16 May 2009

Where I watch a dog training DVD so you don't have to.

Last week, I was all boo hoo hoo, I ruined my dog, blah blah horrified teeter totter, to a friend. Obviously a dog training friend because, my non agility friends, like really. How much of this Poor Little Gustavo Scaredy Pants Teeter Totter you gonna take? My four readers that are left. But my dog training friend, who lives in a very dog training family, he did mention that there was this DVD laying around he hadn't seen, but maybe it would help me. Called Scaredy Dogs.

Of course I'm all insulted, like, I am such a nerdy dog training person I would sit down and watch a DVD about Scaredy Dogs? Don't I look like I go to wild parties every night and walk the red carpet and fetes in my honor? Where would I find time to watch a dog training DVD?

Don't answer that.

But instead, I'm all, sure, I am an open minded person and maybe I could learn something. I'll watch it. Instead of the HGTV channel, to which I am addicted. Every night, they go look at 3 houses, because they want stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and crown molding. And spacious master suites. And at the end of the half hour, they buy a house and then they love it and that's the end. Every single night! No one ever gets scared of their house, no one's water heater explodes, no one impaled on a garge door. Nothing like that. Maybe ugly carpeting. And sometimes they go and look at their 3 houses in Costa Rica or Nicaruagua and find stainless steel appliances there and best of all, other chubby American husbands with super skinny wives next door and a golf course. Also the houses are always like, $129,000 for 5 bedrooms and 2 acres because they're in far off states or Nicaragua. Which is so hysterically funny it always makes me cry my eyes out, and then I go to bed.

So, I watched Scaredy Dogs. Fully prepared to begin clawing my eyes out after the first 2 minutes and then watch my real estate show instead. But it was just a videoed presentation of a Clean Run conference, a lady named Carolyn Barney, with frumpy hair and wearing shorts and sneakers, talking her way through a power point presentation in a tent. You just don't see many power point presentations in tents on grass, is the first thing I'm thinking, which is enough to keep me watching for the first couple minutes. And she is a good talker. And I'm sorry I said that about her hair because you should see mine right now.

But here's where I get hooked. She's talking about fear and fear attachment and how, say, maybe your dog was almost eaten by a shark but at the same time a bunch of butterflies were flying by and now your dog has a horrible, abject fear of butterflies. And not especially sharks but maybe too. That's actually not the example she used, but I thought of it because Gustavo was just barking at a fake decorative butterfly wing laying on the couch that not just 2 days ago he ripped out of a potted plant and chewed up. And today it's scarey and he's barking at it. And I'm like, HELLO Team Small Dog!

And then, she shows a video of her dog that has MACH's and an ADCH and she's a fancy dog trainer and guess what? It goes around like Otterpop on a bad day and it's a jack russell and it's afraid of the judge! And my god. If it isn't like watching a video of Otterpop. So I'm thinking, my peeps. She is not feeling the shame, instead she is here to help me. So I watched her whole DVD.

I don't think she told me anything that blew my mind of newness, but she did make me think about things a little deeper than the usually incredibly shallow, granite countertop level I usually think about things. I don't want granite counter tops, btw. I want recycled glass and I'll never have a remodeled kitchen anyways so I don't even think about countertops beyond that. About how dogs can just keep experiencing fear all the time, and how fear is sort of butterfly and shark, so shark can be lesser than butterfly.

Made me think about my dogs a lot, who do have fears. Ruby's and Otterpop's fears, always had them from day one. I think I have been way more successful with Ruby overcoming her fears than Otterpop. Ruby is a good citizen now and could be a bank president. Of a financially secure, non bankrupt and non corrupt bank that keeps interest rates fair. I think Otterpop, me and her manage her best we can, but she is basically always a giant stress pile. And she is Gustavo's best friend. So maybe some rubs off. And his fears are so different and don't seem so serious because they don't seem scarey and involve barking at judges or involve her personal safety if she is scared of a big dog and freaks out at it then runs.

Gustavo barks at the pumpkin. The garbage cans. The decorative butterfly. But he doesn't seem insane or twisted, he loves people and seems happy so we just laugh at him when all of a sudden, MY GOD IT IS A STUMP, and he freaks out. It is sort of funny. I am pretty sure Carolyn Barney, dog trainer, wouldn't laugh at her dogs if they did this and would diligently train them and make them less fearful and she wears a bait pouch. I never wear a bait pouch. Carolyn Barney, she puts two plus two together and gets four and then she fixes her dogs. Like, she has a dog that can't ride in the car. Although I did sort of wonder, is it contagious? Because she has more than one Scaredy Dog? Is it her? Or her dogs? Or just luck of the irish?

