Sunday, September 12, 2010

Training Challenge #6

This week's training challenge focused on one of my dirty little secrets - I flip out when I get out of the car and walk through the garage. I go biserk over the lawn mower tires. The dirty secret part is that I have done this since I was 10 weeks old and while mom has made some half-hearted attempts to get me over this mania, she has mostly just put a band aid on the problem and pulls the car into the garage and carries me out. She hasn't wanted to face the issue - it is stressful for her and for me! But since our separation last week, mom has been more resolved about fixing some of my maniacal behaviors and decided to use the garage as the challenge for this week.

In this video, we had just come home from a walk in the park where I was a really good and calm boy - walked nicely on leash and laid patiently on the blanket while mom had her coffee. Mom thinks part of the reason I lose it is that I have pent up energy from being good and I am overly excited about being home (like kids who behave at school all day and come home and take it out on their moms). So mom gets me out of the car and you'll see what happens next. Mom at first rewards me for looking away from the lawn mower tires, then she tries to get me to do a nose touch (I have a lot of trouble doing it and eventually manage one) and then finally I leave the mower alone and walk by.

I can go through the garage in a controlled manner - this video was taken the day before the one above - I had been in the backyard and mom brought me around front and through the garage. I didn't lose it but I do glance at the mower. So I do better when I am not overly excited from an outing.

This is definitely a work in progress and we'll post about it again some time.

This summer mom and I have worked really hard on my car chasing - especially on our daily walks in the neighborhood. I have very few outbursts now and mom is starting variable reinforcements - I still sit and watch the car go by and then look up at mom, but I never know when I will get a treat. Mom still rewards me more often than not, don't worry. And we are slowly starting to generalize this behavior. Yesterday we went walking in the neighborhood on the other side of the elementary school (we call it the parallel universe - houses and yards and sidewalks much like in our neighborhood). I was more excited and tried to pull on my leash some but I was good about the cars. We're going to walk over there more often this Fall.

We're very much enjoying the cooler weather and feel like we have to cram as much training in as we can before it gets to cold to be out there!

Gotta zoom!



Sagira said...

You trying to get that mean old lawn mower Ricky?

Good job on the training though! Keep up the great work. :)

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

I bet the blades of grass are getting woo to do that!

They don't like getting groomed!

Enjoy this pawesome khooler weather!


Dawn said...

This is like Katie and the vacuum cleaner. Like your Mom, I've been avoiding trying to fix it. I always make Katie go outside when I'm doing the vacuum. Guess that would be a good challenge for next week?

You are definitely getting more tolerant of that nasty old lawnmower aren't you! Good job Ricky! I think it's good when we have to stretch ourselves and do things just a bit outside our comfort zone. But it sure is hard!

Diana said...

Wow, Ricky looks like he is doing great. Its making me think, my dogs are manaics!! LOL Diana

Priscilla said...

This sounds like such a sheltie problem!!
Eva has the exact same problem with the lawnmower and car engine.
Of course, for us humans, the easiest way is to avoid it. And that was what we had been doing too.
However, one day, we just decided. enough is enough. Everytime there is something Eva is more likely to bark at, we take her there to let her see it, if it's the oven, lawnmower, etc. Just to let her see that nothing is wrong/strange. Of course, it will take a while, but slowly, she is desensitized to it, if you do it everyday.

Sara said...

Now why do you bark at the lawn mower Ricky? And eyeing it like it is a potential terrorist? The lawn mower is just sitting there, not bothering anyone.....Oh yeah, you're a sheltie! That's your job! LOL.

Your mom is doing a great job trying to help you maintain your cool. You made a lot of progress in those two videos.

Dynomite said...

Good boy Ricky Leave it! Why waste your bark
Very tricky, those mowers, you got it
Wow Ricky I don't know that trick COOL

Kathy said...

wow, those lawn mower tires do have to be kept in line, but gosh Ricky worked through that soooo well, that was amazing. At first he looked like...but mom...seriously we cant get those tires???? Then he really looked like he was into the new game of how we handle those tires, that was great working through, those things are hard, and you guys really did great. A huge gold star for the challenge this week, one for Rickys mom and one for Ricky!!!!

Marie said...

That was a great challenge. For whatever reason it seems in my case, like if it's a problem that happens out in front of people, or at a class or trial, there is more motivation to work on it. So, I really admire you taking on this challenge. I should really try to tackle the rush to the car from the house when I have more than one dog. But I get overwhelmed. LOL

Nat said...

Great that you and your mom are working on those dirty little secrets! I think pretty much all dogs have something that their owner wants changed. Sounds like your two are doing a great job in tackling your little "habits"! :)

We're loving the weather too! Fall is the best agility season up here.

Morganne said...

That is great that you've turned it into a training challenge Its not just Shelties who display this behavior. Summit attacks the garbage bag when I take it out of the cannister to put it in the outside trash can. I guess I should make that my next training challenge.