Bixie Week 3

We are going on our third week with Bixie now. Her routine has been a simple one: We let her out of the crate first thing in the morning and walk her about 15 minutes feeding her from our hand while we do some of the core exercises, like pushing.

 

 

Then she goes into her outside kennel until we take her out again for more of the same. We don’t do any of the “normal” training, like sit, heel, or down during these walks, we just let her drag a 50 foot lead and she goes pretty much where she wants, we follow.

bixie in snow pic

 

bixie snow shadow

One important thing we did right away was move her crate from our large great room to an out-of-the-way spot in our attached cottage. The reason for this was she started getting aggressive whenever our German Shepherd Hessian walked any where near the crate. Even when he came in from outside 15 feet away, she would lunge and bark aggressively. There are those who might say she was doing this because she didn’t want to be in there, she was jealous, etc. but that isn’t really why. Bixie feels safe to let out the “charge” she has been picking up all day. Basically Bixie gets charged by everyday normal things that don’t bother most dogs. Things like birds high up in the trees, airplanes at 30,000 feet (yes!) crinkly noises, a moth fluttering by…and this builds up in her but must be released sooner or later.

While some dogs like Corgi’s can be sensitive, this behavior was created, it is not inherent. And it was created when as a pup she was treated like a love cushion, getting picked up, hugged and kissed. Then when she “misbehaved” in some way, she was hit, kicked or “disciplined”. One minute it’s all love, love, love, and then the next minute  it’s whack! Out of nowhere  comes a kick or smack. Her fragile emotional development at a young age was not understood.

An important point is that dogs don’t like getting hugged and kissed or even picked up, no matter what anyone says. They have no idea you are lavishing your love and attention on them, to them you’re simply smooshing your face into theirs…..would you like that? If dogs could talk the first thing they would tell us is “Please don’t kiss us or stick your face into ours, we hate it!”

So we moved her away from this situation for two reasons, one so she can be totally free and calm in her crate. She needs to have this space. It is very critical for a dog, no matter how they are raised or how old they are. Just as it is for humans, we need a space where we can feel safe and free to be ourselves. This space can then become part of us and we take it with us wherever we go. It’s the same for dogs.

We are re-training Bixie to feel safe in her surroundings rather than be afraid every minute. The other reason is that whatever progress we make with her on our “core walks” will be lost if she is constantly having these crate episodes with Hessian.

So if you have a dog with issues like this, move them to a place where there is not a lot of traffic coming and going. If they start barking because they can see you, or the cat, or another pet, you won’t have to deal with it but can ignore it.  It’s better for them and for you too.

bixie looking up

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Bixie Week 3

    • It’s probably going to take some time to get her to trust humans again, but we’re seeing some tiny, tiny progress.Thanks for your comment!

  1. Its all very interesting!
    I almost finished reading your book, and I don’t quite grasp all the concept, it’s pretty blurry in my head…
    I studied animal behavior (just a tiny course, not university!) and learned the positive reinforcement methods. I feel it’s way better than the traditional dominance based theory, but still, there is something missing, and I feel that NDT might be the answer!

    I think Bixie’s story will help me understand better!
    I am a dog trainer but don’t have a lot of experience yet, and I believe NDT would be very nice for me to learn to help rescue dogs!
    What’s the best way to learn this method? I need a teacher! (I’m from Montreal, Quebec)
    🙂

    I saw there are DVDs, would they be good to learn it well?

    • Glad to hear you’re interested in NDT. We have many people, trainers also, who come and learn directly from Kevin here on our farm. Montreal isn’t too far from us. Send Kevin an email, you’ll find it on the NDT website. He can give you more information.
      Thanks for your comment!

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