This is the first in a series of (hopefully) monthly posts on our dog training journey, understanding positive training, coming to terms with correction training and why I need to learn to meditate πŸ˜‰

This is our first Positive Pet Training Hop and I want to be very clear that while I have learned (and am continuing to learn) a great deal about dog behavior, training methods and how best to work with my three dogs,  I am not a dog trainer. Nor do I believe in a one size fits all approach to dog training. We have tried positive training and mild corrections based training and for us, the approach is dog-dependent. It’s totally okay if you disagree with me, I’m happy and eager to learn, but please keep comments positive (see what I did there? Keepin’ it light.) 

Working on positive training with the dogs. Trying to master "place"

Practicing “place”. I have some seriously good treats in my hand πŸ˜‰

When Zora, now 13, was a puppy, we took a wonderful series of puppy training classes with a local trainer with amazing results. Looking back, I realize the training was 100% positive reinforcement training. Though I had no real understanding or awareness of what “positive training” meant,  I was so proud of myself and my sweet puppy…so proud that I was a probably a little cocky, I became a bit complacent, and I was definitely naive.

Four years later when I  brought home my first rescue dog, Simon, who was likely just under a year old at the time (the rescue told me he was 2!), I believed people when they said that Zora would show Simon the way and that he would learn from her. In fact, nothing could have been further from the truth.

I’m pretty sure there was a closed door session in the pantry and I believe the conversation went something like this:

Zora: So, Simon. I’m supposed to teach you how to behave and, while I am generally really good, I think it’s a little lazy of Alison to expect me to do all the teaching.

Simon: Okay! Okay! I’m listening! Sort of! Can’t really hear you because my tail is knocking everything off the coffee table but so far, I’m with you!

Zora:  Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to tell you all the things I do that really annoy Alison

Simon: Yep! Okay! Got it! 

Zora: You’re going to tell me all of your obnoxious behaviors…

Simon: OMG!! OMG!! I TOTALLY KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING WITH THIS!

Zora:  Then YOU will do all of those things. Like, a lot! (I think she was setting him up)

Simon:  YES! THAT’S AN EXCELLENT PLAN!! LOVE IT! WOOT!

And, that is pretty much what happened. 

The rescue Simon came through gave me wildly inaccurate information about my boy. They assured me that he knew all of his basic commands, that he was great in the car and good on walks and that he was a pretty much an all-around happy guy, as evidenced by his non-stop tail wagging.

As it turned out, while he had clearly heard the word “sit”, it was definitely “optional” in his mind as he would start to touch his butt to the floor only to think better of it at the last moment. Riding in the car with Simon was like having the Tasmanian Devil along for the ride (he is now crated during card rides) and attempting to walk him could result in an almost dislocated shoulder or, once, a concussion.  

Warning: the video below is exceedingly irritating… much like nails on a chalkboard but you should watch it, even if it’s just so you can feel my pain πŸ˜‰ 

Did I mention that there is a stuffed frozen Kong in the crate? This normally highly treat-motivated guy, crosses so quickly into high anxiety mode that I could put a raw steak in the crate and it wouldn’t even get a sniff! 

Simon, is indeed a generally happy guy. However, after far too many training missteps (with both positive training and corrections based training), I have learned that Simon is also an anxious and insecure dog and some of the training advice we got early on was either completely ineffective and/or likely did more harm than good, especially some of the corrections-based training we were offered, possibly worsening his anxieties and insecurities. I also realize, and take full responsibility for the fact that Simon needs more exercise than he gets (to be fair, he had a series of knee injuries a while back that derailed training and exercise efforts and he could probably run a marathon and be ready to go again 10 minutes later – but more on that in another post)

The reality is that every dog is different, just like people and that means they act, react, and… Click To Tweet Zora was easy to train and rarely needed correction (except for some stubborn leash pulling and unnecessary barking). She is an easy going, relaxed, treat-motivated lab who loves everyone.

Simon, on the other hand, is super high energy, all the time, even at nine years old. What I initially believed was “happy” excitement, I now understand to be “anxious” excitement and there is a BIG difference. Simon is dog-reactive when walking on leash and quickly goes from zero to nutter – whining, barking, straining on the leash etc. Once he is at that stage, once he has crossed that line, it is virtually impossible to calm him down with even the best of treats. I mean, he’ll still take the treat (he is a lab, after all) but with little regard for where the treat ends and your fingers begin.

