MemberJuly 31, 2011 at 5:08 pm270
Thanks so much for the response. I have tried the technique you suggested and will describe the results. I hope my experience will help others with similar issues as I have watched all the training videos and seen only one medium size dog, which doesn’t help too much when all your canine friends happen to be as vertically challenged as mine! 😉
So, I followed your instructions exactly and he hesitated to go under the tunnel so I raised my leg a little higher so he could see the treat. The first couple of times, just the nose and then the head and I supplied the treat and praised. By this time, (less than 3 mins) we have a major drooling event going on, dilated pupils and total fixation on the hand with the treat. So, now he’s getting pretty worked up, so I feel I need to get off the floor to place him in a sit and lower the excitement level a few hundred notches. After he has calmed a bit, I get back on the floor and attempt to have him crawl under but instead he powerhouses his way right under my leg in a flash, headed for the hand, err the treat! I still praise and provide the reward but honestly, I never had a chance to even utter the letter “D” in the word down it happened so fast! So, despite all the drool (so much for my morning shower!), I attempt it again, with the leg lower to the ground. He powerhouses his way under my leg again, aiming for the treat, this all happens in a few seconds and despite his low to the ground stature, he is quite muscular and strong. I’m thinking about now he would probably excel at the agility tunnels! Despite it all, I still praise and reward. I repeat the sit session to lower the tension a bit and try again. This time he leaps over my leg, slobber flying all over the place as he goes for the treat. At this point, I am not feeling too comfortable as he is really getting close to his break over point so I place him back into his sit, let him regain his composure, praise and reward, then end the session.
He’s very vocal when he is worked up, which since he is also aggressive, really alarmed me in the beginning. After we ended the session (much to his chagrin), I came back to post this message and he comes up, sits in front of me and starts his vocalizations, (which are similar to a low mumbling growl, I should also mention his direct eye contact with those nice large pupils of his!). He’s still physically showing excitement (maybe not exactly the right choice of words) so I point over to his bed and tell him “place”, which he promptly abides by the command so I immediately tell him “good dog!” He no longer receives rewards for going to his place (bed), just praise.
So, since I still possess all of my typing fingers, I am sending you this update. He did have issues nipping my fingers when getting the treats early on, thus the reason for the closed fist, then opening to supply the reward. I look forward to your critique of my methods and actions. He was pretty excited when we ended the down session, looking at both my hands trying to locate the reward. I just don’t want to lose any ground and revive the nipping issues that have been squelched for over a month now.
I look forward to your thoughts and suggestions. He’s a great dog who is not at fault for his circumstances. I want to give him the life that I know he deserves, even if it’s going to take us a while to get him there! Thanks again for your assistance, it is so very appreciated!
Okay, we made a second run at the tunnel method, yielding quite a bit less slobbering but still shooting under the leg. I noticed his willingness to try and do what I am asking but yet I can see by his body language that he is very uncertain, unwilling to completely go to the floor even when he does not shoot through the tunnel, (he actually pushes my leg upward as he goes under, starting under in a crawl, then standing to drive my leg upward while passing through). I tried giving the down command and holding the treat under my hand on the floor (after 6-8 tunnel tries) and he attempts to look under the hand without any effort to go into the down position; this is a new way that I am holding the treat, which he does look up at me like he is confused since I have not done this before. He has just recently become comfortable enough in our home that he will sleep on his side instead of with his belly always flat on the floor, so I’m guessing it is an issue of insecurity. I believe if I can prevent him from snapping or nipping at my hand, we will be able to make some progress in the next few tries. I’m thinking maybe I should start to familiarize him with the “leave it” command, in case he starts getting too rough with my hand, any opinions or thoughts on this idea? Thanks!