Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 49

Hi guys. Rough day today. I arose late and had to rush off to a doctor's appointment which was followed by a funeral for a friend's mother and then another doctor's appointment for the husband's knees, so its been a day.

All of this running around has made for a very rammy Bear this evening so we have been playing ball and wrastling and playing tug of war and I'm whomped. He, on the other hand, thinks we should play some more. I think tomorrow we are going to take two walks as well as playing outside because he is driving me nuts.

CC asked in the comments what we are doing for teaching Bear the "come" command. There are several schools of thought on this. One school is that we could put him on a lead with a choke chain and have him come to us from the sit position using a tug on the command. Another school is that we could use treats and reward him with them every time he comes. Yet another is that we could turn it into a game for him and finally build a strong enough relationship that when we call him, he can't concieve of doing anything other than responding to us.

The last option was what I had with the Budman from day one. On the first day that we had him, I had him on a cable run and was talking to a neighbor by the road. Bud actually broke the cable and came charging over because the only thing he wanted in the world was to sit next to me, which he proceeded to do.

Some relationships are like that. The one that I have with Bear is not...yet. Bear, at this point, knows he has a "good gig" going here and is "jazzed to be on the show" but the absolute, unconditional bond isn't there with him yet. He doesn't feel that he needs to be right there with me the way that Buddy did. This is not to say that he doesn't like me or love me, he just doesn't trust that I am in charge yet and probably won't until after he is neutered, if then. As far as he understands, I've never been there when he has absolutely needed a human to be there for him and he's never been scared here. When he goes to the vet, even though the vet I am using is one of the most gentle people I've ever known, he will be separated from his home and us and when we come back for him, that will probably be the point at which things will change for him because we won't just be dumping him, we will be coming back for him. That's a new experience for Bear.

So, for now, we are using a lot of games...I call him and run or walk in the opposite direction until he comes. I get down on the ground and "play bow" while calling him and sometimes I scold him when he knows he's being naughty and taking off with the ball or ignoring me in the house. Scolding is the least effective, at this point. Also, I'm not really using treats as "rewards" but more as a part of the daily schedule of things. I know that a lot of people "treat train" their dogs, but I really don't want a dog to behave on the basis of whether or not it gets a treat. I want a dog who behaves on the basis of the relationship it has with me and that, in this case, is gonna take some time and growing for both Bear and me.

Those are the best tips I can give you on this one, although the game one from saratogajean on the last post was good too so check it out.

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear


Irene said...

Because the Überhund was 7 years old when we got him, he came with his commands in place, although he was a little lazy sometimes. I used to use treats, but now I just assume that he will listen to me. For the hard jobs he still gets a treat. Like when I have to put om his flea drops and he has to stand very still. He thinks that's a bit scary.

saratogajean said...

Dexter is of the school of "I'm listening, and I hear what you're saying, just let me finish sniffing/peeing/eating and I'll be right over."

He'll literally look at me, go back to sniffing, then lumber over to me, like "What? I had some stuff to take care of."

CC said...

Otis is more devoted and he was drom a shelter as well, for the most part knows and obeys all commands. The two new ones, that is a different story. marley will listen and obey like Saratogajean said Dexter does, when I am ready I will see what it is you want...right now I am his brother Brock who I got about 10 weeks ago is scared to death of anyone except me and listens and obeys very very well. Bear will get there!

cosmiccowgirl said...

When I taught puppy manners classes, I always taught people to teach the "motivated come" by playing the game on the leash - call them to come and give them a treat - and also to make sure that every time your dog comes when called, it is a positive experience for them (which seems self-explanatory but is kind of tricky). The goal, to me, is always to work to a point where the dog will reliably and excitedly come every time it is called, off leash. My goal in training is always off leash obedience, because isn't that when you need your dog to listen the most?
I would not recommend the choke chain style of training come that you mentioned. There are some real pitfalls with that. You don't want a coerced come, you want a motivated come. It is not "come to get away from uncomfortable", it is "come for rewards". If you don't want to use treats, use praise, whatever works.
As for me, I will stick to...vienna sausages.