Monday, December 12, 2011

CHRISTMAS!!!!! And Sleepy...Or Vice Versa Actually :-)

There's a lot of Christmas in this post...but lets start off with my "sleepy puppy" post...it all started with a blog post by Denise Fenzi A brilliant post. And one that I will keep forever. I get students that want to push their dogs...I try to tell them it doesn't work so well with every dog. And I think they look at my dogs and say to themselves "well YOUR dogs..."

Yes? My dogs what? At the time you see them they may be running their asses off, they may be very motivated. They also, in the past, yesterday, a year ago, whatever, have gone through challenges.

ALL OF MY DOGS HAVE HAD CHALLENGES. PERIOD. There is no perfect dog...I will say that a million times more.

For me personally...part of the fun of dog training is being able to communicate with an animal that doesn't speak English. Figuring things out...working on yourself as a person to break through barriers of communication and when it happens, it's SUPER rewarding! I know, somehow, I will get it figured out...that is where the breakdown occurs. I think people worry they won't get something figured out. So they tend to panic, or ask EVERYONE they know what the answer is. They get all sorts of opinions, quick fixes (which usually don't work FYI) and more confusion.

Many people get frustrated at this...my advice for those of you is, STOP, OBSERVE and THINK.

YOU KNOW YOUR DOG...ONLY YOU

YOUR DOG IS A REFLECTION OF YOU AS A TRAINER--I don't care if you have a million excuses, if you ACKNOWLEDGE this ONE thing...you will stop making excuses, and start really understanding your dog.

STOP doing what you are currently doing that isn't working (definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results). If you do the same thing over and over again, and your dog isn't getting it...you will frustrate your dog and yourself. Confusion, shutting down, worry, over the top behaviors (spinning, biting, etc etc)...you name it. That is your dog telling you they don't understand. SO STOP. Just stop. Put the clicker down, put the toy down, put the food away and just STOP. Yes...I know, it's tough. But just do it. The more you do this, the easier it gets.

OBSERVE: Watch your dog, it's amazing how people really don't watch their dogs. They SEE them doing things...but do they REALLY watch them? Watch each stride, watch their eyes, look for tension in their bodies when they are working, confidence etc etc. What EXACTLY, are they doing, are they stressed, are they tired, are they sick, are they happy, body language (if you don't know your dogs, get a book and STUDY it--seriously). EXAMINE YOUR DOG LIKE THEY ARE UNDER A MICROSCOPE...

THINK: Get away from the training, go find a place you can just brainstorm...get a pen and a piece of paper and start writing...don't worry about flow, or anything, just your thoughts that come to you. Write them down, don't look at the paper or try to connect things...just write down what you think.

THEN look...think through stuff in your mind. Solutions will come to you...

Sometimes the best solution is to just let things happen.
Insert sleepy puppies...
Lynn :) I've actually had 2 sleepy puppies...Lynn and Gator...if you have been reading my blog long enough...you have seen how Lynn has developed.

But lets start with Gator. I'd say he has been a very successful little man. He's a hard worker, listens, gives 200% and I absolutely ADORE him. BUT...

He was a pretty dumpy dude until he was easily 11 months old. No training for him at ALL before that. We just played and played and played. I saw others pups and soooo wanted them over my boy. On sheep he was worried, cautious, would actually leave if ANY pressure was applied. I didn't actually put him back on sheep until he was almost 3 years old. At that age, the dog would work ANYTHING...he is one hell of a strong dog, will grip with no hesitation when asked...absolutely lovely!!!! I think if I would have pushed him on stock that would have ruined him. I'm very glad I didn't. He matured...he learned...I learned and now, well I doubt anyone would say he's a dud ;-)

Lynn was far more challenging...because she didn't SHOW in the beginning that she was going to be sleepy. She started out fast and furious as a baby...soaking up EVERYTHING I gave her!! I trained her, and she loved it...then a wall. Her maturity wasn't keeping up with what I wanted from her. Things broke down some...I stopped and did a lot of thinking...and rethinking...and MORE rethinking...while I did that, Lynn just did dog things. Played with me. No expectations.

Now? Due to patience on my part, and really working on how I communicate with her, she's a lovely little dog. I am enjoying her so very very much!!!!!!

Maturity was her friend, and she taught me to be patient and follow strictly the rules I mentioned above about how to work through problems. She taught me to bend things, to let things go. Perfection is NOT the goal.

