Monday, November 5, 2012


WOW, two blog posts in one week! INSANITY!!! This is what happens when I have weekends off! :) AHHHHHHHH!

Even...feeling kind of how I feel...
I have made this my iphone picture...and my ipad picture...and my laptop picture...daylight savings sucks...I just wanna snuggle with puppies all day!! is what I was actually writing about...sorry.

Something I think we, as dog trainers get caught up into is "labeling"...high drive, low drive, biddable, etc etc etc. Especially our own dogs!!!

Dogs may or may not start out like this (sometimes it's just the approach used that can make a dog less biddable etc---an entirely different post!)...but dogs change. 

For example...the training of Lynn, it is changed TEN FOLD since the beginning of her puppy hood. She has changed monthly, weekly, even daily.
She's now a boob biter...that is NOT the puppy she was...just SAYIN'...

We must train the dog we have. This involves constantly reassessing what your dog is at THAT moment in time.


My dog is unfocused on the start line because he is an intact male. I have worked start lines and he KNOWS his job, I will be told by someone. 

Yet, what I see on the start line is not a dog distracted by "instinctive urges"...but a dog stressed...

Does it matter to me WHY the dog is stressed? Of course, but my main focus is, the dog is stressed. How do we make that stop happening? THIS becomes my #1 goal.

So I will focus on that part of the startline, rewards go up, baby steps, supporting, instilling confidence etc etc.

And I normally get the same response "YES...but normally he is such a MALE...all sniffy and bratty"...

And my response is always the same. OK...well as of right now, you have a dog that is worried. That is all I see at this moment. See how he is avoiding eye contact, licking his lips, turning away from you? See his ears?

RIGHT NOW, in this moment in time, that is what you have. It can and WILL change...
Gator a worried startline dude. Now? No worries :)

After more normally is found out that a long list of "stuff" has been tried. Regardless if whether it is good or bad. It has shaped this dogs start line into what it is AT THIS MOMENT.

SO...what is the answer? Do we train the dog the owner SAYS he has always been, or do we train the dog I am OBSERVING.

We train the dog we have. 
I was told Klink wouldn't make a great agility dog...because she was so focused on a tug toy when she was 6 months old, she could't do anything other than stare at it :) Hmmmmm

I always train the dog I have. If I didn't train the dog I have at that moment, exactly how am I really training my dog effectively? 

If my dog is normally a tougher dog, and suddenly has a "sensitive" I still treat that dog as if it is tough? must adjust. That's one of the points of dog training that makes it such an art. Adaptation :)

This dog was then put through the paces of a dog lacking confidence on the start line and instantly, the attitude came back, the dog was happy, confident and ready to enjoy the process of start line training again.
As a baby Crackers was sensitive...once shutting down completely because he was asked to do a restrained recall in a dirt barn...NOT ANYMORE!
Maya was an OCD mess, no focus, so anxious she couldn't work sheep well at see for yourself :)

Reassess the dog you have, make it a weekly event if you are doing a ton of training...the older dogs normally settle into their "mode of action" and things don't change as readily, so you take a look less often. But reassessing your younger dogs and puppies is REALLY important.

Reassessment allows you to tailor your training to that particular dog! Quality is more important than quality! Having 7 dogs, 6 of which are currently working will teach you that.  I want to be able to do small sessions, concentrated on what those dogs need. By taking a look at my dogs, and what they are at that point in time, it lets me do just that.
 Lynn...I love this dog. I LOVE THIS DOG SO MUCH SOMETIMES IT HURTS...most of you have been there for her journey :) It's one I would take over and over again...

My students dogs change weekly, and I have to make sure they are adapting to their younger, NEW dogs, each week :) Reassessment helps students realize all the amazing progress their dogs have given them. It also helps them to learn the art of adaptation in regards to dog training. It's a very important skill that must be used often.

Case in of my students has a new rescue pup, WONDERFUL dog, but she came with some baggage and the student is working through it. This dog changes weekly! Some weeks she is miss bratty, crazy, other weeks we see that biddable, attached to the momma, side...then she will flip back for a few weeks to bratty and demanding. This student is constantly adapting to what the dog is at the time, and working towards what she wants :) It's neat to see this dog, who used to be a constant, demanding, anxious, non-trusting dog...developing into a wonderful, biddable, trusting companion and agility dog. The latter days are happening more and more often!!

If this student always worked with this dog as if she was the bratty, demanding dog...things would not be changing as quickly...but when the dog becomes more biddable, the owner becomes more biddable...and this really cool thing happens...there is a connection. It's so damn neat. 

What I live for I guess, is the best way to describe it :) I'm a dog training nerd!
Vittles is...well...Vittles, cats don't change...or maybe they do. She no longer hangs on the damn screen door when she wants in...just screams her head off...HEY! CHANGE!?!?!? :)
She's a special one...and one that hasn't gotten a lot of blog time lately...she's too busy killing things...I should have named her Dexter...


We must be able to move on from what dogs were to what they ARE...adapt, change our approaches. Reassessment is a HUGE part of that process.

So...take a look at your dog, use a friend to assess your dog if you are having issues...but. IS your dog truly the same dog you had even a month ago? Chances are, if the training is fitting the situation, they are not. They have improved, they have changed. And it's then your turn to change WITH them.

On completely different notes...My sheep are adorable :)
You are too Vittles...

 Cats are super dramatic...

...BUT VERY FUN TO WATCH..Right Even???
Say what??? I'm watching the cat...were you talking to me? Sorry... someone watching me????'s that damn other barn kitty that never makes a blog appearance...Miss Cleo (insert Jamaican accent when you read it..TYVM)
She and Vittles, after like 45 years, have reach an agreement...stay away from each other. Practice being a Minnesotan...and ignore. It seems to be working :)

This weekend was just about relaxing and enjoying life...PLAYING!!!!
Crackers is enjoying this...Lynn is undecided...

And STARING!!!!!
Oh wait!!! Maybe that's just my dogs...
Maya stares at sheep...that counts, YES??

And LOTS of sheep sex!!!!!
 Cue porn music...

You creepy blog readers were thinking I was taking pictures of my sheep breeding...weren't you? 
 You're sick...sick sick sick...

I don't do those things...
 I might have sent a video to the husband though...with a Snicker and a Snort and a HAHAAHAHAHA!!!!!!! SHEEP SEX!!! He has NO STAMINA!!! HAAA!!!
 And then I might have realized it was his work phone...and that I probably got him in trouble...evil grin.

Oops...this is all hypothetical...

Don't judge me.

This photo shows what happens as you breed dogs...Zippity on the far left (ok the husbands leg on the far left...but whatever)...Lynn next to Zip....and then Even...
 Even was the last born...I think she ran out of only explanation for those eyes...

I'm gonna miss my little Crackhead dogs...But I am looking SOO forward to some SUNLIGHT IN NORTH CAROLINA!!!!!!!!!

Oh...and yeah, take the first part of this blog post to heart :) LOL

1 comment:

Diana said...

Looking forward to you coming to NC. Whoohooo!! So excited.

And, thats the biggest tennis ball Ive ever seen.