My week of training fun

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Postby Hundilein » March 15th, 2010, 11:29 pm

I just realized that it's been three weeks since my week of training fun that I meant to share with PBT a lot sooner than now. Alas, I am a lazy procrastinator, so I'm just now getting around to it.

So, three weeks ago, I went to Animal Farm Foundation for a job interview and I got to meet Roo and Wallace! If you ever get the chance to visit AFF and/or Roo, do it. I was only there for about a day and a half and I will remember it for a long time to come. It was awesome. They even ordered up a snowstorm so I could remember what it's like living in the frozen North. Roo is such a nice guy, and pretty hilarious to drive through a snowstorm with.

AFF clicker trains all of their dogs, and uses tons of shaping with them. They let me get in on the shaping fun and by the end of the day, my head was about to explode from all the nifty cool things I got to observe and experience. I had so much fun meeting everyone and seeing what they do. They have an awesome set up and awesome people with awesome attitudes. And I loved meeting all of the dogs. They even let me have a sleepover with one of them. He was such a sweetie and once I explained to him that pillows are not dog toys, he was a perfect angel. There were a few in particular that really stole my heart. Roo also let me have a try at clicker training with Wallace. I didn't do very well, but Wallace entertained me with what I called his "squished frog" pose.

Then at the end of the week, I headed off to Charlotte for a seminar by Turid Rugaas, of Calming Signal fame. The seminar was very interesting, and challenged a lot of my thoughts about dog behavior and training. Turid would be appalled at some of the things I do with Renee, and I don't even want to think about what she'd say to Erin and my other dog sport friends. I think I agree with her overall philosophy, I'm just not completely sold on all the details. She demo'ed her technique for loose leash walking, which was neat to see in action. I'm thinking about trying it with Renee, but I don't know if I have the patience to start from scratch.

Just wanted to share my fun with PBT because you guys will understand, and my family gets tired of hearing me go on and on about dogs :mrgreen:
Sarah and Renee - aka wild child
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Postby CinderDee » March 15th, 2010, 11:32 pm

I would love to hear more about the Turid Rugaas seminar. It sounds like you had an awesome week!
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Postby TheRedQueen » March 15th, 2010, 11:47 pm

CinderDee wrote:I would love to hear more about the Turid Rugaas seminar. It sounds like you had an awesome week!


*jealous* of all your fun!

I too want to know more about Turid Rugaas...
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby Hundilein » March 16th, 2010, 9:52 am

TheRedQueen wrote:
CinderDee wrote:I would love to hear more about the Turid Rugaas seminar. It sounds like you had an awesome week!


*jealous* of all your fun!

I too want to know more about Turid Rugaas...


She talked a lot about stress in dogs and some of the body's physiological responses to stress. She believes that most problem behaviors are rooted in stress. She is very big on a more "natural" (for lack of a better word) lifestyle for dogs. She believes that we are responsible for our dogs and so we need to make choices that allow them to live a good life, and she always tries to put herself in the dog's place when considering any activity she does with the dog. She also thinks a lot of people (especially Americans) try to control dogs too much.

She talked about walking with dogs and about taking dogs to enriching environments with dogs as a form of mental stimulation, which she thinks is more important than physical exercise for a lot of dogs. She asked everyone to raid their cars on our lunch break one day to find interesting things for dogs to explore, and then she set up an "enriching environment" for the dogs who were there and let owners take turns walking their dogs through it. That was kind of neat. There was a beagle there with no eyes who had a ton of fun sniffing around and finding the treats she had strewn through all the random stuff. She showed pictures of a shelter she had done this with and she suggests it as enrichment for any shelter dog.

She also talked a bit about how she runs a puppy class, which was really interesting. She doesn't do things like sit and down in puppy class because she says it's bad for their developing joints to go up and down all the time. Instead she works on things like recalls, attention, loose leash walking, obstacles for older puppies to experience, and nosework. She does "pancake tracking" in puppy class, where she rolls up thin pancakes and puts them on the end of a string and lets kids in the class drag them into the woods or brush and then lets the puppies go find them.

She showed her method of teaching loose leash walking, which basically involves teaching the dog that a novel sound predicts treats and then using that sound to get the dog to follow you. She likes to use body harnesses and longer leashes to take pressure off the dog's neck and give him more freedom to explore.

She also showed some clips of working with reactive dogs and explained a little bit about some of the things she does. She uses a lot of parallel walking and having a helper walk between the dogs to mimic the way dogs split each other when things start to get tense.

The big thing I'm not entirely sure about is that she says that "high energy" dogs are stressed dogs. She does not believe in playing fetch with a dog, or ever throwing anything (ball, stick, disc, etc) for a dog. She thinks it stresses them out and lets them practice chasing things which can lead to chasing people, bicycles, cars, etc. She also thinks crates are awful and that destructive behavior is a result of stress or being left alone too long, too soon. She says puppies should never be left alone until they are adolescents. She made a lot of comparisons to wolves and I generally try to stay away from that.

