Baby Thor

Baby Thor

Training Thor

In January 2010, Thor, a 5-month-old weimaraner, came crashing into my life.

Here, I will outline the steps taken to train him to be a well-mannered dog,

to do agility, and to perform some service dog tasks.

At five months, he is pretty wild.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Setbacks (and I Goof)

After 17 days of a dry crate, Thor peed in his crate once more.  I don't think I had changed anything re frequency of trips out. I may have taken his water away a bit later than usual.  But I'm puzzled and waxing philosophical.  I do believe that for learning to be solidified, backsliding is inevitable.  In fact, setbacks are an important part of the learning process.  To forget (or seem to forget) and then relearn makes a behavior more reliable.  When I was taking piano lessons, my teacher would have me learn a piece well, then put it away and forget about it.  Weeks later, she would bring it out again and have me relearn the piece.  I think that was a wise way of teaching.  So if I can let myself believe that Thor's "accident" will make his housetraining stronger, then that is what I'll believe.

With the schedule for taking Thor outside that I have set up, I am exhausted.  Then, when he did his backsliding, I was exhausted, discouraged, a little bit angry.  So the next time I was working on his obedience skills, I got a bit rough with him (pushed him into a sit when he didn't sit "fast enough" for me).  He was shocked.  He froze and didn't want to get up again.  Poor Thor.  I know better!  I need to get some sleep so that I don't slip again into those old training patterns.  I am committed to positive training! 

For the most part, Thor's obedience skills are coming along very well.  He sits when I cue him to sit, he offers a sit when he's unsure of what to do.  I've been teaching him to maintain position (sit) until a verbal release (okay) without my having to say "stay."  That's the expectation in shutzhund, and I like it.  One of the first books I read about drive and allowing the dog to push the training was Shutzhund Obedience: Training in Drive by Sheila Booth with Gottfried Dildei.  I later read Sheila's book, Purely Positive Training.  These were among my introductions to a better/kinder way of training.  I later attended a puppy training workshop presented by Sheila, and we've had several conversations at agility trials.  If I could be half the trainer that Sheila is...

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