Thursday, July 21, 2011

wasn't expecting to have to train this!

I've inadvertently conditioned Chewy to only walk on my left side.  Great for rally, but not so great for agility!

I had Chewy at puppy prep class the other night, and he got all stubborn and cranky when I tried to walk him on my right side to send him into a tunnel.



The next day on our morning walk, I noticed he NEVER walks on my right, and when I tried to encourage him to do so, he sat down and refused to budge.

Ugh! So, this week, I'm trying to click and treat whenever he walks toward my right side.  Not happening very often.  I can't believe I didn't notice this sooner.

I think I'm going to start walking him around the yard/house on a leash with a cheese stick in my right hand, and see if that helps.

If anyone has any other idea, I'm willing to listen.

22 comments:

Bailey said...

That's an interesting challenge. I would think the treat idea is a good one.

Berts Blog said...

Don't have any suggestions, just wanted to say "How Cute is that little guy" love it.

Bert

Nanook said...

I have a similar problem with Momo, only that she's terrifed of walking at my left side.I trained her by first walking backwards and then slowly turning so that she ended up at my left side (clicking for each step and slooowly raising the criteria). It took about 6 months, I think. And she's still not comfortable at my left side, so I have to work on that A LOT.

Sara said...

I ended up having to walk backward at his puppy class. I just worked on it while feeding him his lunch, and already we are making progress. I think a lot of it has to do with the leash being on the other side of his body. By the time he finished his lunch, he was comfortably walking on my right. We'll keep working on it.

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Cute photo on the table!!

Well, just making walking on your right a new trick for him to learn - he'll get it!

Maybe he longs to be an obedience champion! :)

andrea said...

I do most of my position work off leash - seperate to the whole leash issue. Brody had been exclusively walked on my left side for 7 years so doing the agility switch was eye opening with him. For him it was tiny tiny bits - literally he'd move into place and I'd click FAST .. now the only place you can see the remenents of how one sided we were was is in the weave poles ...(which came to be because I literally couldn't identify the correct behaviour if Brody was offside)

Good you caught it early ...this will be a fun fix :)

Nanook said...

Momo's main concern is also the leash. :/ More work. But it's fun. :D

Lassiter Chase and T said...

Cheese stick -- that sounds YUMMY!

Helen said...

Boy, he looks happy with himself on the table. And I see one ear still down.

Nicole said...

adorable photo, he is so so so cute!
I kind of think that's adorable he's trying to tell you "No, Mom, I HAVE to stay on your left" maybe you could train going to you right side like a trick... hmm

Rob said...

Hi Sara, its amazing how they pick things up that we are unaware of. No doubt the treat thing will work.

♥I am Holly♥ said...

No idea about it but the cheese stick sure sounds yummy!! Chewy looks really happy in the picture not to mention VERY cute!!! Lots of love, Debbie & Holly

Diana said...

Try running with him. He wont think as much. And maybe use a toy and not treats. It will create more excitment. Im not sure it will work but worth a try.

Honey the Great Dane said...

You're probably already doing this but have you tried 2 very specific, different commands?

As you know, we also have to train the dog to be on both sides for dancing - really important for dancing actually coz you need to be able to exit from spins on both sides and also have more creative flexibility otherwise looks too stiff with dog always on left side - anyway, so when I started teaching Honey to walk on my right, she'd already been doing the Left Obedience thing for about 5yrs and it was pretty difficult to switch her mind around! I did the click & treat thing, etc, but I found what really helped was to give her a very clear command for when I wanted her on the right side (we use "Side" as opposed to "Heel" for the left) - because when I don't give any commands and just walk, her default position is on the left - which is what it's been conditioned and very hard to change. So I find if I don't tell her, she just assumes the default position but if I give the specific command, she is less confused.

Also, I trained the command standing still so that she understood exactly which side she needed to be - it wasn't just walking next to me - it was a specific side of my body she had ot walk on. So I got her to sit and then walked forwards a couple of steps and then called her with eithr "Heel" or "Side" - and I only rewarded her if she came up to me on the correct right. In the beginning, she would only keep coming up on my left side no matter what I said (years of conditioning!) but eventually, she started following the actual command. Of course, I helped by holding treats on the side that I'm calling her to.

Once she got good at that, I started walking and every so often, I would make a turn and change the side I tell her to go to - so that she would have to reposition herself on the correct side. It's pretty tough mentally but she got it eventually.

And I found that I can't just keep practising the right side - I found that I had to intersperse calling her to left & right (and walking her on left & right) so that she learns to *choose* between the two and that the difference between them is underlined - if you see what I mean? Like you need something for the dog to compare to and to differentiate from - otherwise he isn't making an active choice but just falling into default walking mode (on the side he prefers, which is usually left!)

Hope that made sense!
Hsin-Yi

Sara said...

Thanks for all the advice Hsin-Yi. I planned on teaching him "heel" and "side" as I worked thru Silvia Trkman's heeling steps, but we hadn't gotten that far in the process yet.

It's funny, because all my other shelties have been such herders, that they constantly switched sides on their own while walking, usually by moving behind my body. I guess I assumed he'd do the same.

I will definitely put some of your ideas into our training/walking routine. Thanks.

I'm glad I figured this out while he's still a baby, and still learns very quickly.

Sara said...

Diana,
Toys/speed are a great idea. I'll bring some along tomorrow.

Thanks!

Cat Chat With Caren And Cody said...

I am glad to see that I am not the only one with a Sheltie who will sit down and refuse to budge when out for a walk lol.

The problem is, my Sheltie is 4 years old, yours is a puppy...yours will be fine...mine is STUBBORN! lol

Priscilla said...

Ooh that's funny and such an interesting challenge!! Never thought it'd be such a problem, especially since Chewy is such a teeny puppy!! I think he is very much mentally above his age!

Reilly / Bree said...

Hmmm I have always trained my dogs to walk on my left side (away from the traffic) or maybe it's because I'm from the other side of the world and we do things backwards

Dawn said...

This is often an issue with dogs that are trained for obedience and/or rally, as their heel position is always on the left. When they move into the agility world it can be scary, so you're doing well to get him conditioned to both sides early.

houndstooth said...

Funny how we do these things to ourselves!

Would walking along a fence line or wall so that he couldn't walk on that side help?

Kathy said...

hahhahaha, well you are doing better then me, I have conditioned all my dogs to walk on my RIGHT side, so not even good for obedience, LOL. I had not realized it but my left arm has pins and a plate and I do not treat as well with it so I have always just been more comfy iwth my right side. I have been doing a lot of the Susan Garrett rewarding for reinforcement zone at my left side, huge jackpots when they just happen to end up on the left side, LOL.