Focus at last!

Share your experience and tell us how using positive reinforcement training methods has changed yours and your dogs' lives.

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Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:18 pm

Focus at last!

Post by MPbandmom » Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:08 pm

We are really only just beginning on our journey, but I have to thank the great advice I have receive here. I am taking each dog out individually for work on focus and loose leash walking. I feel much more relaxed and less worried about the dogs taking off with me in tow (on or off my feet.) :D Sky can still throw her weight around sometimes when she loses focus, but we are making progress on getting her to focus.

Focus has been a big missing factor with Sky on walks. It was as if she didn't realize she was dragging a person behind her. She also refused treats outside of the home. The only thing I had found that she would take as a treat outside was peanut butter. But that would eventually get gummed up in her mouth and then interfere with whatever I was trying to teach her. I noticed the advice someone placed about baby food. That stuff is like magic with Sky. I have also recently started using a clicker with them.

I am using my hands free walking device so that I have one hand free for the baby food jar and another hand free for the clicker. Everytime she looks at me, I click and treat. Oftentimes she will walk a few steps and then turn around to look at me and head back towards me as if to say, "Hey that suff is pretty good, give me another hit of that." We haven't progressed to the heeling work yet, and she does still tend to walk in front of me, but in the past, she would keep on walking at a faster pace than I did, so that after a few steps, she was pulling on the leash. Now after a few steps, she is checking back in for more baby food, and therefore' the leash is staying loose. If she keeps going beyond loose, I then turn around and walk the other way.

Sirius has been hyper vigilant when we first start our training outings, but as the weather is improving and daylight savings time has started, she is calming down more quickly each time we go out.

I work with each dog for as long as the treat jar holds out, or they start to become distracted by other things. Each time we go out, it seems to be for a little longer time.

I have signed Sky up for beginning Agility classes that start soon, and I am looking to work with Sirius on Rally skills at our Dog Scout troop meetings. I am keeping a journal of our training sessions and I am looking forward to continuing to see the progress they make towards becoming wonderful walking companions.

Thanks again for all the great advice I have been given here. I will continue to keep you posted on our progress.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

Posts: 8894
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:24 pm
Location: West Midlands

Re: Focus at last!

Post by emmabeth » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:47 pm

Excellent news :D well done to you all!
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

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