Mellowed Insanity?

No amateur training video today. I gave myself a break last night and stayed away from the computer for a whole four hours before going to bed. I don’t think I’ve done that in a long time.

That doesn’t mean Shiva got to laze around. This week we worked on learning our lefts and rights. I say “we” because I don’t know them all that well either. Yes, I know it is a little sad but I have always struggled with remembering which is which. 90% of the time I guess correctly. That 10% I get it wrong has caused me a lot of problems. It’s one of the reasons I never, ever give directions anymore. Anyway, I stopped working on training left vs. right with Shiva over a year ago for this exact reason. I kept rewarding her for getting it wrong just because I would say one thing and mean something else. It was confusing.

 But, our agility instructor re-introduced it last class (before the infamous clash) and now I am determined to get this directional cue thing down. I will not have my inadequacies hold my dog back. Thus far, I think I have done pretty well. I don’t think I have gotten it wrong once this time! Perhaps focusing on my dog helps – prevents me from over thinking it too much.

Dog training, not only is it fun, it also cures dyslexia!

Basically, I start with Shiva sitting between my legs. I then say “left” and cue her to move left with a hand target. After rewarding, I do the same thing again but cuing “right”. It’s pretty simple at first and I make sure to change it up so she can’t pattern too easily on “left, right, left, right…” Now that she has started to understand what I am asking, I have removed my hand target and now throw out my reward once she moves in the right direction. It’s pretty tough for her little brain.

Those of you who have watched Shiva in action in the past know how eager she is to work, and work, and work. It is crucial in dog training to keep sessions super short. I admit, I sometimes can stretch them out a little bit longer than I should. Especially if she is doing well. Shiva’s insane drive gives me some leeway. Last night, however, I think I pushed her a little too far. For the first time ever she actually stopped showing any interest in the activity, lay down, and started chewing on her Kong. She couldn’t be any more obvious with her signals. I just had to laugh.

Is this what it is like to work with a normal dog?

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13 thoughts on “Mellowed Insanity?

  1. I’m sure Shiva will get her lefts and rights in now time, but good luck to you 🙂 I have a really hard time remembering them on course so I just use a generic “Switch” for changing directions. The only place I am going to use left and right is after our running dogwalk since I figure I can memorize the ONE place I would have to use it on course in our walkthrough versus needing to memorize 3 or more! There are certainly time where the direction would be helpful but it’s so hard for us people!


  2. OK, the fact she went to chew her kong is awesome! It made me laugh.

    Daisy typically is on a leash when we train (no yard here) so when she gives up she just sits nicely in front of me and doesn’t move. She’ll paw me if I keep trying with her and she wants the food. But her butt doesn’t move.


  3. I am laughing because when hubby works with Blueberry, she is easily offended. If she thinks she’s not getting it right, she will quit. So, when she’s done, she goes into the crate and lays down with her back to him. Cracks me up every time!


  4. I too struggle with lefts and rights. My husband will say turn left and I’ll start to turn the other way and he’s say, NoNo Left! And I’ll say, you know me you need to point!! haha

    Yay for a new trick! I need to get back to working with Jackson.


  5. It’s always fun to read about you teaching Shiva new things. I know there are a lot out there, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a dog first-hand who loves to work and learn as much as Shiva.


  6. Hahaa. When I saw the title, I thought for sure this was an April Fool’s joke. Shiva, mellow? I’m still not sure you’re not just messing with us . . .

    Before we started the KPA I was working on teaching Emma “right” for a spin to the right and “left” for a spin to the left. Since we don’t do (and probably won’t) agility, I hope it won’t cause a problem later on.

    I also have dogs who don’t stop. They would both probably work for an hour straight or more. I keep sessions to under 3 minutes max, though I have short breaks and have lots of sessions in a 2-3 hour period almost daily.

    I once brought Charlie with me to an all-day Pam Dennison shaping workshop. I think it started at 9 AM and ended at 6 or so. For the very last exercise most dogs were done – they barely wanted to get up from their mats/get out of their crates. Pam asked if anyone was still in the game and up for learning something new. Charlie, and I think another 2 or 3 dogs were the only participants. The nut job even decided that he wanted to jump over the ring gates because going around just took too long, and he wanted to train NOW. So I feel your pain. At least Shiva’s quiet when she trains, appreciate what you have!!!


  7. Really like the new header and description :). Onward, forward (and occasionally, backward) but all is progress. Very good reminder for short training sessions. Now, if Justus will simply agree….


  8. Oh….what fun I could have with your dog! Shiva keeps you on your toes and that’s what I love about having dogs as a part of my family. They’re somewhat akin to having 2 year olds or teenagers. You never quite know what to expect, and you know you never can quit trying to move forward. Good luck!


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