Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dexter Day - Communication Breakdown

Important Request From Mango!

Kiko! Are you out there? My momma put your name on one of her post it notes that you had sent me an award and now I cannot find you in blog-land. Please leave me a note. OK, that's it for me.

Step aside, big guy, deal with the DOH on your own time.

Finally! Dexter day! I know you are all waiting to hear about our adventures fighting squirrels, but you will just have to keep waiting because I haven't posted in a while.

My day got off to a really slow start as it was raining and momma had more "stuff" to do and I was left to entertain myself with the Relentlessly Huge.

We are not allowed to bitey face inside unless the RH is in a reclining position due to the danger of giant beastie bodies flying around. So my biggest challenge is to rouse him from his meditations.

And with some coaxing he can be convinced to indulge in recumbent bitey face.

Of course it's a poor substitute for actual playing, but you work with what you have.

Eventually it was time for walkies and I have to tell you that Momma and I are having some serious communication issues on walkies.

I still want to go super FAST! And I pull really hard.

I have this new fancy pants collar that is supposed to aid in communication, but it doesn't really do too much for me.

I just want to get moving!

Our communication difficulties are compounded by the fact that I HATE to do my business in the yard and am usually full to bursting when we go out (I had a three bagger today) and I can't really work with Momma on communication when I need to do my business.

Note from Momma - We have tried turning around, prong collar, martingale, treats, clicker, etc. and do not seem to be making progress. I suspect it is because after all is said and done I really want to walk and I usually give in to the little guy. Plus there is that whole him being full thing and I don't want to be giving him corrections when his bowels and bladder are so full.

All of those methods work well when I am working them, but we both need to exercise and I tend to get grouchy after 5-10 minutes with constant corrections and a grouchy frame of mind is not good for either of us.

However, I have pledged to stick to one method for one week with no pulling, period, even if we only go up and down the driveway. Maybe Dex will have a better report next week (and hopefully finds a way to do his business in the yard). I think the whole pee-pee issue has to do with Mango. I have seen Dex stop in mid-pee (on the rare occasion that he uses the yard) when Mango starts walking towards him. Then Mango always pees right over little Dex's pee. Maybe Dex is trying to respect Mango's territory.

Alright, already, this is MY day, isn't it?

So back to walkies...

Going away from home is a big adventure, right? Lots to explore, where will we go? I also surprise momma by suddenly levitating onto high objects. Hee hee, look at me! She is never expecting it and suddenly I am face to face with her.

I find it is much easier to communicate when my snooter is pointed towards home. When that happens, we usually communicate very well... see?

Here is a short movie showing you how well I can communicate when I want to.

Dexter done!


Gus, Louie and Callie said...

Great job Dexter. We are sure glad Mango let you have a day.. Nice walk.
Tell mom we tend to pull too. We have the prongy collars and we still pull. You should have been at the lake today when we tried ripping mom's arm off when we spotted a bunny... We must say she did really well at controlling 3 excited heelers..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Dennis the Vizsla said...

That was a very good sit, Dexter!

Abby said...

Hi, Dexter...

Do you think you could communicate better after you have "done your business" & you are heading home??

I gotta say, you impressed me with the "Sit"...I would never sit on wet ground...

And, believe it or not, as small as I am, I pull, too...My "Old" Mother never seems to walk fast enough for me...

Abby xxxooo

Hoover said...

Nice to meet you Dexter. It must be frustrating only gettin to blog every now and then.

I have pullin issues too (on the rare times when I'm on a leash.) I can't have anything put pressure on my neck because of the pacemaker wires so my humans try all sorts of harnesses.

It looks like Mango could put your whole head in his mouth!

Hoover BPD (Battery Powered Dog)

Stella said...

Hey Dexter: I was a really bad puller when I came and Mom sent to Sit/Stay for a harness that gently discourages pulling.
It works good for me and its pretty comfy. Give it a try!

No, I don't work for Sit/Stay!


Scout 'n Freyja said...

A little not to momma: Have you looked into the no-pull or anti-pull harness? It's comfy and works. Also a Halti Head Collar may work, too. I know how frustrating a pulling dog can be and also how frustrating it is when you are teaching new skills.

Fiona, as typed by Dr. Liz said...

Hi Dexter! Mom and I have a bit of a communication issue, as well. I want to GO, and she wants to walk all sedately-like. And she doesn't want me jumping around when I see other dogs. I don't know what is up with that! (Fi's Mom here - were a using a modified pinch collar, and my husband seems to have much better success than I do - Fiona seems to respect her father's authority more than mine.... I guess I am a bit of a pushover - and, like you, I want to go on a walk, and not just spent all the time in the driveway. But I guess it's time to get serious with her...) Fi again - I like jumping up on things, too - you get a Much Better View!

*kissey face*

Martha Basset said...

