Archive for drive training

Training Makes Me LOUD

Posted in dog training, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , , , on April 28, 2010 by rattlerjen

Mom got me some new big boy tugs today.

As soon as she took them out of the box, I went crazy.  Bark, bark, bark!

Gimmie those things.  Bark, Bark, Bark.

Biting down on them was really easy.  I could really get a GRIP!

Gimmie the tug!

Oh, and they were really fun to pull on.  You should have seen how well I could dig in and pull!  I nearly pulled Mom and Dad over.  Ha ha ha!

The Tug!  Want TuhhhhhhhhhhhhhGH!

Oh, and when I was playing today, I shook my head around real hard and won the tug!  Then they put me in this box.

I want OUT and I want TUG TUG TUG!


One Pound of Bacon Fat

Posted in dog training, life with a working dog, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2010 by rattlerjen

I am often very proud of my little dog.  He is very quick to figure out new things.

Today, Grom wandered into a big plastic box to explore its interior.  I told him what a good boy he was for going in to such a confined space.  You never know when a lost person will shelter in a small cave or something to stay out of the elements.  I need my little guy to have no problems checking out scary new places.

I wanted him to go in again and introduce him to taking directions.  Having no treats around, my bad, I threw a penny in the box to get his attention.  Curious as a cat, he trots right back in the box as I give him a sweeping hand signal.  A little bit of snorting and wiggling of his furry black bum emerges from the box.  Satisfied that he checked out every corner of the thing, he carefully turns around and steps out. A tiny metal clatter sounds from the concrete floor.  Out of the dogs mouth drops the penny.  It was covered in slobber, we will work on that.  My dog fetches money.  I have heard of assistance dogs being able to pick up dropped change.  This is cool!

Ran upstairs to grab a handful of treats and call for my husband to watch.  I tossed the penny around a few more times and get it returned a moment later.  Much celebrating occurs.  Woo hoo!   My husband thinks it is a very useful skill.  He suggests that we teach our Shepherd to pick up quarters though.

grom loves tug


Our training day went wonderfully as well.  We have two guys on our team that played with the puppy today.  Grom needs to work on his drive and his bark.  Both men did a great training session with him.  They even read the dog well and were able to adjust how they were playing with him as the dog reacted.  One man on our team owns two Mals.  These dogs may look like a German Shepherd, but they are 10X faster.  Grom and I learned a ton from the way this man played with him.  I am looking forward to training with him again.  There is so much for me to learn about Malinois!

I think Grom learned the biggest lesson of the day.  He found how to get a jackpot out of a “fruit machine.”  Now, don’t get too excited.  We did not take a trip to a casino, he got his reward straight from the freezer.

When Grom is out and we cannot keep a close watch on him, he goes in the kitchen.  Sometimes he jumps up on to the counter and gets something down we really didn’t want him to get into.  Usually just a magazine or dish towel gets pulled to the floor.  I tell you, having a working dog ensures you pick your things up lest they be destroyed.  I left the dog in the kitchen, happily chewing on a bone.  He had a big day, I did not anticipate too much trouble.  That was a mistake.

I begin walking upstairs and all I hear is my husband saying, “He got into the freezer.”  With a mournful gaze, my husband holds up the remains of a tattered freezer bag.  It looked greasy, but could not read the writing on it.  A small scattering of untouched chocolate mints pepper the floor.  My husband with possible signs of shock slowly begins to pick up the shredded plastic.  I slam the dog gate shut and yell at my husband to secure the scene.  He keeps picking at the plastic like a dazed deer.  I rush to gather the chocolate and check the wreckage status of the freezer interior.

Nothing else was touched.  Only one pound of hand cured smoked bacon ends from my husbands last lovingly made batch.

I hid for the remainder of the evening.  No status on the dog at this time he other than he is about 10 pounds happier and snoring.

Old dog teaches owner new tricks

Posted in dog training, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2010 by rattlerjen

How to stop a dog from playing keep away.

We have a 9 year old German Shepherd retired from Customs work due to health issues.  The wonderful thing is that she is very good with the puppy.  Even better, she does not play with him for long so the puppy has energy for training.  The best part of all is that she has already been trained to search for things.  She has been doing a wonderful job at being our guinea pig for some of our training with the puppy.  When she does not respond to something during a training session, it is usually because we messed up!shepherd with ball

Just recently she solved a problem with our puppy.  Grom always likes to parade around after winning his toy playing keep away.  Agitation training with him has helped much in getting him to run full speed at us when we have the toys, but he just doesn’t seem to understand that the play would continue if he would just bring the darn toy back.  He wouldn’t even come back for the identical toy we would produce.  No matter how much we jumped around and acted like idiots, the puppy would ignore us.  My husband and I would even play tug with each other trying to get the puppy to come over.  No go.

So how does an old dog teach its owner new tricks?  Aaron got the idea from playing fetch with Heidi.  When she returned with the ball, she wouldn’t drop it right away unless you asked her.  Many times she would literally bonk her head into you with the retrieved ball in her mouth.  If you try and take it out of her mouth, she would tug.  Is she playing keep away?  Couldn’t be that.  Heidi hates playing keep away.  She would immediately come back to you anyway if you let go of the tennis ball while she was tugging on it.  AH HA!  She brings the ball back to play tug with you!

The solution was a very specific game of two tugs or two balls.

Check out how my husband plays with the puppy now.  Only after a few times with this new play, the dog no longer plays keep away!   Belgian Malinois are very fast, so many times you might see the puppy get the toy before he was supposed to.  The key is to play tug with the toy he has in his mouth when he comes back to you.  You use the other toy to lure him near you.  If he drops the one he has before he gets to you, simply throw the toy YOU have.

Expert Advice

Posted in dog training, Search and Rescue with tags , , on January 23, 2010 by rattlerjen

Today we went out into the country to meet a working dog trainer to help us with our puppy.  He hasn’t been playing all that well with strangers and is easily distracted by surrounding nature, changes in wind, deer poo, leaves, air pressure, clouds, birds, red hats, dirt, and goats.

A working dog must want their toy more than anything else in the world.  A search and rescue dog will work for hours in the worst conditions in order to get their toy.  Working dogs are trained to want a specific toy with something known as drive play.  Boiled down, it’s teasing a dog with the toy.  Like many things, the devil is in the details.

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