My way

There’s always a particle of me in all of my dogs. There’s always a particle of each of my dog in me, too.

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My way is slow. I care more about Brian to trust and understand me than about the results to be fast and impressive. So when I want him to stop doing something I get in his way, I just stand there like an idiot-between him and whatever I don’t want him to approach (another dog when he plays too rough, a kid with a ball that he wants to chase, the nice German bloke wearing fascinating fluorescent trousers who he wanted to nip at). Most often I just look like a lousy goalkeeper.

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Every time he gets too excited and pulls on the lead I just stop and wait. There’s no talking or eye contact, just waiting. It’s not comfortable for either of us. Withdrawal of the reward is the punishment, lack of attention is the response to anything negative, blocking is the only physical action. I don’t ‘grab’ him when he’s near and people tell me to. What they forget is: he’d never trust me again if I did.

And swearing to myself is the sign I’m only a frustrated human.

Brian looks at me most of the time now, checks my facial expression, looks for a confirmation and signals. He’s learning how to live with me, how to be my dog. He’s trying hard to behave, to do what he thinks I want. It will take time and patience, but our bond is strong even now and I want love not fear. I’m proud of him. I’m in love with him. I respect him.

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of course Lily’s already perfect 😉

I don’t think most people who see us understand or appreciate what we do. But I want my dogs not people I don’t know to trust and love me. So I keep doing it my way.

 

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12 thoughts on “My way

  1. The last three sentences sums it up perfectly, we have so many utter idiots telling us how to do it or offering training advice – every single time this has happened it has involved various punishments or corrections, from yanking on the lead, to shouting at the dog or hitting their rear. Just no.

    Lovely pics as always 🙂

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    1. Oh, I thought it was only me: I’m not too patient with people interrupting my training and telling me what to do (‘grab his harness, NOW’ or worse). I wonder if there’s something about people who know very little -they simply have to prove their lack of knowledge every time and to everyone…I love it that Pixie’s doing so well 🙂

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      1. No, we’ve had it quite a few times too. The worst/best was when Raiden was young and we were working on calmness around people and dogs. This old woman walking a small white dog actually stopped whilst we were training to tell us we were doing it all wrong; we were rewarding him for being naughty, she’d had dogs all her life blah blah – we kept saying “we know what we’re doing, thank you” and eventually she buggered off. Further down the path we saw her literally screaming at her dog and slapping it on the bum repeatedly – I couldn’t hold back and yelled something at her about her wonderful training methods.

        Thanks, I’m especially proud of Pixie. I never would have imagined she could have transformed into the dog she is today, especially so quickly 🙂

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  2. Beautiful, the dogs and the photos, and your love and patience. I get so, so sick of seing people treating dogs roughly and aggressively, believing they have to dictate and dominate the dog, yanking the poor thing, shouting at it, punishing it. It is horrible to see and happens all too often, but people think they know how to treat them. I wish more people were as wise as you.You are lucky to have each other.

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    1. Thank you. I know what you mean, when I see dogs being pulled and pushed and shouted at, I cringe -and can’t help but think: how can people think force will build trust and love?

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  3. I saw someone I vaguely know slap their dog on its snout-the sensation I felt from that brought tears to my eyes..I pointed out would HE like that to happen to him. It’s the most sensitive part of a dog’s face so to be hurt physically like that, psychologically damaging too. What’s the point of hitting a dog? Makes me cross…btw great post 🙂

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    1. I know people who do that. They also believe they are good at training dogs. It’s still a popular belief among some dog owners that slapping on the snout is really effective. Well, it is – one of the most effective ways to make the dog feel an extremely unpleasant sensation without seemingly using a lot of force. I’m not good with people like that-if it wasn’t for my dogs protective presence, I’d get into a lot of fights (I would lose most, I’m like my dogs: when I’m wound up I fail to remember my meagre body is hardly a threat to anyone)

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    1. Funnily enough I’m a bit of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: I am normally really impatient, but I do change when I’m with the dogs. I guess it’s because I know they don’t follow the same thinking/ reasoning patterns as humans and I just have to accept it. The waiting game in training is ‘active’ – in the sense that it does change the behaviour. And it’s usually very long only the first time 🙂 They (dogs) are smart, we just need to find a way to get through to them 🙂

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  4. I’m so lucky that where I take my dogs for obedience training (and admittedly something to give us both something to do in the winter months) is firmly against any sort of negative reinforcement. It’s so ineffective and sad to witness 😦 Your two are so lucky to have you! I can empathize with you on some of this. Ron almost has the opposite problem, though. He has no interest in what’s going on around him to a fault. I just wish I could get him to sit… or lay down on command for that matter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure Ron is going to learn to sit on command. Some dogs take longer to understand/obey commands-he might have something else he’s particularly good at (and you can focus at this first and do the conventional training slowly) x

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