Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Contest, Sit Means Sit, and more rambles

My pups' picture is in a contest for "Sit means Sit" best Action shot. So... please vote for it!

On that note though, I decided to look into the Sit Means Sit training program because a customer was gushing about how amazing it is and I wanted to see for myself what was so great about it. First, I hate the way the website is laid out. It's taking me forever to find anything regarding the training program's methodology and beliefs. Plus I had to register twice to get access to articles which is just plain annoying. And I just downloaded an article of theirs which explains why electronic collars are humane. Hmm... not sure I believe that one no matter what they say. I will admit that possibly they are not as awful as they used to be, but I still do not believe in using them. Dogs learn so much faster with purely positive reinforcement (though apparently people want to use the term progressive reinforcement now). Using positive/progressive reinforcement is enjoyable for the dog, it makes training fun, it helps create a better bond between dog and parent and helps stimulate their mind as well. Dogs trained with this method are - I won't say smarter- but better problem solvers, and dogs trained with the "traditional" method (choke chains, prong collars, shock collars, "dominate" the dog, etc) generally end up being very fearful of a lot of things, including the pet parent- plus, they end up being not very independent or mindful or happy-go-lucky or any of those kinds of things.

I just conferred with my area trainer and she was not a fan of their program either. And I read some more articles- and all of them had a plug for their electronic collar. I watched a video where they used an electronic collar on a 5 month old puppy in place of a clicker. They shocked the dog to mark a desirable behavior. One, that just sounds backwards, Two, why would ANYONE put an electronic collar on a 5 month old?, Three, although electronic collars may not be as bad as they used to, why would anyone substitute a collar for a clicker- clickers work wonderfully! If it aint broke, don't fix it.

I entered the contest though because I am somewhat competitive and it's for a $25 gift certificate to their store- and though they do sell electronic collars (ugh), they also sell normal toys and treats... and I could always use more of those. Seriously, I go through like a bag of treats a week! I guess that's what two 5 month old puppies will do to you. :P

That rabies shot really knocked them out. They slept most of yesterday. I was afraid that then they wouldn't be tired and wouldn't sleep through the night, but they did, thank goodness. I still have issues with that occasionally- seems like either Ace can't hold it all night, or he just wakes up and wants attention. So I decided to "test" him and not get out of bed to take him out if he wakes up and whines- to see if he'd have an accident or if he'd go back to sleep. So I tried it- the first night was awful he cried forever but I was hoping he was going through extinction and I just tried to go back to sleep. But now, he rarely ever wakes up anymore- or if he wakes up, he doesn't wake me up. So, I've come to the conclusion that on accident, I trained him to wake me up so that he would get to see me. Does that make sense? I think he just doesn't like to be without us and he realized that because whenever he'd cry I'd take him outside and he'd get to see me, he began crying just to see me not because he had to go outside. So, I extinguished that behavior and now I usually can go all night without having a puppy whine and bark and wake me up!

Man, I really went off track from the original topic of this post, but that's alright. Time to start reading Don't Shoot the Dog! I suppose. :)

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