Happy Tuesday, friends!
As promised last week, today we’re going to reveal a bit about Gilligan’s obedience training methods, some of them* using the bacon-wrapped kibble treats Papa created for Gilligan in advance of his birthday. Don’t miss the video showing our unique training exercise!
*Please make sure to read the disclaimer at the conclusion of this article for important health risk information about the use of bacon in this training program or any dog’s diet .
The Training Technique
First, Gilligan dons his winter sweater to prepare for the fairly brisk early winter air. It’s cold out there!
Pretty cozy on this couch…
Until the magic words: “Gilly, you wanna go out?”
Without further ado, please enjoy the below video demonstrating the Roundhouse Training technique we’re trying with Gilligan, conducted in a special setting.
The beginning of any effective program plan should be to identify the explicit goals that the plan wants to achieve.
Make no mistake, Gilligan gets tons of love at home and generally does not lack confidence. The overall goals of our training program are as follows:
- Enhance obedience
- Reduce flighty behavior/tendency to chase things
- Reduce barking to appropriate occasions only
- Increase social aptitude
Now, ideally, we would want to be explicit and identify more precise benchmarks to achieve, such as “Gilligan consistently obeys the Stay command at the first calling by either Papa or Mama; by any guest; etc.” We won’t provide a thorough list here, but you get the idea: The bottom line is that, in addition to understanding the end goal, knowing what to look for in terms of your “baby steps” gives you a keener eye to recognize incremental progress, which is important since as a trainer you want to consistently be responding to this progress with positive feedback such as verbal praise in a soothing tone, physical/petting praise, and/or treats (of course).
Commands We’re Focusing On
Gilligan already has some foundational training in certain areas. In recognition of these, we’re looking to build on his existing strengths and develop them further, by focusing on the following commands (in descending order from most to least emphasized):
- Stay – Currently Gilly has a tendency to break “Stay” posture, but has shown quick progress with consistent training. The Roundhouse technique is designed to keep Gilligan in place no matter what direction the leader is in, with the goal to increase his resistance to the urge to break posture.
- Sit – He was initially reluctant to sit on colder surfaces, but has overcome this fear; remaining seated is challenging and the trainers have chosen to de-emphasize this due to the structure of Gilligan’s dachshund back.
- Heel – Training Gilly to walk alongside the walker, as opposed to out in front, has shown tremendous progress. When our training started several months ago, Gilly had the tendency to walk first, directly in front of the walker. He now stays to the side, but has a tendency to slowly move ahead of the walker. He is fairly consistent in falling back alongside the walker when he hears the “Heel” command.
- Come – Gilligan is fairly consistent in obeying this command, but occasionally gets distracted and must be called more than once to follow through on the command.
- Go to Bed – Gilligan is now consistent in going to his bed when asked to, no matter where it is in the house. He generally exhibits excitement to go to his bed since he usually retreats there to enjoy longer-lasting treats, as you can see in his “Give a Dog a Bone” video.
- Git – This command is used as a “scram” command, usually when Gilly needs to be told to leave the kitchen when he’s standing too close to something hot, etc. He always obliges, though he may return to the area and need to be told again, especially with food involved.
Challenges/ habits that want correction
- Excessive barking and charging at the door when guests arrive at the home – Greater mastery of the “Stay” command may help us with this if used during these moments. We are hoping that rewarding behavior when Gilly stays back in these situations will produce positive results over time.
- Aggressive behavior toward strange dogs – This is the hardest item, as it makes socialization difficult for Gilligan. When other dogs arrive on the scene he wags his tail, displaying that he would like to meet them, however he tends to bite and play a bit too roughly in ways that are risky, especially with females.
- Aggressive behavior toward strange humans – Gilligan has made tremendous progress in this area and is generally good with other strange humans now, but still has a tendency to bark or growl when a stranger emerges suddenly from around a corner, or begins speaking to him or crouching down directly to face him.
