Luring Away Fears

Just a short one today. Even though I feel like all I do is spend time talking about and doing things for animals, I somehow still feel like I don’t spend nearly as much time with my dog as I should. Every morning after our walk, I sit down on the couch and attempt to write something. Some mornings Shiva will curl up beside me and go to sleep. This morning she will have none of it. Therefore, any spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are all Shiva’s fault.

That goes for every post I ever write. Because even if she is on the other side of the room, I swear she has the power to move my fingers at will.

Today’s silly video is, I think, an example of luring at it’s finest. When we don’t have a humongous stick to throw, this is how we get Shiva to relax in the water. We’ve tried to turn it into a game. Now almost every time we approach a body of water, Shiva will run up to the edge and look back at us in anticipation. You can see at the end I had pushed her just a wee bit out of her comfort zone. As soon as she snatched the kibble, she was out of there.

I was also trying to show off one of the tricks we have been working on, getting her to shake her body on command. She will almost always do it on a verbal when she is wet, but the struggle now is to get her to do it when dry. Add it to the ever-lengthening list!

What a goof.

Happy Friday, everyone!

44 thoughts on “Luring Away Fears

  1. I notice that not only did you teach Shiva to shake, but you taught her to back away from you first. Very smart, Kristine.

    This is a new idea for me and one I definitely want to try. I’ve always gone out in the water first and tried to coax Honey to come to me for the food. And yes, it’s freaking cold. Your idea looks much better.

    You use regular kibble? And does it definitely float?

    I think I’d have to use a higher value treat–I wonder if hamburger floats.

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    • Well, I can’t really take credit for doing that on purpose. Backing up is often her default move when offering behaviours. I’m not complaining!

      Not all kibble floats, actually. When we try different brands, we usually have to put it through the floating test. If it sinks on contact, we won’t buy it again. 😛

      Shiva is insanely food motivated and will work for kibble. It’s because we starve her, you see. Since you probably feed Honey regular meals you might have to use something more valuable. I can attest that hot dogs float and cheese does not. Not sure about hamburger, though. Worth a shot!

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  2. Luna would love this game, as she loves to eat things out of the water. She does like to swim though, and would love to have that body of water so nearby. Hopefully your girl learns to like to swim some day. It’s such a good outlet for them.

    Pamela- I think Hot dogs would float… doubt cheese would. Or some dehydrated treats might initially. Cheerios would too… hmmm what else. Try hot dog pieces first I guess.
    Anna
    http://www.akgvizslainspiration.wordpress.com

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    • We have got her to actually swim a few times, but only very briefly. We usually need a lot of energy and a very large stick. It’s frustrating because not only do we have a small lake in our backyard but we live in an area surrounded by ocean and zillions of lakes. Shiva doesn’t understand how good she has it! I am glad Luna is able to take advantage.

      Hot dogs definitely float. As does dedydrated liver. Cheese sinks on contact, unfortunately.

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  3. I wonder whether Eva likes this idea. Once I accidentally threw her kibble into her water bowl, she didn’t even try to pick it up. She just stared at me with the look that I should’ve thrown the kibble into her mouth instead of the water bowl. LOL!

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    • Eva may not be as food-obsessed. Like Pamela, you probably feed her more than once a week. 😛 (I’m joking, we could feed Shiva five times a day and she’s still do backflips for a piece of kibble.)

      Have you tried throwing one of her favourite toys? Every dog has a different currency.

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  4. Shake on command is a good trick! For now we are working on ours not shaking when they come back to heel from a water retrieve. Maybe eventually we will get to shake on command.

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    • Smart idea! Sometimes the last thing we want them to do is shake, especially if they are standing next to someone who may not love dog water all over them.

      We’re still working on perfecting it. Mostly I just thought it would be something unique to teach.

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  5. I could throw an entire dead cow in the pond and Our Best Friend still wouldn’t go after it. Right now it’s pouring rain and the poor boy can’t even get out to pee!

    Time spent is what makes the difference between a well-trained dog and the mess I have!

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    • Poor OBF! He really has it bad, doesn’t he? Sometimes you just need to start really, really small. I’d reward him for even looking out the door when it’s raining.

      When we started Shiva wouldn’t even put a toenail in the water. She used to run away when we would open a water bottle in front of her. It’s been her biggest hurdle, fear-wise. After two years she still won’t swim on purpose.

      Time is certainly at a premium, I know. Especially when you have kids. I often joke that if I was to have a child, I’d have to give it up because Shiva takes up too much of my time. 😉

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    • George is scared of the water, too? Is that a whippet thing? Curious.

      I’d give it a shot. What have you got to lose? other than a piece of food, I guess. Have a great weekend!

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      • Oh, yes, he hates water. I don’t know if he’s scared of it or just doesn’t like being wet. It’s actually quite common amongst whippets…Very few of them like water/rain/puddles, etc.

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    • Aww, thanks! Just a lot of time and patience. We started by rewarding her every time she did it naturally. I still am not able to get her to do it unless she is already wet. But that’s the plan.

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  6. Anything for the kibble! My dogs are so distracting, I actually have to leave my house, go to the gym, and get dressed there every morning, because if I stay at home I will inevitably start trying to train them, or talk to them, and take pictures, and I will be late.

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    • LOL. That’s too funny. I get up about three hours before I leave just so I will have enough time for such distractions and even then I am often running behind!

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  7. Kristine – THANK YOU! I really feel like I am learning some awesome new training tip almost every time I come here. Kolchak is impossible to get in the water. He usually enjoys it once he’s finally gotten in there, but coaxing him in is darn near impossible. I just never occurred to me to try tossing kibble snacks in for him to fetch. I can’t wait to hit up our lake house this weekend and try it. Thanks!

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  8. Great job with the shake trick! Very cute. My Lab is not too keen on water either (I know, weird right??), and I’ve tried coaxing him by tossing toys in, but what really helps is if I wade on out there with him. Not sure how cold it is by you, but might be worth giving a try when the weather allows.

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  9. Shiva is so cute:) If I tried that with Frankie and Beryl and kibble they’d look at my like I was crazy! Beryl will fetch a tennis ball from the river, but she won’t go in voluntarily. Frankie loves fetching sticks but wouldn’t go in just to cool off.

    I love the way Shiva backs away from you when she shakes so she doesn’t wet you, lol!

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  10. LOL! That made me laugh. Watching Shiva stretch her body out as far as it would go so she wouldn’t have to go too deep or in too far was funny. I don’t think she likes water much do you? 🙂

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  11. That’s how I got Jersey to swim, but I used sticks. I kept throwing them farther and farther away from the shore. Jersey didn’t like it when her feet didn’t touch the bottom. It took me 2 summers to get her to swim, but now I can’t get her out of the water!

    Love that Shiva can shake on command. Very nice work!

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  12. I have taught this trick – the thing to do is to phase out the water slowly.
    So ask for it in a place where they normally shake, click and reward. Then ask for it again while they are still wet, but slightly away eg. by the car away from the beach.
    Then ask for it again at home, while still wet. Then again, when they are dry but put a squirt of water on their head. Then put less water each time.
    Dogs cant generalise well, so they dont understand that ‘shake’ at the beach is the same as ‘shake’ at home.

    Hope this helps 🙂 Dont give up on tricks!!!

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  13. we are taking stevie wonder on a lake vacation this weekend and i may try this to get her to want to swim/play in the water. i have no idea how she will react!

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