In this case, all I can do is remove him from the situation, which may mean pulling him in the other direction and offering a combination of mild corrections and treats in order to resume our walk. Keep in mind, he is 75 pounds of solid dog so while I am as gentle as I can be and I do try to remain calm (see the header where I mention my need to learn meditation) it is critical in that moment that he listen to me and do as I am asking if another dog is approaching, especially if the other dog is off leash, so that I can avoid any altercations or injuries. (To be VERY clear, I am referring to leash-required areas.) 

After recently completing a leash-reactivity class at the Longmont Humane Society with the fabulous Annie Schupp, I now understand that when Simon reaches this state of anxiety, there is no learning happening. He may take the treat but he is not even aware of it, nor is he aware of the fact that he is whining (for pretty much the whole class!). We have a ways to go but I am learning to understand Simon better and, honestly I am having to come to terms with how my energy impacts our training sessions. Mostly, I am learning what does and what does not work for him…after eight years…yes, really. Eight years.

Then there is my pit mix Piper, my foster fail, who at 17 months is still learning. She’s done really well in classes and loves everyone, canine or human but she is not always treat motivated once we leave the house or yard. In other words, introduce any distractions and she can become super stubborn and suddenly weigh 1000 pounds. Piper and I are still learning about one another. So far, so good but we still have a lot of work to do. Thankfully, Piper does respond well to positive training, at least when there are no distractions.

Piper rocking the “sit”  “stay” “come” while we practice long lead recall.

Two of our favorite play positive training activities:

Back to Basics: Whenever I start to get frustrated, I have to remember to take a breath and center myself and my energy. If I am unfocused on the training activity or we’re having an unpleasant walk with lots of pulling, barking etc., I am learning to stop and check in with myself.

If I am irritated or anxious, I know it’s time to go back to basics for both me and the dogs. For me, it means breathing, taking a moment to focus on what I want from the walk or the training session and for the dogs it means ending with something positive so we go back to basic commands like “sit” and “down” which are commands they all know well. This way we end  the session on a more positive note.  (My apologies for the less than centered video below…my “camera crew” does not have opposable thumbs 😜)

Working with Piper on mastering “sit” and “down” by asking for sit and then luring her into “down” with a treat. 

Search & Rescue: I ask my dogs for a “sit and stay” in one room of the house. I then go to another floor/room in the house to hide a bunch of treats. Once all the treats are hidden, I say “come find the treats” and, like a herd of elephants they race to the room I’m in and search until they have found all the treats. I then ask for a “sit and stay” in that room and move on to another room in the house. (For obvious reasons, I try not to do this activity when my downstairs neighbor is home.)

Tip: One of my dogs can be a little bratty about treats so sometimes she has to sit this one out (always with a fabulous bone or treat of her own) while the other two play and then she gets a solo shot at the game.

Side note:

There is currently no regulatory body for dog training. We can debate whether there should be in a future post but for now, do your homework. Research the various methods, follow people like Angela Adan who works with the human end of the leash as much, if not more so than what’s on the canine end (She’s my hero), and ask questions. Lots of questions. Go observe a class or two. Find what works for you and your dog.

What is your favorite training activity or training tip?



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59 Comments

  1. Chloe Kardoggian May 6, 2016 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    Thx for all the info!

    • SimonDawg May 7, 2016 at 5:18 pm - Reply

      You are very welcome!

  2. Nichole May 6, 2016 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    Positive reinforcement training is what works best for us. Penny strives to train!!!
    Nichole recently posted…Yarn Scraps For The Birds – #DIY Bird Nesting Materials HolderMy Profile

    • SimonDawg May 7, 2016 at 5:27 pm - Reply

      It’s funny because Simon is so treat motivated but, like I said, I could schmear the inside of his car crate in peanut butter and throw a side of beef in there with him and he would still whine the whole time we are driving anywhere! πŸ˜‰ Zora is like Penny and Piper is still a puppy and is responding really well to positive training but with Simon, it seems to be a combination of positive reinforcement and gentle corrections (never punishment) that work best. Although, I am learning that the most powerful training tool seems to be me managing my energy and focus.

