AdministratorApril 15, 2011 at 10:21 am121211100
Sorry for the delay on this response!
A few things:
1. Yes, it does sound like your dog is sensitive. Sometimes dogs are sensitive to not only the tension in the flexi, but also the sound it makes when you push the button and it locks. It could help if you just used it for a while, without training, on a regular flat collar or martingale, so that she can get used to it. This also helps her to understand the distance limitation so she doesnt run to the end of it full force. Dogs do learn how far they can go out – (similar to a dog that is tied out).
Alternative to using the flexi is a light-line. But, that comes with its own set of pros and cons, but otherwise can be used during the same exercise. Here is a video that gives you an overview about how to handle one:
Also, even though you did clicker training. you may want to go backwards and work on phase 1 “come” for at least a week again. Really emphasize praising the Moment your dog makes this first step or even looks at you. Also, if you walk backwards while she is coming it helps encourage her:
2. If your dog is having issues with the come, be sure not to add any kind of correction if she does not sit at the end. Just get your hands on her and give her a lot of love (and a treat) when she gets to you. A sit can always be added later.
3. When you do the come exercise in phase 2, be sure to not do too many in a row or else you may get the opposite problem and the dog wont leave your side. the “come” should still remain a mostly very happy exercise with the exception that you will be adding the minimum amount of correction when when there is a failure to respond. In phase 2 corrections should all be ultra light. So even with the come your correction should be only the slightest little pop with the flexi. If you use the light line, gently pulsate the light line so that the collar is slightly uncomfortable (not painful) until the dog turns and starts coming. Then, praise right away as the dog starts to come.
4. Next, it sounds like you have the chain reaction the command correct, but your timing may be slightly on the slow side which may confuse her. If you refer to the “gloden rules” section of the self-help section dogs learn best when cause and effect happen within 1/2 second (although they can make connections during early training as long as 1.3 seconds). Try to speed up your command sequence but keep the voice tone soft and the corrections ultra-soft. Phase 2 is only about teaching when the corrections come and how to avoid them – not about them being motivational enough where they will work to avoid them around distractions. The more she is exposed to the sequence and understands it, the higher her confidence should be.
5. The collar size sounds about right, I wouldnt worry about that. The larger size is wider too which will be safer and a blunter correction for your sensitive dog.
6. You can get her to move away from the flexi more by takimg her on casual walks in safer environments (not around roads) and doing random comes spread out in more time (you may want to do with no correction for a while). I use a person to distract the dog when I am looking to get faster repetition (like during a lesson when i need to make sure the owner is doing things right) and it can be a good way to teach the dog they can go back to the distraction.
I think I covered most your questions, so keep them coming. If your dog is extra sensitive you may need a little extra guidance to help things go smoothly.