Monday, February 07, 2011

Training basics - From Pit Ed Class

A little video from the first day of Pit Ed Class. It's amazing how much improvement a handler can make with just a few adjustments in how he holds the leash and the information he offers his dog through voice and body language. This beautiful dog is slightly leash reactive right now, but if her handler stays on track with this kind of relationship-building work, she'll come around quickly to good leash manners and better focus around bigger distractions. She seems to love the attention she's getting from this exercise, and we love watching the light bulb go on for both of them.

12 comments:

Linda said...

What a lovely dog! Her happiness and wanting to please just radiate!!! Hooray for her owner to devote the time to her training.

Kudos to all.

The Heartbeats said...

What a good girl! Pleasure to watch.

Heather Cherry said...

Beautiful, happy dog. Great to be able see you guys doing your Pit Ed thing, for those of us who live states and states away and can't sign our dogs up or drop by to watch.

I just did a post about how I got backpacks for my dogs to help with their leash reactivity and pulling. It has helped tremendously, but we still haven't worked out all the kinks. I take my little training treat bag, just like the guy in the video has, and at first I can get several "watch me's" from the dogs, and I can also get them to sit and wait when a car is coming. But eventually, they're just too distracted by all the sights and sounds of the walk that they won't do watch me. Most of the time they'll still sit and wait very well, but are so distracted that when I'm ready to praise them and release the sit, they are so distracted in their excitement to continue the walk that they don't even take the treats. Maybe I shouldn't worry about that, and just consider that in that moment they are continuing-the-walk-oriented rather than treat-oriented when it comes to reinforcement?

And what walking position do you teach in Pit Ed for those who walk two dogs? Walking both on the left doesn't seem to work very well. Mine start walking in a sort of V formation in front of me and as they tire, gravitate back toward each side of me. Do you like couplers or separate leashes?

leigha said...

just want to say i love you guys at bad rap. it was great to see you on the need to know program. i also wanted to pass something on here: as you may know vick was given a key to the city of dallas by the vice mayor, the actual mayor has spoken out against this, and the adopter of mel the pit bull mr. hunter has spoken to the actual mayor mr. leppert. there is a campaign by cherry the pit bull to get the key back from vick and get it to mel. here is the contact info for dallas city council Dallas City Hall 1500 Marilla Street Room 5EN Dallas, TX 75201 Phone: 214-670-4054 Fax: 214-670-0646. tom leppert is a good guy it seems so hopefully he will get this all settled. he has a face book page and you can email him from the dallas city council web site.

Cattledog Mom said...

that was a great reminder for me and walking with and working with my dogs! Thank you! Pretty dog too!

Doc Sinister said...

Oh my gosh, that pretty girl just ADORES her human. :)

Robin L. said...

I hope it is okay to ask questions here about Pit Bull education. I volunteer at my local shelter and there's one or two people who have experience with them. Almost every one of the dogs has been a fantastic dog and dog-friendly as well as people friendly. We are seeing a big increase in the number of them coming into our shelter lately though (Helena, Montana) and have a people-friendly pit bull that may have problems with dogs. Anyway, as we deal with this it raises bigger questions like how to save more of them in an area where the adopters aren't taking these dogs on and our credibility (due to our lack of experience) with the owners who already have pit bulls. I and a staff member really like these dogs altho neither of us currently has one and we would like to do something more to help them. Any suggestions? I have three dogs already and can't take on more as one of them is unsocial with others. She rents and her landlord allowed one small dog. Wish we could do more as no matter what we do the pit bulls seem to be euthanized at higher rates.

Robin

Donna said...

@ Heather, Love, LOVE the idea of giving dogs backpacks as a special "job" when out on their walks. Good thinking.

Since you're having trouble getting focus, I would work on just bringing one dog out at a time for training walks. This will help cut down on the excitement they broadcast to each other and hopefully give you the advantage. Also, it's fine to skip breakfast and let them get their kibble out on their walk as rewards for nice focus. Finally, work them near the house and get those 'Look' commands ingrained in familiar surroundings. Then ask them to do more focus work during walks in less-familiar surroundings as they begin to succeed near the house. Tim likes to give dogs a chance to do full-leash length sniffing walks as well as short-leash working sessions all in the same walk. Mix it up so they get a little of both. I hope this helps some. Using email is like talking through water .. You never know how ideas are translating!

@Robin - Kudos to you for helping the pit bulls in Helena. It sounds like you have a growing community of pit bull owners now. You could do what we did way back when we started BR .. we created small gatherings of any pit bull owners we knew to see if we could work together. None of us really knew what we wanted to do together, but e knew there was power in numbers. Everyone has a skill and most every pit bull owner wants to find a way to help the dog forward, so you very well may have experienced hands that would strengthen your program(s). From there, you can decide if you have the human resources to start a little training class or walking group. Maybe you'll even find a couple of foster homes.

All best to you during this time of discovery. We're so glad to know you're out there!!

Heather Cherry said...

Thanks a million for the suggestions, Donna. You're the best!

Phyllis said...

I love this site. I lost my 15 year old girl in November and just adopted a 3 year old girl. Its hard to live without a pit bull in your life once you have been lucky enough to have one. Any chance we could see a whole class on line somewhere, sometime ? Thanks for all your help.

Phyllis said...

Its great to see how much the dog just wants to get it right. What a sweet girl. Lucky dog, Lucky person.

Redbirdie said...

Thanks Donna! We will give it a try. As for the dog I mentioned, we attended a conference at which Pam Reid showed us some dog-testing using a fake dog so we tried it on the people-friendly dog who had had an incident with another dog. Things are looking up for that dog so I feel more hopeful about what we can accomplish.