  3. Michelle & The Paw Pack May 6, 2016 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    Training can be a challenge to say the least. Although I use positive training methods for both my dogs I’ve also had to adapt my training techniques a bit for each individual. We have a 9 month old puppy and when I got him I figured that what worked for my older dog would work for the puppy too. Turns out that wasn’t exactly the case. I ended up finding an awesome positive trainer to get an outside perspective and help me start to work through some issues we were having with the puppy.
    Michelle & The Paw Pack recently posted…Preserving Puppy TeethMy Profile

    • SimonDawg May 7, 2016 at 6:21 pm - Reply

      We’ve worked with a lot of trainers over the years and I finally feel like we’ve found the right match in terms of really helping me better understand my dog’s behaviors. It’s been a long journey but totally worth it πŸ™‚

  4. Pawesome Cats May 6, 2016 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    There’s no one size fits all training method for cats either! One of my boys is exceptionally strong-willed.

    • SimonDawg May 7, 2016 at 6:19 pm - Reply

      It really seems like my three are completely different in personality, temperament and motivation – especially around training. Piper is my strong-willed one. πŸ˜‰

  5. Tenacious Little Terrier May 6, 2016 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    Oh Mr. N won’t take treats when super aroused either. And taking treats hard (especially for dogs that don’t normally) is a sign of their over arousal levels. I think the key is to try to keep them under threshold as much as possible. Easier said than done of course. Mr. N has improved a lot but there have been blind corner encounters that drive him into a state of frenzy. If I think he’s not going to be able to handle it, we do a U-turn and run in the other direction, hide behind a car, go up someone’s driveway for a minute or I pick him up and hide his eyes (which is not going to work for you obviously).

    As he’s been building up better impulse control, his reaction and recovery time have also gotten dramatically shorter.

    • SimonDawg May 7, 2016 at 5:14 pm - Reply

      That has been the hardest part with Simon and, sometimes even Piper, when they won’t take the treats. I’m sure I’m still missing some cues before they hit threshold which is frustrating. We are very familiar with U-turns and ducking behind cars or vans. You’re right, though, I would likely throw out my back if I tried to pick up and run with any of my three πŸ˜‰

      I do notice that Simon’s recovery time is definitely improving as we continue to practice so that does feel like progress

  6. Three Chatty Cats May 6, 2016 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    Great post! Completely agree with you that every dog is different so you need to do what works for them. And training is so much about training the owner too. Our dog was pretty good until we got too lax with him. Ugh, and I feel your pain with that car ride video!
    Three Chatty Cats recently posted…Kitty Close-up: Dan Sandy and his 58,000 feline photosMy Profile

    • SimonDawg May 7, 2016 at 5:08 pm - Reply

      Thanks for commiserating about the car ride πŸ˜‰ I really am learning so much about myself and my dogs and the more I learn, the better it gets. I know that for me a combination of positive reinforcement and mild corrections but not punishment seem to be working for everyone.

  7. Ruth and Layla May 6, 2016 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    Great post

    • SimonDawg May 7, 2016 at 5:17 pm - Reply

      Thanks!

  8. M. K. Clinton May 6, 2016 at 10:12 pm - Reply

    We use positive reinforcement with Bentley and Pierre. They are so different from each other but they both love a great treat or belly rub.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Tripawds ~ Living Life on 3 PawsMy Profile

    • SimonDawg May 7, 2016 at 6:28 pm - Reply

      My three have really different personalities and while indoor training goes really well with all three. We are constantly working on everything that happens outside the house. The good news is that I have finally found trainers who really are helping me with some of Simon’s longer term challenges. πŸ™‚

  9. Lindsay Pevny May 6, 2016 at 10:24 pm - Reply

    I’m so glad Simon has you, because it can be so hard to understand a dog’s behaviors, and it sounds like you’re really open to doing whatever will work best for the learning and comfort of your dogs. Search and rescue sounds like a cool game, I like to play hide and seek with my dogs to encourage recall. I think the hardest part about getting over certain behaviors is consistency – positive or corrective, the training has to be consistent, which is hard in so many real life situations.
    Lindsay Pevny recently posted…Matilda’s 2! Why Dog Birthdays Are The Best BirthdaysMy Profile

    • SimonDawg May 7, 2016 at 4:58 pm - Reply

      Lindsay – I really appreciate you saying that. It’s definitely been a challenge and we’ve worked so hard over the years. Simon is a truly lovable, silly guy and aI can’t imagine my world without him. You are so right about consistency and how life sometimes makes it really hard. Thanks again for letting me know that I am not alone on this journey πŸ™‚

  10. Kari May 6, 2016 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    Your dog dialogue is hilarious! Mia definitely taught Leo a few things I wish he didn’t know.

