Posts Tagged ‘Xsara and Tani’

My Lele is Growing Up (Part 2/2)

May 13, 2011 4 comments

I’ve mentioned on lele’s negative behavior on part 1 of the post. Let me sing her praises as she has fine-tuned to a very interesting doggie recently. Since after her heat and the smooth recovery of her tail injury, lele’s appetite has grown so such that she just can’t get enough of her treats (even for kibbles). Our whole family has also realised her change as she behaved like a famished dog constantly seeking food opportunities with any member of the family. Not as if we’ve ill-treated her but she got her standard 2 meals a day consist of raw dehydrated lamb in the morning and home cooked food (Fish and Sweet Potatoes) in the evening. We probably thinks she is at the “puberty” growth stage right now. But acting like a straving dog, I realise my training with her has been smooth sailing. Her currency or motivator at the moment is food. I’m trying and learning to phrase out the treats and introduce toys as time goes.

Lele is undergoing competitive agility training right now. Being a beagle with hunting instincts in her blood and her nose as the boss, she can be really stubborn and inattentive. Although lele has completed her obedience training, I felt there is something amiss that I cannot catch hold of her.

Frankly speaking, after going through tons of training videos on Youtube, I finally came across Dr Ian Dunbar training videos. He was an enlightenment in redirecting my standpoint in dog training thru a 360 degree view. Rather than wanting our dog to do what we want them to do in our perspective, why not try looking into their dog eye view.

Lesson 1. Getting her attention – Lele has always been pulling her leash during walks, getting very excited when she sees her buddies, sniffing when not suppose to, no responses in recalling…… But after watching a video on Active Attention – SIRIUS Adult Dog Training, I was speechless. It’s a simple technique to get eye contact and attentiveness from the dog. I remember my first few training with lele, it was quite disheartening. Probably due to my previous techniques constantly “luring” lele to watch me, she did not get to understand the game at all. The first time, I have to stand there like 5 mins with my back facing her and she just simply lie down on the floor looking at my back (feedback from my MIL who is watching). It was even hilarious when she pull the leash and try to went off sniffing with me standing firm on the ground. Subsequently after the 8 mins. She walked to my side and took a peek at me. That’s when I wildly praise her and the training has start to progress. In additional, I learned from the videos by a fellow beagle owner in putting treats in my mouth. I know it may sound yucky but it works by making lele looking up at me. Now I’ve stop doing that but every time I treat her from my hand, I will move the treats to my lips and give it to her. This makes her assume that the treats come out from my mouth and she will stare at me constantly.

Lesson 2. Convert distractions into her rewards – Lele is on a martingale collar. Hence every time we go for walks, she will pull and choke herself even when I’m standing still. As I learned to get her attention, the moment we step out of the house, everything is to be in a calm manner and look at mummi. With the treats packed for the walk, she is rewarded for walking nicely beside mummi and also looking up. But there’s no way we can constantly do that during walks, where’s all the fun then. Since her favourite activity is sniffing and exploring, she gets what she wants BUT only when mummi gives “go sniff” command. Initially when we reach the void deck of our flat, she will start her frenzy sniffing. Since I expected thats what she’s going to do, I made her sit first. Once she looks at me (took around 2mins the first time), I gave her wild praises and then the go sniff command to let her have her fun. Our first “new” walk took me 45 mins with almost 30 mins on sniffing and 15mins of walking nicely and stopping to wait for her eye contact. Now she has made vast improvements on her walk and really make me very proud of her. I used to stop the moment she pulls her leash and “lure” her to watch but now she knows the game and every walk seems so much easier and relax. Just let Dr Ian Dunbar mentioned, let the dog thinks they are training the owner. Just like lele now, look at you means you give me treats. LOL.. it works very well with my MIL. Her heart just gives in when lele shows the “Puss in Boots (Shrek)” eyes.

Lesson 3. Training is all about fun – I used to have a stance when I train lele, whichever is on tricks or basic obedience. I have a tendency to rush for results and hoping for quick end products for the tricks. I realised lele hardly wags her tail when doing training with me. Does it means she’s not enjoying herself with me? I guess so. As I browse through the net and some facebook references from friends, 3 other trainers came across whom are Zak george, Silvia Trkman and Barby (Xsara and Tani). I read through their website and watch their amazing videos and all concludes similar teaching. Training is to let owners and our dogs have fun as well as develop their learning skills and awareness of their body. Training and learning is also to resolve bad behaviors from our dogs. Lele do not knows what the end results I want. But she knows that she is learning always. As I start to change my viewpoint and make training short and fun for lele, I can see her changes and bonding with me. Her recalls have also improve slightly and now I also get to see her wagging tail which always bring a smile to my face.

Training may be a tedious journey and a continuous effort. But the fun and fulfilling feeling when lele is able to perform and listens when ask to is just overwhelming. I enjoy training a lot and I love to see lele’s looks trying to figure what I ask her to do. The moment she gets it, she will get her food rewards and an after class playtime with mummi. 🙂

There is no bad or aggressive or un-trainable dogs, only lazy owners.


One of lele’s training videos – Lele Beagle Heeling  (*Sorry for the shaky video*)