Our weekend in Idaho at the Shannahan/Deal clinic was stellar. I spent the weekend working Brynn, listening, watching and photographing. My idea of heaven.
I am putting together a post about the clinic and should have it finished by this evening. I only had 1600 pictures to sort through & out the best to edit.
Brynn was off her 'A' game for the weekend. She refused to eat for two days. I stopped each morning at McDonalds and got her a sausage/egg biscuit. That was all she would eat. I think she was freaked out without any other dogs. At the clinic she was evil. After a morning spent snarling, snapping and embarrassing me Dianne finally told me to stop what I was doing....obviously it wasn't working. So I filled my empty water bottle with rocks - then each time she even lifted her lip at another dog I shook it over her head and let her know I was NOT pleased. It worked like a charm. By Sunday afternoon she had pretty much stopped the snarky bratty behavior...thank doG.
Dianne was right on the money. You DO NOT allow that type of behavior...EVER. You do not have to be aggressive, abusive or mean. You simply let the dog know that it will not be tolerated...PERIOD.
I was afraid to correct Brynn because I have been on both sides of the fence. In positive reinforcement training you reward the dog for behaving correctly. Meaning I would reward her for when she looked at a dog and did not react. Yeah...no, that was NOT working. Instead I used a correction based method - built on common sense. If I see you lift your lip or behave inappropriately you are going to hear a sound right over your head that will FREAK you the F out. Don't be a brat... you wont hear the sound. Simple and easy for the dog to figure out in a matter of seconds.
When Brynn started acting like an idiot I wanted to scruff her neck and let her know I didnt like it. But I hesitated. I was afraid to do anything like that to her because I felt someone was going to tell me I was being 'mean' to my dog. So I tried to distract her and use the 'positive' reinforcement. I even went as far as to hold my clip board over her face so she couldn't see the other dogs. Can we say S.T.U.P.I.D? Not to mention completely ineffective.
Positive training & reinforcement has its place. Corrections have their place. Both need to be used correctly to be effective. Note: I said Correction....not abuse. Not poking the dog in the neck, kicking, yanking on their collar throwing them off balance etc. Corrections timed CORRECTLY let the dog know what they are doing wrong.
I look at it this way. In raising my kids I used a system that was self explanatory for young minds. It was called Magic 1, 2, 3. Kids are just kids! In addition to being delightful, charming and affectionate, children can also present their parents with a steady diet of difficult behavior: whining, arguing, teasing, fighting, yelling, tantrums and pouting.
This system was very simple. When confronted with a behavior I did not appreciate or wanted stopped I would count. For example: Jake wanted a cookie. Mom says no. Jake still wants the cookie and starts whining and crying. Mom says "That is 1" and hold up one finger...giving Jake the clear message I am not going to play his game. He has an opportunity to correct himself. He keeps whining. I say "that is 2". He is familair with what comes next....he keeps whining. Mom says "That is 3" and immediately scoop him up and put him in his room. I tell him he is in time out (one minute for every year they are old).
This gave the child an opportunity to correct themselves. To think about their behavior and understand what they were doing was going to lead to a negative result.
That is a very simplified explanation of what I did for minor infractions. More serious infractions like hitting your brother over the head with a whiffle bat. Well those went straight to 3 and were sent to time out immediately. I used this system on my kids clear up to teenagers. After age 13 they would laugh at me...but they still got the message. Of course the consequences changed as they aged. Time out is typically not effective for a teenager that would rather spend most of their waking hours in their room - so it morphed into lawn chores, scrubbing the toilet, loss of privileges etc.
Caveat: This method does not work on a young man with schizophrenia. Nothing works on a teenager with schizophrenia who refuses to take their meds. The only effective tool there is a cattle prod or tazer - unfortunately CPS does not allow you to shock your children into sanity. *sigh* But they allow the local police department to do that. The magic 1, 2, 3 in his case was 9-1-1.
I look at positive reinforcement training in dogs as the Magic 1, 2, 3
Corrections are the immediate ' TIME OUT' method.
Both work...and each has their place. Dogs are not children. While border collies are extraordinarily smart they do not have a full grasp of cause and effect like humans do. They need clear, concise and consistent rules...just like kids...or like kids they will run you over.
Okay off my soap box.
Last week when I went to the photo shoot we stopped at several places. One of my favorites is the Wild Horses Monument
Ranger and Bonnie love it there
We checked the area out for rattle snakes. Then broke out Floppy Frisbee for a little exercise.
The scenery is breath taking. When going east on Interstate 90 you can easily access the monument with a short hike up the hill. I don't hike. That is why God made telephoto lenses. Instead I chose to take pictures of the dogs playing. Surprised huh?
Ranger is such a wacknut. He loves floppy. He loves to toss is around and shake it till it is dead.
The wild flowers and sage brush is gorgeous in the spring.
Sadly it was time to get back into the car and continue our journey to Couer d'Alene. There is something about a place like this that leaves a brand on your heart.
On the way home we stopped at the monument on the other side of the freeway. This side over looked the Columbia River Gorge. The weather had changed significantly. Thankfully the dogs are not afraid of thunder or lightening. We were blessed to quite a show across the gorge.
I tried to get shots of the lighting strikes...but was too slow.
You could smell the rain in the air
The dogs could hear the thunder and feel the electricity.
Bonnie listens to the clap of thunder
But she wasn't bothered. "Mom, where is the ball? HUH?"
"Don't mind me, I am a star...I am going to look handsome and enjoy the scenery."
I wonder when Ranger's ego will come back down to earth.
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