Friday, April 13, 2012

Driving cross-country back to NOVA, invisible fence, Kikopup

WAAAAHHHH it has been waaaaaaayyyy too long since my last post. I do have a good reason though. lol. For the last couple months my husband and I have been packing up all our stuff to prepare for his deployment and so I can move back to VA to be with family during it. So all of our stuff got put in storage except for some clothes which I had to ship to VA and the dogs. :)
Then, after he left, my mom flew out to California and helped me drive 3,000 miles with my puppies to her house. I've been here about a week and have some downtime right now cause I'm still trying to find a job, so hopefully I'll be able to keep up with this blog a little more for the next several months.

Well, a lot has happened (obviously).
Where to begin? That's the only problem.

This is a video I was recommended by fellow trainers from Kikopup's channel on YouTube. It is about how to train a dog to stay behind an invisible barrier. I am using her methods to train my dogs how to use the Invisible Fence. (For those of you who may not know, it's the electrical fence underground that transmits to a collar that delivers an electric shock if the dog tries to go past it).

The "traditional" method of training them on the fence would be to put flags up where the fence is and then walk the dog to the barrier and yank them back yelling no. Repeat until the dog is so terrified you're going to yank on them that they don't go near the flags again. Yay! =/ Then you associate the yanking on the leash when they're near the flags with the beeping noise emitted by the collar. Then you take the protective cover off of the collar's prongs so that if the dog doesn't back up when they hear the beep, they get shocked. What I'm trying to do is get my dogs to learn the barrier using only positive reinforcement. They choose to stay on their side of the barrier because that's where all the good things are! Then, once they have that down and do not cross the flags, I'm going to associate the barrier with the beeping noise on the collar. And my hope is that they will never get shocked because they will know that the beeping noise indicates they're leaving their area and will choose to turn around. Worst case scenario, they may get shocked one time which will only reinforce their desire to remain on their side of the invisible barrier. The difficult thing is the barrier I'm training them on is HUGE. My parents have an enormous yard. So, in Kikopup's video, her barrier is minuscule in comparison and it's going to take me a bit longer to proof my dogs on it. Meaning, I still have to add in distractions! Which is in Kikopup's second video:

Harley is doing very well. I've gotten to the point where she is off-leash and will wander around inside the barrier while I am on the other side. Only occasionally does she cross the barrier, and even then it's usually only a foot and in an area we have not practiced as much. I will start adding in small distractions with her today with my eventual goal being to throw a ball across the barrier and her stopping at the flags and not going past them. Hah! That will take me a while. =/ I'd like to have both Harley and Ace perfect on the fence and wearing their collars in a week so I can actually get out of the house! I'm basically trapped here until I do. I am able to leave them in my bedroom for very short periods of time if I have to run buy dog food (which I did the other day) but I do want to get a job while I'm here and need to start going to business to inquire about openings soon. Also, it'd be nice to be able to open the door when they need to go out and not walk them on the leash. Although, for a while at first I'll probably be an overprotective mother and hover on the porch watching them to make sure that they don't shock themselves or something. Or get into fights with my parents' dogs.

Aside from the barrier training, I have a VERY long list of things I want to work on with them. I also have a very long list of books I want to read related to training.
I'll let you know what all of those are letter. Gotta leave you wanting more, right? Hah.

So once I have my dogs trained on the invisible fence, I will let you know how that went. I'd like to be able to post a follow-up video to Kikopup's showing how to combine her barrier training methods with an actual Invisible (electric) Fence and collar.

Well, gotta run do some training! :)
More later.
Thanks for pawsing!