Table Trading while Training (it’s a tongue-twister)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Okay so this is the video clip I wanted to put up the other day. Not my best geek work but it gives you the idea of what I want to show. 

The whole routine just cracks me up. I am sure you guys will get a kick out if too.  So, heres the deal. When I go out to train I take both my young dogs Encore and Feature with me.  I have one dog wait on the table as I work the other, then I swap dogs. That is it. It is a game that is functional for me as it allows me to spend quality time training rather than having to stop, go into the house and get another dog out yada-yada-yada. I just train-swap-train-swap etc, then move on with my life (or lately my blog:)).

So I train away, and where ever I may end up with the last dog on the floor,  I send that one to the table. As that dog is on route I release the one that is on the table. I don’t know why this makes me laugh but it does. It is like they are tag team wrestlers and one dog flies out of their corner to work and the other one flies back to watch.  I wonder what the two dogs are thinking? Both are quite happy to do as I ask. I think Feature may drive a bit harder to the table to sit her turn out as I think she gets a kick out of watching Encore, where Encore isn’t quite as enthused to take up her post on the table.  

My point of showing this clip is, one, it just is too funny and two, I wanted you all to know that, if you have multiple dogs, it is possible to work one in the presence of the other without the one that is watching barking it’s head off, or constantly interrupting your session with the other dog.  I was hoping you could hear the audio, but crap, if it wasn’t turned off right up until the very end, when I suddenly realized it and switched it on.  What I wanted to you to hear (but you can see it) is that my dogs do not bark as they wait their turn to run. Encore has been known to scream (it really is just that) while she is working but knows not to make a peep while waiting on the table.  Feature, while on the table, shakes her toy as if the poor thing had something to do with her  banishment to the bench, but even throughout all of that, she too knows not to bark while she waits.

 This really ties in nicely with what I wrote about yesterday. You only get one chance to make a good first impression.  I do not allow my young puppies to rehearse barking while another dog works. So I don’t allow them to watch until they can control themselves.  If you have worked through all of the stages of Crate Games (as outline pretty plainly in the DVD) this sort of thing is actually pretty easy.  Feature started watching from the time she was just 4 months old.  Dogs are far less likely to bark in their crates while other dogs are working, if the crate door is open.  The closed door is a restriction, just as if the dog was tied to a fence. No matter what, there is no way the dog is going to get a chance to get in on the fun, until you come back to get him. He has no CHOICE. You are showing the dog something he really VALUES and then preventing him having access to it. It is a great way to build drive and one that schutzhund trainers utilize with great success to increase enthusiasm for bite work. They have someone hold the dog back all the while revving him up as the ‘victim’ runs away. This allows the dog to go nuts before they spring him loose. Wow, all of the opposition pulling really gets a dog charged up!

When you build up the dog’s understanding of Crate Games to the point he will stay in the crate with the door open, you have taken away the imposed restriction. It is now the dog’s CHOICE to stay in the crate (with an open door), rather than the dog being FORCED to stay in (with it closed). Dog’s, like all of us, do much better when they feel like they are have a vote in what goes on in their life. Through Crate Games you create self control so the dog thinks he is doing exactly what HE wants to do while he is doing exactly what YOU want him to do. It is a win-win all around!

Today I am grateful for my geek friend Vince.  I can’t tell you where I would be without his help with all of this — of course I get ‘help’, you didn’t think I was really this geekafied did you?


  1. would have loved to see the video..but it says it’s no longer available? :o(

  2. I can’t see it either. Too bad.

  3. It’s working now!

  4. Love the dogs, love the music! Love how Feature shakes her toy.

  5. Video is not working for me… strange.

    I LOVE the point you made about puppies barking in their crates. My puppy has very good crate manners and will stay in his crate for anything I’ve managed to come up with for proofing so far (toys, dogs, cookies, me, anything flying all over the place). But he will -occasionally- whimper when I work my older dog and/or paw once or twice at the crate door. Duh, he can’t do that if the door’s open, and he knows to stay in… thanks for the “head-desk” moment!

  6. LOLOLOLOL That was awesome Susan! Feature cracks me up!

  7. Great video. Now a new goal with my two. My older dog gets so jealous when I work the younger one (jealousy is a great motivater, he works so much better after he sees me working with the other one).

  8. Harmony seems an impossibility with my two littermates, Kenai the SDit and BB! The Brother’s Grin are great seperately, but village idiots when we put them together (sigh). The trick for me isn’t motivating, it’s calming Kenai down: he goes “instinctive” when excited, and commands go out the window. Still, he’s actually very good for his age, and I work on, ever so glad to have “discovered” clicker training. The next pup in a few years will have quite different training exercises!

  9. I got a great kick out of the video 🙂
    I leave one dog on the table while training the other too, but for some reason I never thought of releasing one before the other got back to the table. Maybe I should work on that as Rio’s goal in life is to jump up and see if she can body slam Piper off the table….

  10. What a clever “good manners” game !
    I watched your video of Feature’s agility course, and how you moved around the course. A “blind cross” before the A-frame.

    • Hi Trudie, It actually was a Front cross not a blind cross before the A-Frame. Not a blind-crossing kind of girl myself!

  11. Your BC are stunning! Beautiful animals and cool names.

  12. This goes to show that we sometimes don’t see what we’re staring right at. I just watched the video again (..and for the sixth time to boot!!) and saw a front cross and a very clear one at that ! Like a dummy, I had written my little words on this doggone blog without checking it out. Please accept my apologies!!
    I feel much better though, that I did write, because I was thinking, hey! what about the sound advice of Greg Derrett, concerning blind cross…?
    A lot of people at my club recommend a blind cross as a great, efficient manouver. I did it in two competitions and confused my dog. Afterward I realised why, from that moment, we were “cooked”.

  13. DdeVof Thanks for good post

  14. Awesome video. I love that self control!
    Thanks for all of the great training ideas.
    Feature is hilarious with her toy!

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