Friday, January 28, 2011

Sick Obsession

Seven has a sick obsession... ME.  I have never had a dog so intensely focused on me.  I am finding it to be both a good and bad trait.  Obviously, focus is great for the competition ring where there are so many distractions.  I would not call Seven bombproof, but she appears to have no issues with her environment simply because she does not give much attention to anything other than me.

Seven's recalls are awesome. She even fell down once because she turned so fast she lost her footing. I can call her off of a toy I have thrown. Before all the winter weather started, we had the opportunity to walk fence lines on a 20+ acre property. Unlike Riley, Seven checks in regularly and keeps tabs on me. She even chased a rabbit into some brush and then immediately checked in with me.
The downfall is that Seven is not good at being quiet and calm in her crate.  She gets very anxious and loud if she thinks I am doing something that should involve her.  It does not matter if I am training another dog, setting up a course, or sitting in a chair.  Or whether she can see or not see.  Or whether she has company or no company.  Seven screams and yelps regardless.  Unfortunately, she will also chew crate bars and has already damaged her teeth. She is more than happy to get in the crate because of all the Kongs, bully sticks, and treats she has received, but she quickly gets worked up and begins to protest.  Me... I hate it!  And despite all my efforts, there has not been much improvement.  At the most recent agility trial, I crated Riley in the building and Seven out in the van because I did not want to listen to her and she seems to do best completely removed from the situation (or maybe I do best).
Otherwise, Seven's training is progressing.  She is doing a lot of jumps and tunnels.  The teeter is almost full height and we are working hard on weave poles.  The weather has not been very cooperative so training has been sporadic and I have neglected to use my camera as often as I usually do.  There was one week where we were iced in for several days and I was sick with a cold at the same time.  There was an entire week that I did not train the greyhounds... that only happens when I am out of town. 
All in all, we are trying to train as much as we can and I will try to do better with pictures and videos.  I leave you with Seven's frog legs.


Karoline said...

I just had to leave a comment! your Greyhounds are wonderful:) I got three myself, and I just love them! I really like the way you train your dogs, I've seen some of your videos, and I get so inspired! I see you use the clicker-method, I haven't tried it yet, but I done shaping on my 1 year old.

I've really got the urge to begin some agility training, but for the moment obedience is going really good, so I wan't to coninue with that:) got some advice to give on that part?

When the spring arrives here in cold Norway, we will start some lure coursing again! My 8 year old has actually placed nr. 3 in the european championship!
But enough about me!
I really like your blogs, your dogs, and the way you train, I really get the inspiration to learn more!
Well, you are great!

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Hi Karoline,

Well heck, I'm blushing. Thanks for all the nice comments. I'm glad the blog inspires and provides good info. As far as agility goes, I simply started in a beginner class. The methods are generally more positive so you do not have to worry as much as you do with taking an obedience class. You will probably be the first greyhound they have seen, but just be smart about knowing when to quit. Trainers love to say "one more time". And you need to be able to say "we will end on that". Lots of luck to you and greyhounds!


Kinipella said...

Aww, poor Seven! However, she does make me feel better about Ferguson's crating. He does hate to be away from me, but can do it for shorter periods of time, and does not damage things in his crate or frantically try to get out if he can't get to me. At this point, I think a citronella collar may be in order for him, but it sounds like even that might not help poor Seven :/. Let's hope it's something that she grows out of? Good luck with her! At least she does great on all those other things :).

Corbin said...

BOL! The frog legs are my favorite! :o) I'm glad Seven is settling in so well! Hopefully she'll work her self out of the crate issue. That happened to be before and I chipped a tooth bending the metal on my crate.

Lauren said...

She sounds similar to Bernie with his anxiety and 'velcro' tendencies. For other reasons, (I'll probably post on my blog soon,) we have, unfortunately and fortunately, started anti-anxiety medication with Bernie.

You know much more about dog training than I do - so I think you will successfully get that doggie to calm down! :-)

Hiking Hounds said...

This is very similar to Zephyr and Astro, although Zephyr still gets very distracted by other things. They seem to do better when I have only one of them. Otherwise, when I'm working one the other is very upset. It drives me nuts so mostly I only take one to practices at a time, etc. This is one of my biggest struggles.

