Sunday, 27 December 2009

Sit and wait to hunt

We've made quite a jump ahead with our retrieve training in the field. I've managed to get him to the level of having him sit, tell him to wait, I walk off 20 paces, clearly show him I'm throwing the sock down, walk another 10 paces to the side and send him in to find it and bring it to me. I've also done a variation of this with throwing food down for him and sending him in so that when he finds it, he can eat it. The great thing is that he has accomplished this in his most exciting place in the whole world on the top field at Botany with other dogs in the vicinity.

I started off training this at home in the kitchen ages ago with the sit and release training for food. Then I added in the wait. I know I could have probably not added in the wait and just work on sit until I release you, but he really understands wait now. I use it for lots of stuff and he gets it, so it's good to use I think.

I'm now working up to me going out of sight outdoors but first I'm going to stick to getting him steady with distractions at this level.

And perhaps I should make reference to the comments on the Cesar Millan post. None of my training with Grey has been overtly aversive. He's learning to sit and control himself in little stages with rewards not because he's scared of the consequences of breaking it, or scared to make a mistake. I'm not setting him up for failure so I can teach him a lesson. Grey's a dog that if you bully him he can raise the stakes a little higher. Everything I try to do with him that works is to work in tiny increments. His reactivity to traffic has much improved by clicker training him around the things that scare him from a distance he's comfortable with. Push him too far, go too fast and it all goes pear shaped. Then the next time we come across the big scary truck, he gets ready. Put a slip collar high on his neck and you would literally have to half strangle him to get him to walk on the lead. Jab him in the thigh or side and he would probably turn and mouth me hard. It certainly wouldn't calm him down.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Really nice morning out

Had a great trip to a different park today. I dropped off the car at the mechanics for fixing and walked up to the park. I had the head collar on because of the ice and we had a 5 minute walk. Did a lovely series of recalls, this ways, blind retrieves and a couple of memory retrieves. He even didn't run in to another dog he spotted in the park on a flexi. He stayed to hunt for the titbits I was hiding for him. A nice walk along the seafront and through some fairly heavy traffic. All in all nice and relaxing.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Petition against aversive dog training and Cesar Millan

People into Cesar Millan are often evangelical. "It works!", "He's right!"
Well, capital punishment has an effect but it is right? And is it the best, most humane and the most effective way?

Here's a campaign set up by many animal welfare organisations coming together to speak out against this fashion for a return to out-moded animal training practises.

Check out also their page debunking dominance theory. Pack theory really is tedious in the regularity that it crops up. People just feel comfortable with it I guess. I don't.