LEARN TO READ YOUR DOG

If any of you ever get to go to a herding clinic (thinking border collie style training here)...GO...AUDIT...LEARN. I'm dead serious. These people have to read animals EXTREMELY WELL to do what they do. And I think that you will all come back with a different view of dog training and communication in general.

I don't really think of my dogs in regards to labels...such as sleepy puppy, over the top, etc etc. Though when talking with people those words are useful to describe them. My dogs just are who they are. I work really hard on ME to not have expectations, to not think this dog is going to be THE NEXT BEST THING EVER. Maybe that holds me back as a trainer, I'm not sure, I've never won USDAA Nationals. But for ME, what I do with my dogs is because I enjoy my dogs (not saying those that win don't! Just talking about ME here). I might not appreciate a certain behavior or lack of talent in a dog, but I don't JUDGE the dog. Judging doesn't accomplish anything for me as a trainer.

So...for those who worry that when I say "Let Things Be"...I really mean it, and I really understand the frustration you have...and it WILL HELP :) I promise!

OK...that's about all the serious-ness---CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!!!!!!!!!!
Loretta seriously spazzes this time of the year...SERIOUSLY. I love Christmas--ok, minus shopping for presents (can you say AMAZON.COM??) but everything else about the holiday is COMPLETE AND TOTAL AWESOMENESS...
So my house gets decked out...I just can't help myself...
Stockings for everyone (yes we do fill them with stuff too...I know...shake your heads, I don't care :)...
Poinsettias--where puppies can't get to them...LOVE the red.
Did I mention I love red??
And alcohol...I love alcohol too :-)
I just love the colors, the lights, and the fact that I can have GLITTER crap EVERYWHERE...TEE HEE! The dogs have glitter on them, so does the husband, he probably hates me for it...whatever ;-) Crackers looks super cook with red glitter...party boy ;-)
And of course, with Christmas, COMES THE ANNUAL PUPPY CHRISTMAS PICTURE!!!!!!!! YAYAYAYAYAAYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
Awwwww shit....really!!?!?!?!?!?!
You gotta be kidding me...
I ate 17 gallons of sheep shit today...I don't feel so good...
GREAT! That means he'll not look like a drug mule that has a load of cocaine that just burst in his colon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!! Sick is GOOD for Christmas photo with Crackers...
(in reality, the barfing on my couch, ON KLINK, and on the kitchen floor was what I got as revenge--I earned it I guess).
NO...I'm sleeping...see? SLEEPING...Yep...No Takey Picture...
I'm old, Kiss my ass. I refuse to do photos...if you try to make me, I'll roll over, act like a corpse, and everyone will think you tried to beat me right before the photo. Screw merriment...I've taken that damn photo for like 10 years. I IS RETIRED. Ass...but you have earned it Acer Pup :) I'll just keep telling everyoe "NO Ace is not gone...he's still here! He just hates pictures"...Cause I love ya dude :)
PICTURES!!?!??!? DID YOU SAY PICTURES!?!?!?!??! I AM SOOOOOOO IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CAN I HAVE MY PICTURE WITH THE GIANT FUZZY SQUEAKY BALL!?!??!?! I'LL JUST BE THE ONLY DOG!!!! THEY DON'T WANNA....ME ME ME ME ME!!!!!!!!!!!

Shut up Zip, yes...we are taking the photo...
Maybe if we distract her...with shiny things...

Crap...
Puppies under the tree!!!!!!!!!!!! No sedatives!!!!! YAY!
So not all of them were happy...and Crackers kept letting off a green cloud of sheep shit gas that about made all of us hurl...but did it...
Oh yeah...and this is why I did that with them...because Lynn has NO hair. Where is it? On my carpet, on my furniture, EVERYWHERE. Gotta love intact girls... :)

So after lots of pictures...I got one that would work :)
TA DA!!! HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!!!!!
I hope you all have tons of holiday spirit in your hearts!!!

5 comments:

Taryn said...

Great post and wonderful Christmas pictures!

Merry Christmas to the Full Tilt Gang!

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

That is the BEST picture ever!

I feel like I got reverse sleepy with Vito. But the message is still the same. Love the dog you have.

Amis said...

LIKE!

Catalina said...

OMG I love your pictures! They are all so cute. Have a fun time with your family and bring back lots more pictures and stories. I also liked the other parts of the post :) read every word!

Ellie said...

Hey, Loretta... Merry Christmas! I just wanted to let you know that I've selected your blog for a Liebster Award... if you're interested, check out my most recent blog post for the rules and other fun stuff. I always enjoy reading your blog :)