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    Thread: Stress...

    1. #1
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      Stress...

      So we backed way up, dropped doing most retrieving, and worked on obedience. She's amazing, really. We move almost like we're doing the pas de deux in Swan Lake! (A bit of an exaggeration as I have two left feet.)

      So now we're re-introducing the elements of field work (or more precisely, the tools she's familiar with in field training.) Holding blind. Fat white bumpers sitting in the grass. We did heeling all around these, and rewarded her with a toss, which she's allowed to get if her feet are still. And, I'm happy to say, the tappy feet are almost 100% gone.

      I added the quack noise this week and she's become so vocal! Squeaking up a storm. I've not known what to do about it exactly. Not sure I'm doing the right thing, but when the quack sounds, and she starts squeaking I put her on a stay and walk away from her. I only return when she's quiet. It's frustrating. She'll get quiet, I'll take a step toward her and she will squeak. So I stop and turn away from her until she's quiet.

      So I have two questions: 1) Anyone got suggestions on what to do about it? And 2) is this a stress response, since the sound of the quack has for her whole life been a cue that she's about to launch, and now she's got to really sit still... something I think I've conditioned her to do at this point.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

    2. #2
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      Not sure about suggestions, other than what you are already doing. I do know people who have used a spray of some sort (diluted lemon juice) as a negative consequence, but I’m not sure how effective that really is.

      I think it’s more excitement from anticipation than stress though. Most of the dogs I know who vocalize on the line do it because they are flying high as a kite with the anticipation of the retrieve. My guess is if you can de-link the quack from the launch so the relationship is no longer automatic, the behavior may stop, but vocalization like that is a tough one because the dogs often aren’t aware that they are doing it.
      Annette

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    3. #3
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      Agree with Annette. In obedience and especially agility, vocalization is frustration. My friend's new Mal puppy is a vocalizer and she already knows that she's going to have to be quick and clear in her cues in agility otherwise, he's going to run circles around her and bark, most likely. If she's "lucky" he'll also bite at her. Right now she's doing foundation work and when she is not clear and quick, he's whining. Fun! You see it a lot in agility and the only thing that really fixes it is becoming a better handler. Unfortunately, once that behavior is established, it's hard to break. Like Annette said, much of the time the dog doesn't even know they are doing it. It's an emotional state -- frustration, anxiety, stress, confusion.

      Try videoing yourself and look at time and clarity. Are you being completely clear to your dog? Are you marking good behavior quick enough? Are you being consistent all the time? A great, experienced handler, regardless of training method, is quick and clear and that is really the key to great training. It's hard!

    4. #4
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      Yes. For sure she's a rehab case... and may never be the perfect dog so this is going to be a management sorta deal.

      I remember when we began the heeling video she would vocalize when we took a step back. (She was backing up great, she just wasn't doing it quietly.) So at that time, I used some cheese to just make it fun and that seemed to fix the vocalization.

      So this morning, I took some cheese bits into the backyard, and the transmitter for the quack and the transmitter for the collar, and a bumper. (Now if I only had the third and fourth hand for all of this.) I began rewarding her for being quiet. So if she was quiet, she might get the cheese bit or she might get a toss, or she might get both. Or she might just stand there while the quack goes off and we might heel to another location. And if she squeaked, all-stop, nothing good happening.

      It worked, but I think the jury is out on whether that constitutes progress. We'll do it again this afternoon.

    5. #5
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      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post
      Yes. For sure she's a rehab case... and may never be the perfect dog so this is going to be a management sorta deal.

      I remember when we began the heeling video she would vocalize when we took a step back. (She was backing up great, she just wasn't doing it quietly.) So at that time, I used some cheese to just make it fun and that seemed to fix the vocalization.

      So this morning, I took some cheese bits into the backyard, and the transmitter for the quack and the transmitter for the collar, and a bumper. (Now if I only had the third and fourth hand for all of this.) I began rewarding her for being quiet. So if she was quiet, she might get the cheese bit or she might get a toss, or she might get both. Or she might just stand there while the quack goes off and we might heel to another location. And if she squeaked, all-stop, nothing good happening.

      It worked, but I think the jury is out on whether that constitutes progress. We'll do it again this afternoon.
      Sounds like a good start, but you are probably right in that it will take more than one training session for the lesson to really sink in.

    6. #6
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      This morning she was being a bit of a butt at breakfast. I hadn't had my coffee. I know I'm an awful person but when she squeaked I got in her face with QUIET... and gave her a small pop under the jaw with each squeak. And she stopped. (I know this is like telling an alcoholic to quit drinking, putting a gun to his head and saying "See... he didn't pick up the bourbon. He's cured!")

      But later (after some coffee) we went to the backyard and just talked about the squeaks. And that's what I mean. If she squeaked I talked softly to her about it (with some solid and well thought out reasons for being quiet...) and when she was quiet, she got a retrieve.

      Whether it's cheese or bumper or non-sense sounds from me, she's better. We'll keep working on it.

      Update: Yep, yep... seems to be working. We're just chill and quacking and tossing now. She's doing better. Much better.
      Last edited by TuMicks; 11-10-2017 at 05:00 PM.

    7. #7
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      Still gaining ground with quick rewards for sitting there relaxed and quiet. Went to the park, put out fat white bumpers, had the quacker and cheese. Almost no squeaks. We'll keep this up and see how long before she's really relaxed by the sound of the quack. Sure would be great if that became as conditioned as her sit.

    8. The Following User Says Thank You to TuMicks For This Useful Post:

      Annette47 (11-12-2017)

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