26 February 2009

It's not the VonTrapp Family, either.

So did the impulse control work at Dirt Nite? Yes and no.

Yes, I did have quieter dogs, more well behaved dogs, no over the top dogs. Sort of like an Osmonds Christmas special. Otterpop quietly laying on her bed. Gustavo sitting in a foldup crate with the door open. Even when border collies running around. A thing of amazement! Had their Auntie Nancy throw treats at them when I ran Hobbes, and was just so, quiet!

A good thing, right?

Well, Otterpop, still ran around just fine. Actually ran around super great. And I was less stressed out when I ran Hobbes because wasn't worrying about my over the top little monkey losing it, tied up to the fence. But well behaved Gustavo? His runs, sort of like an Osmonds Christmas special. Dull. Crewneck sweaters. Slacks. Barbershop quartet songs about Jesus and pampers. Kind of like dialing the whole thing in.

Yes, there were weave poles. There were contacts. There was running. But there was none of that wacky, fast craziness that makes it so fun. Almost made me want to cry.

Got home afterwards, found my little monkey dog again, playing with a toy upside down on the couch, biting my arm and driving me crazy. Didn't want me to watch Top Chef. Didn't want anyone to watch Top Chef. Just irritated us all until Otterpop launches on top of him and smashes him and then there are just crazy monkeyscream sounds again. Boy did I miss that. Wanted that whole thing about FUN! A little on the edge. Unpredictable. Crazy. Osbornes, not Osmonds. Black Sabbath, but in a good way. Not washed up, dialed in, woozy and shuffly. Maybe Beverly HIlls Osbornes actually not that different than Christmas special Osmonds. Neither of them how I want my speedy little dog to run.

So why? From rewarding him for so much quiet and calm? Created a monster, albeit a well behaved one? Asking too much of one little dog? Isn't impulse control supposed to build drive, not vanish it? What's the balance? Not Osmonds. Not Osbornes. Not Jacksons. Not Waltons. None of these, the right model for Team Small Dog.


Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. Role model. How about...Michael Phelps? Maybe roll Gustavo a little spleef before class?

team small dog said...

Yeah, or maybe Gustavo is just Gustavo. Maybe he doesn't need a role model. He just wants to have fun and when something seems Serious, it's not as fun.

Like when I pulled him out of the ring for breaking a start last weekend. That is so Serious. I would do that with Otterpop in a second. Pulling her out of the ring for an infraction, she totally gets it. But Gustavo was more dazed and confused than anything when I did that.

All the serious waiting in that crate, I think I baffled his waffle a little too much and then he's just sort of scrambled.

Double S said...

Sounds a bit like the control part of impulse control training got really reinforced, but the impulse part not so much?!? Lots and lots and lots of cookies for being chill will, um, put them in a very slow place. Once they get the hang of just laying around collecting yummies the brain can get a little outta shape and the reason for lying quietly in his crate can become obscured. You still wanna have the drive and the crazy little dog in there ready to rip, right? For that the waiting has to be exciting--connect waiting with the ass-kicking excitement of Getting To Run Agility.

You, with all of your human-ness and your cookie and frisbee and life dispensing powers, need to remind Gustavo that being a little impulse-controlled crate-dwelling stoner dog is cool but you, Captain TSD, are in the outer space of cool. Way better than kicking back with a spleef in a space pod.

Heather said...

I've always felt that if they're not barking, you're not doing it right. I would find it too weird if my dogs weren't intensely jealous when I was running another dog.

I'm just not into all that control stuff ... I like agility because it's fun, the dogs get to be wild and crazy and be, well, dogs.

Which is why I have embroidered on my jacket: "Loud and Proud"

team small dog said...

Yeah. I guess the big issues are, when Gustavo barks, it is totally over the top monkeyscream freaking out. But he has fun and he runs fast and we're all happy. Maybe sort of irritated, but happy with the running. In a loud class with loud border collies, his monkeybarkscream, definitely stands out. Embarrassing and ear jarring to have the smallest dog barking the loudest.

With Otterpop, maybe more in regular life than agility, all the barking and carrying on makes her stressed out and when she gets too stressed out, she goes to the dark side. So I think I was hoping Gustavo not barking, a nice side effect of turning Otterpop into less of a headcase.

I obviously still haven't hit on the right combo. I am sure not going to do that to Gustavo again, make him think you have to use nicey nice manners indoor voice the whole time at agility. That was just SAD. Sorry everyone in my class. Maybe I have to buy everybody earplugs.

I think that I tried to put the same rules on everybody and have to modify that idea because Gustavo not an Otterpop. Otterpop not a Gustavo. Neither of them a Ruby. Otterpop, can do with that whole dog nazi thing. Gustavo, no way. That was just dumb. Ruby, such a best dog. She just likes doing whatever we're doing.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind ear-splitting screams, so you should tie-up next to us, but you are always on the far side of the arena, and we can't be there because we have ball-throwing after every run and ball-throwing and returning from ball-throwing crossing in front of all dogs to get to far side of arena is what gets *me* embarrassed. By the way, stop being embarrassed about Gustavo singing. Remember how you used to talk about it being singing? Singing much better word. Will make everyone happy being hearing a singing dog.

team small dog said...

We have to stay out on the end because Otterpop has to have her Space. So when she is around the barking, and there are dogs surrounding her barking, she becomes a giant stress ball. Which turns her into a tiny ticking time bomb of doom. So Gustavo being quiet, also makes for a better Otterpop. Maybe I just leave Gustavo tied up with border collies and they can all carry on however they want then Otterpop come down to the quiet, relaxing end of the deck. Ruby goes wherever. She doesn't care. She just wants to do some agility.

Elayne said...

Did you take some time to rile him up right before his run? Seems like if you can get him to calm down so easily you should be able to get him riled back up just as easily before he goes into the ring.

Personally I think it takes a lot of energy and stress for a dog to carry on like that for a whole evening. Stressful for the dog and all around him. Especially since you were saying before that it was impacting his ability to run in the ring. I think in the end if you can train him to turn off and on at your bidding you'll have better results because he can conserve all his crazy energy for the ring and not spend the evening buildng up adrenaline and stress hormones. No reason you can't have both with a little clever training.

team small dog said...

Gustavo runs happiest and best when he gets to bark and carry on. It's just stressful for me to hear. And others with quiet dogs. Others with barking dogs don't care.

Otterpop, on the other hand, gets stressed out. She barks because he barks but mostly she barks out of just being a stress case. The more barking from any dogs make her a stress case.

Gustavo just got so weirdo into the quiet game that he wouldn't rev back up. It was creepy. Because usually he has an instant rev switch. Him being revved up has rarely been an issue. Something about Dirt Nite venue though, off and on has always caused issues for him.

Otterpop, totally revs back up and actually happier when we worked on the quiet stuff. She likes it. She has that sort of dominmatrix vibe going on all the time.

Gustavo different. At home and when we practice without other dogs, revs right back up super. A funner game. Gets it. So like the intensity of being quiet around the other dogs backfired. Became less of a game and more of a mission for him. Exactly what control unleashed and crate games stuff shouldn't do. He is so easy to confuse. It doesn't take much for him to become completly baffled by things. So somehow I baffled him, have to back up and figure out where he gets lost.