- Acting out when left alone for small periods of time – Our little Weens is a bit spoiled, and does suffer from some separation anxiety. This is understandable as he’s been acclimating to a new home this year. He’s shown tremendous improvement in being able to behave himself when left alone, but can become destructive, especially if he has not gotten enough exercise that day. Surprisingly his tendency to act out is greater when he is left alone for short periods of time while his owners are doing something active near the home.
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
How do you work on obedience and behavioral training with your pup?
Do you have any recommendations for Gilligan’s trainers?
We will explore more of Gilligan’s training progress in future posts. What commands and behavioral training do you want to see most?
Don’t forget to Like and Share the joy of Gilligan with friends on Facebook, WordPress, and YouTube. As always, Thanks so much for stopping by today! 🙂
*Disclaimer: Review the facts before deciding to ever feed your dog real bacon or raw meats of any kind.
The bacon-wrapped kibble treats created for Gilligan were made using a very small amount of real, raw bacon. Since their creation our amateur training team has done more research online about the limits of feeding your dog either bacon or raw meat, and we would strongly urge any owner to do the same before making a decision to feed your dog real bacon in any format.
The amount depicted below from our previous post (using roughly 2 bacon strips) is refrigerated and intended to be used over several weeks of training. About 20% of this bag has been disposed of since it was not used quickly enough, and in the future our team will be preparing treats in smaller batches, as well as using smaller bits of bacon per kibble.
There is much debate about whether feeding your dog raw meat is healthy, and whether it is ever ok to feed your dog bacon.
After reviewing the general education information that’s out there, our team is making the decision to continue to use these treats in moderation, keeping the following information in mind:
- Foods that are extremely rich in fat are generally much harder for your dog to digest than other foods.
- It is believed that a diet that is too rich in fat can greatly increase the risk of your dog developing pancreatitis. For this reason, we strongly recommend against these types of foods in any quantity resembling a meal, or as a meal replacement.
- Gilligan is used to eating tiny amounts of real, raw bacon on rare occasion, so for him it is not a new food. If your dog is not used to eating bacon, you should approach introducing it (or any unfamiliar food) in great moderation and with extreme care.
- In the short-term, a large enough amount of high-fat food may cause immediate digestive problems for your dog, both due to the above reasons and if the bacon contains nitrites or nitrates. The effects of this are apparent if your dog has loose stool or loss of appetite, etc. Gilligan has not exhibited any negative signs or reactions to the small level of bacon used in his training, but if he does we will be poised to make the appropriate changes, and will report this here at wagsahoy.com for your reference.
- Gilligan enjoys healthy, balanced, and (importantly) grain free kibble as his main diet. The bacon treats are designed to only be used as a “high value” treat.
- General information about the role of fat in both human and dog diets is not very clear. It is the belief of the folks at wagsahoy.com that unprocessed fats are an extremely healthy part of any diet, and that complications in human health arise due to the overconsumption of sugars, grains, and processed carbohydrates producing an over-dependence on the insulin system and compromising the body’s ability to burn fat. We encourage you to seek information about the research behind diets such as the paleolithic diet, which reveals a lot of debate about our understanding of the nutritional properties of fat, cholesterol, and carbohydrates/sugars, and how these interact with one another, as well as the importance of calories when managing our diet.
- Dogs have been domesticated by humans from wolves over the course of thousands of years. While their digestive systems differ significantly from ours, their diet has essentially evolved from a scavenging of food from the primary diet of people (this is explored briefly in Carl Sagan’s book Cosmos, which we reviewed last week). It is not safe to assume that any food that we can eat is ok to feed to your dog, but the list of foods that cause trouble for dogs generally includes sugary, processed and cultivated foods and preservatives that humans have been eating only since much more recent history.
- It is often assumed that bacon is completely safe to feed liberally to dogs because so many dog treats are bacon flavored, however those treats contain artificial flavoring as opposed to real bacon and one should not make the mistake of jumping to this conclusion.
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