Clickers and friends

Pixie is taking treats reliably now.

She almost never gets fearful of us passing them to her, she rarely snubs them, and she’s learning that my verbal marker “yes!” means she is getting a treat. Time for training!

We’re not working on much at the moment.

She has learned sit, and although she can rarely be a little slow to respond, she can do it even whilst the cats are nearby.

I’m gradually teaching her a positive interrupter, I’m rewarding her every time she responds to her name, and I hope that this will lead up to her coming when called – she gets very scared when I try call her to me, and I imagine that’s because she has been punished in the past.

I snuck in some body handling work where I tap different parts of her body and mark her as I make contact, then give her a treat. She doesn’t get scared by this at all, I’ve been tapping her chin, side and front leg so far.

I’m also pairing a clicker with treats as of today.

She does tire from training quickly, and gets overwhelmed. I have to keep sessions less than a minute or two long, so we always end on a positive.

We spent a lot of time today practicing being calm around the cats. The results were great 🙂

Neither of the boys would have stayed so close for so long before this. Pecan wasn’t scared of Pixie, but she would get excited if he was close for too long and start trying to play with him, which would send him scattering.

Enzo wouldn’t go anywhere near her so we really did cover some ground today 🙂

And we had our second Rey introduction!

Rey is very much a lovable bull in a china shop. He sees a dog moving and very much thinks that’s an invitation to play, but he tries very hard to understand calming signals and move off when the dog’s nervous or not interested.

Pixie confuses him because, although she is obviously very scared, when he moves away so she can feel more confident, she moves after him!

I think a nervous position has become second nature to Pixie, and she adapts it much more readily than most dogs.

As we get to know her we’re finding it easier to see when she is truly very scared, and when she is anxious or nervous – tail tucks that last over five minutes, making herself small and staying still, and trembling are her most obvious and immediate signals of fear.

She desperately wants to play with Raiden, and when she’s ready Rey will be very happy to oblige 🙂

I tried to turn the volume down on the clips where Rey is yapping. He’s an *extremely* vocal dog, especially when playing, and I appreciate his bark is somewhat piercing hahaha!

They both did really well though – Rey was nonthreatening and happy, and Pixie was nervous but wanted to play. Raiden also showed some great impulse control ^__^

Also please excuse the messy floor – we have to take Pixie to sit in our small front porch whilst one of us vacuums (it’s the least stressful option) so we’ve only managed a few hoovering sessions since she came!

Finally I apologise for the dodgy camera-work…I had it hanging round my neck and had to keep letting it swing as I doled out treats!!

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6 thoughts on “Clickers and friends

  1. You’re Pixie is so cute! Anya had some issues meeting dogs when I first got her. At the time I was watching my sister’s Boston Terrier and she’d act friendly until he came close than she’d snap at him. I think the issue was that she was really stressed. Now, she gets introverted when she meets someone new, but eventually snaps out of it and becomes social. Her play style is what I call flirty. Head and tail held high and lots of bouncing up and down. It’s fun to watch.

    • Pixie has been with us almost two weeks now and is still extremely fearful with certain things (and at random times, too) but she’s come an amazingly long way in such a short space of time.

      She’s really learning to play with our Border Terrier now, and I’ve been using clicker training to teach her how to play with toys and me too haha…she’s such a star 🙂

  2. Omg love this! The video is the cutest, Rey is being such a wee star and it’s even great practice for him disengaging with other dogs as he was responding so great to you! You can really see how hard Pixie is trying to just play normal and she’s getting so close – they will be such great buddies in no time 😀

    • Aw thanks!! I was so excited to post this and I’m over the moon you too saw how exciting it was haha ^__^

      Rey is the dog who saw no more than half a dozen dogs between 3 – 12 months old, because socialisation is bloody hard in this area…I have no idea how he turned into such an awesome, polite dog…but I am SO happy for him and immensely proud 😀

      And I know, his impulse control and his disengaging is amazing! I LOVE the engage-disengage game haha. I wasn’t sure if I should even try calling him away from Pixie initially, but he came immediately. There was one time he blew me off and needed more help, when Pixie was belly up and he was sniffing her…down below HAHAHA!

      I really do hope they’re going to adore each other, it would be so great for Pixie 🙂

      • It’s bloody brilliant how Rey has turned out even without much socialisation around other dogs, but I think the much effort you put in otherwise with impulse control, engage-disengage, novel stimulation etc has been great for him so he has probably been able to transfer those skills across since you gave him such a solid foundation!
        Also as well it could be helped from his good background – coming from a good breeder, no trauma coming from a shelter or straying or previous bad owners – adopting isn’t always better than “shopping” for people as long as they go for a good breeder. I will always love rescue dogs and want to foster in future but someday I definitely want to go to a proper breeder (health tested, does shows/sports etc) and just see what that experience is like raising a pup from a good breeder.
        Haha poor Rey probably didn’t know what he was sniffing XD

      • He’s possibly the most robust dog ever haha! Really though, it is incredible when you factor in how hard it was to meet other dogs, that we don’t know anyone to practice calm greetings with, and that we missed several chunks of time due to Zoey. I do attribute a lot of his greatness due to him being from a breeder, brought home at 8 weeks, and of course engage-disengage 😀

        I think he does have a very confident temperament anyway though, it was so rare he showed any fear or anxiety even as a tiny puppy, so we had that going for us too 😛

        I honestly don’t have a problem with people adopting or buying through a good breeder, but I do have a huge problem with people who scream “adopt don’t shop!!!”

        Not everyone wants a rescue dog, and that’s absolutely fine. People shouldn’t be forced into adoption…but that’s just me. Me and my partner were fairly certain we didn’t want another rescue dog, ever again…and then Pixie came along hahaha XD

        In our experience the difference between rescue dog and breeder pup is huge. I know breeds and a dog’s individual personality plays a part, but I do credit a lot of Rey’s confidence to the fact he had a lovely start with no nasties!

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