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.