Something Wagging Train Your Dog Challenge – The Big Reveals

As we come to the end of Train Your Dog Month, I’m nowhere near my goal of making Honey comfortable with the Doggy Ride bicycle cart. And I feel very successful.

The Method

Doggy Ride Bicycle Cart without the wheels

Honey's Nemesis

The Doggy Ride cart sits in the corner of our living room. We’ve removed the wheels to make it more steady.

I’m using a clicker to shape Honey’s behavior around the cart. We started by clicking and treating her every time she looked at the cart. Then when she stuck her head in the cart. Now, to get a treat, Honey has to put her head into the cart up to her shoulders.

We’re also rewarding her if she can sit or lie near the cart when I shake it gently.

In addition to our active work, I regularly hide treats in the cart at random for Honey to find. We’ve hidden chicken liver, cheese, and chewy treats (basically anything starting with a “ch”) in the cart.

Honey’s Progress

When we started, Honey was tentative even walking by the cart. Now she moves easily by the cart and goes right to the cart when she sees me pick up the clicker.

When I hide things at random in the cart, Honey will prop one paw into the cart to gain access to the treats hidden farther back.

But she’s not willing to crawl into the cart to get even the yummiest treat.

Setting Goals

Golden Retriever sitting in front of Doggy Ride Bicycle Cart

Ok, I'm sitting in front of the "thing." What do you want me to do now?

My goals for Honey are not linked by time. I did not assume I’d meet a certain benchmark by the end of the month. I’m trying to let Honey lead the way.

My only goal is that Honey be comfortable. I’ll take my time. We’ll go at her pace.

The Relationship

Honey is excited that we’re regularly playing training games. And I think she trusts me more around the cart. I hope we can build enough trust to get her riding in the cart.

But, if we fail, I’ll be grateful for anything I can get.

The Challenge

When I dreamed up the Something Wagging Train Your Dog Challenge, I wanted to encourage a stress-free month of fun and bonding with your dog.

Responding to the comments left with the challenge, I created the Lazy Person’s Guide. And we opened up the training challenge to any other critters.

So now it’s your turn. What did you hope to learn with your animal this month? How did you succeed? How did you fail? And, most importantly, did the training strengthen your relationship?

Share your story.

  • Post on your blog and link using the tool here.
  • Tell your story at the Something Wagging Facebook page.
  • Email your story to somethingwagging (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll post it here.

Why do you want to do this? Because one challenge entrant will be chosen at random to win a $50 donation to their favorite animal welfare charity.

Don’t delay. You have one week to post your story and enter to win the prize.
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Comments

  1. Congratulations on all your success with Honey. I think you made some excellent points about moving at her pace and not rushing things. We humans live in a deadline-heavy world, but not everything can be accomplished well in a set period of time. Thank you for being so patient and understanding while Honey gradually gets over her fears. She is very lucky to have you!

  2. YAY for Honey! And for you for reminding humans that training has to be on OUR timetable- not yours!

  3. I agree with Kristine, many people would have become frustrated at what they consider “lack of success.” They would have given up by now, or forced the dog which we all know wouldn’t have the best results. Lucky for Honey you understand the power of positive training.

    Delilah hates having a bath, I can coax her in the tub and she will tolerate it, but she doesn’t care for it. So I like to throw treats in the tub and encourage her to climb in and out of the tub when it is empty. Of course the best time to do this is after I have sorted chicken necks, she is then very willing to climb in and out of the tub. :-)

    Great job for train your dog month, Pamela!

  4. Yaaay, Honey!

    I didn’t do what I said I was going to. But I inadvertently trained something else. So that works!

  5. I’m sure Honey is enjoying the training – Cali always loved any training games we played with her :) I will get my post up this week . . it is still a work in progress!! Congrats to you and Honey on the progress you have made!

  6. Excellent progress!! I remembered you said Honey wouldn’t go near the thing, so a paw in is fantastic!! I love working on the dog’s time table. Letting them guide and show me when they are ready.

    I’m curious, How did you find that worked for you, Pamela? If I remember right you are the type who likes schedules and routine, did you struggle at with working so free with Honey?

    I can’t wait for the pictures of you two cruising down to the beach together!! :)

  7. Congrats Honey and Pamela! Overcoming fear is definitely not a timed event. It isn’t like there is a formula for gaining trust, and it certainly won’t magically go away in a month. It sounds like Honey has made great progress, bravo! We loved having a challenge this month. It definitely motivated me to make a plan and stick to it, and I was very happy with the results! Just today Parker and Skye stopped at the sight of an approaching dog, came over to me, and walked by my side until I freed them to greet. Yay!

  8. I think Honey’s done an excellent job of training you to go at her pace. :)

    I really did want to train Our Best Friend not to bark like a frenzied madman every time the doorbell rang, but it never happened. Maybe Honey has trained me to go at a slower pace as well. 😉

    • I’m convinced you like a challenge. Training a watchful dog not to bark at the doorbell is working against thousands of years of evolution. :)

  9. Honey’s made some great progress! She might surprise you and get more comfortable with it sooner than you expect, too. I’m glad it’s been successful!

