Thursday, April 07, 2011

Control Yourself!

Someone commented on yesterdays post and asked if I could talk about the impulse control games I am playing. I have just started the very basics of foundation training with Brit. Mostly we are focusing on building a relationship. But one of the things we do every day is work on impulse control. Brit came with none. In fact I think that some of her bad habits were encouraged. (dog chasing, cat watching, her inability to sit

She is very motion sensitive and could not focus on me if the cats, or Pixel were moving around. She is also very distracted by food and likes to sniff the floor. She did not understand that when I said her name she was to look at me.

With work she is coming along though- and has made lots of progress in the past few weeks.

Here are a few things we are doing:

The Name Game: Say the name, feed the dog. Now Brit will look away from anything- moving pixel, the cats, food- on just her name.

Crate Games: This is a huge way to build up impulse control, and increase excitement for working. We are at the "your in, your out" stage right now.

No Mugging: (see photo above) The dog needs to learn to have patience to get what they want. This was very difficult for Brit as she is VERY food motivated. The second part of this will be teaching her to maintain position (i.e a sit) and not move her feet, or lean forward or up to catch a dropped cookie. This may take a while.

Stay: Pretty self explanatory but basically she needs to learn to stay in position- sit, stand, down and not move until she hears a release word. We can proof this with thrown toys, dropped food, my motion, the other dogs motion etc.

All of these games will help her to learn to stay focused in exciting environments. We are also doing other games to increase motivation, toy drive, body awareness, and all that kind of stuff. So far I am doing the exact same thing I did with Pixel when she was a baby. :) And I know that it created a good working dog the first time around so I am pretty sure it will work a second time!

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