Hi Dexter
We were very impressed with your sit!
Communication can be difficult between human and canine.
Our human brother - who has done dog training although he is a human - tells our mum that she uses too many words!
We dogs like to keep it simple and our mum chats away!
Human brother advises to stick with one word commands!!!
The pee story was so familiar to us - ie the bit were Dexter stops peeing and Mango pees on top!
Martha & Bailey do that all the time - they both want to out do the other with the peeing on top of where the other went.
This is why we currently have very dead grass in places!
Anyway Dexter we think you are a star in the making!!!
love and kisses
Martha & Bailey xxx

Gus said...

Dexter my are doing an OK job with your Mom. You must be patient and remember that Mango has given her little or no training, so it is like starting with a puppy,


Randi said...

Awww Dexter - My little Cub...

You are such a good boy & listen so very well...don't know how come you like to pull & pull & make you momma go real fast...but its super fun for you, right?

Has your momma tried the "GENTLE LEADER" collar? If you have it on your snouter & you pull, it makes your snouter point down & its no fun...

Love & Licks,
Your Cougar,

Lorenza said...

Hi, Dexter!
You had a happy bitey face game with Mango!
Sounds like walking you is a big adventure every time!
Kisses and hugs

Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...

I believe Gussie gave the khorrekht answer already!



and I don't mean the fruit!

I mean The RH Legend!


GoldenSamantha said...

Lots to share! Wow - you do indeed "commune" well with mom on the way home! Mom: by prong collar, do you mean "pinch" collar? That's how I taught Sammie to heel - she doesn't need it anymore, but it took a while. She used to pull terribly. But back to you, Dex. Sorry you're so uncomfortable in your yard to go - you know. And love the photo of you high up - fun eh? You will adjust to Ma's gait soon, I'm sure!
Hugs xo

Checkers said...

Dexter - it's okay - I only communicate when I'm in the mood - course I'm much smaller than you so it's less of an issue! good sit there tho buddy

Liffey said...

Dexter dude,
You are doig a great job training your mom on alkie ettiquete! It's not very nice of her to make you slow down when you gotta go. I'm not doing so well with my mummy and daddy- that darn halti stops me from being able to pull.
Liffey's licks to you

Eric said...

Dexter, You look like a real good boy in the making. Like the levitation communication skill - always nice to talk face to face. We bet you and your Mom get there soon.

Wiry wag n kissies, Eric xxx

pam said...

Nice to see you can be a good boy when you wants to.

Bobo and Meja

Anonymous said...


Honey the Great Dane said...

Hi Dexter,

I used to be like you too - I was REALLY bad - pulling and especially lunging when I saw another doggie in the street. My human, Hsin-Yi, could barely walk me because I weigh 20kg more than her and can easily drag her anywhere I want to! hee! hee!

But then we went to see a special trainer and i had to go into 'walking rehab' for a while - and basically, this means I had to learn to focus on my humans and follow them when they change directions and slow down if they slow down or speed up if they run, was hard work concentrating! And if I decided to pull, they would suddenly be OFF walking in another direction! Wait for me! And we did this EVERY day in our garden - even if it meant that we didn't end up going for a walk at all. But I have to say, it really helped me learn to walk nicely and now I can walk on a loose leash past any distraction - you name it: dog, cat, rolling ball, fried chicken...!

So I think your human is right - it doesn't matter which method/training tool you use but she has to commit to working on your pulling even if you don't get to go on your walk. Otherwise she'll never fix the problem with you. Because everytime she gives in after a while, that just spurs you on to pull harder next time! It's actually encouraging you to pull more and making the whole thing worse. After all, you have such a big yard, it doesn't really matter if you don't get to go on a proper walk for a week or so - but it's more important that you practise, practise, practise for a that after that, you can go on nice walks all the time!

My human says she always agrees with Martha Bassett in that we dogs get confused when there are too many words coming at us. Humans think we understand English just like that and rattle on at us but often, that just teaches us to ignroe them! Actually, they should treat us like a foreign guest who only understands a few words of English. I mean, if they had a Cambodia refugee ask them for directions, they wouldn't go "Oh yeah, you take a right at the next crossing where there's that really pretty maple tree, yeah, and then you walk like a bit and then take a left and then across the street from the really nice cafe is the station..." - no, they would more likely say "Walk - yes, right, yes walk walk walk, left, look, cafe? Yes, opposite, station, yes."
So that's sort of how they need to talk to us dogs.

Also, its really important to use the right words which are consistent for the same things, Like humans often use our names to mean all sorts of things! How do we know if "Dexter" means "Come" or "slow down" or "sit" or "don't do that!"?? Like in the video, I noticed your human said your name and pulled your collar a bit to slow you down and ask you to sit. It might be better if she could actually have a word for you to slow down (my human uses "Close" for me - whenever I hear that, I know there is too much tension on the lead and I must slow down - this is different to "heel" which means that I must walk next to my human, on the left side) - rather than using your name. It can be "walk" or "close" or "slow" or "no pull" or whatever. And stick to that everytime, so that when you hear it -and then feel the pressue on your neck and slow down - it becomes linked together and you start to slow down when you hear that word, even if there is no pressure on your neck.

Anyway, my human has replied to your human's email on walking so I won't write anymore here!! :-)

Honey the Great Dane

1000 Goldens said...

Dexter - when is Momma going to learn that you're the boss? My Mom doesn't get it yet either. The humans are a little "slow" but that's part of why we love them right?