    Bunny and I are working on the Idita Walk again this year. She has a post about it all ready for Thursday!

  10. Yay, Honey! She is a beauty! Thank you for sharing and for hosting!
    Kerry at HouseTalkN

  11. Shoot! That’s what I should have written about. I am so sorry I forgot Pamela. It’s been a crazy week with two additional house guests staying here for a week. I’m afraid the goal I had been working towards – having the dogs stay on a mat when I open the door, did not happen.

    But, I did teach Jasper a new trick – paws up and paws down. He places his front paws up on a bench or chair and then back down on the floor. I’m not sure what I am going to do with it yet, but I am thinking of possibilities. I’m welcome ideas of how far we can take this first step to a trick. Got any? :)

    BTW – I think you are making great progress with Honey. I think it will likely take a while (as you mentioned) but she is making progress!

    • The linky was temporarily off line but it’s back up now and will be until February 7. So you have plenty of time to get something up if you’d like to share.

      As for Jasper’s trick–we took Honey to have her portrait taken recently and one of the poses the photographer wanted was for her to rest her paws up on a bench. Jasper would have done great!

  12. Glad things continue to move along!! Hopefully you’ll be out riding with Honey soon.

  13. It sounds like you made great progress. We also don’t tie training goals to time. Recipe for disaster if you ask me. I think it also makes the training more enjoyable when there is less pressure. Hope Honey will decide to take a ride with you very soon.

  14. Way to go Pam & Honey! Progress is sweet. Like a slow roast, the victory will taste better the more time you allow it to cook. I’m sure if Honey realized all the great things she could do at the other end of a Doggy Ride journey, then she would be much more open to the idea.

    We just posted our recap, but we wanted to drop by and say THANK YOU. This month has really helped Koly & I reconnect in a way we haven’t since we quit our agility training. Nosework is just the right way to give his natural desire to scent an appropriate out let and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

  15. You’re really making progress with Honey. Especially since it’s noticeable progress. Even if you haven’t reached your goal of having Honey be completely comfortable in the cart, the mini achievements are obvious and you’re succeeding very well.

  16. Sounds like Honey is making great progress. After all, it’s the tortoise, not the hare, who ultimately wins the race…. or so I hear. :)

    I need to work on my post for this… I’ll get there soon, promise!

  17. Sounds like you have made solid progress. You will be zipping around town with Honey in the DoggyRide in no time :)

  18. Great job so far! I’d love to offer you some tips. Forget about the cart for now and teach Honey “Place”. Place means for her to go to and stay on anything you are telling her. And you can have 100 “Places”! Start with her bed (even if she knows that word change it to place for now). You can still use the clicker. Then move to a blanket or area rug. Try a tree stump, the back of the car, a park bench or the scale at the vets. Once she understands the word place and will get up on or anything you ask she will then go IN anything you ask. It overrides her fear when you develop a language with her. All of a sudden she’ll realize “AH! You want me to go IN there!”. Ta-da!
    Keep us posted!
    Lisa Flynn
    Certified Master Dog Trainer

  19. Honey will get there – I have faith in you and her! Slow and slower – tough to do and suddenly, one day, POOF! she’ll be in the cart and riding along no prob. :).

  20. That is really cool and as long as she is making progress, that is great. I had big plans to join the challenge and work on Kelly’s issues with our mailman (who I’ve dubbed Grouchy Mailman) but my husband’s hospitalization precluded any training time, so I didn’t get to do it yet. I’ll still work on it, I promise! Maybe Honey can ride over in her bike cart thing and deliver the mail. Kelly might be happy about that!

  21. i think it sounds like you guys did a great job. congrats to you and honey. i’m sure she’ll get inside the carrier one day.

  22. Clicker shaping is so great–congrats on all your progress! I didn’t take your particular challenge, but every month is dog training challenge month for us:) We’ve been having some nice successes with leash walks and TTouch.

  23. I’m sure I commented on this post a few days ago but knowing me I started one and got sidetracked! I wondered what Honey is like being covered with a blanket? Perhaps she is claustrophobic? It’s great that she is getting a little less fearful of the cart. There is light at the end of the tunnel:) There will be great celebrating in Pet Blogville when she does get in the cart:)

  24. I’m the worst… I was planning to post and link up, and then somehow the week (?) just got away from me. I’ll choose to blame the Super Bowl, some allergies, and my own lack of planning. Sorry! I did enjoy reading everyone else’s posts though. :)

    P.S. Although I didn’t manage to post, Bella and I did work on trying to get her to hate having her teeth brushed (that’s what I was going to post about). We’re making progress. :)

Trackbacks

  1. […] I first read about the Train Your Dog Month Challenge on Something Wagging This Way Comes I never intended to get The Cat involved. Sure, we’ve been working on some basic tricks, but […]

  2. […] and taught his mom a new trick (nice work!). Everyone did such a great job! I’m certain that Honey will be riding in that Doggie Ride bicycle cart in no […]