Dog Training Builds Relationships

BuddhaA year ago if you had asked me to describe Buddha "aloof" would have definitely been one of the adjectives I used.

Buddha was an adult when we adopted him. He wasn’t fully house-trained and had no notion of using a crate. He was very agreeable around both people and dogs, but there was always an undercurrent of independence and, to use that word again, aloofness to him. Any physical affection was brief and on his terms and when I first starting working on training with him the joke was “He knows he’s going to get dinner at 5 either way.”

He was still a great dog. He was very well behaved once he got the hang of things (he was definitely an "outside" dog before coming to us.) Buddha has always exhibited wonderful interpersonal skills with other dogs. He is also very calm in busy situations, which makes great as a "demo dog" in classes and "neutral" dog for training exercises. This is what I needed when I got him and where his name comes from. This dog has Buddha nature.

But when we got home he tended to head to one of the beds and just hang out there. He was a bit of a loner.

Then last year I decided to attend the Dog Trainer Professional program at Karen Pryor Academy. This is a pretty intense course that spans several months, with a lot of both online and hands-on training work. I was attracted by the focus on hands-on training, “getting animals to do stuff with no force or coercion at all” is how I put it to one of my friends when I enrolled. (However I ended up learning a lot more than I expected. But that’s a future post.)

When you enroll in the course you have to enroll with a dog. Throughout the course there are training exercises both at home and in the classroom, and then in order to graduate you need to be able to complete a pretty difficult training exercise with your dog. (Again they’ll be a post on this in the future.) I of course had 2 choices: Caffeine or Buddha.

Facebook friends may remember this status a while back:

Porsche status

Caffeine is a very easy to train dog. Part of this is due to her temperament, and part is likely that we brought her home from a very savvy rescue at 9 weeks that had already started training her. I decided to take the challenge and use Buddha for the class.

We graduated a couple of weeks ago. The final training exercise was a bit harrowing (mostly due to me and recovery from shoulder surgery 8 weeks before the final class) but we did it. I also realized during that weekend that I had a different dog.

He’s not just “better trained,” whatever that means. He’s more connected to me and to people in general. His relationship with me and with the rest of the world is different.

About a week before the final classes Buddha and I attended Clicker Expo together. Clicker Expo has “labs” (no pun intended) in which you can work with your dog. I naturally decided to bring Buddha. He has always done better than Caffeine in settings like that and since I would be working with him the following weekend to graduate my class, it was a chance to work with him in different environments and maybe learn a few things that we could apply to class.

A friend that I used to work with at St. Hubert’s also attended the conference and said “I can’t believe Buddha! He’s a different dog.” This came as a bit if a surprise to me.

So I took stock of the new things Buddha has been doing lately.

  • When I get home from work at night Buddha runs to me with a toy so we can play.
  • When I wake up in the morning Buddha greets me. If I head right to the shower, he’s waiting in the hall when I finish.
  • If I get ready to leave the house, he waits at the door, as if he is ready to go with me.
  • If I am working at home I will get a visit at least every half hour for a back scratch or pet. He’ll also sleep on the bed closest to me.
  • If I am in the living room the dogs “play chess” to see who can sit with me.
  • The classes were far enough away from home that I had t travel and stay at a friend’s home overnight. The first couple of weekends Buddha slept in an open crate. By the third weekend he was in bed with me.

All of these changes are outside of the context of training. Naturally he’s better at training now, and the differences between him and Caffeine are more of a running gag than reality. But look at that list. Is he doing these things because he expects to get some treats? Of course not. He’s doing them because working together has created a stronger relationship.

Karen Pryor Academy talks about how training with positive reinforcement builds relationships. To be honest I was a little skeptical at first. Obviously training with positive reinforcement is more kind and more pleasant for everyone involved than the alternatives. But does this translate to a deeper relationship "off the field?"

Yes.

Training done right is a shared experience. Shared experiences build relationships. Get to work!

Dog Training Builds Relationships is a post written by . You can see the actual post at Dog Training in Jersey City New Jersey


Dog Spelled Forward Website and Blog

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Jul 19, Dog training infographic

I just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know about our latest dog infographic. It took us a long time to put together. The research involved
Dog Food Blog | Best Dog Food Guide

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Wi-fi Dog Saves Summer

True American Dog

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Skin Care – Allergies – Natural Ayurvedic Home Remedies

Treat allergies with natural home remedies using honey or juice of carrot, cucumber and beetroot. For complete information check this short video from http:/…
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Advanced Dermatology’s, Medical Director, Joshua L. Fox, M.D. FAAD, speaks on common skin allergies and patch testing. For more information about this topic …
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Puppies

Some of my favourite puppy pictures from Friday…

All the puppies LOVE their foster siblings – Cava, Puffin and Tinbie

Umm Jack. That isn’t very nice.

