Monday, November 22, 2010

Good Things Come to Those that Wait

The one thing I wish to improve about Seven is her patience. She needs to learn to relax, be quiet, and wait her turn. Once we start training, mine all go through a phase of being impatient and not wanting to relax in the van while I train another dog. They would rather be participants and not spectators. Seven seems to think she is being left out and voices her opinion on the matter. Here is a brief example of what she does. You cannot hear her because I am filming from the house.


My strategy has been the following. I place Seven in her crate with a stuffed Kong that she can finish within 5 minutes. This makes her happy to load and distracts her for a few minutes. In the meanwhile, I go into the house or I train Riley if we are at a training location. When Seven finishes her Kong, she stands up and begins her circling and crying. Sometimes for 20 minutes. As soon as she quiets and lies down, I take her out of the van and play or work with her for a period of time. Then I put her back in the van with another Kong and the cycle repeats itself over and over again. My goal is for Seven to learn that chilling out brings me back to the van. She is improving, but it has been slow going despite all of the repetitions.
To help accelerate the process, I have adopted the same strategy around the house. Seven has to be lying down before meals, to be invited out of her crate or ex pen, and to be leashed.

The video below is a good example of being consistent and persistent. Sometimes I make a suggestion to someone having a dog problem and later will be told it did not work. Come to find out, they gave up too soon. Sometimes you have to be relentless until you finally win. It took Seven 30 minutes to figure out that I would not invite her out of the ex pen until she was lying down. This is a long boring video, but it gives you an idea of how stubborn you sometimes need to be.


17 comments:

greytblackdog said...

She's a hardheaded bugger. I wonder if it is that track mentality of not liking being alone.

Samantha said...

Oh goodness! Avalon BARKS the whole time I'm working with Sammie. It is so annoying! I've tried different strategies, but I hesitate to use a bark or e-collar on her. I love your tips - thank you! I'm starting today!
Sammie, Ava and Mom

Kim said...

Nice job ignoring those sad, forlorn, "how-could-you-do-this-to-me" eyes!
Consistancy definately pays for itself in the end :)
I wouldn't say "hardheaded"...it's more Seven is learning what the criteria is for being let out. That takes patience on the owners part.

Kathy said...

I had to chuckle when she was laying there and you came up to open the door. At one point, she started wagging her tail but you could see the wheels turning. She thought she better stop in case that was part of why she couldn't come out.

Excellent video showing how patience pays off!

Andreja said...

I was thinking about what to do get my whippet used to relaxing in his crate when we're training. He gets all excited when he sees other dogs having fun and won't settle down in his crate. I always give him something yummy to chew on to maintain value of the crate, but he won't eat it if I'm not beside him, whether he's in the crate or not.
I didn't have the conviction to really start leaving him in his crate in exciting environments, being afraid that he will grow to hate the crate (and how will I crate him then?).
I would have though that Seven would not want to go back in her ex-pen any time soon after that video, but you didn't mention anything like that. Now this has given me a little push to think harder and try to get my boy relaxed in his crate. Thanks :)

Sam said...

A lesson I am not even patient enough for! This was the hardest thing for Rugby to learn. He spend months as a puppy whinning and barking and planning escape from all sorts of crates/pens/runs. Sigh... I don't miss those days at all!

Amanda Violette-Groth said...

Oh the doggy eyes! This teaches that while it may take a while, they do learn. Your training tips are awesome. Simple but time invested will pay off in the long run.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Andreja, she has been very willing to get back in her crate or ex pen since I do give her a treat or a stuffed Kong.

Seven also will not chew when she is all worked up. She is much more likely to go after a Kong gently stuffed with kibble and canned dog food. Something that doesn't require a lot of concentration and effort.

Sue said...

Don't look at the eyes:)

whygreyhounds said...

Being consistent and fair is so important I think and and a big dose of that thing called 'patience' is a great trait for any trainer to have.

Seven is learning and learning takes patience and time. I know I have had to be the same with Rex (especially seeming he was 5 when I got him and has very habitual behaviors) but patience and perseverance is certainly paying off now!

IHeartDogs said...

I enjoyed the "boring" video, Seven is adorable when you close the gate, how her head is down and she looks up with those crestfallen eyes.
A handler's patience is the toughest part of training...You definitely have mastered that :)

Marie said...

Great post!! I totally agree, most people give up way to soon. Love the video. She is adorable. :-)

MN said...

It appears that Seven and our Morgan(GSD) are taking the same patience class. Love your videos keep it up the great work.

Matt and Morgan (and the greyhounds; Bunny, Blueberry, and Lilac, of course.)

houndstooth said...

Isn't it funny how hard it is to remember what it was like when you first started with your hounds after you start with a new one? After Treat died, getting Bunny was such a challenge because it was like walking a kangaroo on a leash. Now we have Morgan and Bunny seems so perfect! lol I have a feeling that Seven will catch on soon.

Granted Wishes Greyhounds said...

Oh my... great job, but I don't think I could have resisted all those sad, forlorn, confused faces Seven made. Poor thing, but I'm proud of her she finally got it!

Andreja said...

Thank you for the tip on lightly stuffing the Kong. I will definitely try this next time :)

Katie said...

This is something I really really need to work on with Steve. He throws major fits if I work with another dog (or heck, even sit down with another dog for a nail trim, which he hates). Barking, running in circles around us, generally being horrendously obnoxious.

And of course it'll be exponentially harder to break the longer I allow it to go on....