2 minute dog trainer – dogs learn when you think they aren’t

Since October 23rd, Tempest has been on the road to good health.

First he had an injured shoulder and was occasionally lame. Second he was diagnosed with osteochondrosis (an overgrowth of cartilage in his shoulder) and we had surgery performed on Med Vet in Columbus, Ohio.

After 4 weeks of crate rest he was cleared for take-off.  In early December I was jubilant at having my pup back, and was ready to start with jumping drills and more agility fun.

On December 14 Tempest’s epilepsy reared it’s ugly head and — as of January 17 — we’re fighting back.

On two occasions, December 14-15 and December 30-31, I’ve faced the possibility I’d have to euthanize my sweet little boy. “Devastation” doesn’t quite describe the emotional toll this disease claims.

I’ve devoted several hours a day to learning everything I can about epilepsy in dogs. I’ve joined an international chat list made up of incredibly supportive people.

I’ve also reconnected with a few friends who have been my shoulders to cry on (via facebook, mostly – guess that makes them “e-shoulders” or am I “e-crying”?).

So I’ve had time to give lots of thought to the 2-minute dog training protocols with which Tempest was trained.

What worked? What didn’t work? How would I change the protocols?

In the throes of our training I became convinced that Tempest and I weren’t going to be able to manage absolute directionals. Either I’m not clever enough to teach them or he’s not clever enough to learn them.

Well, it now appears neither is true. He had a damned sore shoulder. For quite a while, probably.

Left turns hurt. Right turns hurt. Going straight hurt a little less.

LESSON — when a dog appears unable to learn something, look for a physical reason for why the dog won’t offer the wanted behavior.

In our little 5-minute training sessions this week it is clear to me that Tempest absolutely knows left and right, and is quite willing to jump-left and jump-right when cued to do so. Go figure.

When we first started trialing Tempest had a bar-dropping problem. I wanted to work on his jumping this winter.

Well, it now appears Tempest doesn’t have a bar-dropping problem at all. He had a damned sore shoulder.

Jumping hurt. Landing hurt. Sometimes it’s hard to lift a foot when your shoulder hurts.

LESSON — when a dog appears unable to do something, look for a physical reason for why the dog errs.

In our little 5-minute sessions this week it is apparent that Tempest knows how to jump, knows how to keep bars up, and actually enjoys jumping. Go figure.

So we haltingly resume our agility career. Epilepsy keeps us from working very hard, and I’m on pins and needles waiting for the next seizure, but my friends are helping me relax with this monster disease, and assure me that my agility partner will be back in the near future.

I’ve set no goals. I’ve entered no trials. I just want to get through the next 2 weeks without a seizure.

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2 Responses to “2 minute dog trainer – dogs learn when you think they aren’t”

  1. Andrea Says:

    Good goal … hoping it works too 🙂

  2. Lily Lim Says:

    How very true. How often do we all jump to wrong conclusion that dogs are unable to learn, disobedient etc when they fail to do our bidding. The problem could be as simple as an injury or in my case, my dog happened to be eashed up (by my hubby in the kitchen) when I tried doing a recall. My first thought when it did not come when called was disobedience. Your article reminded me of that incident. Hope more people read this. Cheers

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