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Thursday, 11 November 2010

Psychology, a dogs brain, interesting............

Well, it is always a challenge training a dog, especially a rescue dog with unknown worries, strange behaviours, and I so wish they could talk! However, I have Twiggy, who I love to bits, we all do, and she has become a very special member of our family, so I have that challenge.
She has bonded with me from day 1, is my shadow all day every day, and the most loving loyal dog, but sometimes she still gets spooked and almost goes autistic. Wont look at me in the eye, or come close to me but will keep me in her sights, and this was worrying me out on a walk. Recall was 90% perfect but if she goes into 1 of her moments, she just wouldn't come back. She wouldn't run away, but she would stay just out of reach. 
At first I thought it was just naughtiness, and a phase she was going through like most young dogs, but the more it went on the more I tried to get inside her head. I know she has a real problem having her collar or harness put on, and she often has twitches in her neck and shoulders, although these have become more infrequent, so I reverted to leaving her harness on with a short handle attached. This meant i could grab that without touching her, but still I had the problem of her coming within 6 feet of me. I had tried all the basics, all the obvious methods of training a recall, and when Twiggy went into "that" zone, nothing worked. I cleared my mind of training ways, and just observed her for a few days...... Then Eureeka!!!!! 
The one thing that would make Twiggy excited and wiggly and want nothing but cuddles was the word "HELLO". When we come in from outside, from work, when visitors arrive and we all say "Hello Twiggy" she leaps up, smiling & talking and will jump into your arms with sheer joy, so I took her out for a walk, let her off for a run, and after a short time as she went a bit zoned out, I just said "Hello Twiggy". She ran over as if she had just realised I was there!! It was like a trigger. She snapped out of spooked, unsure rescue girl and became Twiggy, Twigster the happy loving bright gorgeous collie who has enriched our lives.  A week has gone past, and every time she starts to spook, a quick "Hello" brings her straight to me smiling. Still early days, but in every other way she is so intelligent and amazing to train I just had to solve this problem. Who cares what word it took. If that's my recall it suits me just fine! So next season at Agility competitions, and you hear some woman shouting Hello, it will be me, the blonde with the gorgeous collie running towards me! :-)))

5 comments:

Cat said...

Aww Twiggy, she's so cute!

If it makes you feel any better, none of my dogs respond to the word "come". It's usually LALALALLAAA or some form of high pitched squeaking. They think those sounds are much cooler :)

Dani said...

Had tried all sorts of stupid noises! Never use the word come, its too.....well formal, but HELLO it is! :-) x

Lauren said...

Recall just so important and so pleased you have found something that works for lil twigs - she is a real sweetie - love her lil cuddles - sweet dog xx Remember working so hard with Alexis and MR PC on recall and she still says now how valuable it is - def worth the investment!!Lucky Twig landin on her feet with you - alot of people would have passed her by and not wanted to work on her x

Dani said...

Thanks Lauren. Didnt quite work this morning, but all 6 dogs was bit exciting. She only took a min though. Improvement :-)

sharon said...

fantastic work you do with twiggy you are so patient and kind to all your dogs and so glad we found you for twiglet. i am sure we are going to see you running round with her at agility and won't be long before you are a force to be recond with .. You and your family are very special peolpe and we are so glad we have got to know you x x x x x