2-minute dog trainer – toys for work

Today I spent 5 minutes in our training building, showing my Mother and Sister how Tempest is doing with his agility lessons.

Instead of using food treats, I picked up his cloth frisbee. I learned an important lesson in that 5 minutes.

The toy creates a distraction for Tempest through which he’s unable to work (at 8 months of age) because he’s never be trained that toys are the reward for work.

This seems to be a simple thing, doesn’t it?  But clearly, when you’re an 8-month-old border collie a toy should be the reward for breathing, and work should be shunned. <g>

I’m going to do a little work with him over the next weeks and months, to let him understand the work-for-reward (whether food or toys) system that dog trainers use to shape behavior.

I’m not overly-concerned with Tempest’s behavior. I remember the days when I was doing Golden Retriever rescue and would pull “free to a good home” dogs from disfunctional homes, rehabilitate them, and find lovely homes for nicely trained dogs.

The dog’s behavior when I got them was more a function of their age — almost always 8-to-1o-months of age — not their breed or training or the family’s commitment to keeping them.

I always tried to get the family to actually train through these adolescent months, with the idea that they’d have a fabulous family dog in 6-8 months.

They always just said, ” I need to get this dog out of my house before my [spouse] gets rid of it.”

There’s no reason to believe that my puppy, with the advantages of 2-minute dog training from age 2 months to 8 months, will be this age with any extraordinary blessing.

He’s 8 months old.  I just tell myself, “Deal with it.  Stay steady, be consistent, don’t get upset, let Tempest come around after he gets through this period of adolescent growth.”

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