Thursday, January 8, 2015

Training Thursday - Trick or Torture?

One of my personal goals this winter, when getting out to exercise becomes a challenge, is to work on teaching the pups new tricks.

I picked "back up" as the first new trick of the year.

Hailey picked this up quickly as you will see (she does it right when I give the right cue).

Zaphod on the other hand is terrified of this trick. I read online to teach it by getting your dog to sit and then giving the command. If the pup doesn't follow it to step toward them and they should move back, when they move back reinforce that. Well when you step toward Phod, he stands there. When you step right in front of him he becomes nervous and then turns around and goes and lays down. When I tried to push this a bit, he became confused and upset and actually gave me a short bark (which is so not Zaphod). My guess is that somehow this "towering over him" or stepping toward him causes anxiety likely related to the abuse he suffered prior to being rescued. While I am still putting in one or two "back ups" in his training blocks, I am not pushing it. I am trying to pair this command with good things and hope that we can help him overcome the fear associated with it.  Will let you know how it goes.


  1. Poor Phodie.......their experiences in the past certainly are sometimes tough to overcome but he's so smart I bet eventually he learns that "backup" and all the movements associated with it are OK.

    Hugs, Pam

  2. Grrrr, makes me mad the thought of people abusing dogs!!!! Big, BIG hugs to you Phod, luffs you.

    I'm not letting Mum read this post just in case she gets and funny ideas about training me!

    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  3. Poor baby. Ruby has some similar stuff in her past and certain movements really scare her.

  4. Hari OM
    Oh Zaphod - not so good early years, huh? Don't you worry darlin', for you are surely in a place of love now and see how 'mum' is doing her bestest for you? I know you will find a way to please her... Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  5. Guess you can say Zaphod is NOT Backward... he is very OUTGOING sorta guy... hehehehe
    BUTT he will catch on...
    Mom tells Us about Angel Lisel... who Backed UP every time she Barked...

  6. It is amazing how pups can learn tricks. He will figure it out in his doggie mind. About flying the flag . . . On the upper right side of the blog, click on DESIGN, then on the screen that comes up, click LAYOUT. After than then you scroll down the list of available widgets until you come to PHOTO and then click the + to add it to your blog. It brings up a screen so you can add the title and select the picture. Select that you are uploading the photo from your computer (cuz hopefully you already downloaded it) and then you click OK (or something like that, might be SAVE). You can drag the widget up and down so it can be positioned where you want on the sidebar. It isn't hard but let us know if you have troubles!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  7. Sometimes that past catches up......

    We think if you're persistent he'll get the idea that it isn't threatening.

  8. Back seems to be difficult for a lot of dogs. Bravo for Hailey!
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  9. Great trick! I'm looking for new ones for Luke so I might try this. I've been doing fun nose work with the dogs...finding treats in boxes. I discovered Sheba was afraid of the boxes when she touched them and they moved! So I just kept her session very short and we'll work on it gradually.

  10. Could you start on a leash? With him next to you? I'm going to try it with Harlow.

    Monty and Harlow

  11. Hi hi hi! Ojo here! First of all I think it would be fun if you came and wintered with us! (As long as you bring a little bit of your snow, that is.) (And Precious.)

    Second, I can do Back Up too! I do it when standing though, and I can back up about ten feet (human feet, not doggy feet).

    My person taught it kind of the same way, except for having us standing. (Yes, Cobi can do it too, but not as well as I can!) Also our person set us up between a table and the couch, or something similar, so there was only a narrow isle. Then when she put the body pressure on us, all she was looking for was for one of our back paws to shift even slightly. If it moved, we got a "Yes!" and then the food came. The food was thrown between our two front paws. This kept us standing, and because we had to bend our heads down to eat the food we were already in the right position to start going backwards again. Sometimes we even took that shift with a back paw just to get the food, which got another "Yes!" and more food!

    Over time we had to move more and more. Cobi can do this for about three shuffling Cobi steps, but like I said I am the MASTER and I can go back and back and back and back! I am very pawesome, no?

    The only problem is that I like this one a lot. Well, that's not a problem for me, but it's a problem for our person. When she asks us to wave, I prefer to back up. When she asks me to Down, I prefer to back up. (I don't like sitting and waving and downing - I would rather be moving! Right? Right.)

    I must say though, Cousin Lee, that your backwards shuffling bum is very cute! We like that one too! Maybe we'll try that next!

  12. Pee Ess The cool thing with starting us Dogs out standing is that it's ideally not as intimidating - hopefully you (Handsome Phod) could just shuffle out of the way, and if your back paw moves - Hurray!!! You could also ask your person to try turning her human body sideways so it's not as intimidating, or crouching and shuffling herself forward? You, Handsome Phod, being in between a couch and table means it's clear to you that you cannot go sideways.

    But maybe this isn't what you are trying to learn with your person, maybe you are looking for a backwards bum scootch which is very cute too. But we wanted to share our way to success, because we think it's so pawesome that your person makes time to do the fun thing called "Training" with you!! (Isn't training amazing?!?)

  13. Pee Pee Ess Most of us Dogs do not come with hind end awareness. (I am proud to say that I did, but Cobi did not). Most of us just have back ends that follow us like a caboose. Once we learn that our back legs are there we can do all sorts of cool things, and we're waaay better at that fun agility thing that you do with your person!

    So backing up is super pawesome!!

  14. Pee Pee Pee Ess Can you tell we're super-excited about this trick you're learning? =)

  15. Aw poor Phod :(
    Love the video though!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  16. You are very clever. Walter does this every time at meal time to get into the place he eats.

  17. Poor Phod I hate the thought of him being mistreated, good thing he has you.

    Way to go Lee! so proud of you.

    Aroo to you,


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