Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Seismic Shift

Maddie is 19 months old now and is still very puppy like. Reagan was much more mature at this age. Training ebbs and flows. It has been and continues to be a grand learning experience for me. I learn something from all of my hounds, but only a few really tear down your walls and make you rethink everything. Jessie set the course to my current foundation (introducing me to clicker training) and it worked very well with Katie, Travis, Riley, and Seven. I think Maddie is going to cause another seismic shift.
One issue I had with Maddie a couple of months ago was with her recalls. My other hounds are/were so food motivated that food tended to override whatever had their attention (except chasing prey).  On a 10 Scale, food rated a 15 with Katie, Travis, Riley, and Seven. But that is not the case with Maddie. And if my others ignored me, I can/could verbally scold them into coming and then treats made everything awesome again.
You cannot be stern with Maddie. Even if I am upset about something completely unrelated to Maddie (like a bad day at work), it is best not to work with her that day because she will soak it in. Or just recently, we were practicing some jumping and during the process we collided. Well, you would have thought I had just smacked her on purpose. When something like that happens with Riley or Seven, I just tell them how cool that was and give them five treats and all is well in the world again. Not the case with Maddie... she will not eat treats or play with toys when something like that happens. It can ruin her whole day, but I am pleased to say that it took a few minutes, but I finally did get her to reconnect that day.
It all comes down to relationship. Maddie is not going to do obedience, agility, or come when called because I have good treats or a fun toy.... it has to be because she cares what I think and she is only going to care if we have a good relationship. So I am wo
rking hard to grow a personality. Ha!

So in the last month or two, I have been mostly agenda free. I do not think I have planned a single training session for Maddie. I prepare courses or exercises for Seven and Riley and then I just play with Maddie. And while we are out there, we might try this.  And if that this goes well, we might try that. Normally, I am a heavy planner and goal focused... some might say I am Type A (okay those that know me in real life are laughing out loud right now), but it is just too much pressure for Maddie and I to follow a plan right now... and I think it is working.

Today, I finally turned on the video camera for a little obedience and a lot of play. I trimmed some of the play, but this is what most of our sessions look like.  We play, we doodle with training, and we play. Somewhere along the way her off leash heeling has started looking gorgeous!

Still a silly, lovable goober though!

14 comments:

Rebecca Epperly said...

I recently found your blog and started reading about your adventures. I've always been fascinated with Greyhounds and hope to some day adopt one myself. As I read this post I was reminded of the class I just took at the Fenzi Academy on play and relationships. Its such a wonderful, wonderful thing to do with out dogs. Loved watching your video ... you guys looked awesome.

Anonymous said...

I just adopted a retired racing greyhound in the last week of October 2013 and am still learning about everything dog related since not only is this my first GH but also my first DOG. They do have individual personalities, don't they.

You are amazing. I don't know how you accomplish all that you do with your houds, and work, and keep your household going etc. I bought a clicker because of you, and have stopped saying my dog's name because of your post about recalling, and am going to start training her soon to come to me using your method. Hang in there. Maddie is so beautiful and sweet.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Ahh shucks, thanks for the nice compliments today. Good luck with your hound anonymous and, Rebecca, I LOVE Denise Fenzi. I did sign up for an online class, but I was not disciplined enough to stick with it, but I love her blog. He recent post about the Epic Fail Recall really spoke to me. Made me feel like she was talking about Maddie. And then the post that follows gave me a lot to think about too. :-)

houndstooth said...

Maddie sounds exactly like Blueberry in that regard! If you told her she did something wrong, that was it, she went to her crate and turned her back on you. Game over! I'm so glad you're learning a lot from Maddie while she's growing up! :)

Angela said...

Loved you two stalking each other in that first video! What a fun pair you are!!

Gloria Sanders said...

She's so cute - and yes, the off leash heeling is in fact GORGEOUS!

Andrea said...

My 10 year old sounds a bit like a combo of all of them - LOVES food but if you so much as raise your voice then she is cowering and you have ruined her whole day. They were pretty mean to her on the track, and I don't think she'll ever forget it (I got her when she was 3). She's so terrified to do the wrong thing that at 10 years of age, she hasn't done ONE thing 'wrong' in at least 5 years!

Apex Agility Greyhounds said...

Ahhh... puppies can be so frustrating, so interesting, and so much fun. I too am accustomed to mostly using food. Maddie has a great tug and I'm jealous. Kili has good tug drive but usually I need to get super amped up about it. Also... I am so jealous of your indoor training space. Seems nice warm states seem to have heated indoor locations... here in Canada we freeze in horse barns. lol.

jet said...

Ah I like the sweet, sensitive ones... :) and it is great that she is teaching you a different way to train ;)

Hazel said...

I was so-o-o-o glad to read that you are not perfect! When I read the blog and watch the videos, I am truly amazed that there is time for breathing in your life, due to your full time job, training, etc! So, maybe Maddie is the way she is so that I can find out that you are not perfect, but human!

Great videos, by the way!

Janette Ash said...

Snow, welcome to "just" a taste of our regular winter in Ontario. The snow, but more so the cold, really puts a damper on training and outside activities, no one is interested in playing in the stuff around here, my hound barely makes it outside for a pee. Maddie looks absolutely gorgeous when she is working... oh, shh I guess we are not suppose to let her know she is working.. hee,hee. Love the bonding that you two are creating. Also, I hate to resent you, but I am jealous of the nice training spot you have all to yourself. Thanks so much for sharing.

Janette Ash said...

Snow, welcome to "just" a taste of our regular winter in Ontario. The snow, but more so the cold, really puts a damper on training and outside activities, no one is interested in playing in the stuff around here, my hound barely makes it outside for a pee. Maddie looks absolutely gorgeous when she is working... oh, shh I guess we are not suppose to let her know she is working.. hee,hee. Love the bonding that you two are creating. Also, I hate to resent you, but I am jealous of the nice training spot you have all to yourself. Thanks so much for sharing.

Team Zero Gravity said...

I feel your pain. Blaze isn't as soft as Maddie, but his first SEVERAL years were a challenge. Now at 6 he's much better. I guess I am more fun to him now than most things, but he still will blow me off sometimes.

Amy Frank said...

Seems Maddie prefers tug/play with toys to treats as training reward. She'll keep her girlish figure. Penny will do anything for an Ikea meatball, but we are always trying to judge how much kibble to leave out based on how much training we did that day to keep her weight steady. We seem to have found her level.