Lacy said...

w00f's, this iz rockys mama, rocky iz a bad puller..he sees a squirrel/cat and hes off...and he is gonna strangle himself one day..i liked Honeys answer and will try to use it more..right now the best way i can slow him down is, taking one of his squeaky toys along..if he hears it, he pays attention to me..he was 2yrs old b4 we got him and NEVER had any basic training..getting him to sit is hard enuff, lol he lays down when you tell him to sit..good luck with Dex...

b safe,

Owner of Storm and Jackal said...

I completely agree that trying to train heel when you really just want to walk totally sucks. That's why I got Storm a Halti (also called Gentle Leader). She doesn't really like it, but she got used to it and now we don't have any pulling. She eventually learned how to put enough pressure on to it to make the leash taut, but it doesn't bother me. There is no strain or effort on my part. I just get to enjoy a lovely walk. I know Dex is young so he might fight it more, but give it a try and see if he'll accept it. I'd let you borrow mine if you were closer lol.



I just see you communicate that you love your momma and are a happy boy.

I'm not too bad at pulling but mom struggles with my incessant jumping. We all have one thing.


Amber and Nala said...

Ahhhh Dexter, I'm sorry you have to hold it! Maybe your Momma can fence off a special potty place for you that Mango is not allowed in?? Good job on the walk back! I also played bitey face today with my furiend! :)


dewdana said...

Pee Wee! Your whole head was in RH's beak! I can't believe you lived to tell about it!
We use a gentle leader (head harness) and it greatly reduces the pulling but it is still there for sure, espescially when we use the 6ft lead (instead of the retractable one). Like your ma we are perfectly aware of how to train loose leash walking but get too impatient to keep up with it. Moose also stops and sniffs soooo much that the stopping when he pulls barely gets noticed! I suspect the way to do it is to do more frequent short walks where full bladders and empty patience is not an issue but we will let you know when we manage that one!
Good luck!
Moose + Dana

Bae Bae said...

I like that pic of you smiling into the camera Dexter. ;)

~ Bae

Maggie and Mitch said...

Mitch wears the prong collar and he pulls too, Dexter, especially when we're first starting out and he has to do business!
I was 8 years old before I could walk without pulling! It was a great day when I could put my Gentle Leader head collar in the drawer for good!
There's hope for you, Dexter! Things will get better!

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

Tom, Tama-Chan and Sei-Chan said...

Hi Dexter. You have all of my sympathy as I am not really great on the lead either but I am such a lucky boy as I actually get to run free most of the time and so I can go as fast as I want, as long as #1 sees where I am., and I don't bother anyone (that would include little birdies etc, etc.).


Life With Dogs said...

Dexter, you must be pretty determined if you are putting your mom through all of this! Are you just trying to build a collar collection? :)

The 'splorin' Wolfies said...

hi Dexter! would a gentle leader help? i think you are so unbelievable adorable i wouldn't care if you pulled even though it is naughty --hehehe!!!

Biggie-Z said...

Hi Dexter. I think Honey has a lot of good stuff to say. I have to go back to the Gentle Leader (Momma calls it the Benevolent Dictator), because I have been testing people again, especially my P-Daddy.

I pull a little when we walk on the collar and 99.5% of the time I can walk by pigeons, chicken wings, dogs, trash blowing in the wind, with Momma telling me to "leave it." But she keeps an eagle eye on me and as soon as I act like I see something interesting she tells me to leave it and sometimes she makes me sit.

It has been a lot of work to train my human to walk on a loose lead, but it helped that I got older and a little calmer, and they try to tire me out every day so I'm not so hyper on my walkies.

Momma also taught me "wait" - she says it really slow and in a deep voice like waaaaiiiiit... and when she says that it means we can still keep walking but I have to walk a little slower so she can keep up.

This was almost 2 years of walking with GL, lots of treats, lots of corrections, and lots and lots of reptitition. I'm not nearly as good as Honey but I am still working on things.

Good luck!

Woodrow, Sweetie, MJ Campanella said...

our human doesnt tolerate the pulling - if we pull we go the other way so if we want to do walkies we have to walk nice

we learned very quickly that way

woodrow sweetie mj

The OP Pack said...

All we can say is if you find a way to stop Dexter's pulling, please share, Mom has tried everything with Phantom and nothing has worked. Have you tried a Gentle Leader - that is about the closest she has come with him to a decent walk. And of course, as soon as we get to the top of our street to head home, he stops pulling - why? BEcause he doesn't want to stop walking!!!

Tail wags, the OP Pack

Rufus, Indie (and Anita) said...

Oh Dexter! I know it's difficult! I get a little bit excited too (well, a lot)!
Labs rock anyway!

Allison (Dog Mom) said...

I've learned I have to take Waldo to a field to do a couple of laps before we get to our actual walk, otherwise he pulls me just as badly as Dexter. Good luck--I look forward to hearing how it goes!


Joe Stains said...

Humans are so demanding Dexter! I think you might be able to work it out, I am off to read and see if you do!