A thoughtful person gave my friend Melissa a package of candy for her daughter Emma, and Melissa kept them for Sunday morning. Emma is just 3, and sometimes the morning church service gets a bit long, so Emma enjoys earning (silent) reinforcement with games during the sermon. She might repeat a key phrase the pastor used, cite a sermon point, or remain sitting quietly rather than kicking in the pew — her target behaviors vary according to her juvenile abilities and the need of the moment. Continue reading
Where do we draw the line between acceptable variance and dangerous disobedience? Where do we draw the line between an annoyance and real trouble?
Have you ever tried to train against a taboo?
There are some who oppose all forms of trained protection sport and protection work, citing variously that the training is inherently abusive (it’s not), or that the dogs dislike it (obviously untrue!). Occasionally a protester will suggest that biting a person in a sleeve or suit must of course reduce a dog’s bite inhibition, making it more likely that the dog will mouth or bite a person not in protective gear.
I’ve argued logically against this before, but now I have empirical proof — I can’t even pay my dogs to bite!
I learned a few days ago that Spica, my lovable-but-not-too-bright younger Doberman, has damaged her ACL. This isn’t really a surprise; Spica is a career runner who chases squirrels up and down the fenceline and spins in circles barking at them for about six hours each day, so her legs are under constant strain. In addition to the dog’s confinement and treatment (and her owner’s possible loss of sanity, living with a dog who isn’t allowed to run for six weeks!), this injury means that we’re likely to be seeing more of our veterinarian than usual.
It’s been coming on gradually, but this weekend I finally said it aloud — I’m not sure I’m ever going to title Laev in Schutzhund.
This is really rough for me. I bought Laev (the first dog I’ve ever purchased, as opposed to adopted from a shelter or rescue group or off the street) specifically for her genetics, developed specifically for this sport. We started sport-training at 8 weeks old and have never stopped, except for the occasional time off for a minor injury or such. I’ve worked hard on this, sacrificed other activities to make training time, etc.
But we’re just not beating this gunfire thing, and without that, nothing else matters. Continue reading
So, a few years ago a man hurried through a simple routine task which no one would ever see, and last week a backhoe came through the living room window. Cause and effect.
A year ago, I heard from Steve White of a new sport which could title dogs for identifying odors in scent boxes — very basic detection work. It sounded too good to be true.
Then this week, Laurie Luck posted about her trip to a seminar on that same sport. Now I am getting seriously jealous.
My breed of choice, as most people know, is the Doberman. Like most working breeds, Dobermans are high-energy dogs who like having a job to perform, and bore easily if left with nothing to do.
I recently had someone tell me, “Clicker training works for your dogs, but my dog is too stupid to learn. She can’t even figure out how to walk down the stairs; there’s no way she could learn to do tricks. She’s just dumb.”
Think your dog isn’t bright enough to train? Keep reading. Continue reading