Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Successes and Challenges

Stuck has been doing really well adjusting to my home. This past Saturday friends at my club were asking how it was going. I explained it was going well except for her being really bad about coming in the house with me and that it was really irritating. Her recall needs some serious work too.

Initially I thought I caused this issue because when Stuck first got here, I was so focused on adequately exercising her that I thought, okay, she doesn't want to come in because we do fun things outside.

That thought morphed into me thinking about it and realizing she probably didn't want to come in because she felt more comfortable outside. I can keep a long line on her, but she knows it's on her and she comes in no problem.

Saturday evening, I tried calling her in and she came inside! From that moment she has been coming inside after going outside no problem. She seems to understand that she can come in and she's really good about coming inside and getting on her bed.

She is also really good about going to bed at night. I give all of my dogs a dental treat as a bedtime incentive, I'm not usually one for bribery, but it's pretty awesome when they go flying back there for bedtime. I think it's just nice to have a good bedtime routine. She goes running back to her crate and is excited to go in.

Another awesome thing we have been working on is releasing the flirt pole. Stuck does this hilarious thing where when I tell her "loose" she buckles down and grabs the end with her paws and doesn't always release with her mouth. I was afraid I was going to give her rope burn, so I started asking her to out it and then re-releasing her to bite it.  So far it seems to be working and I am getting quicker outs.

I thought when I was going to write this post it was going to be all positive, but we had a bit of an issue this morning.

Yesterday I was joking about how when Stuck came to me she was really good about waiting in her kennel to come out when released and was really good about sitting and waiting at doorways. I have no been reinforcing these behaviors and progressively she has gotten worse over time about waiting. This morning she flew out of her crate and took off down the hall.

Now, most dogs if you give them a little wiggle room they will take advantage of it but I honestly think it is a whole other ball game with a highly driven dog. I am not saying this is limited to Belgian Malinois, but any intelligent, highly driven breed. I can see how people who are not into dog training can quickly become out dogged or overwhelmed because a smart dog will totally take and keep taking. That said, we are going back to the basics and she absolutely needs to wait before coming out of her crate and she is not allowed to bolt out doors. This is completely my fault for becoming complacent. Something that stands out to me is something a dog friend said, you have to decide if a behavior is acceptable and if it's acceptable today it needs to be acceptable tomorrow. It's important to be clear and fair.

On another more positive note, I took Stuck running with a friend last night, not only was she really great out on the track with a lot of background stuff going on, she did great in the car there. I let her sit in the passenger seat just to see how she might ride in the car. She was really good in the car, I wouldn't leave her in there unattended, but she was very well behaved riding up front so I consider that a good win.


  1. Yay for Stuck! I'm glad she's coming in with you! It sounds like she might need some lessons in impulse control but at least you're figuring her out quickly! Have you seen Susan Garrett's crate games? There's some pretty cool videos with an iggy learning it step by step on YT. Let me know if you need me to find it for you.

    1. I appreciate the offer but she actually has really good impulse control. I can call her off of squirrels and other tempting prey and she holds her down on her bed and won't break for anything. The issue with bolting out of the crate is strictly from a lack of rule enforcement, which I caught myself doing but didn't think much of until it became an issue.