Today, I am participating in the positive pet training blog hop.
I've become more dedicated to positive training with every passing year. Shyla, with all her fears, has shown me that the compassion and understanding inherent in positive training can help a dog build the trust in her human that is needed to help her find confidence.
Today, I saw a bad scene where the opposite of positive training was used. I was riding my bike past a transients' campsite, and a dog came running at me barking. I stopped and quickly assessed the dog's body language. I thought that the dog was probably just alert barking and was not aggressive. However, I still hoped that someone would control the dog so that I wouldn't have to test out my assessment.
The guy who emerged to call the dog was awful to the dog. Yet, despite the guy's angry voice, the dog returned to him. However, the dog cowered onto the ground in a submissive position when the guy leaned over the dog screaming awful things at him. Based on the body language, I thought that the dog had been hit before. I predict that this dog will not continue to come when called for long. For my protection, I had a body cam running during the encounter. Here is a short clip that you can watch here or on Youtube.
Of course, we all have moments when we lose our patience with our dogs. No one is perfect. The main thing for me is to realize what I've done and do my best to never let it happen again. I actually mentally rehearse how I'm going to respond when Shyla "misbehaves" by blowing me off. That helps me to behave better, using positive techniques, in the midst of a charged situation.
On a happier note, I've been continuing Nosework training with Shyla. We've been having an absolute blast. I thought that I'd share some of our recent training games in video form.
In the video, we are playing with boxes. There are boxes with target scents in them and there are boxes with treats in them. Shyla has learned to single out the boxes with the target scents and ignore the ones with treats. Basically, she's learned that the path to getting treats is to show me where the target scents are!
Here's a fun video of Shyla doing Nosework. My favorite part is how she dove into the pile of about 15 boxes to find the single one with a target scent in it while ignoring the boxes with treats in them. At the start of our training, she was afraid of a pile of boxes but positive training has totally healed that fear!!!
You can watch the video here or at Youtube.
We've learned all our Nosework skills through Fenzi courses. Many thanks to the reader who suggested that Nosework and Fenzi courses would be good for Shyla. That reader was absolutely right! Not only have we learned nosework but Shyla's confidence has skyrocketed and her behavior in everyday life has improved immensely due to the "Fenzi" approach to building our relationship.