MomentOfInsight said...

Love the frog legs! Those look like some powerful haunches. What I love best about your blog is how you depict the personalities! All your dogs are unique and have their individual strengths and neuroses. I'm sure all that focus will pay dividends later for you and Seven.

Chi-Town Bound said...

I had a problem similar to this with Shelby. After a few months, she adjusted and now hangs out in the room away from us.

Zero on the other hand is more like Seven. He happily goes into his crate with all the tasty distractions, but once they are gone, a monster comes out and he chews on the bars. Once when I came home, his bottom jaw was lodged between two bars. Thankfully, he's still in one piece.

Good luck! I'm sure that Seven will come around!

Sandy ~~~ said...

Jennifer...I am not an expert by any means but it looks like seven has a classic separation anxiety. Our other rescued racer did too and my vet often in a racer's life they are NEVER alone. They have dog companions and people companions 24/7. It's like you have a baby pup who needs to learn about's just frustrating when you see it in an adult. Baby steps, remember. All he needs to know will come back. Separation in as small a dose as possible and then a calm greeting when you return. You (two) can do it!

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

There's no such thing as the perfect dog, is there! I don't have a portable crate so Frankie and Beryl get tied up if I have them both at a class. They will stand or lie down watching every move I make but they aren't stressed about it.

Which is no help to you at all!

The separation anxiety sounds like a good thing to research. It might be a case of going back to square 1 and baby steps? Good luck:)

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Hiking Hounds, you should work on it. All my other ones learned to relax and wait for a turn. You want them to be a little noisy at first because it means they want to work with you.

Sandy, I am up to speed on separation anxiety in that I wrote the prevention guidelines for SEGA, coach new adopters on prevention, and provide advice on elimination. I would not label 7 as a classic case as leaving the house is no problem, she is still never alone, and most of the anxiety happens when I am right in front of her. Its probably more crate anxiety than anything. She is definitely a velcro dog and therefore boot camped on SA prevention the entire time with me. She only receives affection when I have to look for her, I do not allow her to follow me, and she is ignored the rest of time... Except when we train.


houndstooth said...

Seven shows a lot of promise. I think she'll be giving Riley a run for her money in the ring one of these days soon.

As far as the crate tantrums go, how does she do when you're out of sight but she's not in a crate? I had one dog who seemed rather claustrophobic in the crate. Would she do better in an ex pen or in a room with the door closed? It's just a thought. She's so darned cute!

Muttsandaklutz said...

Those frog legs totally crack me up :D

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Houndstooth, she is the same way in an ex pen, but trying to climb out. And closing a door to a room doesn't work cause we are never at the house. She just has to deal with the crate. There just isn't much room for flexibility on that with the van and show venues. She does eventually settle herself down so its not constant anxiety.

E.A. said...

Wow, well done on the recall on Seven! But yes, a velcro-dog seems to be the draw back of the obedient grey. My Eddie is similar ( but not quite SO obedient!). I must say that I have found that being firm but fair was the way to combat his whining.
I haven't crated my dogs, although I think it would have been beneficial at first but I was advised not to. So, I had to tell Eddie off when he whined as he could no follow me. And in the end I had to scold him. Harshly.
As I see things, a dog that is focussed on you as a pack leader, needs you to tell them in no uncertain terms what to do.If they KNOW you want them to be quiet they will be - they want to please you! So I when he was at the bottom of the stairs / outside a door etc whining to be with me I would go and tell him strictly to go to his bed and lie down. He only got attention if he was quiet in bed. It worked very well.
Recently I also applied the same method to a puppy in kennels. When she whined I told her off (sharp ah-ah). When she was quiet I praised and patted her. Soon she lied down quietly in her kennel.
Maybe if you give Seven treats to keep her quiet she associates whining and chewing with getting a treat? You probably know the theory well, but it is so so easy to forget with your own dogs when they are asking to be with you, that sometimes they feel more secure if you tell them off rather than indulge them...

The Barn Door said...

Oh my gosh, my English Cockers always do the frog dog but have never seen a Greyhound do it!! What great hips!!!