Archive for March 9, 2014

Learn Something New Every Day

Leash corrections are easy to use but, in the end, the dog only learns that the handler has issued a painful or uncomfortable correction. This then becomes a fear imprint, not a learning experience. The dog may become afraid of what causes the correction (ie, reaction to another dog). The dog then will turn out to be reactive to other dogs not because he doesn’t want to be ‘friends’ but because he fears the correction that he is now conditioned to expect. What the dog has not learned is what the appropriate, or correct, behavior should be.

This problem is compounded when corrective collars such as prong (pinch) collars or choke (check) chains are used. Yes, in the beginning the dog may respond to the correction but, after time, the dog may start to react to his fear of the correction. My theory of why this happens: If you were smacked every time another person walked by you might start to react to seeing another person, even at a distance, because you know a correction (a smack) is coming. You reaction may be to yell at the other person to go away but what actually happens while you are warning them away? You get smacked repeatedly until you stop yelling, which coincides with when the other person is no longer visible.

The dog may be thinking the same thing. He’s warning the other dog off, telling him to go away, because he now knows that the correction isn’t going to stop until the other dog is gone and he no longer has to warn him away. Therefore, in his mind, his warnings are working because the other dog is no longer visible and the corrections have stopped.

The only hard data or facts I have to prove this is that since I no longer use any harsh methods my dogs are more relaxed AND reliable. I am coming away from this school a better person all around, not just a better trainer.

A day with My Service Dog

I am constantly going in circles, trying to figure out which direction I should take. It honestly feels like I’m spinning a wheel and whatever comes up will be my plan of the day. I’m just waiting for it to show “meet Alien Life Forms in Landers and begin search for intelligent life.” Today’s challenge was to run errands. As tired and sore as I was from yesterdays adventures, I knew that my service dog would need to be coming with us. Desi Doo Doo Dane, our 3 year old rescue, is also my service dog in training. Into the truck and off we went.
Desi was ready to go!

The Farmers Market in Joshua Tree was our first stop. We got plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, ordered a special wrap around leash That I can use when I need both hands free, and even met up with friends and another Service Dog as well. We passed a pack of chihuahuas that were screamin’ and given their mom fits but all the other dogs were well behaved. I love the farmers market. Everyone is friendly and love to meet the dogs. We always gain what we call the Pupparazzi following us and asking for pictures.

After the farmers market we headed out to lunch at Papa’s Smoke House for some pulled pork. Desi was awesome. He laid down beside the table and the server even brought him a bowl of water. He did give an eye to our food and I think he looked a bit peeved that he got water and we had barbecue…but I made up for it in the car with his lamb treats.

From there we headed to Unique Garden Center where Mike and his crew are full of desert landscaping help and pointers and have Mesquite honey which we need to deal with Dixies allergies. It’s also where Desi saw his very first chicken!

Last stop on our trip was Home Depot to pick up misc stuff for a secret project that I am working on. Heading for home, Desi was napping in the back until we pulled in to a convenience store near home.

“Mom…can’t dad go in the store while we stay in the car, puhleezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzze?”
He was pretty tuckered out and took a long nap when we arrived home.