Not Tough enough?

EDIT: I want to start this off by saying I completely admire my CFR. She really knows what she’s doing, and has a lot of good advice. So whatever my complaint, it’s not that anything is wrong with my CFR. I just don’t think I understand what to do.

Yesterday we had our all-club territory training day! It was great to meet Shelly and Loyola!! Loyola is definitely a sweetie, and very good!! I was handling Adam during the first session, and we didn’t really do any work, but our advisor used Vortex as the “this is the dog who needs lots of work, so we’ll demonstrate with him” dog. They had evals that morning, and our advisor had said that Vortex isn’t giving 100% because we’re praising him for just giving 80%. So apparently we need to be way tougher on him. I felt so bad for his raiser because it’s easy for raisers to judge someone’s dog handling skill when they’re in the middle of the room, and everyone is watching them mess up, and to think that you could do better than them.

During the 2nd session Vortex’ raisers went home and I had him for the rest of the session. Our advisor picked Vortex again and said that I was praising him for too little. For instance, when she came over and was really excitedly petting him, I praised him for sitting still, even though he was way more interested in her than me. This is the dog who, a month ago, would have been jumping all over anyone who came near him. So then someone else came and took him and walked him around the distractions on the floor, and corrected him really hard for everything. Like if the handler turned and Vortex didn’t go right with him, he corrected so hard. By the end of a few corrections Vortex’ ears were back and he was super super submissive. So any time our advisor came near him and got excited, Vortex would look up at the guy and be afraid he would get corrected again.

Maybe it’s just me, but I mentally have a hard time with correcting a dog into submission (a dog who is not at all dominant) so that he’ll pay attention to you. Does anyone else have a problem with that? And that was being held up as what “to do” with Tex. While I totally agree that we need to be tougher on him (we don’t expect enough because he used to be SO bad that now we’re just glad to get what we can) I don’t see exactly what our advisor considers as good enough to be praised. It’s not like I was giving him food when his eyes were fixed on her, I just told him “good boy” because he wasn’t jumping on her. So anyway that made me really frustrated. When I know what to do, I can do it and do it well. But right now, I don’t get what I’m supposed to expect from this dog who has a massive people distraction that he’s still working through. I couldn’t stay till the end to ask, so I e-mailed my advisor and asked her what I should require from him. Hopefully she’ll get back to me soon.

Does anyone have any advice? This dog, last quarter, was having food shoveled in his mouth for not jumping on people. Now, he’s on his training collar and being corrected for getting even a little excited. What more should I expect? Should I require that he doesn’t key in on people before I praise him? What do I do if he’s being good but not “good enough” to be praised? I’m not giving him food for anything but really good behavior around people, like when people are around but he focuses on me. But should I not even praise him unless he gives me 100%?

Argh I’m a little frustrated. As I’m sure you can tell 😀 I’ve been a bit harder on him today, and he’s improved a little bit already. I’m hoping to work on excitedness with one of his favorite people here, on campus, the way my advisor did at the training meeting. Maybe he’ll remember. lol.

Today Tex was having a “I don’t feel like having my picture taken” day, so I had to settle for mostly alert puppy pictures.

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I promise I didn't take this WHILE I was driving 🙂

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5 Responses

  1. Sorry you had a frustraiting day. I understand being frustrated with the rough handling of the dogs, sometimes. But honestly I am usually the person who is too tough on my dogs, and don’t praise enough. Hopefully Vortex improves, and that your advisor gives you some more specific instructions on what to do with him.

  2. I’m sorry Anna! Sending *hugs* your way! Rizzo sends doxie wiggles and Eva sends some golden kisses! I hope you get more specific instructions soon! Something I’ve learned from Joy (I knew before but didn’t *get* it if you will) is that with these dogs, we take baby steps. Ok, you’re improving, praise or treat a little, then once they *get it* give them the jackpot. I would exactly the same thing with “Tex” if I were you! Don’t feel bad, you are doing what you were told to do, as you were told to do it, and doing it marveously! He’s improved a ton, that speaks volumes!

    P.S. I voted people distraction on your poll

  3. Your polls are SO hard!!!!!!! I have no idea which I’d rather have. Ellie is so people distracted and majorly dog distracted. We’ve been working on it. But, man, I can see why you had a frustrating meeting. I’ve been praising her for her baby steps. Sounds like even with praising for “80%” he’s come a long long way in only a month. So, it’s gotta be working! Keep up the good work and don’t let it get you too down.

  4. Maybe your CFR doesn’t understand his past? I know a lot of CFRs have soo many dogs they’re looking at/working with that sometimes they forget a particular dog’s issues so expect more out of it, but yea, Definitely understand your frustration! You can almost always correct a dog/animal into submission and “acting” the way you wish it to, but it will not perform the way you would like if it doesn’t enjoy what you’re asking it to do. I learned that with the elephants, maybe you can correct an elephant when it doesn’t do what you’d like, however because that elephant can, and knows it can, simply step on you, you get much much further with positive reinforcement, praising baby steps and making slow progress vs. an immediate “act” if you will. Keep up the good work and I’m sorry your CFR called Tex out like that! So not nice! One of the things I hated about our local club… the leader liked to do that at meetings all the time *grin* Enjoy the boy

  5. Midnight was very people distracted, but could have cared less about other dogs (doggie daycares are awesome!)
    But Rei was severly dog distracted and it was so so sos ososos hard to break that. Midnight was just correct people as necessary.

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