choice: a follow up

Some further thoughts:


In video 2, SG was talking about a dog with a running a-frame, and how if it has a good running A-frame, the dog gets to keep going on a course… but then maybe it has a bad running A-frame, and it keeps going so it’s getting rewarded anyway so its A-frame gets worse….

And I can’t help but think about how this so clashes with Silvia’s philosophy (at least on running dogwalks, anyway) where you should just keep going and mark them verbally when/if you see them, and they’ll just… get better.


And my other concern with all this It’sYerChoice stuff is how well it has the potential to crush a low-motivation dog’s motivation. At the moment, I’m so about rewarding any kind of interest in food… in just being happy if she wants food… I don’t know, maybe too many of the ‘training points’ I think of are with my intervention- a leave it, or an ‘uh uh’ or something rather than her making decisions… But I just know (well, before Polona’s games, at least), if I played IYC with food – well, she’d be quite happy to just not eat it in that scenario… and toys? Well, who cares- you don’t want me to have it, no problemo! But then, I wonder how much of her leaving the food in those circumstances were because I gave her a ‘leave it’ command and not because it was her choice to do so.

So it’ll be about maybe building up her excitement for the reward/game and then bringing in the self control aspect, I suppose.

That being said, I have started playing some of the games in the course, and it’s amazing to me how we seem to have lost some of our connection and our relationship. I took Lu out to the old chicken pen at school yesterday afternoon. Mildly distracting with grass and birds in the trees, but no new chicken smells or anything particularly exciting. And I wanted to play a game where basically I’d say her name, she’d do the head-whip and come in for a reward. It was so surprising that the first two or three times she was like; oh… you again, sigh… and then came in with no enthusiasm, really. Which I suppose is the reaction I have to gauge as being her general ‘recall in a small place’ reaction, but I think that says a lot. And look, when we’re out, if she does a cool recall off a dead animal or from playing with dogs, she gets the more tasty reward that I have and usually we play the ‘catch the food’ game for her to get it, so it’s not like she’s NOT getting rewarded for recalls… but obviously in this situation she wasn’t expecting to be rewarded. But then once she figured out the game, she was so much more enthusiastic and keen to play – and that was lovely. To have a happy dog coming in with a ‘smile’ (I suppose) and eyes bright… I guess in the busy-ness of everything and the stress I carry often when out walking her, I think we’ve lost some of that ‘no fuss, enjoying each other’s company’ feeling. Which is why, maybe, she seems to me like such a different dog at home than out and about.


Lots of interesting training coming up – I will be curious to see if her drive for food (and possibly toys, though I don’t think it will) could increase given she has to want it in order to choose not to take it in order to get it… and because maybe food will become attached even more to doing fun stuff.



(and as a side note, I’m thinking I’m going to put my carpet on the up-ramp if it doesn’t rain too much for DW training today because I’m wondering if she worries about getting ON the dogwalk… she’s always looked awkward rather than smooth, to me)


Edit: I played some ItsYerChoice with Loki this morning. He was REALLY getting the idea that he shouldn’t eat food without being told…

So much so that when I told him he could “Get it!” and run to a bowl, he was half as fast and half as driven as he usually was. Ugh. Maybe I did too much ‘don’t eat it’ stuff, or maybe the cue “Get it” doesn’t have a strong enough meaning yet, but it just broke my heart that he suddenly wasn’t sure if he was meant to and didn’t want to run to the bowl any more. So I think maybe that’s enough IYC ‘formal’ training and now to move on to the ‘every day’ stuff like if I ‘accidentally’ drop stuff on the ground.


One thought on “choice: a follow up

  1. Isn’t it amazing how such simple things can make a dog happier on a walk? I also started calling my dogs during walks this week and they just get… more attentive, happier 🙂
    Don’t worry about Loki, little mate just generalized it quickly to the bowl 🙂 If you look at Ruby’s last RO video you will see that I’m holding him back while putting treats in the bowl. I don’t HAVE to do that, but I don’t want him to confuse the situation with IYC (if this would be IYC I would not be holding him back, but covering the bowl instead). So I’m pulling him back slightly because that’s what I do when I do restrained sends. I do this because I want him to be excited about that bowl before I ask him to come with me and work a bit. Does that make sense? I think your plan is spot on: do more sends, then after a while do another round of IYC. He’ll get the difference sooner or later.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s