Tags: dog training


Night time walk

We bounded out of the apartment tonight. Me with happiness over going for a walk with my dog; Dahlia with a big grin at the sight and smell of more snow. We rushed down the steps as we often do. You see, walks are fun. Dahlia gets to race through the snow, stopping to sniff when she wants to and then rushing to catch up to me or racing ahead to find the next bit of interesting snow to stick her snout in.

And me? I get to laugh with pure joy at watching her. She makes me happy. Walks with her make me happy.

When we got down off the porch I saw my next door neighbor coming up the sidewalk with her German Shepherd, Krieger. "Stop," I said to Dahlia. She froze in place. Even her big doggy grin froze in place. I came up next to her and asked her to wait. We waited.

My next door neighbor has her dog on a choke chain or a prong collar. I can't recall which, but it ultimately doesn't matter. They serve the same purpose. Krieger stepped slightly away from her and toward us. She jerked him with the leash. Not instantly. But a few seconds after he moved.

He whined.

She jerked him again and turned to walk in the opposite direction, again jerking him when he didn't follow her.

Dahlia and I stood frozen to the spot for a moment and watched them walk off. Each time he moved away from her, she jerked him with it. And he whined. We would hear his whine from several houses down.

Finally, when they were far enough away, I released Dahlia. She immediately headed in the direction Krieger had gone.

I didn't want to go in that direction. I called to her. "Dahlia, wrong way!"

She turned on a dime and rushed back to me and then past me, sticking her face into the snow as she went.

And then we started the race down the path. Dahlia pausing to sniff, me calling excitedly to her and watching her race with joy to me.

The grin had returned.

As had mine.

Walks are a joyous time for Dahlia and I. We race along snow covered sidewalks. We trudge through snow-choked fields 2 or more feet deep. I let her off leash in the park to play the "wait/come" game and to play fetch with a snow-covered tennis ball. We jump and play. We meet other dogs and she plays.

I walk along with a smile on my face that matches Dahlia's. Walks are her time, but they're also for me. It's my time to watch my dog be a dog, my time to watch her enjoy herself.

Krieger doesn't have that joy. He moves with much anxiety, his back legs bunched up awkwardly as he moves down the sidewalk. My neighbor once told me that she's working "very hard" on his training. She walks with a scowl on her face and is continually fighting her dog. It's a war of wills. She's been told she has to be alpha. She believes it. And so it's a constant fight between her and her dog. She MUST win, you see. Or else he will control all.

I believe Dahlia and I are companions, that I take care of her, that we are partners in our joyous walks together. Training is fun. It should be fun. When it becomes not fun it's over.

We returned to the apartment the same way we left it, with smiles on our faces. Dahlia raced up the porch and into the house. I followed slightly behind, shutting the doors and turning off the lights.

My neighbor is still out with her dog, still struggling with him somewhere on her walk. It's not his. Never his.

Dahlia and I are happy and content inside after our lovely, companionable walk.

I like it that way.

Just how sensitive IS my dog?

REALLY sensitive. That's how much. She can't even handle a prong collar being used on another dog. Seriously. Tonight we ran into my next door neighbor whose new trainer has her buying into the "My dog is a dominan, alpha male type because he's a German shepherd and therefore I must train with a firm hand" nonsense. I'm not going to argue with her. I tried turning her onto positive training and she tried it at first, I think with a trainer she didn't like much and so now has this new one. Ugh.

Anyway. New trainer has her using a prong on the dog (well, he/she had her using a choke chain but luckily I got her to switch to using a prong, which, while awful, is less dangerous and has less potential for physical damage than a choke chain). So she wanted Krieger to sit before we approached. Fine. I wanted Dahlia calm and so had her remain at my side calmly. Had to break her out of her freeze/stalk mode once which she seems to want to get into more often these days.

So they're close to meeting when Krieger breaks his stay to come forward. She jerks the prong and tells him to sit.

Dahlia JUMPS BACK and starts yawning and licking her lips and then wants nothing to do with Krieger. She won't go near him and Sharon and walked a foot away and turned her back to us.


And because it's too cute, here's Dahlia before our walk tonight.


A couple updates

1. Regarding the last entry. Fred from Shit Means Shit never bothered to comment back to me. Am I surprised? Not really. The last time he tried to get a dig in about that very same video, he never responded either. I guess trying to insult someone for their untrained dog (who, in a video, is playing, not working on training) doesn't work so well when that person turns around and tells you their dog has her CGC.

2. Related to that. David went and commented back to his original comment, which was something like "What is this video supposed to show? That your dog runs away from you and won't come to you?" David knows how to cut them to the quick.

Fred--I'm the guy in that video. You apparently really need to get a life. Someone puts up a video to show friends their new rescue dog playing and you come by to criticize? What a loser. You sound like a little man with power issues. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Some of you might remember the RV (Harvey) business from way back and David's rather cold, biting e-mails. Yeah. He's good at that shit. Fred removed his original comment. LOL I love David. He's awesome.

3. Dahlia's trick training is going REALLY well. She now knows "sit pretty" 100%. She even knows to try to stay with her paws off the ground until I give her the treat, though she sometimes loses her balance. Little by little she's extending the time she can sit up. I hope to get a picture sometime in the next couple weeks. We're going to take her out to the park on a nice day and do it then. So now the next goal? Crawling (though I've been calling it "sneak"). She's taking a little longer to get this, but she's starting to crawl forward to get the treats. It'll take some time to work her up to doing it 10 or 15 feet. I need to get more training treats though! I'm plum out of the things!

Book #16

Cesar's Way: the Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems by Cesar Millan

I need to start with a bit of a disclaimer about this one. I read this book as a sort of "know thine enemies" thing. I have seen enough of Cesar's show and read enough about his techniques to know I don't agree with him and I find his ideas about dogs sometimes old and out of date, sometimes simply wrong, and sometimes dangerously wrong. But I opted to read the book to give myself a more complete picture of his techniques and so that I'm more informed when it comes to refuting those techniques I disagree with. I did, however, approach it with an open mind and made sure to take notes on the things I agreed with, as well as those things I didn't agree with.

So all that being said, here are my thoughts on the book.

Collapse )

Too long? Didn't read? Here's the summary.

The good: Recommendations of exercise, give your dogs boundaries and rules, realize your dog lives in the moment, consider your lifestyle and get a dog that matches it, anti-dog fighting and anti-breed specific legislation.

The bad: Based on dubunked dominance theories that were based on a flawed study on captive wolves, recommends walks that do not include enough sniffing and mental exercise for the dog, believes exercise is much more important than affection or discipline (whereas most believe they're all important), believes you have to give exercise, discipline, and affection only in that order.

The ugly: Recommends some horrible techniques like alpha rolls (shoving an aggressive dog down and onto its side), flooding (flooding a fearful dog with the object of their fear), and using treadmills with the dog tied to them and unobserved (could hurt or even kill your dog), does not understand canine body language and often misinterprets clear signals the dog is giving off.

The weird: Too much New Age mumbo jumbo for me, talks mostly about your energy. I kept thinking he was going to bring up crystals and auras next.

The contradictions: Cesar contradicted himself so many times it was hard to take what he said seriously.

Total pages in this book: 320
Total pages read so far: 3953