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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Learning Courage

Over the past month or so, I've been sharing some of the "goofy" training that Shyla and I have been doing. I've been helping Shyla learn to embrace novel things rather than be afraid of them.

Some of the training setups that I've shown you were based on a course that I took called "empowerment". One of the most fun parts of the course is referred to as "Yes, I like broccoli!". In essence, it involves putting a goofy setup of pots, pans, and other silly things that you have in your house out on the ground in front of your dog. Then, you prevent your dog from going to those things by pushing her away from them.

This "pushback" ignites the opposition reflex, which makes your dog really want to get to the silly setup. Here's a short example in video form for you.


I used this concept to get Shyla to sit in a Chewy box this morning. I put the box out on the floor, and I pushed her away from it, verbally egging her on a bit as I did it. As soon as I let her go, she was climbing in the box!!! Prior to this, she always acted very wary of boxes when I tried to get her to interact with them.

Shyla doesn't need any tricks to get her to interact with things in the natural world. This is K's stump, and Shyla stood tall upon it this morning as she inhaled a distracting scent.

And then, Shyla stood on the edge of a boulder with her toes hanging over.
She's such a courageous girl in so many ways!

20 comments:

  1. oh I aso agree!!! she is pawsome and a super brave girl!

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  2. We have started working with our collies, to get them ready to take the Therapy Dog test and the Farm Dog test. I bet this would help in preparing for both!

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  3. Oh my gosh, I can't believe she got IN the box! That is hilarious and adorable :)

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  4. this is just amazing to me and I had no idea about the pushback. our Baby girl angel, had this to the max.. if we told her she could not do soemthng or have something she would NEVER give up until she did it or got it... I love learning from your post

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  5. You look adorable sitting inside the Chewy box, Shyla, and we love watching you and your mom work together. You are such a superSmart girl!

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  6. Hari OM
    Can't disagree with this one - well done Shyla! YAM xx

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  7. OMD, Shyla, Momma said some of the silly games we've been playing lately she learned from YOU! I'm very timid of new people and loud noises, and Momma is trying to help me get more comfortable. I feel better knowing I'm following in such grreat pawsteps.

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  8. Shyla sure loves working with you. We love how you "tricked" her into wanting to get in the box. That is a perfect advertisement for Chewy too.

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  9. Shyla you have the bestest smartest mom who is full of such fun. Mom got a wee chuckle she said this exercise is kinda like telling a child no you can't do that and OMCs the will move heaven and earth to do it.
    WTG we always love your videos
    Hugs madi your bfff

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  10. Love that image of her on the stump! It shows an amazing vista as well as her courage. Well done.

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  11. That's so excellent!!! Go, Shyla!
    Yours sincerely,
    Margaret Thatcher
    PS: I'd love to come over and box with you!

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  12. That's great! Pots and pans are pretty scary for most dogs as they are so noisy.

    The first time Cedar saw a teeter, he ran right up it before I could stop him. It slammed from full height and he was a tiny bit startled but was more than happy to re-engage once I had it more properly set up for a beginner. He is a super-bold pup!

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  13. Outside on a see-saw, or inside with tins and boxes, Shyla shows so much courage and skill in taking on those new challenges. A lot of work behind all this, well done to you both!!! The stump and the rock, landmarks in your lives.

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  14. I tried showing this to Lightning and told him we just might have to work on his boxing skills. He was unimpressed and walked away from me:) Definitely not a box boy at all!!!

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  15. Well done. Hooray for both of you.

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  16. Sweet Shyla sure was ready to go and she looks so cute in that box!

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  17. You are such a great trainer. Make sure you don't ship her to Chewy.

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  18. WE think your mom should write a book on how to help a fearful dog!

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  19. We are using that opposition thing with the teeter and Madison in agility. She is not a fan, so once she starts going up it, Mom runs the other way in a playful manner and keeps her from going up. It seems to be helping. Just like humans, dogs have their own set of fears, some seem weird, but many human fears are odd too.

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  20. That pushback is a very interesting concept that I'd never heard of. It sure looks like there's something to it!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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