Saturday, March 18, 2006

Day 240

We did the Saturday hustle again today. After last Saturday being so nice it was a bummer to have go work inside again. The first lesson was a week three which meant we would be teaching place, stand and exercise finished and as time allowed checking up on the random sit, heel and come commands.

I try as much as possible to show each exercise in a practical way. So the lesson started off by my using the place command to send Sanity down the basement stairs. Once she reached the bottom I gave her a sit command. I then went half way down the stairs and gave her a "go to bed" command to send her into the training studio. This was the very first time I had put all the commands together in that sequence. She handled all the commands without so much as a tiny wobble or hesitation. Turned out I couldn't have picked a better demonstration of practical use. In this case, the student dog has been a problem where stairs are concerned for a very long time. Funny how that works out.

Sanity went on to demo introducing the place command and then introducing the "exercise finished" command and finally the stand command. Rather nasty dog who choose to really show her colors when it came time for the stand. She was ready and willing to attempt to take a face off or remove a hand rather than allow herself to be gently lifted into a stand. HA! No was will that stop me. I just showed her owner how to make a sling out of the leash and via sling, chain collar and ecollar she, by golly, did learn that she would have to stand. Seems this touchiness is a new behavior and the owners have agreed a vet visit is in order.

Next came the retrieve class and not much happened there since not a single person/dog passed the test that would allow them to move to the next level.

After the retrieve class came the Doga class. Sanity started out thinking it was silly and she was acting pretty, well...squirrely. Then we did that chant stuff and don't you know, she and Chance the other Doberman in the class both joined in. After that she was very calm and definitely totally tuned in to what we were doing. I am going to try and get some pictures next week.

Are next class was a watered down version of the normal week three class. These owners were adamant that they really didn't want to use one of those nasty "shock" collars but they couldn't get the dog to come when called or sit when told and so they were unable to walk her on the trails without a leash. They actually trained somewhere else. When I asked them why they didn't have the instructor were they normally train teach them you are not going to believe what I was told. Then again, maybe you will. Seems this other place uses all positive, food and a clicker to get the dogs to do stuff. According to the instructor off leash reliability is not possible.

What I don't get is how someone can be faithful to that sort of thinking and yet come to someone like me to learn how to do the barest necessary to use an ecollar. It totally boggles my mind. Anyway, Sanity and I taught the place command again and then worked on the remote sit and finally moved outside to work on long, random recalls. What I now know is that I am going to have to get outside and really work Sanity hard on the place command. As good as she is in the house, she is equally bad outside. I was hard put to get her to go 15 feet when I actually needed her to go at least 50 feet. Bad business that part. Sadly, I know the dog and owner will most likely not be back. After all, they got what they wanted. Their dog now comes off leash and sits off leash and if they actually do the homework will move away from them when told. So how come I feel so glum about it? BAH!

Not to leave Tyler out. Then again maybe I should leave him out(side). He is really stuck on this stair hang-up of his. I'll bet I had to work with him on it at least 5 or 6 times and yet, when it came time to come in for the last time of the night. I'm calling them in through the office door and where is Tyler? On the back porch insisting he can't possibly go down the steps and come around the house. This is part of the training I much prefer doing when the weather is warm.


  1. So how *do* you handle it when the owner refuses to use the "shock" collar?

    If someone wants to learn a skill without investing in the right tools, do you turn them away?

  2. Here's where I get snotty. To the best of my knowledge no shock collars have even been manufactured since the early 90's. The modern day electronic training collar does not shock and has a stimulation feel akin to that of a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator, commonly called a TENS unit and in use in chiropractic offices and pain management practices all over the country.

    Having said that if someone actually wanted to pay me to teach them without the use of the ecollar I would. In fact, I had one student who elected to do just that. She lasted 5 weeks and then voted to learn how to use an ecollar correctly in her training. Seems she didn't like being left on the sidelines all the time because her dog was so far behind everyone else.

    Sorry folks, but the term "shock collar" really does cause sparks to fly in a shocking fashion from my eyes, mouth and finger tips.