts: 4286
Joined: 05 Mar 2013, 18:27
First Name: Alison
Dog #1: Barney RIP 8/3/19
is a: White Mini Dog
Born: 06 Feb 2013
Dog #2: Jasper
is a: White Mini Dog
Born: 25 Apr 2019
Location: Guernsey

Re: Different type of training

Post by Dawnspell »

We've had what I describe as Huge win :D

Before I started with the games based training I would take Jasper to the beach and he would be on a very long, long line so he could mooch about and play with other dogs. At the end of playing with a dog when I was ready to move on, one or more of 3 things would happen.
1, He would lunge and try to chase and continue the play.
2, I would have to wait for him to calm down and disengage from other dog before he would come in my direction.
3, I would have to get hold of his harness to walk him away if I thought he was going over the top.
Even a full roast chicken in front of his nose wouldn't get his attention away =))

Yesterday we went to the beach he was on long line. We met 4 separate owners with dogs. He enjoyed a play with all of them. 3 of them when it came time to move on I said "let's go" He turned straight to me and came trotting along :-o I couldn't believe it. One of the owners had 3 dogs.

The 4th he got a bit stuck when I called let's go. The other dog had moved away a bit but was still mooching about. Jasper just stood there lead was loose (still a win with him not lunging) but I think with the excitement of previous play he was having trouble focusing and knowing what to do, and trying to read if the other dog was coming back or not. I walked in the opposite direction after giving him chance to move then called "this way" this for him means stop what you are doing and head towards Mum. That was enough to unstick him and he came racing towards me :D

This past few weeks I've also been working on creating calm, a calm dog makes better decisions than an excited dog. He is definitely making better decisions.
Our first family dog
Barney - Pocketpark Biali Eyebright 6/2/13 - 8/3/19 Gone too soon
Motto for owners who groom their own Schnauzers -"Never mind it'll soon grow back"

User avatar
zeta1454
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Posts: 4572
Joined: 19 May 2011, 16:58
First Name: Leigh
Dog #1: Magic
is a: P/S Mini Bitch
Born: 20 Apr 2010
Dog #2: Trilby
is a: P/S Mini Bitch
Born: 15 Mar 2012
Dog #3: Pip
Born: 21 Feb 2014
is a: P/S Mini Bitch
Location: North Yorkshire
Contact:

Re: Different type of training

Post by zeta1454 »

That is brilliant - well done you..and Jasper :-bd
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. ~Roger Caras

Magic - Silversocks Sharade at Darksprite
Trilby - Darksprite Rosa Bud


https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/C ... 916994967/

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