Dog Behaviour Advice - Dog Advice Articles
Dog jumping up a continuation, and a typical case for yours truly, the next steps in tracking (Line working)
Nothing much to report this week other than the Master Plus collar has created considerable interest here so I have brought all of them over as there are a few dog problems that are suitable for this system as it is a quick, painless and long lasting cure. There are a number of criticisms that the expensive battery only has a short life. Look at it another way is if you have a problem that the collar is ideally suited to solving then it is exceptional value for what it does achieve. It is not often you have to use it providing you apply reinforcement training. This reminds the dog of the distraction the collar creates without the need to continue to use it. This way the dog does not become immune to the initial and very efficient startle effect.
I have also brought over my Aboistop, which is similar and activated by the sound of the dog barking. There is also a version of this using a hidden cable creating an invisible fence to keep your dogs inside your perimeters.
I have a number of cases of hand nibbling or mouthing for puppies and one in particular that has now become out of control so much so that the children will not stay in and look after the dog. I will write more about this next week.
Dog jumping up, a continuation.
You may recall a case of a beagle-sized dog that kept jumping up on people. I had shown them how to ignore this and if necessary stand up and walk away without looking at the dog so reinforcing to the dog that it had not got your friendly attention and jumping up was unacceptable. The other week I went to see the owners to sign his Income tax return. I could see there was no improvement in the dog and it was still having sexual relations with the cushion. I again paid no attention to the dog so it left me alone. As soon as I said come the dog was all over my like a long lost friend. I stood up, walked away, and came back to my chair and the dog again left me alone.
A good demonstration but that is only because I am only there for a short while and owners are there all the time. The husband tried to do the same and sure enough, the dog went off into the kitchen.
Whilst I was listening to his wife telling me all about horse whispering the dog came back in and sat in front of the husband. He was sat back in his chair looked straight down at the dog and said “Now then what you wanting?” The dog jumped onto his lap and was immediately scolded and pushed down to the floor. The confusion for the dog was there to see. Even the wife reacted and said how is he to ever understand. “Yes, we do like him to jump up sometimes and he pushed him off because of you are here.” If they had only said this before then, they could resolve this quite simply.
This is much like unwanted barking and the use of good communications. If this is the case but you don’t want the dog to jump up on other people then you must teach what UP, OFF or GET OFF means but be careful of using Down or Get Down if you use these for something else. Pointing at the floor is a good hand signal and is a redirection command that a dog can understand.
How about when you say to your dog “Get to the kitchen you bad dog”. Your dog may recognise GET or KITCHEN but will probably be responding to your outstretched arm pointing the direction. How many times do you use your arm for pointing to outside or to the dog’s bed or anywhere else irrespective of the words you use and your dog obeys?
If you wish to have a dog on your lap then teach the command of UP and pat your lap. Even cats react to that. Then when you wish to get up and without anger, you help the dog off with the command OFF so your dog does now know when you want your dog on your lap and when you want it to get off. Do not forget you are training so give loads of praise and titbits to reinforce good behaviour. When people come and the dogs sits at the persons feet you just tell them to say OFF and the dog will then stay on the floor and except a greeting without interpreting all greetings to mean it can jump up on them.
My e-mail is full of smallish problems at the moment and a few I can solve in the next item of a typical case for yours truly.
A typical case for your truly.
I must confess to feeling envious of Roger Mugford’s establishment and I look in the mirror to see the sort of cases I receive. The latest one in question was not a referral but a simple case that is a common complaint.
Six weeks ago I had a phone call from a dog owner saying he understood from a friend in Spain I lent out my gas collars. He had a large dog that barked at anyone who came anywhere near the houses and worse still if they knocked on the door. The neighbours were complaining.
I explained my fees and that I use the collars as part of my retraining programme and yes, some clients did retain them to follow my programme of retraining if it would require additional use. I have to live you know. He apologised and the call ended.
Just over two weeks ago, I received a further call and the owner told me he had now received an environmental order legally requiring him to do something about his dog’s noise. He said that he rarely went out and was on permanent sick leave and the dog was his only companion so could we do a deal over the fees. Not wishing to see the dog evicted, I agreed and agreed a time for me to call.
That evening I arrived at the house and sure enough, the dog started to bark followed by human barking. As I spoke English the jest of this was based on variations of request for being quiet and comments about the doubts regarding the legality of the dogs parentage. Knocking on the door the noise increased but on levels of decibels, I feel the human was winning and possibly, it was the owner in need of an environment order.
The door opened and a huge man and a huge dog for its type of breed faced me. A few more choice words and the dog went quiet returning to the corner to sit in its bed. The owner made some space for me on the settee and I heard all about the problem. I asked if he had ever trained the dog at all and ever taught it to Speak and Cease on command. The answer was no and that the dog did not need a command to speak that is why I was there.
