Wait, no really, what’s the game again?

2 ticks removed at end of training.  One tiny dog tick on my foot and one dear tick on my leg.

Note: Wear more bug repellant.

Looks like we have our work cut out for us on G-man

In the following video, our dog decided to show us all the problems he is having with training.  He completely messed up with everything but play.  I am really happy.  Shouldn’t I be disappointed?  Heck no!  This is the best thing I could possibly ask for.  The worst thing that could happen is to show up on training day and no one has suggestions on how you can improve. You want the dog to show the problems he is having, not hide them.

So, what did the little monster do this time?

We learned the traumatic trip to the vet to get his heartworm test did much more harm than earlier known.  Looks like the vet tech putting him in a full nelson to get his blood drawn has caused the little guy to be terrified of anyone putting their arms around him.  You can see him completely freaking out when the girl tried to hold him.

Then, instead of running right towards me to give me a few good barks.  He decides to visit my husband first, then forget what it was he was doing when he finally got to me.  The group believes that the dog thinks my husband is involved in the indication game and is confused with both of us there.  That makes perfect sense since the other person is nearly always around when training occurs.  No wonder he is confused.  His third problem is wandering around instead of running to me and barking.  Check out this epic fail:

Ok, no big deal, time to give the dog a second chance.  This time the subject, aka person playing the lost person, holds the dog by his collar.  I call the dog right away and give him his bark command.  He feels much more comfortable being held just by the collar this time.  The dog still decides to visit my husband before me.  I do call it a win.  The dog did finally bark, a definite improvement, and was rewarded for it.  We ended on a high note, so back in the car.  Yay!

Problems:

  • dog not focused on task
  • dog visits other handler before completing task
  • dog uncomfortable with being held
  • dog has the attention span of a flea

Solutions

  • Give the dog a cue that it is work time.  A special harness or collar can be put on him every time he does search related training.  We decided both his search vest and harness would be good.
  • Allow only one of us be present when he is doing search work until he is really focused on the task
  • Help the dog during training.  You may have noticed that I stood there waiting for the dog to figure out what I wanted him to do.  Remember that a new place or context is enough for the dog to forget what he is supposed to do.  Training is not a test.  My plan will be to call the dog to me and act very excited and interesting.  As he is running toward me, I will ask for his bark command.  I will run backward and act silly to keep him focused on me.  I will give him the bark command again once he gets to me if he forgets to do it.
  • For his problem with being held, I will just need to have lots of people hold him while he gets treats

As for the attention span of a flea:

He is 11 months old, his brain is doing the tween thing.  He will grow out of it.  We hope.

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