Mason's buddies

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Frustration Gets The Best of Me

Today I had something very important to do so of course before I went I had to get a bath so I would not smell like my lake =)
Today was very frustrating at my first obedience class =(
Mom worked all week with me to learn "eye contact" and the word "yes"
We practiced by mom calling my name and when I looked she would say "yes" and I would get a treat. Then at feeding time I had to sit and "wait" and make "eye contact" until mom gave me the okay to eat my food. I learned "off" when I am getting up on things or humans when I should not be. I also had to watch mom's eyes in order to get a delicious treat from her hand that she had extended out to her side, and when I made "eye contact" and ignored the treats I received one!!
However, in class I payed no attention to mom at all!!! There was just so much going on.
Other puppies and humans and kids and treats........OH MY!!
How am I ever to just watch mom?
This week I have to learn "sit" "down" and "stand" while making the "eye contact" with my mom, and to do it without rewards!!
Does any one have any advise for my poor mom to get me to pay attention to her?
I feel as though I have let my mom down, please help us =)


The Bumpass Hounds said...

Hey Mason,
Long time no see or hear. We well understanding the obedience training problems but this has nothing to do with being a disappointment to your mom. You love her; she loves you, 'nuff said. Sure it's tough but the peeps have this thging about dragging us to training. Do the best you can and try your best. We seriously doubt if you'll be exiled to a shelter for flunking Sit/Stay 101. Great to have you back amongst us. We'll go see your other posts now.

SGR said...

Woof! Mason Don't worry. It takes time. It's a golden trait - it takes a long time for us to follow even though we know what to do. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar.

Martine said...

I'm racking my brain... and all I can come up with are touch signals, that we used for Sugar. Since she was deaf we obviously couldn't tell her comands. For instance when I wanted her attention all I would need to do is tap her ear or tap her back near her tail and she would look up at me. I'm trying to think of more things we did with her but for some reason I'm drawing a blank. Good luck!

xo martine

Mack and Sally Ann said...

It takes time. In time you will get it. My Mommy taught me years ago, but it took awhile;and, now I know I know it well. It takes time.

JackDaddy said...

It is very hard to concentrate in class, but I'm sure you'll pick it up in no time!!

Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Woo know I'm a Siberian so Mom wouldn't even begin to khonsider it fur me BUT

I wonder if it will be better next time and the next time -
It might have been just tooooooo much FUN fur woo in one day!

I'm pretty sure your mom still loves woo LOTS - maybe even more if woo show her this post!



Hey MD and Mom
I'm in agility prep.. same problem. Why does mom think her standing there saying look is sooo interesting when other dogs are running around. Plz... Mom certainly knows your frustration... especially since the lil dachshund who is 10 mos and sits right next to me.. gives complete attention...

Splash said...

Mason, it totally takes a while. Mom taught me in a month of 3x/day workouts, but hey I am pretty special. Ki's been working on it for six months. Mom's fav book on it is Susan Garrett's book about training her agility dog "Buzz". It's called "Shaping Success: the making of an unlikely champion"....

Good luck bro!

Life With Dogs said...

I tie a cat to my head. Works like a charm. ;)

Princess Eva and Brice said...

I have an eye contact problem sometimes. Momma puts me in a stay and then tosses toys/treats around me. She doesn't think that not going after then or even moving my paws is good enough. I can't get her to understand that I have to see where the treats/toys land so that I get it as soon as she releases me. She's going to try a new technique called "object scold" with me this week.


Poppy Q said...

Don't give up buddy. I am sure it is just first time jitters. You guys just need to practice.

Good luck.

Bruce said...

I can't help you Mason Dixie, you see cats are never obedient.
your pal,

Fred said...

I only have advice on ignoring Old Girls! I actually mind pretty good at home but get real distracted when I'm out and about, too. Good luck!

Rocky Creek Scotties and Java said...

It will all work out OK Mason - we never listen to our Mom or make eye contact - that's why we can't go out in public together!!

Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh and Java

Alex93andme said...

Hey sure takes alot of time to learn some of these things. My mom paid alot of money to a so called "trainer" who only did basically nothing with me and then left town! So we don't have much advice. What I've learned is just from my mom and she never did the eye contact thing. Good luck though and don't feel so'll come to you and I'm sure your mom loves you very much.

Elizabeth said...

Just be patient, and it will all start coming together for the both of you!!!

Elizabeth & Luna

Mochi and Mommy said...

I wish I had some advice, but I'm a Siberian and I normally don't listen unless there is a treat involved.

Don't worry, I'm sure you will do great next time! :)


The OP Pack said...

Mason, we don't have any good ideas for you other than telling Mom to be patient and keep working at it in short sessions at home. Eventually it should all come together.

Cheer up - we know your mom still loves you:)

Tail wags, the OP Pack

Dog By Nature said...

Hang in there'll get it. Practice makes perfect.

