Who’s Training Who

by Houndstooth on

If you’ve read the blog for a while, you know that there’s an ongoing struggle in our house to train Flattery to do, well, a lot of things.  She learns things differently than any other dog I’ve ever worked with and oftentimes, the way her brain works baffles me.  Sometimes, I think that’s all a part of her plan.  Other times, I wonder who is training who in our house.

A Little Coy -- Tales and Tails

A Little Coy

She has never been rock solid on house training.  We’ve tried a lot of things, but only get mixed results at best, and that’s with us giving it a good try with a long duration.  Crating her was a bit of a disaster.  She is one of the few Greyhounds I know who really couldn’t handle being in her crate when we were gone.  It also didn’t keep her from having accidents, so when it was suggested that we let her be out, with limited access in the house, that seemed like a better solution for her.

This summer, we hit a new snag with her.  My husband can take her outside and wait with her for over half an hour with no results.  He brings her in, goes back outside with Morgan or Küster and comes back in to find that she’s had an accident in the house.  She’s in serious danger of being throttled and I know it.  It’s also baffling because I don’t have this problem with her, so either it’s my husband or the early morning and lunchtime turn out that’s the issue.  Lately, Mr. Taleteller has taken a new tactic with her.

Any training we do with her that involves food is a mixed bag.  Sometimes, she can get so distracted by food that she forgets her own name.  So, we use it sparingly if we can’t get the results we want from her in a different way.  My husband has started taking training treats outside in his pocket again and feeding her outside as soon as she goes.  Flattery is no fool, and also loves a treat more than any other dog I know.

In Bloom -- Tales and Tails

In Bloom

So, she’s started asking to go out a lot more often.  This works in Bunny’s favor, as senior dog bladders aren’t what the used to be, but Flattery can’t always manage to make the magic happen, as it were, when she gets out there.  But she knows that going in the pen results in getting a treat, somehow.  When she starts getting her bedtime treat craving, she can be a royal pain.  She’d have my husband going in and out the last hour of the night constantly if she could work it out.

The problem is, she knows going outside results in treats somehow, but she can’t make the connection in her brain that going potty is what truly makes them happen.  If she doesn’t have success, she’ll just keep asking to go out.  We don’t want to discourage her from going outside, so we’re stuck running her out, even when we are pretty sure she doesn’t have to go.  I wish we could find another currency that works for her as a reward, but there’s nothing else that she gives a fig about.  Walking her around doesn’t help to make things happen, either.

Dreamer -- Tales and Tails



I keep hoping that one day we will find the magic carrot that works for her, but I suspect that she will always try to manipulate us into giving her food.  Treats are what make the world go round for her.  She’s enough of a clever puppet master to keep us dancing to her tune, too.  Sometimes, these dogs can be too clever for their own good, and ours.

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6 Responses to "Who’s Training Who"
  1. Sue Dyer says:

    I’d only give Flattery a treat if she does do business. It’s not good enough to ask to go and then not do anything. Then when she’s got the hang of that, every now and then don’t give her a treat even when she has done her business. Eventually she should go out and do what she needs to without getting a treat. My Honey did the same. She would ask to go out, but couldn’t do anything it was to get a treat.

    Can I ask you how you calculate Flattery and Bunny’s weight? Here they say to keep them up to 3kgs above their racing weight. Honey’s racing weight was 31.5kgs, so I keep her below 34.5kg. Polly’s racing weight was 28kg, so she keeps below 31kg.

    Hope you have a fab Friday and a lovely weekend. Sue, Polly & Honey

    • houndstooth says:

      It is the only time she gets treats, but she keeps trying for more.

      • Sue Dyer says:

        That’s interesting. My two seem to gain weight just by looking at food, just like me:) I am very careful what they have, especially Polly as with her Arthritis she ideally needs to drop a few pounds. It’s not easy with her now, as she can’t walk far. Sue

  2. Vicky says:

    Tippy is VERY food motivated too. As with you, sometimes I think it interferes with training, rather than helping. I mostly use food to motivate a new behavior and then transition to lots of loving. Hope you figure out how to get her to do her business outside before Mr. Taleteller strangles her.

  3. ShineJake says:

    Ha ha! Flattery sure knows how to manipulate the system to her advantage! I hope you guys find another solution to this obstacle you’re having. It’s not like she’s completely unreasonable after all!

  4. Pav Sterry says:

    She’s in serious danger of being throttled and I know it………This isn’t going to help either.

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