oh my auggie

The Dog Training Robot

I feel like I’ve become a bit of one.

As I posted earlier, I’ve spent the last 8 weeks or so enrolled in Susan Garrett’s Recallers e-course.  I’ve been re-reading Shaping Success for a while since getting Payton; I got the 2×2 weaves DVD for Christmas (which I had been wanting for a while), and just got myself Crate Games a few weeks back too (which I had also been wanting and Recallers gave me the push to go ahead and order it.)

Basically, I have been so immersed in SG that I’ve found myself using her terminology in just about everything I do training-wise. My thinking has changed to be very “Say Yes” oriented. I was never the kind of person who would put a shock collar or anything on my dogs, but Auggie was trained with corrections – so being that I’ve trained with corrections in the past, I guess you can officially call me a cross over trainer into The Land of Do, as SG puts it.  See? There’s yet another SG term. I feel like if I say (or think) “where’s the value?” one more time, I’m going to smack MYSELF.

But the odd thing is that it’s also become kind of therapeutic to start thinking this way.

Baby Georgie thinks (and has been reinforced for it, so “knows”) the fastest way to get out of her crate is to yip at the top of her lungs in her high-pitched baby bitch voice.  So we are now trying to un-do the damage, train it out of her, and, basically, play Crate Games.
So this afternoon I came home from work, let the boys out, and put Georgie in Payton’s crate while I fed the boys.  I was going to go get Georgie, but my mom came home right then, which caused Georgie to start yelping and screaming and biting the crate trying to get out and get to my mom.  I already knew my mom had a migraine earlier and wasn’t in a mood to deal with the barking and yipping, but I’ll be damned if I was going to let a migraine tear down all the work we had done… so I shut my mom out of the room and decided to take care of it myself.

I walked out of the room and stood in the hall, waiting for her to stop barking.  When she was quite for five seconds, I would go into the room.  At first this was her cue to start screaming at me again, so I would immediately, silently, turn around and walk back out of the room.
I’m standing in the hall, having done this for several minutes, and feeling irritated because I’m freaking starving for my own dinner, not in a very good mood already having just left work, and this isn’t even my dog!! I sure didn’t encourage (even inadvertently) this bad habit, so why do I have to stand here and deal with this?! It’s bad enough to have to struggle with Payton’s brattiness but at least that is all a direct result of the work I have or have not put into him; this one has NOTHING TO DO WITH ME, and yet here I am with the dumb baby bitch barking at me every time I walk into the room, preventing me from just feeding her and getting on with the rest of my life. And suddenly my head starts going “It’s her choice.  Control the resources, NOT the dog.  It’s her choice.”  Like a calming mantra.  Control the resources… not the dog.  It’s Georgie’s choice to keep barking and not be let out of the crate.  It’s her choice to stop barking and have me walk in the room.  It’s her choice to start barking when I approach the crate and make me turn around and LEAVE the room.  It’s all her choice.  I’m not really DOING anything.  Just letting the dog make the choices.

And it’s actually VERY calming, really, when you think about it.  It sure makes it easy for me.  Well, “easy” may not be the right word, but it takes the pressure off me, at the very least. I’m not here to make the dog do anything. I don’t have to force it. We’re not having a battle for control.  All I’m here to do is allow the dog to make her own choices, come to the correct choice (what I want), and then reward her for it! You get that? I’m just here to allow her to experiment, make her own choices, and then deliver a reward when the right choice rolls around.  Nothing else.  I don’t have to sit there having a shouting match with her, screaming, “Georgie QUIET!  Georgie STOP BARKING!  QUIET!  SIT!  SIT!”
I just stand there in the hallway with the lights off… and wait.

It really didn’t take much longer than five minutes for her to stop barking, stay quiet as I walked into the room and approached her crate, sit nicely when I unlatched the crate door, OPEN the crate door, and then release her from her sit so we could finally leave the room and go get her dinner.
And all I did was stand there and wait patiently.

I like this kind of dog training.

Leave a Reply