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Old 10-16-2005, 06:44 PM
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Default Gah. Sighthounds.

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. ) 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.
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Old 10-16-2005, 07:13 PM
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kelbel kelbel is offline
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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.
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Old 10-16-2005, 07:24 PM
doberkim doberkim is offline
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at this point, i would look for help from people who have spent a lot of time training sight hounds -

have you tried here

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SITEHNDOBED/
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Old 10-16-2005, 07:29 PM
Gempress Gempress is offline
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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.
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Old 10-17-2005, 01:07 PM
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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.
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Old 10-17-2005, 02:45 PM
doberkim doberkim is offline
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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!
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Old 10-17-2005, 03:54 PM
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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.)
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Old 10-17-2005, 06:54 PM
bridey_01 bridey_01 is offline
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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!
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Old 10-17-2005, 07:11 PM
doberkim doberkim is offline
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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 !
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Old 10-17-2005, 07:18 PM
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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.
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