'Not only is punishment risky, but it also fails to teach the dog an acceptable alternate behaviour. The dog does not learn what to do the next time he is in the same situation. He only learns to fear the situation.' Emma Parsons, Click to Calm p73

Monday, 7 February 2011


Lola's new room gets the stare of approval.
Today, I spent about five hours cleaning. About two hours of that included shredding paperwork we've had since 2005/6, amazingly enough. I ended up with papercuts and two bin-bags and two carrier bags full of envelopes and shredded bills, etc. However I can now say that I officially have two dog rooms in my house--the front room is going to be the training/agility room (once I get some instant-cement or sand to fill tins with, to hold my weave poles and jumps upright), and the bedroom of mum's friend, who has now left, is to be Lola's room when we aren't there, as she just despises her crate.

In the room is a leather stool we don't use (covered in a pink blanket and old dressing gown), Lola's bed (which she rarely uses, but hey ho) and a new dog bed (which is a soft, furry cover that zips up around a thin pillow). She also has three toys (yellow ring, rainbow interlocking thing and her squishy pink bone), which will be cycled and changed for three others every couple of days. On top of that, on the higher shelf there is currently a kong and busy buddy twist n treat, the bigger antler, and a bull pizzle stick - all of which will be presented to her when she's alone tomorrow. (For about three hours, from half 12 or so to half 3 when I return.) I think she'll definitely be happier there.

For the last few days, we've been putting her in mum's room or just leaving her in the living room with newspaper down when we've been out for an hour or so (as my mum has been off work), and she had a great success rate in hitting the newspaper in mum's room but not in the living room. So I'm hoping she'll be able to hit the paper in the 'dog room', and that it won't drive her to insanity quite as much as being in the crate did. I think part of the problem with the crate was that she could see and smell Jess (free to roam as she pleased), and it was in a place where she was usually free to wander in, making her confused about why she was being trapped away. So: if the ex-bedroom works, we'll keep her in there when we're not there until she's able to hold it for a few hours before someone's back to let her out.

In other news, I spent tonight's dinner kibble on teaching Lola that, yes, she has paws: I gently rested my forefinger and middle finger on each of her legs, and she got a c/t whenever she lifted the paw I touched. For her back paws, I had to use a little pressure, just enough to make her move the paw, and alternated that with lifting the paw up myself if she didn't move it within two seconds. For the first half, that went fine, but she seemed to lag a little; so I brought out her beloved rabbit tug.

It gave me an interesting insight into her mindset, that's for sure. As soon as the toy was out (after letting her chase it and tug it for a few seconds), she didn't want to be touched. She was Working, and she wanted that toy. I managed to click a few times when her paws left the ground shortly after me touching them (it was the best I could do; she was jumping around like a rabbit herself), but she just promptly spat out the kibble.

So I changed my tactic: I touched her paw, I clicked when she lifted it, and she got to chase and tug the Special Toy. She was in heaven! She retained her manic energy, but calmed down enough when standing to let me touch her. So unless I want to pin her in place and shovel really high-value treats into her mouth, I think that using the Special Toy to increase her arousal and drive will work great. I'm going to spend tomorrow's dinner on clicking for letting me touch her mouth, and we'll see if that works faster than doling out the kibble while she tries to dodge my hand when it comes too close to her muzzle.


Sara said...

Lola has two rooms! WHat a lucky dog.

WHen Oreo was a puppy, he was motivated more by toys than food. In fact, I didn't use food at all with him. I think it is great that Lola has a special reward toy! That will help a lot in agility.

Sophie said...

She's nothing if not spoiled! And she loves food - but it's just Not Good Enough a reward for physical contact when she's trying to work (though she's happy to take treats, kibble and cheese and ham all together, when working in a strange place around strange dogs).

I'm definitely hoping I can keep her toy drive up, for sports later on. :)