I explained that to teach a dog to be quiet you first had to teach the command otherwise the dog just thought both of them were barking at the door. This obviously did not impress him as he queried spending good money to teach his dog to bark when it had a natural aptitude to do this.
Yes, I could have used the Master Plus but I do try to keep to easy and proven training methods and for this I felt Speak on command is more effective. I explained I did not feel it was necessary for the dog to cease barking all together. Had he gone out to work each day then the Aboistop could prove more useful.
I do not mind a dog barking so long as it is controlled and not endless. I think most neighbours like a dog to bark occasionally as long as not incessantly and will even look out to check. Dogs that bark all the time are like burglar alarms that go off all the time when one day there really could be an intruder.
I took out my liver treats and asked the dog’s name. “He only comes for me”. I do love it to see bribery working. The dog came to sit in front of me and loved the treats. I stood to attention and like a wolf about to howl I jerked my head up and down saying repeatedly “Speak” after a while the dog barked and I stood at ease and said “Finish” and praised the dog with loads of treats. The dog liked this game and was soon speaking and finishing superbly for me. I then asked the owner to do the same as me and after a short while the dog was working well.
I suggested he continue with the practice and gave him a packet of liver treats, I would go to the local pub to read my email, and I would return in an hour to see how he had progressed. About an hour later, I returned and as usual, the barking started followed by a loud “SHUDUP” and then as if Oooops there came “Finish” followed by silence. As I knocked on the door, the dog tried for one more bark but heard another “finish” and peace did reign. The dog was certainly glad to see me or at least my pocket for any more treats. The owner was now happy to pay my fee and I left thinking a job well done.
I phoned yesterday just to see if all was well and if he was able to buy more of the treats. “I have something better than that”. What could be better that liver and heart treats? “Me and my mates go to the pub each night and we all practice with my dog your Speak on command and we leave a some beer in the glass as a treat and it works every time”. I had the feeling of being taken in but at least the dog now had popularity with the owner and his mates but I am a little worried that it may end up and alcoholic.
The next steps in Tracking (Line working)
In tracking you need a comfortable body harness for your dog and 30 feet of rope. I prefer shock cord but you can now purchase leather tracking lines that do not kink or snag. This helpful so you do not become tangled up with the dog and so breaking its concentration. Rope can also pick up thorns so I always wear a glove for this and to reduce rope burn.
When your dog is tracking, it is working at a certain sniff rate. This is the number of times the dog reads the scent to analysis it. This is not the same as the number of times your dog takes a breath. By learning to read your dog, you must learn to know where the corner is to when the dog lifts its head and you know by the change in the pressure of its pull that it has lost the track. Some dogs also drop their tail to show the same uncertainty.
I try to work at about 15 feet down the line and for my dog with his speed of tracking would mean when he indicated he had lost the track I would be stood on the corner. I could also look to see if I could see anything that may help but should really pay attention to my dog. The dog would then go left or right until it meets up with the new direction of the next leg of the track.
It could be that the dog makes a few complete circles around you before deciding where the next leg goes and pulls into the harness and sets off again. It is here that you can use the remaining length of line to allow the dog enough space to find the next part of the track. If you are uncertain you, can stand still and let the rope slide through your hands and watch your dog before you commit yourself to follow. It is a fantastic feeling when your dog powers into the harness and pulls you along as if to say “Come on dad it’s this way”
Both you and your dogs feelings are communicated up and down the rope so you know how your dog is working and your dog knows if you are confident in its working. If you do not move and hold the rope you may encourage your dog not to go down a particularly leg of the track because you think your dog is wrong even though it may be right.
When you are training, it is important that you do not tell your dog what to do unless you are absolute confidant it needs some reassurance. To do this is to teach your dog that you know something that your dog does not and it will learn to become reliant on your directions. You have to become reliant on your dogs ability. This is why I like to use shock cord so if the dog does pull hard the line does not jerk telling the dog you are not confident and so the dog circles and checks again.
To some degree, you are simply ballast to stop your dog going too fast round a track and possibly missing legs out and missing articles. By keeping your dog steady and within its working method you are working as a team to find and keep both of you on the track. You can see what I mean by letting your dog complete a free track that is without you following holding the line. You will see how your dog tries to cheat and get to the end as fast as possible. The advantage is you have no control but you can learn more about how your dog tracks if you know exactly where the track actually goes. Only do this a couple of times just to see and learn other wise you teach your dog bad habits.
Next week I will look at tracking from the Judges and Track Layers point of view.
Finger nibbling and play biting,
Tracking from the Judges and track layers view,
Spanish working trials information
If you have any questions or queries, please contact me. My ID on Yahoo messenger is alannewmanmoore. If you cannot obtain any special doggy items please look at www.companyofanimals.co.uk and I can bring them over for you.