Honey the Great Dane said...

Hi Mason D -

Don't feel bad!! That was only your 1st day - OF COURSE you would be over-excited and distracted! It's alot to ask of you all at once!!

The problem with obedience classes is that it's like going from 0 to 100mph and you know us doggies can't learn like that - we have to learn in gradual steps and be reinforced & set up for success at each step along the way, to build on that. So a lot of us are really good in the boring, quiet environment of our homes but lose everything the minute we step out into a more exciting environment with more distractions.

If you go straight into the MOST difficult environment and only try to practise there, you will be setting yourself up for failure coz it will just be too difficult for your human to keep your attention - and then you are learning to ignore her. So it's v important to do it in steps where you learn to keep focusing on her in harder & harder situations and being rewarded each time.

Of course, classes are very important and you should stick with them but what will really help is if you do some "homework" in between. I don't mean at home coz you can already do well there - that's easy! - so now you need to go to someplace a LITTLE bit harder (but not as hard as your class) and practise there. For example, instead of doing your exercises in your kitchen (or wherever you usually do it) - go and do it in your front garden where there might be people passing or traffic or occasional kids/dogs playing but they are far away enough that you can still manage to concentrate with a bit of effort! :-)

When you are good at that, now step onto the street and run through your exercises on the sidewalk, with people passing, etc. When you're good at that, go and try them out at your local park or even better, get your human to take you into town - not during a busy time but somewhere like the supermarket carpark or something, where there will be more noises & people & interesting smells. Practise your exercises there.

This is the only way that us doggies can learn properly - by setting up the situations and gradually making things harder. IF you only go to class but keep acting up/ignoring your human every week, you're just being reinforced for the wrong behaviour.

Of course, you may just calm down after a few more classes & start to focus more but a lot of doggies don't - they just get more hyped up & frustrated and their humans lose patience & class becomes a dreaded nightmare (believe me - we've been there!) so it is really worth setting aside the time to practise by yourself in different situations. This is what my human did with me and why I am so well-behaved now.

I hope that was helpful. Good luck!

Honey the Great Dane

Honey the Great Dane said...

ps. I forgot to say - if you start losing focus in one of your practise situations (eg, on the sidewalk) - that means you are taking things too fast and you need to go back a step - so go back to practising in the garden for another day or two. Or maybe try the sidewalk at a quieter time,

Remember, keep sessions very short - 5 mins is best - you're better to do two 5mins a day than a 10mins session once a day. My human usually just runs through some exercises in the 5mins before we start our daily walk - that's a good time coz you're going out for a walk anyway. And then you can do another 5 mins in the morning before your breakfast, for example.

That's the other thing - train when you are hungry!! Make sure you have not had your dinner before your Obedience class and if possible, before your homework sessions at home too. Keep special treats for training only - you don't get them at any other time.

Also - if you're struggling with the "Watch" (eg, in new harder environment) - lower the standards - such as don't expect to hold your humans eyes for 5s before getting a treat - she should say YEs (or click) and treat AS SOON AS you make eye contact in the beginning and only expect longer eye contact as you get better at it. When you increase the difficulty of the environment, lower the standards - eg, if you're trying it out on the sidewalk now, you may have to go back to just eye contact for 1s to get the treat, rather than expect to hold it for 5s - and then build it up gradually again.

Oh - lastly - have you thought of using a clicker? Research shows that it is better than verbal marker (YES) - dogs process the sound in a diff part of the brain and understand it better, it's easier to time correctly than the word and always sounds the same - no ambiguity (humans are very inconsistent) - short, concistent, sharp sound - more effective at marking behaviour. It just takes a bit of practise for your human but otherwise, it really is a better training method.

Honey the Great Dane

Benny and Lily said...

don't worry we ignore mom to when we are suppose to listen
Benny & Lily

Scout 'n Freyja said...

You already gots lotsa' good advice on the eye contact but we wanted to just say that you shouldn't let things get you down cuz after all - love is the most important thing in life and we know that the two of you ♥ each other furry mucho.

SEDONA said...

Hiya Mason,
How long have you been doing obedience for? If it hasn't been that long, I'm surprised they're doing the "treat fade" so soon...we doggies have to be able to do all that stuff consistently USING treats before our humans can start to fade their use so that we never know when the "payoff" will come. Sounds like it's too soon for you so of course you're not gonna perform 'cuz you know there's nothing in it for you! See if your human can go back to using treats. Also, does she use a clicker? I think the clicker works better than the cue word "yes".
Good luck & keep practicing (short sessions), it'll all come together!
Have a great vacation, too!
Your pal,

Anonymous said...

I am havin' flash backs...I BARELY graduated from school. I am okay at all the important things at home and at the office, but bring me to school and I loose my mind.
My Momma came home so embarrassed on graduation day that she is making me go BACK to school...

Sagira said...

Where do you go to training at? Are you from Ohio as well? :)

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