Yesterday was such a red letter day at our house. I saw some really remarkable things happening, so you will have to forgive a little bit of bragging about my FANTASTIC DOGS! It is just so EXCITING when there are just leaps in learning, especially when it makes my life so much easier.
First thing in the morning I was going out to the front yard to train. A few months ago that would have meant the rest of the dogs throwing a hissy fit with whining and carrying on that I was taking out dog out to play, and I would be having a bit of a hassle to get just one dog outside. I would usually have to put all the dogs into their crates which would make a short training session into a big deal by the time I got all the right dogs crated and the right dog heading outside.
Cut to yesterday when I got my treats and toys and walked to the front door. There were five little angelic faces standing expectantly about three feet from the door where the tile meets the carpet--no moving or whining, no begging, no door dashing. I could call each dog when it was their turn and only that dog went outside, the rest just stood quietly without moving a muscle except for Breeze who just took off to get a good spot to look out the window. WOW!!! I only really worked on that for a few minuets one day, but that comes right from the work we have done on the CRATE GAMES. I can not tell you how nice that was. A real treat for me.
Our second huge moment was when I fixed the breakfast dishes and wanted to use the dog's breakfast for training. In the past to train another dog in the house Cricket especially would SCREAM and bite the crate and I was really afraid she would get hurt. The other dogs would be REALLY noisy. In the past no one could be quiet.
Back to the present, on this day I worked Breeze first. Cricket sat quietly in her crate watching with interest but not a peep and she was very relaxed. Next up was Liz working. Again Cricket quietly waited her turn and Breeze who was lose stayed out of our way. The most amazing part was when I went to work Cricket. Cricket was working beautifully and it hit me,.....where are the other dogs?? I had not put them in the crate like I normally do, so I look around........and what do I see? LIZ AND BREEZE QUIETLY LAYING DOWN, RELAXED AND JUST WATCHING. They were happy and content and quiet. I had not needed to tell them to stay, or tell them to down, I was not feeding them, or yelling at them, they just saw Cricket working and knew that laying down and using self control was a choice most likely to pay off, I am sure they taught they were controlling and shaping me, ;-). Do you know how much I loved seeing that? That totally was a result of doing the CRATE GAMES from the Susan Garrett DVD. I really wish I had done more with those when I first had the DVD.
Here is a really embarrassing picture of one day in the past before we started working crate games when I left Cricket out of the crate on accident and went out front to work with one of the other dogs. That window seal was painted white and totally in mint condition. When I got in the house Little Beaver Cricket had torn out all those HUNKS of wood. I was sooooo mad, a one way ticket for Cricket right back to Oregon where she came from did pop into my mind. Looking at that destruction I am sure you can see where my excitement is coming from at the good behavior Cricket is choosing to offer me now!
The reason I really am so in love with the Crate Games now is not just because it is working so well for me, but I love the plilosophy of not trying to control the dog, but controlling the environment so that making good choices is a good deal for the dog. Julie Daniels says in her Pre-Sports puppy DVD that you want any training to be a good deal for the dog, they want to make the right choice because that gets them the best things. I have always agreed with that idea, but sometimes really did not know how to put that into place for some harder things like having dogs be quiet while other dogs are working with out sitting and feeding and clicking the whole time the other dogs were working
Our assignment today is posted to the general list-so I put the link ;-), and the video of what we are supposed to do today to test what our dog really knows and what we think they know! Looks like fun, but not thinking I will be doing the headstand unless I am next to a wall ;-).