Let me write down my quick thoughts before they dissolve in the air again… will try to expand them in the future when I’ve time to write longer posts.
- It’s not easy bringing up a dog. It doesn’t matter whether it’s small, big, young, old, low energy or high energy dog. It’s definitely not about the breed as well. Everyone has their own issues to deal with.
- What you see on Instagram is hardly the issues we are dealing with… problems are usually spontaneous and it’s hard to film. If I post about an issue, it is usually because the situation has improved or I happen to capture it coincidentally.
- I know my dog the best. I can engage professional trainers, but I should be the one who learns and knows more about Tamago’s personality, fear and everything.
- Every dog has different personality. I should not be forcing Tamago to be a dog that he isn’t.
- Always be open with possibilities.
- Training does not take too much time. I spend about 5-10 minutes a day on a single behavior/cue that I want to work on. It’s about consistency… and making it right for Tamago to learn.
- Every dog learns differently. Tamago and I have to trial and find the best way for us to learn.
- Tamago tends to get frustrated when he can’t get his reinforcer.
- Tamago learns very quickly for certain cues but learns very slowly for some other cues. This is normal for most dogs, and we should trial and find different ways to teach our dogs as they learn differently.
- Each training session I do with him is an additional bonding session. It’s also a session I get to understand him more.
- He can learn only if I’m willing to learn.
- Always stop when he’s frustrated or not willing to engage. We have 10-15 years together. It’s not worth to get frustrated over such sessions.
Communication & Drive
- We communicate with each other really well without any communciation buttons. The rapport between us is extremely strong.
- If I’m frustrated, Tamago will get frustrated too.
- He needs my attention. He’s primarily driven by me.
- He has a high prey drive. Prey > Me > Food > Toy. We are still working on how to get myself more valuable than a prey.
- I believe he’s a good candidate for agility, but his reactivity is making it tough for us to go for classes. But I also believe that I can learn to teach… as always :)
I seldom talk about all these but here goes…
Positive reinforcement works for us. It takes longer to change his behaviors but yes it works. Other than hard-to-modify-behaviors, we are able to use r+ to teach him many behaviors and cues. He was able to co-exist with birds after we did counter-conditioning.
Generalization is hard for dogs, and I need to acknowledge this and stop thinking that I will have one-size-fit-all solution. I will treat all new issues as a separate issue so it’s easier to identify root cause.
I’ve considered slip leash, but I’m really thankful that I didn’t not proceed in using this tool. Harness is great and it doesn’t make my dog pulls. If Tamago pulls badly on harness, I should be accountable for now teaching him the right way to walk… not the tool.
Lastly, I believe in fear-free, but I don’t believe in force-free (don’t bash me ok). I use force sometimes… as long as it’s not diminishing Tamago’s confidence and in situation that is threatening our safety. This includes using leash pressure to signal him away from danger/dog/cat/whatever you can think of, forcefully carry him away from dangerous situation, forcing his mouth open to remove bones and inedible items.