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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Critter Cafe / Death Breath
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    Death Breath

    Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:58 am
    Forum Host
    Okay, so I'm going to start out by saying yuck.gif

    I'm out walking the dog this morning. In the COLD and the WIND. We walked to the park, intending to make it quick and to get back home and inside.

    Well, Mr. Sniffy Face discovered . . . a dead squirrel. I think it was a squirrel. Actually, it was more like squirrel jerky, though, as it turns out, much of its stiffness was probably because it was frozen. yuck.gif

    I didn't even see it - until he suddenly reached out and snatched it with his Jaws of Doom. Kind of like a frog does, only with big old teeth.

    So I told him to "drop it" and he said "yeah right." Actually it was more like "mfffh mfft." icon_rolleyes.gif

    I offered him a treat in trade.

    He sneered at me.

    I put me (eeew) hand on the squirrel jerky and told him to "give." yuck.gif We've actually been working on, and doing very well with "give." When it's a wubba. icon_rolleyes.gif

    I've learned not to try to wrestle it away from him - the hard way.

    So what I ended up doing was I tightened up on his leash (I didn't choke him, but I'm pretty sure he was less than comfortable), and we MARCHED toward home, stopping at every corner, sitting, and my giving him the opportunity to "GIVE." When he refused (which he did) we kept going. Past our street. Further. Turned around, and past our street again. Stopping at each corner, sit, give, no? Okay, march.

    Not pleasant at all, especially when you added the now-thawing dead squirrel smell. yuck.gif

    FINALLY, after several tries, I think he needed to take a breath, so he loosened up on the Squirrel Jerky enough that I was able to snatch it out of his mouth, THROW it across the street, then I rewarded him, pretending he'd voluntarily given it up, then we went home, all happy happy joy joy.

    So my question is this - HOW do you teach a dog to DROP the squirrel when you don't actually HAVE, and have no intention of ever having, random rotting squirrel carcasses around to practice with?

    Also, I think I'm going to throw away the gloves I was wearing this morning. yuck.gif
    Connie Lea
    Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:51 pm Groupie
    Kris you have such an awesome writing ability. That was so funny. However, you do know don't you that you can wash the gloves. icon_smile.gif

    Zoey is really good about leaving it when you offer her a treat. But she's never had anything as enticing as a dead squirrel. I don't know of anything you could give him that would have more value than the squirrel, so I think the best you can do is hope you never run across another one.

    You are so great about going for walks. When it's nasty my poor little girls have to stay in because Mom isn't going out. They are little enough though that they get some exercise chasing each other through the house. I know it's not the same and my poor girls are deprived. I've found out that Molly hates cold, wet snow on her feet. She doesn't waste too much time finding a spot.
    Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:10 pm
    Forum Host
    Aw, thanks Connie. icon_smile.gif

    And yeah, I'm going to go ahead and wash the gloves first - I pick them up at the market for $1 a pair, though, so I don't worry too much about it. And seriously, squirrel jerky is NASTY. yuck.gif

    Jar is very good about LEAVE IT - if I see "it" first. If he sees it first, and grabs it, then all bets are off. Getting him to "DROP IT" - that's what we've got to work on. Because DUDE - rotten squirrel is NOT cool. yuck.gif

    And Connie, at least your pups CAN run around in the house - I just don't have enough room, otherwise I'd be having him do laps in the living room! icon_lol.gif And by the time we fenced in the yard, he was so used to his daily walk that he doesn't even like to poo in the yard unless it's an emergency.
    anne in apex
    Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:47 pm Groupie
    My first thought, when you tried to grab it, was "ewwww, her gloves!" yuck.gif
    Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:20 pm
    Forum Host
    anne in apex wrote:
    My first thought, when you tried to grab it, was "ewwww, her gloves!" yuck.gif

    Anne, my first thought was -BOY am I glad I'm wearing gloves! :lol
    Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:29 pm
    Forum Host
    rotfl.gif rotfl.gif Oh Kris!! First I had a mini panic attack because I thought- God forbid- that someone we knew had died..... icon_eek.gif icon_eek.gif Then I started reading and laughing so hard I cried.... you are indeed such an awesome story teller.... I felt as though I was with you.... close enough to imagine the squirrel "jerky"... If I loved my gloves I would try washing them, otherwise...out they would go! Do you think practicing with something NOT DEAD that he really loves might work?? Some terrific treat or toy he loves?? Let's see what K9 has to offer!
    K9 Owned
    Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:43 pm
    Forum Host
    Ok so I am laughing but only because it was you and not me. icon_lol.gif
    You do tell a great story.

