25 February 2009

Impulse Control-A dog training primer.

I know. Gustavo barks and carries on. Otterpop barks and is a butthead in general because she is such a stress machine. Ruby, actually is a perfect best dog, but she's in on it too. Everyone is working on impulse control at home and at agility. Because I am sick of irritating dogs. Irritating dogs are stressful dogs and stressful dogs are stressful to me, and what the hell. We all need a project.

So the deal is, everyone has to be on their own bed or towel or in a crate with door open and not making a peep. And releasing only to YOUR OWN name. Not leaving your bed or place or tuffett or space pod or mat under any circumstances until YOUR OWN NAME is called. Imagine the perfect storm of Crate Games meets Control Unleashed. So far, I've learned that Otterpop thinks her name is also Ruby. But not Gustavo. And Gustavo doesn't know his name. Ruby knows her name is Ruby but also likes you to say Bubba. At home, everyone either has their Space Pod, Tuffet or Bed that they have to sit in quietly while someone else comes out and gets to play with a toy or learn a new trick. Sometimes, everyone comes out together and plays and sometimes one or two dogs have to sit behind a baby gate in the bedroom and watch someone else doing tricks and no one barks. A key concept here. NO ONE BARKS. And if I decide to make dinner throw a frozen pizza in the oven mid Perfect Storm, then everyone has to sit on their own tuffett or bed or space pod and not irritate anyone else or start a new game or start howling. Did I mention, NO ONE BARKS?

Try this at home. It's easy. Just throw their beds and crates around the living room and if you have a Ruby, she gets your tuffett. Don't have a tuffett? Well, then, perhaps you have imperfect dog furniture. A tuffett a squishy stool. From Urban Outfitters sale bin. Not Muffetts, spiders, et all.

Same thing at agility. Everyone has to sit on their own Place or Bed or Space Pod. Quietly.

Space pod? This would be a crate without a door. You could use a crate with a door too. But maybe you have a portable one that someone not totally down with the whole Crate Games vibe chewed the door up on during border collie turns at agility class. This makes for a perfect space pod.

I will admit that this new obsession of mine has only been happening within the family at agility. Has not gone public yet to class. Tonight at Dirt Night? Doubtful. But we can still practice. What a beautiful Dirt Night it would be if all my dogs were untethered, quietly sitting on their own Bed or Place or Space Pod and just chilling. As a border collie flies around the course. Or how about this one. Don't laugh. What if they stayed like that when I RAN a border collie around the course?

A lofty goal. But a girl can dream.

I set up a little sequence on the only dry corner of the field yesterday morning, right in front of the bed zone. You can just use towels for this. Or not. Get as fancy as you want. Go buy all new dog beds for all I care. Dirty saddle pads work super. I would say do not use these in the house portion of Impuse Control Perfect Storm or your husband will think this is even weirder than he already does. Although likely he will be impressed at your dog training super powers when the dogs are actually behaving. Ha HA!

Everyone took turns doing it with everyone else sitting quietly and not barking on their Place or Bed or Space Pod. And only coming out on their own name and sometimes everyone coming out for a frisbee game, then running back to their spot. If Otterpop didn't think her name was Ruby, and Ruby and Otterpop didn't think their job is to sit together on top of Space Pod, and Gustavo knew his name and would get out of Space Pod, then it would have gone just swell.

It's a work in progress.

Ruby hella happy to do a little bit of agility and learn some tricks and not be so ignored. Otterpop learning to have some Self Control. Gustavo? Maybe learning his name. Actually, he worked on his other new thing we've been doing. I forgot. I went all dog trainer on you a couple weeks ago and didn't tell you. His modified Susan Garrett 2x2 weaves. Modified because watching the video made me want to claw out my eyeballs so I didn't watch it. But I am teaching him to run through 2 poles wherever the hell they are and he is and at super top speed. Then will add more. Am hoping this translates eventually to actually hitting weave pole entrances in dog shows. Ouch. Still practices his poles normal style too. They work good everywhere except at dog shows.

Also, he has to concentrate SO HARD on sitting in his Space Pod, which I forgot was his old super favorite game, that he doesn't bark. When just Ruby and Otterpop are running at least. It's a start. But so far, he can stay in there quiet as a mouse and not run out or bark even when Otterpop is screaming around a sequence and attacking the frisbee. And when Ruby just starts doing her crazy thing out there. So happy to be out and running a little.

Is a little bit dog nazi? Yep. A little bit late in their training to patch up this hole? Yep. Something though, that people with dog groups should really be working on all the time to keep group dynamics shiny and happy and cheerful, so it is like having a cheerful Osmond Family of dogs, smiling Mormons with big teeth, instead of Osborne Family of drug addled, rotten toothed dysfunctional junkie family of dogs? Yeah.

That's not wrong, to aspire the dogs to be like washed up, singing Mormons, right?


Anonymous said...

I was with you until the last sentence.

But, okay.

Okay, everyone, Laura has set the bar for barking, annoying dogs in class. Don't forget clickers, tuffets and really, really good treats tonight! (Rob, I bet it's not occurring to you that this challenge might include you. So, advised.)

vici whisner said...

Excellent. We should all aspire to have our dogs sitting quietly while border collies are running. I'm going to start right now.....

Elf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elf said...

I also like to work on tricks in the house or fast running whatever outside the house with only one dog at a time. Tika really gets the "go to your bed" thing in the house. Boost gets it, too, but apparently it means "until I can't see Mom because the desk is in the way".

Outside, Boost really gets the "go up on the deck (and stay there and be quiet)". Tika gets the "go up onto the deck" part, but apparently it means "until Mom turns her back and is doing something fast and exciting with the other dog (and then either bark wildly or run down and get in the way)."

We work on Osmond perfection all the time. Might never get there. Maybe more like the Jacksons with the occasional wardrobe malfunction or holding the baby over the balcony edge.

You started it.

Anonymous said...

So....no monkey noises from Kip tonight when the border collies run. Got it. I have the tukey ready. Am looking for a tuffet. Would that wash well, 'cause, you know, horse poo, black polymer substance, mud....