Friday, September 20, 2013

Bogie's First Training Session

Last night was our first session with a professional dog trainer.  I decided to get professional help after Bogie's latest escapade.  Bogie Escapes Yet Again

I had had it in mind for a while, but was waiting for the weather to cool off a bit.  That last escape accelerated my plans.  Anyway, last night we met with Shawn from Top Dog Boarding and Training.

The first session was mostly to get me to understand what was expected of me and of Bogie.  We went over door protocol.  One way to keep a dog from escaping through an open door is to train them not to exit until they are given permission.

Bogie did great.  Me, not so much.  It's a new behavior for me, too, and I kept giving the Break signal and the treat at the wrong time. All these changes are confusing enough for Bogie without me making it worse.

That's a big part of dog training - getting the dog owners to behave in a way the dog can understand.

Shawn's main goal for the session was to teach Bogie how to Down.  Now the part I hadn't realized is that the actions come first.  Once the dog understands the motions and expectations, then a word can be assigned to the action.

Shawn said Down is the hardest command for a dog to learn.  And Bogie didn't learn it.  At least not yet.  He tried.  He really tried, but he didn't understand what Shawn expected.

Bogie was getting tired and frustrated, so we stopped doing Down and worked on Sit.  Shawn prefers to teach Down before Sit, but that ship has sailed.  It was one of the first things I taught Bogie.

Of course, I've been doing it wrong.  The dog is supposed to get the treat not when he does the Sit, but when you release him from the Sit.  This eventually becomes the Sit Stay.  Because the dog Sits until released.

The hour session flew by.  Bogie and I were both mentally exhausted when we finished.  In fact, he slept most of the way home.

My homework, which I admit has me intimidated, is to work on the door protocol and the Down until next week's session.

I tried the Down a little earlier today.  Bogie just looked at me like I was insane.  It is clear that what seemed acceptable at Top Dog is going to be harder to implement at home.

We'll get it.  I hope.

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