    As you already know - it is imperative that a dog 'give' 'drop' or 'out' an object in his mouth on command. It can be life saving in the event that whatever is in his mouth is diseased or dangerous. I'd also included very expensive but that's just me icon_wink.gif

    In an emergency if a dog would absolutely not 'out' I would use an ear pinch. Yeah, I know - how far from clicker training can you get? It is a correction that when properly done need not be really painful. It is commonly used to train a 'forced fetch' for retrievers especially for competition. I frown on the practice for anything other than dangerous situations but have used it in the past. There are You Tube vids that demonstrate the ear pinch. Essentially you pinch the dogs ear between your thumb and index fingernail. This causes a startled yelp and the item falls out. In training it for a forced fetch the goal is the opposite - they want the dog to take the dumbbell. When the dog opens it's mouth they put the dumbbell in and then do the good dog routine. As you can tell - I am not a huge fan but I wouldn't hesitate if I thought it necessary.

    As to training the out, drop or give without the benefit of squirrel jerky....
    All you can do is to practice, practice, practice with all kinds of objects and treats until it is totally reliable. Get out the most awesome treats he has ever had and do the drill. Take a favorite toy or other coveted object and give it to him. Tell him 'out' (or whatever) and then give him the most amazing treat in the world. Do this for as many hours, days or weeks as it takes for it to become rock solid. The goal is to have the dog believe that what you will give him is TONS better than what he is being asked to give up. End the session with letting him have and play with special toy.

    This is of course jmo. My other opinion is toss the gloves. Ick!
    Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:01 am
    Forum Host
    Thanks you guys. I am glad you enjoy my stories - even when they involve squirrel jerky! icon_wink.gif

    K9 - I will definitely keep the ear-pinch thing in mind. I don't have a problem with correction - when it's used properly. (And sparingly.) And you're right - sometimes there are things that are more important, like, oh, say, not trying to eat rotting vermin carcasses. yuck.gif

    I'm going to step up the DROP IT work with him - yesterday, it was SO cold and icky out that I let him bring a bone in the house. Usually bones are outside treats, but if it's already slightly used (not fresh and meaty), and if it's too cold outside for me to feel good about him lying on the ground in the snow, sometimes, if he asks politely, I'll let him bring one in the house and keep it on the blanket he uses for his Kong toy. He's got an awfully slobbery mouth when he gets going, hence the blankie.

    So anyhow. . . he brought his bone in and I said to myself, Self, this is the PERFECT opportunity to work on a DROP IT, isn't it? He's been known to get a little weird about his bone, though he's pretty much over that at least with me, but CLEARLY he'd have to willingly drop it. I'm not crazy. No, really, I'm not. icon_wink.gif

    So I got out some treats (the kind we use in classes that he loves), and he . . . dropped the bone, came out to the kitchen, and said, "hey, whatcha got there? Huh? Can I get some of that?"

    I had trouble getting him to PICK UP the bone in order to tell him to drop it, he was so focused on the treats. icon_rolleyes.gif

    Gonna have to work on the proper treat-to-icky-thing ratio, I guess, as well. icon_biggrin.gif
    K9 Owned
    Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:21 am
    Forum Host
    That was an excellent time to reinforce the drops!
    I now let my guys bring in their bones once the marrow and meat is gone.
    While they would lie in a snowbank for hours with it - it is just too darned cold!

    Maybe keep a couple of the awesome treats in your pocket for walks 'just in case'. You don't want to use them too much and devalue them but clearly kibble does not trump squirrel jerky. icon_lol.gif
    Connie Lea
    Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:19 am Groupie
    Once again K9, you have great ideas. You are getting paid aren't you for your professional answers? icon_smile.gif Way to go Kris, getting him to drop the bone for the treat.
    Connie Lea
    Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:19 am Groupie
    Sorry - double post.

    Last edited by Connie Lea on Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:20 am, edited 1 time in total
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