    • SimonDawg May 7, 2016 at 4:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Kari! Glad to know I’m not the only one whose dogs do this πŸ˜‰

  11. Jana Rade May 7, 2016 at 10:40 am - Reply

    I am definitely all for positive approach; punishment would not work for me. I do use “correction” type of thing sometimes, such as when Cookie looks like she’s about to eat something nasty I use the word “yucky”. I do combine it with leave it, though, and reward when she leaves it. She does seem to understand what “yucky” means. It’s more of an input than correction, I suppose.

    • SimonDawg May 7, 2016 at 4:56 pm - Reply

      I see “correction” and “punishment” as two very different things. Simon, especially, has a knack for finding particularly nasty things to eat so he does hear “gross” or “ick” along with “leave it” fairly often πŸ˜‰

  12. Erin Clifford May 7, 2016 at 11:51 am - Reply

    I completely believe that positive reinforcement is the only way to train. Mild corrections are sometimes necessary, but dogs respond much better with incentives. Just like people!
    Erin Clifford recently posted…Toxic or Non-Toxic: Can Everything Harm Your Pet?My Profile

    • SimonDawg May 7, 2016 at 5:17 pm - Reply

      The biggest frustration is when Simon gets over threshold before I can redirect him with a treat or other positive incentive. It’s definitely a work in progress and I have found that positive reinforcement and mild corrections, never punishment seem to work with him…except in the car. I haven’t found anything that keeps him calm in the car but I keep trying πŸ™‚

  13. Miss Molly Says May 7, 2016 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    I know exactly what you mean by each dog is different. With my 7, there are no 2 the same. I believe in positive training – all the way. I believe done correctly, it will work. We’ve never done training with a trainer. I’m not even sure my rural area has one. For the most part, I just live with and love mine. And, did I mention that I talk to them constantly? πŸ™‚ Dogs truly do want to please their person. We just have to show them which behavior pleases us. So far so good here, with the exception of Seager that is VERY dog reactive (to other dogs not in our pack). We are working on that – or should I say ‘trying too’.
    Miss Molly Says recently posted…Cat Food – Wet vs DryMy Profile

    • SimonDawg May 7, 2016 at 4:45 pm - Reply

      I hear you! It is a constant journey. I have learned so much about myself from each of my dogs. BTW – you are SO not alone when it comes to talking to your dogs…thankfully, mine have not yet started talking back πŸ˜‰

  14. Lauren Miller (ZoePhee) May 7, 2016 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    We are all for positive reinforcement and I am as force free as possible. The only punishment that I use is what’s called “negative punishment” which means I remove the reinforcement for whatever it is they are doing. So if a dog is pulling on leash they don’t get to move forward or another example would be that we don’t leave food on the counter so there’s nothing there to counter surf.
    Lauren Miller (ZoePhee) recently posted…An Awesome Raincoat: Hurtta Torrent CoatMy Profile

    • SimonDawg May 9, 2016 at 10:47 am - Reply

      Thanks Lauren! With Piper, I have the opposite issue where she suddenly decides that she is going to stop moving forward and somehow instantly weighs the equivalent of a Sumo wrestler πŸ˜‰ When that happens, I better have some seriously good treats on hand if I want her to keep moving – ha!

  15. Golden Daily Scoop May 7, 2016 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    Positive reinforcement training has always worked best for the Goldens. Great post, thanks for sharing!!
    Golden Daily Scoop recently posted…Be #PetPrepared When Disaster StrikesMy Profile

    • SimonDawg May 9, 2016 at 10:48 am - Reply

      Mostly what I’m working on right now is my energy and how it impacts the training. Glad you liked the post πŸ™‚

  16. Bryn Nowell May 7, 2016 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    Great post and helpful points. Training is something that we all need to focus on throughout our dog’s (and other animal’s) lives. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • SimonDawg May 9, 2016 at 10:49 am - Reply

      Thanks, Bryn! Glad you liked the post. I agree, training requires an ongoing commitment. πŸ™‚

  17. Its almost like meditation and dog training should just go hand in hand. I also live with an anxious dog that gets walked by himself so we can manage him. I have to myself take deep breaths as his anxious energy passed to me and then back and forth until sometime I’m holding my breath. Loved this post.

