Gah. Sighthounds.

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by RD, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    For the past two months I have been going every couple days for several hours to the local animal shelter to work with a very troubled sighthound mix. (We think Sloughi/Rhodie) When I first started spending time with her, she would run to the side of a room/run opposite me and just glare at me and anyone else who came close. She was a bit snappy and quite fearful.
    She made a lot of progress in the first month, now every time she sees me her ears perk up and her tail starts wagging, and she is far more confident around strangers.
    The problem that I'm running into with her is obedience training. She just... doesn't like anything. Nothing motivates her. Normally I'd just say "eh, whatever." when it comes to that, if the dog didn't like it, but she -needs- the training, she really at least needs to learn how to "sit" and to learn to listen to people.
    But yeah.. No motivation! Affection is honestly more like punishment than praise to her, she doesn't like to be touched more than a scratch right on her muzzle, between her eyes. She will accept special food (The only thing so far that she will eat is beef jerky and ONLY terriyaki -- plain is just too boring for her I guess. :rolleyes: ) but with no enthusiasm whatsoever.
    I've worked with sighthounds before, a Basenji and a Whippet, and the thing that worked for them was a fuzzy "critter" on a lightline that I'd swing in a circle for them to chase. Trinity has very little interest in it, I think she knows it's just a fake toy on a rope and isn't even worth her time. I've tried laser pointers, weird bouncy toys, remote control cars, funny noises, clickers, etc. and she just isn't enthusiastic about any of them! I was thinking it was the environment, that she was stressed, but she's not showing any signs of stress. (She'll lay down and go to sleep once I get boring.)

    I'm used to herding breeds, who will fall all over themselves to please their people... And I'm finding out that this girl needs a very different training approach than what I usually use, I just don't know what that is. Does anyone, especially those who have had experience with sighthounds, have any input or suggestions? Any information would be much appreciated, I really do want to continue her training as long as she's there, but I'm growing a bit frustrated with not being able to "push her buttons". At this point I will try nearly anything.
     
  2. kelbel

    kelbel New Member

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    RD

    I have a saluki mix who is also very hard to motivate and very stubborn. She doensn't care for affection either. The only food that motivates her is the Lamb formula Natural Balance rolls. She goes crazy for them. I made the mistake of leaving a sandwich baggie of pieces i had just cut on the counter yesterday. Well she got them off the counter, ripped through the baggie and ate them all.
     
  3. doberkim

    doberkim Naturally Natural

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  4. Gempress

    Gempress Walks into Mordor

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    I've always heard that sighthounds are the absolute hardest when it comes to obedience training. Good luck, and let us know what works.
     
  5. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    Trin came home with me this morning, she may stay for 4-5 days so I can see if it's just the noisy shelter environment that's keeping her so preoccupied. Thanks for that link, Kim, I signed up and I'm going to email a couple of those people.

    My friend and obedience trainer has put me in touch with another trainer in Phoenix who rescues sighthounds, I'm hoping she could help me too.

    This little girl is really giving me a run for my money! She's sooo sweet, though.
     
  6. doberkim

    doberkim Naturally Natural

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    sounds like the sort of challenge i would LOVE!
    it only took me 2.5 yrs to get bowie to give me paw :)

    best of luck - keep me updated, and GET ME PICTURES! i adore sighthounds - i hope some people from that list can help you - seems the best people to ask are those that actively title some of these dogs!
     
  7. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    I have a few pictures of her from a couple of months ago, about a week after I started working with her.. They don't do her justice, she's a magnificent girl. I'll see if I can get some pictures next week (Someone currently has my digital camera, they're taking pictures for me on their vacation.) to show how she's matured. We think she's about a year old, maybe two.

    (Pardon the nasty background - I was in a rush to get a picture of her and just had to tether her somewhere.)
    [​IMG]
     
  8. bridey_01

    bridey_01 Kelpiefied

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    I trained in shelters for a while, absolute hardest environment to train in. I would rather train in a pool! I've had alot of experience with sighthounds, mostly greyhounds though. I don't think you have much chance of acheiving anything in the shelter environment. As for obedience, "sit" is not a comfortable position for most sighthounds! They have such large, long leg muscles that sitting isn't something they do naturally, so you have to build the behaviour from scratch with a clicker. Again, I've rarely been able to acheive this in a shelter with a sighthound. I find first you have to get a good bond going, then introduce the clicker by shaping and already existing behaviour. You actually have to "teach them to learn". Hold off on her meals for a while, then get some roast chicken skin, most dogs will go nuts for that. You can then start shaping an easy behaviour, and introduce the clicker. Good luck!
     
  9. doberkim

    doberkim Naturally Natural

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    yup, the one grey ive had close contact with training, clicker and this one particular treat worked the best for her. the owner was so frustrated, she wouldnt listen, and at one point i held the dog for her while she walked a course - and the dog smelled my cookies, and she went CRAZY for them !
     
  10. oc_spirit

    oc_spirit Snow Girl

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    She sounds a lot like Ronin!! haha The only thing that motivates him is getting to run in harness LOL I know it may not seem like it but there has got to be SOMETHING that she likes a lot. It's probably some really wierd random thing that doesn't make sense. LOL Maybe it's even getting to run around with other dogs, or by herself, or maybe even it's going for a walk.
     
  11. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    It was the shelter environment. Trin's been here for a day and a half and she's caught right on when it came to 'how to learn'. Even though we made no progress with sit (Bridey I think you're right, and I'm considering just teaching her to stand and stay. It's not too apparent in that picture but she is ALL legs and it's probably tough for her to keep them in order, rofl.) she now responds to 'stand' and 'come here' and understands what I want when I say it.. She's still not insane over food like most dogs when they're hungry but she does like the chicken skin and jerky, I think she's responding better to it because now she's not freefeeding, and actually has a reason to want food.

    Thanks so much for the help! We'll see if she can stay here for another few days to continue to work on 'come'.. It just depends on whether or not it's possible for her to coexist with Ripley.
     
  12. doberkim

    doberkim Naturally Natural

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    sounds like being in a home situation was just what she needed - congrats!
     
  13. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Wow, sorry I'm so late seeing this thread. My goodness, you've taken on a challenge. Do you suppose you'll keep her? It sounds like you're making progress. I think when you've developed a more solid, long lasting relationship and she knows that she can trust you and that you're not going anywhere, she may get more easily motivated to move forward in her learning. She may be still a bit depressed and a dog that is at all stressed or insecure can't learn very well. I like Bridey's ideas. Best of luck!
     
  14. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    Doberluv, I'd love to add her to the family, we've really bonded. But, given the chance, she'd eat my cats and my small dog. I don't know if any amount of training could suppress that drive, and I just don't want to take any chances. She really needs a household with no small animals.

    I've come in contact with the lady my trainer recommended, and the agility judge who lives near me, both are going to try to help me find a good home for her that will understand her personality. Thanks everyone for your help and I'll keep you updated on how the search for a home goes.
     
  15. taratippy

    taratippy New Member

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    Well done for taking her away from the kennels, sighthounds are a bit difficult to train, they're just rather independant. Depending on the dog they can be trained to be small dog and cat friendly but it would take some time and a lot of effort. With cats they're usually fine until they run! Ive found with greys its hard to find something to motivate them, mine didnt have a clue what a treat or a toy was when she first came home. (wouldnt move unless on a lead either). Lurchers are usually a different thing altogether and very food motivated. She may just need a bit longer to settle in and feel comfortable.

    Oh and bridey? is right sit is not always acheivable with sighthounds, they will do it on their own but rarely.
     

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