Training Intensified

Upon returning from our Anchorage trip, where I had Tomodachi spayed, we buckled down on further training. In Togiak it is easy enough to find places to let the dogs go free, though I am very hesitant in letting them roam. Not because I don’t want to enrich their lives, but as the ‘go-to’ person when animals are hurt, I’ve heard how people have shot dogs with their owners right there. On the day of these pictures I made sure no one else was around, save a friend, and a couple in a boat who were busy fishing. The fact that humans are shooting dogs on the beach is disgusting, so I don’t like to let them too far from my person.

The reason for letting the dogs run off, though, is recall. While in Anchorage a dog ran up to both myself and another dog walker (both of us had our dogs on-leash). This dog didn’t return when the owner called. She tried to reassure both of us that her dog was friendly. Let’s forget the fact that maybe our dogs might be violent, and if an unleashed dog approaches our dogs might attack, dogs shouldn’t be running free. Luckily for me, my dogs are very well behaved, but that is beside the point. The other dog walker’s dogs were toy breeds, and a large shepherd running toward them could cause anxiety. I, myself, have become violent with dogs coming after mine. I carry a taser cane because we have been attacked multiple times since moving to Togiak.

Both my pups need to work on recall. I don’t know if I will let them off much while in Togiak outside the fenced in area I am cleaning and setting up. We also practice in the home.

The white dog in both pictures is Apollo. His owners are both irresponsible and reprehensible. Apollo has attacked dogs in my care on more than one occasion. (I’ve had two students claim Apollo bit them, and nothing was done.) The second picture is of him and his ‘pack’ attacking a smaller dog, who was eventually surrendered because he was too scared to leave their place to use the bathroom. I’ve had multiple dealings with Apollo’s female owner and my description of her is ‘user.’ She cares only for herself and once a person stops doing what she wants, she threatens them (I have Messenger proof of her threatening me saved, so I am not saying this out of the blue). My reason for posting this under training is because, as you can see, none of these dogs are on leash, nor are their owners around. So, how does one train their dogs when ferals such as these are running amok? (As an aside, while these dogs are owned by irresponsible people, there are more people in Togiak who are responsible than not, and these folks are wonderful.)

Nakama, Tomodachi, and I train indoors. It is pretty simple to work with them while inside because they are off-leash and always ready for a treat. Both dogs are awesome at waiting before chowing down on both their meals and snacks.

We also play the games that involve following me and coming from one room to another. My doggos are both food-motivated, so we use homemade and store-bought treats. They like them all, so I can switch it up easily enough. One day I hope to do more training outside after they have learned ‘ignore.’

Ignore is a major training. Nakama is about 50% when it comes to ignoring while we are walking along. Tomodachi, since she is only ten months, is still very social. I’ve had to train the students in the area to ignore us so I can train my dogs. Sometimes that training proves not to have sunk in, so I have no issues with telling children to leave. This does not work with ferals running around. The best we can do at this point is train my dogs, and if necessary do what I need to in order to keep my dogs safe. When I can’t trust the people or the dogs in the vicinity, I have to train the three of us to be on the defensive. Training equals safety, and I want everyone to be safe.

Redirection

One of the biggest problems I’ve run into when working with my pups is the constant barrage of ferals running amok. They never stop and quite frankly, their lax owners are to blame. I have been extremely lucky that other critters aren’t running around, though the flying kind so tend to make things interesting, especially since eagles are bigger than both doggos at this point. Frankly, training them had me at a loss. I was speaking with a trainer the other day and she recommended using the same technique I use when trying to get the pups to sit for a picture, only make sure I am doing this when there are distractions. I’ve only had an opportunity to use it a few times with the necessary distractions, but every time it has worked. So, treats all around. I carry treats with me most of the time anyway, but I’ve been lucky enough to have redirected my dogs toward my person. I do worry that this method is going to cause issues with ferals, the children who run around don’t care that I don’t give them a treat. However, when the ferals come around, that is when I will have the true test. Until that time, we practice in the apartment. While in the midst of play I’ll call them for a treat, and if they run over and sit down, they get the yummy.

First Solo Walk!

Today was a beaut of a day, so Tomodachi had her first solo walk. Now, by walk I mean that it wasn’t her going out to the approved relief area and sniffing, but an actual half-Mile of walking. Took us twenty minutes. I didn’t require much of her since she is just four months old, however we are going to start working heavily on her not pulling. I didn’t attach the leash to the ‘no pull’ part of the harness, but her next solo walk I definitely will. We worked on ‘sit,’ ‘stay,’ ‘watch,’ and ‘walk.’ today. She is still learning and I believe will get better much faster if we do solo walks a couple times a week. After her walk, which included skating on the ice rink that is our roads, she and Nakama decided to have a wrestling match on the bed. Clearly he missed her while she was gone, but they both need to get used to being alone at times since training them together all the time will not work.