Posts Tagged ‘behavior’

My Life with Dogs #18

“Friends: I don’t know if you have been reading my blogs about My Life With Dogs…or if you might be “jumping in” with this being your first exposure. If so, WELCOME, you are hitting the right time as this is where I begin to talk about my training technique, known as The Famed Method of Dog Training.
As you read along you will quickly come to realize that I am of the old school in training dogs. Or maybe, if you have been to any training schools in the past five years, reading my method will be ‘new’ to you. I’ll talk about the differences later, but for now, again, welcome! If you have time, reading my former blogs will bring you up to date.
The basis of my training method falls into five categories, or lessons…sit back and enjoy.” John

Lesson number one: You must first get your dog’s attention.

     With that said I let Dodger lunge for Tagore while at the same time I take off in the opposite direction with the lead held firmly in hand. Timing has to be perfect for this training exercise to work. On this particular day, Dodger was airborne in his attempt to grapple with Tagore. Then the lead tightened and jerked his body back towards me. At times this movement elicits a yelp of surprise from my “victim.” In a friendly voice I called to him. He came. I patted him on the head, told him to stay, and dropped the leash. He didn’t move and I had everyone’s attention.

“When is obedience needed,” I ask again.

“During time of distraction,” I answer my own question…but this time everyone knows exactly what I am talking about. This is a wonderful training exercise and you too can use it as an effective measure to get your dogs’ attention. If, when walking your dog, he begins to drift from your side, turn and take four or five driving steps in the opposite direction. Do this every time his attention drifts. You’ll see a dramatic change in control. Before long he will be standing or sitting at your side ready to anticipate your next move…and you’ll begin to look forward to walks in the park with him.

Through the years my three kids have enjoyed wagering as to how long it would take me to get control of an unmanageable dog. Never has it taken me more than 45 seconds. And in every case the mutt in question would end up at my side, watching me intently, his tail wagging with anticipation.  No treats needed!!!

Please remember this; it is important to the extent that it will be noted more than once in this book: Firm corrections will solve problems quicker than feeble ones. Further, they are more humane, more impressionable, and place you where you belong…in the position of unquestioned and substantial authority.  I must tell you, there is no place for political correctness in training a dog the stop from pulling his master around the block every time they go for a leisurely stroll in the park.  I see it all the time in my small town and the look on the faces of the masters is always embarrassment, as if he is saying, “what am I supposed to do?”

Note: When it comes to obedience training, your dog has three levels of awareness:

Level 1) all disruption and distraction fights for his attention. Squirrels in the park, other dogs, kids on bikes, airborne Frisbees. His awareness of new and unusual happenings bombards his psych and he tries to watch everything going on around him. You are lucky if you are one of those distractions.

     Level 2) disruptions and distractions around him are a cue for him to pay attention to you. This awareness kicks in about the third week of obedience training. We want him to view all aspects of a convoluted world in regards to you, his master…when on, or eventually off, lead.

     Level 3) the absence of disruption or distraction (you are waking in the park and nothing is going on) is the cue for him to watch you. This is the ultimate awareness we seek through obedience training.

Here’s an example of the difference between level 1 and level 3. You’ve seen it many times when you go for a walk in the park.

Level 1: The dog is at the end of the lead, lunging at passersby, squirrels, and joggers; totally oblivious to his master’s every pleading.

Level 3: The dog walks at the heel position beside his master…off lead…keeping an eye on his master’s every move while also aware of the world around him. Or, you see a dog running loose in the city park, but you note that he is constantly looking back towards something. He sees a squirrel, but then looks back; he tracks a scent; but then looks back. And then you hear a faint whistle and the dog makes a bee line to his master who has been walking 50-yards behind.

NEXT

WHAT I’VE LEARNED: Mr. Tuck, by the way, had taught me one of the preambles of dog handling. “It’s not how often you will get bitten, its how bad”…and my time was on the horizon.

My Life With Dogs #17

“Friends: I don’t know if you have been reading my blogs about My Life With Dogs…or if you might be “jumping in” with this being your first exposure. If so, WELCOME, you are hitting the right time as this is where I begin to talk about my training technique, known as The Famed Method of Dog Training.
As you read along you will quickly come to realize that I am of the old school in training dogs. Or maybe, if you have been to any training schools in the past five years, reading my method will be ‘new’ to you. I’ll talk about the differences later, but for now, again, welcome! If you have time, reading my former blogs will bring you up to date.
The basis of my training method falls into five categories, or lessons…you’re just one chapter away from the first. Thanks for reading.” John

Have you seen this picture? A person is walking their dog on the street. The dog is at the end of the lead lunging like a plow-horse tilling the south forty or a Husky mushing at the Iditarod. His breathing is raspy as the choker digs into his throat. The dog knows his master is back there somewhere because he can feel him restraining his freedom. It is the dog who decides where this “walk” is headed.

