Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Day 117

Today was something of a holding pattern day. We did work on random recalls and distance sits. Her response to the down command is starting to get sorted out and she is beginning to down at a short distance, at least some of the time. As for the retrieve, it is neither better or worse.

The one thing I have to keep on reminding myself of is that she is only six months old and she has quite a bit of material to sort, file and then access properly. It is only reasonable that she get the commands confused and as long as she is trying, I am willing to continue to help.

JerseyGirl is another one who is having a problem getting the commands sorted out. Today she was sure that no matter what I said, it meant she was to sit. When I called her, she sat. When I told her to sit, she sat. When I told her to down, she sat. Basically, she gave me a sit no matter what I was telling her to do. This did sort of help to remind me that both girls need time in a holding pattern every so often to give them a chance to figure out all the different requirements.

The new dog, one of the Rosie's, has had very little interaction with other dogs and so is just hanging back and watching. What was interesting is that she started copying whatever Sanity and JerseyGirl did. I said sit and I was getting three dogs sitting pretty much at once. Then, the next thing I knew, I was getting five dogs sitting on command and by the time I was ready to stop the training I had twelve dogs sitting when I said sit. This is really the reason why the dogs all learn so fast when they are here. Learning is a pack activity.

Know what I wish? I wish for some feed-back. At this point, I can't decide whether I am writing this for my own benefit or because there are a few others out there reading it or because I just like to see myself chatter into a black hole in space.


  1. Anonymous12:15 PM

    Well Margot, I have been reading you every day and am finding it very interesting. There is a trainer in Australia, a good one, and about the only one I know of who trains with an ecollar, who seems to have a very different aproach to yours. He writes on a dog forum here in Australia that I read. His background is in protection training and I seem to have noticed that trainers with this background seem to approach things very differently. This trainer for instance recommends little or no socialization with other dogs at all until about eighteen months. He says this works to neutralize the interest hence distraction of other dogs and keeps the dog's focus on the handler and thus builds greater reliability to command.

    It seems a strange approach to me, but I know he is a good trainer. Nonetheless the difference between your style of raising a pup and his is quite interesting.

    I think I prefer your method. Anyway, I am enjoying the read and even picking a few little things along the way. I wish I had a trainer over here I could train with your experience.

    Please keep writing...

    Paul McNamara
    Hobart, Tasmania

  2. Wish Granted!

    I read your blog everyday and am always quite disappointed when you haven't updated it!! It's been a great joy watching Sanity grow up & I think when you look back at this journal in a year or two, you'll be so glad you've chronicled everything.

    I have both Back to Work & Mud Heaven and have enjoyed them both. I'm pretty new to training (been at it about 3 years...working w/ my own dogs & dogs at our local shelter). I work with trainers in every range, from "traditional" to the "positive" and truly learn something from each of them.
    I will be getting a new Boxer puppy in a few weeks. This will be the first dog I get to work with from the beginning (both of my dogs were adopted as adults) & am really looking forward to the challenge.

    While I'm commenting, I do have a question. What age do you start "Sitting on the Dog"?

    Keep posting!!!

    Jen in Pittsburgh

  3. Anonymous3:58 PM

    You are my "home" page. This site is that enjoyable.Please keep writing. I have enjoyed every single day and am disappointed when I can't get in, or you are behind. I've also sent your blog to friends and family members who have Dobes, or other breeds, and are interesting in training. They love it as much as I do. Hopefully they will comment. Hey, everyone needs some positive reinforcement!!!

    Kathy, Dobe owner in St. Louis

  4. Anonymous4:31 PM

    Don't you dare stop now, this is an amazing feat. Few of us can keep up with doing anything everyday, you are very well trained :-)

    There is tremendous value in being able to look back at this to see how far you have both traveled and in such a short time.

    There are so many hidden treasures and it is meaningful to all, both those with very little dog training experience and those with a great deal of experience.

    Keep wrting, we promise to comment more often!

    Helen in Philadelphia

  5. My goodness, not often that a gal gets her wish granted so fast. Thank you for answering. I do feel better now.

    To Paul in Tasmania: I have known quite a few dogs raised from puppyhood the way you are describing. Personally, I have neither liked nor trusted any of them. They never seem truly able to make a correct decision all on their own. Poor things.

    To Jen in Pittsburgh: I start the "sit on the dog" exercise within 24 hours of the time a new pup hits my gate. Of course, I don't get my pups until they are around 12 weeks of age. However, I have taken client's pups as young as 9 weeks and started them by sitting on them. It does wonders for teaching patience at a very young age. That which is taught early stays with them for a lifetime. I'm truly flattered that you have both "Back to Work" and "Mud Heaven" and like them both. Now if I could only get folks to think of a copy of "Mud Heaven" as a gift for someone this holiday season. Oh, what a fine thing that would be.

    To Kathy in St. Louis: It is hard for me to believe that anyone would like what I am doing enough to make my blog their homepage. Thank you for the honor.

    To Helen in Philadelphia: The truly difficult part has been to translate my daily notes into something that someone else could read and make any sense out of. I have been keeping a training log on the dogs I have in training since dirt was an infant.

  6. I am having a wonderful time getting caught up (in February 2006). Hopefully I will be disciplined enough to keep a similar blog of my own when I take your online course.

  7. I hope you do as well. Keeping a journal or these days a blog is very helpful to your overall training growth and development.