Training Tuesdays: April 24, 2018, Milo needs a challenge

Hi fans! This is a short post because it’s grading season, and I’m up to my eyebrows with student work from my Philosophy 271: Animals in our Lives and Philosophy 458/673: Feminism, Bodies and Biology classes. I had the pleasure of working with two groups of fabulous students and so the grading is not that bad. But, holy smokes, is there ever a lot of it.

I had an epiphany this week—I’ve been treating Milo like a baby and he’s bored. I was so focused on splitting his training tasks into tiny pieces that I was slowing him down and frustrating him.

I had this epiphany because my friend Liz said, “Carla, you need to give him more difficult things to do.” Does it count as an epiphany if someone straight out tells you something? Probably not technically, but this week had an ‘epiphany-feel’ about it.

After that fateful conversation with Liz, I gave Milo long tracks with multiple articles—he did a great job. No more waiting for him to find an exact heel position. I simply demanded it and he stepped right up and met my higher expectations. And in Rally class, which we just started, I demanded serious attention, which he gave me.

Note to self: “Do what Liz says more often.”

So, this week the plan is to do more of those things: long tracks, precision in heeling, and focused attention even in a distracting Rally class. I am feeling hopeful.

You might remember that I’ve also been working on getting Milo to tolerate a manicure. In the last couple of weeks I’ve come to see that Milo deeply despises have his nails trimmed. So, I’m keeping us on a baby steps schedule for this counter-conditioning procedure–tiny steps and lots of hotdogs.

Next week I’ll fill you in on our progress. Cheers!

Black and tan German Shepherd sniffing brown grass

Milo has what you call a “deep nose” when he tracks and that is a good thing.


3 thoughts on “Training Tuesdays: April 24, 2018, Milo needs a challenge

  1. Yay for good training friend you trust. I too have found sometimes another trusted perspective pushes things forward. Congrats on all the progress! On the nails, for some dogs that have a history of discomfort with nail trims, I’ve found Rather than asking them to let a human hold their foot, asking them to place it on a platform with the nails hanging over the edge to be more successful. Similar to the way zoo keepers train it from what I understand so they can safely be hands off. Not sure if you’d tried that already or not but figured would pass along in case it might be helpful.


    • Thank you for the nail trim idea. I suspect he will be happier with that sort of autonomy!

      Since I’ve been attending to Milo’s attitude while working on this with him, I’ve come to love him even more. Up unil now, he would tolerate a trim, but I knew he was stressed out. I’d tell him not to be a baby and would do my best to be quick about it. But, now I’m really paying attention to him and not just his feet and I can see just how much he hates it. And in spite of that, he was doing as I asked. Some days I am overwhealmed by his good-dogness.

      Liked by 1 person

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