All in all it was a really fun weekend and it made me think about a lot of different things. I learned some new things, including at least a few things that I will likely incorporate into my training.
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Postby CinderDee » March 16th, 2010, 10:03 am

That's so interesting! Thanks for taking the time to write it out for us.

She asked everyone to raid their cars on our lunch break one day to find interesting things for dogs to explore, and then she set up an "enriching environment" for the dogs who were there and let owners take turns walking their dogs through it. That was kind of neat.


Can we do this in our homes or does it have to be outside somewhere? If it's a crummy, rainy day is this something that I can do to keep Zuzu occupied?
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Postby Hundilein » March 16th, 2010, 10:14 am

CinderDee wrote:
She asked everyone to raid their cars on our lunch break one day to find interesting things for dogs to explore, and then she set up an "enriching environment" for the dogs who were there and let owners take turns walking their dogs through it. That was kind of neat.


Can we do this in our homes or does it have to be outside somewhere? If it's a crummy, rainy day is this something that I can do to keep Zuzu occupied?


We did it inside. I don't think it much matters whether it's inside or outside, as long as the "stuff" is new to the dog. She used treats with most of the dogs, just to get them interested in exploring, but she said if the dog will explore without them, not to use them. And she didn't the treats, she just put them down around all the stuff. She also likes to do nosework, where you could actually hide the treats for the dog to find, but the point of the enriching environment is just for it to be something new. She does this with her dogs in random places she happens upon as well. She just lets them spend 10-15 minutes wandering around exploring new places every few days. At the one shelter, I think they used a courtyard of some kind, and the staff would rearrange things and add/subtract things every couple of days to make it different. She suggested checking out yard sales/thrift stores/things put out at the curb on trash day, etc to find new and interesting things for the dogs to explore.
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Postby mnp13 » March 16th, 2010, 11:40 am

She does not believe in playing fetch with a dog, or ever throwing anything (ball, stick, disc, etc) for a dog.

:shock: :shock: :shock:

I'm assuming she's never owned a Labrador RETRIEVER?

lmao
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Postby TheRedQueen » March 16th, 2010, 3:03 pm

mnp13 wrote:
She does not believe in playing fetch with a dog, or ever throwing anything (ball, stick, disc, etc) for a dog.

:shock: :shock: :shock:

I'm assuming she's never owned a Labrador RETRIEVER?

lmao


She doesn't like playing DUMBBALL? :crazy2:

Erin...with her highly stressed dogs that love to play DUMBBALL
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby tiva » March 17th, 2010, 6:49 pm

I respect a lot of Turid Rugaas's work, but her ideas about chasing and hunting seem absurd to me (in part because her ideas about hormones are problematic. She's right that hunting behaviors release corticosteroids into the dog's bloodstream; she's wrong that this is always a bad thing for a dog).

She admires the 'natural' life for dogs, but because dogs evolved from canids that were both predators and scavengers, most dogs, when left to their own devices, love to chase, pounce, hunt, and kill. Our two farm dogs have the sort of 'natural' life she talks about--lots of lazing about sniffing on 20 fenced acres. And every chance they can get, our dogs are chasing, pouncing, killing, and retrieving any bunny or rodent dumb enough to sneak under the fence and get into our gardens. I've never met a dog who doesn't love to hunt. If we can't provide them with hunting opportunities, for many dogs, fetch, frisbee, and other chase games are as close as they can get.

Plus, all the dogs photographed in her books and websites seems pretty obese to me. Maybe if they did a bit more hunting and chasing, they wouldn't get so plump?
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Postby CinderDee » March 18th, 2010, 8:35 am

We did it inside. I don't think it much matters whether it's inside or outside, as long as the "stuff" is new to the dog. She used treats with most of the dogs, just to get them interested in exploring, but she said if the dog will explore without them, not to use them. And she didn't the treats, she just put them down around all the stuff. She also likes to do nosework, where you could actually hide the treats for the dog to find, but the point of the enriching environment is just for it to be something new. She does this with her dogs in random places she happens upon as well. She just lets them spend 10-15 minutes wandering around exploring new places every few days. At the one shelter, I think they used a courtyard of some kind, and the staff would rearrange things and add/subtract things every couple of days to make it different. She suggested checking out yard sales/thrift stores/things put out at the curb on trash day, etc to find new and interesting things for the dogs to explore.


I think Zuzu would really benefit from this. Thanks!
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Postby TheRedQueen » March 22nd, 2010, 10:12 am

Dumbball blog post...
http://www.wootube.net/2009/12/dont-min ... -mindless/

This is exactly how I feel about being told that playing fetch with my dogs is a bad idea... :D
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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