Cava was teaching Jack how to jump while Gus just sat and watched.

Following the leader.

Blomkvist couldn’t decide if he really wanted to be part of the action, but he couldn’t stay away.

Jack needs to go to a photographer.  He was such a little poser.

Lou is pretty adorable.

I love the sweet pensive looks Otter gets when she just sits and takes it all in.

The closest as I got to a group shot.  :)

Is there anymore?

Good to the last drop.

Puppy bums are always so cute!

Speaking of puppy bums…

Gus looking up to Puffin wondering if he’ll ever be that tall.

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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THE ROCK: Chapter 4 Continued

Dented Doors
——–

The two hardest things in life are opening doors and closing them.   And I wasn’t about to let Murphy into ours, me and Malcolm. 
We had reached a rhythm and routine and there was no room for another.  Indeed the very evening Stevie brought him home as a surprise, I was already trying to ship him right back out and one of the first calls I made was to my parents. 
‘You need a dog’, I said and put my best sales pitch together citing that they needed more than just their two Persian kitties to illuminate their golden years.  But they declined and I called friends.  And then friends of friends, but no one wanted Murphy. 
We were stuck with him, the half-crazed, chewing on sheetrock, micturating in every square foot of the house, train wreck of a puppy, Murphy.  I still can’t recall what I did in life to deserve a first and now secondGreat Pyrenees, but I was paying penance for it now.
The price wasn’t that steep but taking into consideration that I was working day and night and often slept on the couch in my office I just didn’t have the strength, time, or even inclination to help heal this poor little abused puppy. 
But as fate would have it, I didn’t have to.  Malcolm healed Murphy.  Mostly anyway.  Within weeks, it was like all of Murphy’s anxieties were gone.  He wasn’t righted completely but he was better and happy and Malcolm had found a mate. 
To play with sure but to torment most probably. 
By the time Murphy had come into our lives, Malcolm had become uninterested in dog toys and yet whenever I’d bring a new one home for Murphy, Malcolm would claim it as his own and unwilling to share for an hour or so just to assert the order of things.  And it would drive Murphy nuts. 
Malcolm’s authority was always absolute.  Hell, he broke me and to the point where I was singing girly songs to him and I’m no push over.  But watching the two of them together, I learned that dogs need to have both human and canine companions and though I didn’t know it then, this is where 2 Dogs really began. 

Not with Malcolm and even with Murphy but their togetherness.  They were inseparable.  
Doors are never fully open or shut.  They are in a constant state of in-between.  It took a long time for me to love Malcolm.  To learn how to care for him as a parent.  And the damnable tragedy is that no manner of love that I had learned, that I had so reluctantly been willing to give Malcolm spared him from what came next.  
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YBD’s Notes 1:  The photo is of Murphy when he first came into our life.  

YBD’s Notes 2: To my former Muse.  Though I came up with it a long time ago, I never knew how to use it until now.  Thank you.  

YBD’s Notes 3:  Malcolm and Murphy’s companionship reminded me of a song from an much underappreciated movie, Hudson Hawk sung by Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello.  

2 Dogs 2,000 Miles

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Bargain Toy Poodle turns out to be a rodent on steroids

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Cool Pet Itch images

Some cool Pet Itch images:

The Momentary Itch
Pet Itch

Image by Yvonne in Willowick Ohio

Musselling In On Muscular Pets
Pet Itch

Image by mrpbps
Out checking on a Geelong Sunday Market today and Vicki noticed an interesting offering from a pet stall. For only you could take home a pair of, (sic), muscles. Closer inspection revealed that said pets were in fact very similar in size, shape and features to the shellfish attached to the rope on our mooring bouy across the road. Indeed we felt a little guilty seeing as how we had actually eaten a kilo of their cousins just the day before. Not sure if it’s a marketing opportunity we’re missing out on here or maybe it’s the spelling lesson I was itching to give :) .

Posted via web from mrpbps’ 365 pics in 2010

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{Bible Study} Making Time

As I was reading Chapter 2 of Kathy Howard’s ,”Fed Up with Flat Faith” , I was reflecting on the time, me and my husband had been spending on getting our garden ready for Spring. The “last frost” or we so hope, has more than passed, so we were laying the basic groundwork to planting,…



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Sunflower Faith

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Jul 24, healthy dog treats for Akita’s

Can you recommend some healthy dog treats for Akita’s? Answered by Barbara Hi Wanda, My Akita doesn’t care for the typical commercial dog treats. He
Dog Food Blog | Best Dog Food Guide

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