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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Positive Training - Two Examples

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.


  1. OHHH we enjoyed watching Shyla search for the treats!!! Good job Shyla!
    But that bad man,,, we do not like him! He does not deserve a dog.

  2. Thanks for this post! Your bodycam footage is heartbreaking. Poor pup. Rob saw a man smack his dog for growling at our dogs. It's so hard to know what to do in that situation. I appreciate your making an effort to let the guy know his dog hadn't done anything wrong.

  3. I feel sorry for this pup... if we scream and yell then we haven't to wonder when we fail... it's sometimes not easy to stay calm, but specially in such situation we should work on our behavior before we blame the dog... thanks for sharing this video!!!

  4. Body cam, what a great protection for you, I wonder if they know you are wearing one? And yes, that dog has been ill-treated before.I hope it runs away from that man. Shyla, great nose work, and you are so good with the boxes, but, KB, lots of training from you for this to happen.

  5. We love watching you do your nosework, Shyla! You are such a smart girl but the other video made us sad. That poor pup deserves more loving hoomans.

  6. We feel sorry for that doggy too, stupid humans!

  7. How impressive that Shyla went right by the boxes with the treats, even pushing them aside! We are just starting the beginning nosework class through Fenzi now. I'm so excited about it and hope that it will build Luke's confidence as well.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  8. Hello, I hate to see a dog being mistreated. Your Shyla is a great dog, very well trained. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

  9. Two perfect videos on how to train, and not train, your dog

  10. We find it disturbing when this happens and it happens all the time! BUTT it does NOT happen at our house cuz our pawrents believe in pawsitive training too!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  11. Jeez was that guy a camper or a homeless dude living in the woods. The guy frightens me more than the dog. That old saying Sticks and stones may break my bones (but words will never hurt me). So Wrong! Kindness and positive reinforcement go so much further.
    You hit my post last night while I was putting up the music for the Pawlympics in Blogville for today. So if you had your speakers on we might have sounded kind of funny.
    Thanks for being a friend
    Sweet William The Scot

  12. The very first lesson we had in puppy kindergarten was NEVER scold your dog when the dog comes to you. No matter if the dog is slow to respond, or takes a long way around...coming when you call always means praise. That little dog's body language is very telling. And sad.

    Love the sniffing Shyla.


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