    • SimonDawg May 9, 2016 at 10:50 am - Reply

      Thanks, Christy! Good to know I’m not alone, though I’m sorry you have to deal with this too. I think maybe you’re on to something with the combo training/meditation. Maybe we can develop a program πŸ˜‰

  18. Sweet Purrfections May 8, 2016 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    It continues to amaze me how far we’ve come with training of our pets. I remember decades ago that everyone thought negative reinforcement or punishment was how you trained pets (and humans) to behave.
    Sweet Purrfections recently posted…Happy Mother’s DayMy Profile

    • SimonDawg May 9, 2016 at 10:53 am - Reply

      That is so true! I mean when I was growing up, I don’t even remember our dogs going to any kind of training classes, or if such classes even existed. I do remember my dad rolling up a newspaper on occasion to swat the dogs away from the kitchen counter when he was cooking but that’s about all the correction I ever saw and while we gave lots of treats, I don’t remember any kind of actual training.

  19. Kia May 8, 2016 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    Positive reinforcement is great. Thanks for sharing this info. Great first series post.

    • SimonDawg May 9, 2016 at 10:55 am - Reply

      Thanks, Kia! I was definitely nervous writing it because training can be so controversial but I’m looking forward to the next post πŸ™‚

  20. I am definitely all for positive training!

  21. Sadie May 9, 2016 at 11:46 am - Reply

    You’re exactly right: each dog is different. Although we agree wholeheartedly with a ‘positive’ approach, we found that we needed to figure out different approaches for each dog. Great post!

    • SimonDawg May 13, 2016 at 10:23 am - Reply

      Thanks, Sadie! πŸ™‚

  22. Beth May 9, 2016 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    Positive training seems like the kindest way to go. I would be insanely happy if Sophie could tone down her anxiety to Simon’s level in the car. I am working on it and today she was the best she’s ever been.
    Beth recently posted…Dog Pawty for Molly the VizslaMy Profile

    • SimonDawg May 13, 2016 at 10:26 am - Reply

      Beth, I am so sorry to hear that you experience the same (or worse) car anxiety. It is so challenging! Glad to hear you had a good day and would LOVE to know what you tried that worked. πŸ™‚

  23. Talent Hounds May 9, 2016 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    Positive reinforcement training certainly seems to work well. We have issues with our little rescue Pug who is very reactive to dogs and strangers and guards resources in his crate. We have been trying desensitisation etc It is such a slow road and he may never be fully trustworthy but he is improving. Occasionally correction works too as he loses his mind so I have to just lift him out of the situation or remind him to walk by or stop to keep him and others safe. I have him do tricks for treats to get his brain reset.
    Talent Hounds recently posted…How Amazing Drug Detection Dog’s Make A DifferenceMy Profile

    • SimonDawg May 13, 2016 at 10:28 am - Reply

      It really is a slow process. Sometimes it feels like one or two steps forward and a mile back πŸ˜‰

  24. FiveSibesMom May 9, 2016 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Love your post! I found myself chuckling in several areas! So agree that there is no one-size fits-all training. Even with training our five Huskies, three puppies at one time (that was a challenge, a bit crazy, but tons of fun) while overall we used same method, each one’s personality needed to be addressed. Positive reinforcement is how we train, and with Huskies, the smartypants tend to think a lot, so we have to try (try!) to get ahead of them! LOL! With four, treats were/are a fantastic incentive, but my one boy has been known to turn up his nose at treats! Like seriously?! Our alpha girl, she needs a “conversation” when being trained, anything less, she will ignore and do on her terms. A very new and unique method of training compared to what I always have done! But, Harley loves conversation. Chloe and Wolf will do their commands, but are vocal (Huskies can be very vocal) about it. My Gibson was uber easy to train! With Gib, it was like he just understood everything. Easy peasy to train. He spoiled me! Huskies can be stubborn, and they are too smart for their own good sometimes, but positive reinforcement, treats, conversation, treats, repetition, treats (see a pattern? LOL!) seems to work best for us! I just loved going along on your training journey here and watching the videos and hearing about your experiences. And oh, I feel your pain–our Chloe travels like your Simon! Ear plugs any one?! Thanks so much for sharing it all with us and love your style of writing!

