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Brut Quote

Brut Quote

Friday, October 29, 2010


the long tunnel

jumping barrel

stackable jump or go around

the short tunnel

jumping bar

This is the Back Dogs agility equipment.  This has always been a fun activity for us.  I started when Zappa and Fiona were about four or five months old.  They loved it and it was hilarious to watch.  They are all excellent at it.  Although Silver will only do it if Brut isn't there.  She loves to jump.  

When Zappa and Fiona were young, I trained them separately from Brut and Silver.  Then I did them all as a group.  I always used treats, until Brut's possessiveness kicked in full tilt.  Then I started to do Brut separately from the others.  If you read my post Why Didn't I Think of That, you'll remember that I use treats for much of my training, but Brut's food possession was getting out of hand and then a light bulb went off and I realized that I didn't need the use of treats. Brut's demeanor stays happy, which meant everyone was happy.

So I tried today doing the agility training without the use of treats.  Nothing formal, just weaving it in during play.  I made sure I gave Brut the first couple of commands, so he would know I had no food and my reward was a happy voice and scratching the side of his head. It worked.  I didn't click so that meant there was no food.  He may have been confused for a minute, but he stayed happy and relaxed.  It was great.  The pressure was off.

Usually the other dogs stay away when we do the agility course with Brut.  Sometimes Zappa or Fiona will tag behind Brut at a distance doing it on their own.  Today Fiona was being the brave one.  So I had Brut and her jump the barrel.  What I discovered was amazing.

Brut jumped...

Then Fiona jumped...with Brut right there!

Then they went down for play...

And Brut POUNCED!!

They chased each other around the yard and had a blast.  I am still blown away by the success of not using treats and the clicker training.  It is like watching a drug addict get clean and sober.  I can not begin to explain the feeling of watching Brut turn into a monster over food.  Or the complete difference in his body language that is now engaged with fun and positive energy.  Even Fiona was relaxed.  It is going to take some time for Zappa, Fiona and Silver to begin to trust Brut's actions again, but I believe we are on the right path.  Once the Back Dogs are in harmony the possibilities are endless in reuniting the Front Dogs with them.  Each day brings that chance even closer.  What a journey this has been and we are just getting started!


Kristine said...

That's so awesome! I'm glad you've figured out a way to get the dogs trusting each other again. Training can be so hard but in these moments all that frustration and work pays off trifold.

And I love your agility equipment. It proves you don't need to spend a lot of money if you're a little creative.

Unknown said...

Wow! Your agility equipment is amazing!!! You're really creative : )

Unknown said...

That is great, looks like you have a lot of stuff.
Fred is too scared of equipment to do agility and Haylie is too lazy so we gave up on it :)

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

Good job with Brut. Before you know it, the Back Dogs and the Front Dogs will all be happily together.

Have a great weekend.

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

KB said...

Way to go! Thinking of new ways of doing things can be so hard to do. It sounds like it might be paying off big-time with Brut.

I have a homemade agility course too. I don't use treats because, if I drop one, the dogs continually stop to try to find treats on the ground. So, now I use play (retrieving or gentle tug) as a reward.

I hope the dogs keep having so much FUN!

Levi said...

Wow! That's great and they look like they are having a lot of fun :) Maybe I'll get me to set up an obstacle course some day?! It would be great to see them do it on video if you ever can :)

Brian's Home Blog said...

It looks like lots of progress to me, a true team in the making!

How Sam Sees It said...

Wow! Progress was made today!


Peanut said...

Heheheh, love the pics and I am also considering placing Peanut in Agility lessons once he finishes his advanced obedience lessons...which is in about 3 weeks!

Oskar said...

It sounds like so much fun!

Nubbin wiggles.

Anonymous said...

Happy Howlaween to All of You! :)


Granite State Pet Sitting said...

Sound like the dogs are making progress, while having so much fun.
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