A couple of weeks ago, I had asked a friend who is a dog trainer for some book recommendations on dogs. She came back with two, and I just picked up the first one last night from the library. It’s called The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson.
While I usually read books pretty fast, non-fiction books usually take me a bit longer to get into. So, as of tonight, I am only a third of the way through chapter two. However, I have already learned some valuable things.
She begins chapter two talking about the hard-wiring on dogs, the instincts they naturally come with, one of them being predatory instincts (yep, that’s Ginger) and how the best way to deal with those instincts is to have the “prey” on something else, like toys. It still allows them to use their instincts, but takes the focus off of squirrels and cats (hopefully). She gave an example of a Golden Retriever who had zero interest in toys at the beginning of training, but with positive reinforcement of any interest he expressed in the ball, they were able to train him within a couple sessions to chase and retrieve the ball.
So, I decided to put the book down last night and try it out with Ginger. I gathered her three toys up and had them all beside me as I sat on the floor with her: a tug-of-war rope, a purple “foofie”squeak toy, and a tennis ball.I started with the purple “foofie” toy trying to get her interested, keeping my voice excited and moving it around, hiding it behind my back or under my leg. She never seemed interested, so I decided to switch to the tennis ball. She stayed interested in it a bit more, keeping her focus on the ball the whole time, which I praised her over and over for. I began rolling it around in front of her, and then she extended her head towards it so I immediately gave her a treat.
I would tell you what happened next, but I thought a video might be more fun for you all. Hopefully it works! (I’ve never uploaded videos before) Also, please don’t judge my messy hallway!
Needless to say, I was VERY excited! I just did everything she said to do in the book and it worked! I think this is going to be a very valuable read for me.
Here’s my girl, proud of her toy
Then she got tired of playing. 🙂
I’m going to try and do a little ball training/playing with her each night and hopefully, soon, I’ll be able to throw a ball at the park and have her chase it and bring it back, instead of just chasing other dogs!