    • SimonDawg May 13, 2016 at 10:36 am - Reply

      Thank you so much for reading the post! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and it’s nice to know that someone other than my mother likes my writing style πŸ˜‰ I don’t know how you managed training three puppies at once! Hats off to you for that! I love that you have to have training conversations. That is kind of hilarious and adorable at the same time πŸ˜‰ I totally hear you on the “are you kidding me with snubbing the treats”? I mean, they’ll lick something nasty off my shoe but decide that a certain treat isn’t up to par. What’s up with that?!? So sorry to hear that you too have a “Simon” in the car. It’s a challenge and a half!

  25. Carol Bryant May 9, 2016 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    YAHOOOOO for positive training. I know for a fact that this works – happy is the way to a dog’s heart.
    Carol Bryant recently posted…Rock Star Dog Needs a Forever HomeMy Profile

    • SimonDawg May 13, 2016 at 10:56 am - Reply

      Happy dogs – happy house! πŸ™‚

  26. Robin May 10, 2016 at 12:20 am - Reply

    It is so funny how each pet has their own unique personality. The video of Simon in the car reminds my of what my cat does in the car. She sings all the way to our destination! I’m glad that you have been so patient and persistent with the needs of each of your dogs. Everyone learns at their own pace!
    Robin recently posted…Disaster Preparedness for Cat Owners #PetPreparedMy Profile

    • SimonDawg May 13, 2016 at 10:54 am - Reply

      Thanks for the support and encouragement, Robin! I appreciate that. I love how you call it “singing” I will try very hard to reframe it that way the next time Simon and I are in the car πŸ˜‰

  27. training your dog tips May 10, 2016 at 6:11 am - Reply

    When training your dog, consider the importance of repetition to review what he has learned from the previous days and make sure you employ positive reinforcement where necessary. You don’t reward a dog for a negative act else he would think he is being rewarded for it.

    Dogs are like babies and they need to be guided properly to become better canine citizens.

    • SimonDawg May 13, 2016 at 10:53 am - Reply

      We all want good canine citizens πŸ™‚

  28. Annette @PetsAreFound May 10, 2016 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    We love Positive Reinforcement Training and I’m very lucky to have been exposed to some of the best trainers & behaviourists in Australia. If only life gave me more time & funds for ongoing work in this regard!
    I have two questions for you:
    1. Is Place the sames as Stay/Wait… or is it different?
    2. Is SimonDawg a long lost cousin of FinnDawg?

    • SimonDawg May 13, 2016 at 10:46 am - Reply

      Annette – You raise a really good point about funds. Ongoing training, especially with a challenging dog, can be extremely expensive. It’s one of the reasons I was so incredibly grateful to Angela Adan for making time in her #girlonamission tour to work with me and my crew.

      I think the place command is more for going to a specific place. For example, a spot on the rug so that I can open the door without the dogs joining me in “greeting” everyone.

      SimonDawg and FinnDawg must be related! πŸ˜‰

  29. meghan May 11, 2016 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Another devoted positive reinforcement trainer here. Like Tenacious Little Terrier said, one of the things that I’ve learned the most about with Nala is how fear and arousal change her responsiveness, and what my early warning signs are that we’re drifting into territory where she won’t be able to take food, or will shark at my fingers, or won’t play with me (actually, that’s Nala’s earliest warning sign that she’s getting too uncomfortable to learn well; she stops playing with me/toys). So I guess that’s my tip for you with your dogs who get to where they won’t respond to you–start watching for their early warning signs.

    • SimonDawg May 13, 2016 at 10:41 am - Reply

      Thanks, Meghan. That’s an awesome sign to look for! With Simon, I’ve gone back to some basic work in the house and then in the courtyard and we are slowly expanding the circle, and therefore the distractions. The further we get from the house, the harder it seems to be but we are making slow (sometimes feels like glacially slow) progress but we keep at it. Thanks again for sharing what works for you. πŸ™‚

  30. Ruth and Layla June 8, 2016 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    Great article, I tried training Layla proper BUT BOL after house training her at the age of 4+ when I got her from the shelter, the rest is a no go, selective hearing. We got her to sit for treats so what did she did, she would walk 5 steps and sit and wait for a treat, and boy is she stubborn, so now I have decided as long as she does not misbehave I let her be. I am a training failure LOL

    • SimonDawg June 9, 2016 at 11:58 am - Reply

      Glad you liked the post! Layla sounds an awful lot like Zora who, at 13 has taken her “selective hearing” to a professional level πŸ˜‰

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