Progress Report

Training is a lifelong process. I didn't fully understand what this meant before I got Loki. I always thought I was a patient person, but Loki definitely stretches that patience to its limits... and then some more. Here's an update on his training progress.

  1. Little Children. Thumbs up!

    Today, we sat by a green patch about 30 ft. away from two small, but rather calm children playing. Their mother was present and I think children tend to be better behaved around their parents. Loki was able to lie down and stay down for awhile. I also was able to pet him lots without him jumping up and being alert. He even stayed down when a kid zoomed by on a scooter!

    And a couple days ago, he sat and gave high-fives to a group of kids. He was hyper and his butt never stayed on the ground for long during his sits, but he sort of listened to their commands. The kids like the high-five trick, and so does Loki, since it's a really non-threatening trick.

    Progress is good. Still no petting, but we are steadily moving forward. Yay!

  2. Manhole covers. Thumbs down.

    Unfortunately, we've regressed. Apparently, you can't just train once and be done with it. He "remembered" his fear. So I guess we have to go through the exercise again.

    By the way, I don't want him to step on the covers. He can walk around them. All that I want is for him not to freak out, not to shut down, and to continue moving forward.

  3. Collar. 2 Thumbs up!

    No more problems with the collar! What really helps is petting him. It calms him down. The hard part though is that you need two hands to snap on a collar. So I pet as much as I can while draping the collar around the back of his neck. And I snap it together in the front under his chin.

  4. Nails. 2 Thumbs down.

    This has gone absolutely no where. As a believer in positive reinforcement, I tried for four months to get him to lie down and voluntarily stay there while I went through a paw/nail handling exercise. I moved in incredibly slow baby steps over months. But always had trouble at the final stage, which is actually just barely touching his nail to the Dremel with it on. After four months of doing a paw/nail handling exercise 5 out of 7 days a week, I'm giving up on the positive reinforcement idea, specifically, giving up entirely on the idea that he will voluntarily stay. Loki will have to be restrained somehow. We're determined to figure out some sort of solution; we're just not sure what.

    Many people have suggested that we take him to a groomer, but I don't really see how a groomer could handle him. Loki will scream, thrash, and bite. I don't need to pay someone to have Loki bite him or her.

    Loki's breeder can handle it, but she is a good 90 miles away from us.
I've gained a tremendous amount of experience in handling dogs just from raising Loki. No amount of reading, studying, or observation can teach you as much as experience itself. I would even venture to say that Loki has made me stronger as a person. He pushes me to my limits and forces me to be more patient, more understanding, more creative, and more confident.


Darcey said...

We have nail problems with our shiba as well... he just gets held down while someone uses clippers. No problem with the handling, but as soon as you actually start meddling with those nails... Drama! I can empathize.

BJ said...

what is it with this breed and manhole covers and storm drains... total spaz attack

cadbrowne said...

You might be pleasantly surprised with what a good groomer can do. Our shiba keeps his front nails filed down pretty well himself, but his hind nails and dewclaws can get pretty long... Anyway, our groomer's prices are in a range depending "on the dog's cooperation". The first time I took Yoshi in for a bath/brush/nail trim, I was hoping for the mid-range price, but prepared for the high-end price. Imagine my delight when I was charged the LOW price!

And he LOVES the groomer (she's also the instructor for our obedience class), so I don't think she bound and muzzled him... he would certainly not be so happy to see her after that... ;-P

Depends on the skill of the groomer, of course, YMMV...

(Oh, and Yoshi doesn't like manhole covers, either...)

Briana said...

As far as nails go, (i'm waiting for my dremal in the mail, so haven't tried that yet), but when our shiba is sleeping on the couch I gently clip one or two nails just to take the sharpness out.. i've done this with one of my cats too (now, after a year of work, he lets us do it with minimal protests and no more bites, but i still must hold him firmly).

brandi jacques said...

oh, your blog is bringing back so many memories!

soshi is 7.5 years old now, and i do her nails myself. she doesn't *like* it, but she tolerates it well.

good luck and never give up!
shibas can do it all!

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