Gustavo, enemy of the sheetrock screws and hammers. This side of him, sort of blossomed, in a not so fresh sort of way, with this whole teeter totter fiasco. So we're out there, retraining. He is in a happy place on Big Pink in the driveway right now. Baby steps, pressure off. But I think this teeter thing goes a lot deeper than one teeter totter slamming him in the ass. I know it does. I have a lot to think about. So now, my friends, we start to learn lots of new fun things about Dog Fear. Three readers left.

Carolyn Barney and Scaredy Dogs? If you don't mind watching a sweaty lady in a not incredibly supportive sports bra for an hour, and you are interested in dog fear and fear attachment, you will like this video. She's a good speaker, and even though I feel like I have learned it, I get it, classical conditioning, operant conditioning, shaping and luring, she gave me many things to think about and I only fell asleep once and woke up right away. This applies to lots of dogs, not just agility dogs. Any dogs who get scared. I think that you will learn something.


Double S said...

Still haven't lost me, Captain. I'm like a shark on butterflies. Thanks for the review, glad to hear about your vision quest for a confident dog. Anytime, really.

Elf said...

And speaking of crying your eyes out in amusement over house prices, did you see that the house next door to Workin' Paws is for sale? Five acres right next to an already agility place? With a lovely house? And WP wants someone who doesn't mind agility going on next door at 6 a.m. on weekends to buy it, anyone, please. She said they are so desperate to sell that they have dropped the price by $700,000. Does this sound like a house that a normal agility dog owner could actually afford in real dollars? Maybe it was a typo and she meant $7,000. Or even $70,000.

Unknown said...

I am going through teeter problems with my 4-year-old Pem corgi. He was okay with it at class for a while, then no. In Dec. 2007 he conquered my miniteeter with help from my other corgis. Some days okay with teeter at class (not at full height), usually not. Jan 2008, bought an AKC teeter for my basement. Teeter from breakfast a couple of times a week, gradually built up height and took away pads. Was doing great (could get sends to our own), even ventured on teeter at class

Heard dogs at class on teeter, and now back almost to square one. Our teeter is pretty much okay, most days, one at class not at all. Am also going to another class--they have brand new, shock-absorbing, counterbalanced, quiet teeter. Sonny went on it once, won't go near it.

Also had reached depths of despair, was ready to quit. Ranted in tears to close friend who called another friend--nearly underwent an intervention, I think. Had a lot of chocolate, got encouragement from many friends.

Decided Sonny just may be in jumpers and select CPE games the rest of his life. Decided we'll regroup and try again.

He's been fine with A-frame at class and at CPE trials. Was fine with dog walk, but wouldn't go on it at trial this weekend (I didn't belabor it, just moved on; it was only in one class).

Moving my teeter outside this week (may be done with snow now--in NE Ohio).

Sonny used to be terrified of balloons, fabric blowing in the wind. He's much better about these.

He absolutely, positively will not go through a tire jump that is set at 12 inches. 8 inches is perfectly fine.

Will get Scaredy Dog video and find June 2008 Clean Run article.

I feel your pain. Thanks for you blog! I no longer feel quite so alone in teeter trauma land.

team small dog said...

Baby, baby, baby steps. Definitely read the McMuffin article and watch that DVD.

Yep, I feel your pain. I've had teeter trouble with Otterpop but this just seems so extreme. I haven't upped Big Pink at all yet, but he is happily driving onto it and wanting to slam it (quiet, soft, pillowy slam) to the table, so I guess there's hope.

Keep me posted, Heather!

Hi SS!

I love those little 5 acre ranchettes of Hollister. Just the whole, Hollister part, sort of the bummer. Those are like giant mansions though. I wonder how cheap it's selling for, for reals? But wow. Any agility people want a cool place to move to, that's it. Maybe compared to like, snowy Ohio, Hollister not so, Hollistery? They do have the giant motorcycle rally there! And it is very beautiful.

Gus aka Clare said...

Hey, I'm still here in bonny Scotchland. Am I reader 4 or 5?

Sounds like I need to watch that DVD. But it's taking me a while to get thru 4 Lesley McDevitt DVDs. No reflection on her particularly, more that I have to a) find a niche in the wall-to-wall cop shows & reruns of auction/extreme shoutover shows watched by my nearest & dearest human and b) be in the mood. *sigh*

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