Meanwhile, the master, who planned taking a leisurely stroll in the park, is gasping for air, his arms are nothing but an extension of the leash, he is literally being dragged along, and if you dare get close enough, you can hear him desperately whispering, over and over, “whoa, boy, whoa, boy, whoa, boy!” It is not, I assure you, a moment of bonding between the two.
This scenario leads to the next training exercise: getting control and the attention of your dog.

By the way: Pulling or lunging on lead, and a dog’s insatiable desire to run away, is simply a response to his instinct for freedom. Most dogs have a natural impulse to flee any type of enclosure, whether it’s a fence, leash, or garage.

I can whistle pretty loud. Loud enough that even the dogs stop acting up…at least momentarily.
“When is obedience needed?’’ I query. There are no takers. Everyone sees Tagore sitting at my side, not the least interested in all the crazies surrounding him.

“During time of distraction.” I answer my own question. golden (2)

I give him a simple hand signal meaning that he should stay in place and I walk away from him. I walk directly towards the “hardened case” that will be my attention getter and ask the owner for permission to take the leash. I ask the dog’s name.
I move back toward the center of the yard, but not too close to Tagore.

Meanwhile, Dodger, a 75-pound male Rottweiler figures he’ll play havoc with me. He lunges, runs in circles, tries to wrap me in his leash, and barks incessantly.

“In order for me to teach you anything, I have to have your attention. Conversely, in order for you to teach your dog anything, you’ve got to have his.” I give that a second to sink in. “Obviously,” I say, “I’ve got your attention because you’re wondering what I’m going to do to get Dodger’s attention. Right?”

     Everyone nods.

The Kent State Massacre

Friends:

I use this blog to tell you about dogs.  Today, I am veering from that general topic to show you an interview that was posted on You Tube.

In 1970, yeah, 45 years ago and why would you care, right.  Anyway, in 1970 I witnessed the shooting of students on the campus of Kent State University, in Kent, Ohio.  It was one of those life-changing events…something I have rarely talked about.  Last week, a local news anchor asked to briefly talk with me about what had happened.  Interestingly, since then, many have asked to see what was broadcast.

Tim Irr, WSAZ-TV news anchor in Huntington, WV kindly posted his interview on You Tube.

Wolves

Currently, there are about 50,000 wolves in Canada; 6,500 in Alaska; and 3,500 in the United States. (Random Facts)

What’s in a name?

I have received numerous questions about how my book, The Bog, got its name. I am putting together a video that explains. Will post in about a week.

Dog’s Senses

Over the next several weeks I’ll tell you my thoughts about dogs’s senses:

There is no absolute scientific study of which I am aware indicating that dogs see color.  Their world is black and white, and maybe shades of grey; therefore they see better than humans in dimly lit space.  It is interesting that dogs recognize movement at a much greater distance than humans, yet the human eye maintains focus at a much greater distance then dogs.  Depending on the breed, some dogs see further than others and some discern moving objects better than others.  Many dogs respond as well to signals as verbal commands.  (On many occasions I have noticed my dogs’ blank stare into the fields where deer roamed.  It was only by a concentrated effort that I could distinguish the movement that he so easily recognized.)

A few of my favorite references…what are yours?

“When the dog was created, it licked the hand

 of God and God stroked its head, saying

‘what do you want dog?’ It replied,

‘My Lord, I want to stay with you,

in heaven, on a mat, in front of the gate…’”

                 Marie Noel

“Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.”  Ann Landers

“When the man waked up he said,

What is Wild Dog doing here?”

And the Woman said,

“His name is not Wild Dog any more,

but the First Friend,

because he will be our friend

for always and always and always.”

Rudy Kipling

 

“Only an animal lover is able to comprehend the sorrow experienced at the loss of a pet.”  Father Jack Federico

 

“I used to look at my dog and think, ‘if you were a little smarter you could tell me what you are thinking,’ and he’d look at me like he was saying, ‘if you were a little smarter, I wouldn’t have to.’”

 Fred Jung Claus

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” Attributed to both Will Rogers and Unknown